Rethink Industry 4.0: Lessons learned after 3 years of Industry 4.0 experience

Back in 2013 when I started at IBM and I first heard about the topic of Industry 4.0 I was enthusiastic about the vision of a new industrial revolution. I had not much background in production, but I believed that the manufacturing industry was 20 years behind what IT guys like me do. What are Daimler, VW and BMW compared to Google, Netflix and Amazon? The one push new versions of their products weekly, the others yearly. Internet companies are agile and pivot, while production companies are six sigma, process focused. The internet companies have a return on invest much higher than any production companies. So the first conclusion was simple let us take the IT technology that made the Googles, Netflix, Amazons and Facebooks (the GNAFs) so successful and push it into production companies. Did this work? It did not. But why, the assumptions of a young industry entry like me were wrong. Where were I wrong?

  • It is not about technology it is about processes.
  • The reason the GNAFs are so successful is not technology but culture, automation and agility.

There were many more things I was wrong about, like the level of technology maturity production companies have reached, they are by far NOT 20 years behind! But all those are details compared to the two main misunderstandings above.
Was I the only one that was wrong? No I still see us pushing for IT solutions that go for technology but not the key reasons why the role models in the internet age are so successful. How can we expect german production companies become the GNAFs or better Apple’s of the production industry if we offer them technologies that are not used by the GNAFs because they do not fit their culture and hinder innovation and agility. You don’t think we do offer this to companies?

Well look at every Industry 4.0 reference architecture, it is a heavy layered combination of systems, from with most of them are not agile, not open and have release cycles of years. Then they have propriartary APIs, the need for month and years of consultancy to implement, they are complex and they hinder by there licensing models the design of resilient/antifragile architecture. This list goes on!

The key to be innovative and efficient like the GNAFs is to have agile process and software. Don’t built systems that can not innovate daily! You say the internet is something else than you have, that was what Kodak and many companies said: And they are out of business today, because someone thought, it is not something else and made the effort to prove it and make it work. So I urge us to rethink how our Industry 4.0 architectures, strategies and products look. And go for the lean approach. But let’s start with the most important thing first, agile culture: Let us not go back to the drawing board and rethink and design for a year how our agile culture, products and industry 4.0 vision looks: let’s start now doing it.

Leave me a comment or discuss with me on twitter @smaterindustry. What is your opinion, where am I wrong? Let’s discuss and bring Industry 4.0 forward!

Future articles will continue this one in the following weeks:

  • API Industry 4.0: A hypothesis put to the test as a starting point to implement this kind of Industry 4.0. This is not something new or revolutionary, it just something to try. Let’s start failing fast, learn and improve.
  • Role models: Where Germany manufacturing companies should look to “borrow” for their Industry 4.0 strategy
  • The german tragedy: What happens if we can change our culture

Contribution to Blogparade: #Blogparade zum Thema „Industrie 4.0: Chancen, Risiken, Ideen und Umsetzungen – was hat Deutschland zu bieten?”

Smart Home Product News: A connected home hub supporting the Z-Wave-Stanard

The hub will control Z-Wave as well as WiFi devices, meaning it’ll work with third-party alarms, detectors and cameras on top of existing D-Link WiFi cameras and accessories. There’s no word on pricing or availability yet but it looks like an interesting option for folks torn between cheaper WiFi and mainstream Z-Wave systems.

Bottom Line: Given that more and more products support either the Z-Wave or the Zigbee standard such hub devices provide a additional benefit. For a comparison Z-Wave vs Zigbee look here.

MQTT – Eine Einführung

Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) ist ein äußerst simpel aufgebautes Publish-Subscribe-Protokoll für den Nachrichtenaustausch zwischen Geräten geringer Funktionalität. Das robuste MQTT-Protokoll wurde für unzuverlässige Netze mit geringer Bandbreite und hoher Latenzzeit entwickelt. MQTT minimiert die genutzte Netzwerk-Bandbreite und die Anforderungen an Geräte , gleichzeitig wird für die Datenübermittlung eine hohe Zuverlässigkeit erreicht. Diese Anforderungen bestehen insbesondere bei Sensornetzwerken, bei Machine to Machine(M2M), in der Telemedizin, der Patientenüberwachung und beim “Internet der Dinge”. Bei dieser Anwendung sind die angeschlossenen Geräte “Always On” und kommunizieren ständig miteinander.

