In the manufacturing sector, the combination of the physical and digital worlds generates enormous volumes of data. IoT platforms enable data from different sources to be analyzed in real time allowing necessary actions to be triggered in a purposeful manner. It is essential, however, that the data is linked and placed into context. With Cumulocity IoT, Software AG provides a market-leading IoT platform with comprehensive development options, allowing for the development of customer-specific IoT applications. As a strategic technology partner, GFT Technologies SE (GFT) has already successfully implemented various digital platform solutions for leading international banks and has initial experience of their application in industrial companies. With an eye on future projects, the team at GFT has recently completed in-depth Cumulocity training.
"The partnership allows us to combine GFT's consultancy expertise with the Software AG IoT platform expertise. Over the next few years, digital platforms will become the most important drivers of innovation in industrial production. They are the deciding factor for the development of new products, services and business models. Many mid-sized companies are, however, still too much in awe of the Internet of Things," says Dr. Wolfram Jost, CTO of Software AG. So how do they get started? In an ideal scenario, they would begin with tried-and-tested methods and procedural models for software development. This is where GFT steps in. Based on these principles, they work with the relevant in-house experts to develop customized IoT applications as well as comprehensive, end-to-end solutions. "Data, or the information derived from it, has the potential to significantly influence the production and products of tomorrow," explains Marika Lulay, CEO of GFT. Customers are able to focus consistently on their core areas of expertise, saving major investments, whilst generating additional profits from the many opportunities available. "Digital transformation demands a fair amount from hitherto less IT-driven companies: first and foremost a new way of thinking, an agile approach and a willingness to embrace technology. The first steps in the change process are always the most difficult, but ultimately they are also the most important," continues Lulay.
IoT platforms as the key to transformation
The cloud-based Cumulocity IoT platform connects various devices or machines, with one another and with the Internet, allowing them to be managed remotely from a central point. Using standard components such as device management, devices of any kind can be registered and comprehensively managed. The device data can be used at any time for control and monitoring purposes, and they can also be leveraged to develop new, cloud-based IoT services using integration, business process, analytical and machine learning capabilities. The particular feature is that, as projects become more complex and demands grow, the platform grows too. "When it comes to IoT implementation, many companies are still in the starting blocks. Cumulocity IoT represents the ideal gateway into the networked age, since its use can be tailored to the company's preferred pace of development and ideas," says Dr Wolfram Jost.
Experienced IT experts are the bottleneck
Medium-sized companies in Germany, in particular, are suffering from a shortage of IT experts. These experts are, however, essential for successfully implementing data analytics or machine learning projects. A platform alone cannot do this. “GFT has already achieved excellent results for many years with international development centers”, says Lulay and adds: "Our consultants are close to our customers and collaborate successfully with around 5,000 experts at nearshore locations in Europe and South America. For mid-sized enterprises, it is definitely not practical to set up and operate complex IT platforms independently. In addition to the high investment costs involved, expertly trained personnel are the number one requirement."
Strong market growth expected in the IoT domain
The global market potential for IT solutions in the Industry 4.0 sector is enormous. Gartner forecasts that global industrial companies will be investing around US$ 907 billion a year in IoT applications by 2020. Market researchers also predict that ‘first movers’ in particular will achieve above-average digital sales. According to the forecasts by the market research firm MarketsandMarkets, sales with Industry 4.0 solutions will grow from 2017 to 2022 on average by 15 percent a year (from US$ 76.64 billion in 2017 to an anticipated US$ 152.31 billion in 2022). Cloud, artificial intelligence, data analytics and virtual and augmented reality technologies offer the greatest potential for networked production.
Blockchain expansion targeted
The next step involves extending the cooperation between GFT and Software AG with blockchain use cases. In this context, GFT is contributing extensive experience gathered from numerous application scenarios such as the previous ‘Project Jupiter’, supply chain management for the pharmaceutical industry, and the interoperable EU banking network based on Corda.