Das offene, lizenzfreie MQTT-Protokoll wurde bereits 1999 von IBM für die Satellitenkommunikation entwickelt und später in vielen industriellen Anwendungen eingesetzt. Es ist äußerst einfach zu implementieren, kennt drei unterschiedliche Dienstgüten (QoS) für Service-Optionen und kann ununterbrochen Sitzungen mit den festen und mobilen Geräten betreiben.

Seit 2013 standardisiert die OASIS MQTT als Protokoll des Internet der Dinge. Das MQTT-Protokoll ist auch bekannt als SCADA-Protokoll und WebSphere MQTT” (WMQTT). Die Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) reserviert für MQTT die Ports 1883 und 8883. Um die Sicherheit der Nachrichtenübermittlung zu gewährleisten, kann der Benutzer seinen Namen und sein Passwort in einem MQTT-Paket übertragen. Außerdem können die Nachrichten mit dem SSL-Protokoll verschlüsselt werden.

Die Struktur in der das MQTT-Protokoll arbeitet, besteht aus der Datenquelle, die als Publisher bezeichnet wird, der Datensenke, dem Subscriber, und dem zwischengeschalteten Message-Broker, der für die Kommunikationssteuerung sorgt. Die Grafik stellt beispielhaft die MQTT Topologie dar.

MQTT Topologie

Im Kontext von Industrie 4.0 ist MQTT/MessageBroker neben OPC-UA eine Option um die Vernetzung zwischen Artefakten der modernen Fabrik zu ermöglichen. Lesen Sie in kürze den Vergleich zwischen MQTT vs OPC-UA.

Industry 4.0 – IBM let machines talk to each other with MQTT

The foundation for machines to machines communication is a common language. The Internet of Thing, Industry 4.0 or Cyber-physical systems will not be possible if machines use different languages for communication. There is a need for a common standard – Message Queuing Telemetry Transport technology(MQTT).

Five years ago, IBM has begun to speak of the “Smarter Planet”, and thus referred to a world, in which technical devices and measuring devices are connected. As a major step in this part of the manufacturer sees its new product “Message Sight”. “Until now, no technology able to handle this volume of messages and devices,” assures Marie Wieck, general manager of IBM’s Websphere middleware division.

The new integrated system is to help companies and government agencies in managing the communication with the billions of sensors that always occur in many systems and devices. Such as measuring devices are installed in more and more cars, traffic systems, oil refineries, buildings and household appliances. Especially public administrations and companies from the automotive, healthcare and financial services industries are expected to benefit from the new product according to the supplier. For example, automotive manufacturers can incorporate sensors that send messages to the control center or the dealer if certain components should be checked in their vehicles. Hospitals can monitor the use of their medical devices so that cities and manage the traffic.

Building on the Message Queuing Telemetry Transport technology, IBM MessageSight delivers the performance, value and simplicity that organizations need to accommodate the growing multitude of mobile devices and sensors. This enables large volumes of events to be processed in near real time, allowing organizations to consolidate all of the information in one place and more easily glean insights to make better business decisions.

For instance, an automotive manufacturer can use IBM MessageSight to help manage the features and services of its automobiles. With thousands of sensors in each car, a dealer can now be notified when a “check engine” light turns on in a specific car. Based on the information transmitted by the engine sensor, the dealer could then notify the owner that there is a critical problem and they should get their car serviced immediately.

“To realize the vision of a Smarter Planet, we must first enable the universe of instrumented sensors, devices and machines to communicate more efficiently while sharing, managing and integrating large volumes of data at a rate much faster than ever before,” said Bob S. Johnson, director of development for Sprint’s Velocity Program. “We have been testing IBM MessageSight for some initial projects and are excited about the capabilities that it could help us deliver to the vehicle and beyond.”

Foundational to IBM MessageSight is its support of MQTT, which was recently proposed to become an OASIS standard, providing a lightweight messaging transport for communication in machine to machine (M2M) and mobile environments. Sensors are often small in size, have low power and typically low communications bandwidth capabilities. MQTT can be used in conjunction with these devices. Its low power consumption, high performance and reliability allow real time updates that can be acted upon immediately.

IBM’s MobileFirst platform is the first in the industry to speed the process of building apps by enabling companies to seamlessly integrate analytics and capture the complete on-device experience of how customers are using apps, including insight into gestures, dwell time and navigation.

Internet of things