Munich is becoming the IIoT innovation hub

Munich is becoming the IIoT innovation hub

While Berlin has developed a vibrant start-up scene and has become an innovation hub for digital technologies and business models largely in the context of digital customer experience, the Munich area has more recently started turning into an international hub for innovation for (industrial) IoT developments, aimed at the manufacturing sector. IBM launched a Watson IoT center, Microsoft an IoT & AI Insider Lab, and Accenture has just opened its IIoT Innovation Center in Garching near Munich.

During our visit to this new center, we had the opportunity to see a variety of examples of newly developed IIoT deployments. The idea is to “co-create” solutions with clients that can help them in their digital transformation. The solutions are not just aimed at transforming and growing the core business, e.g. by digitizing operations and customer experience, but also at developing new digital business models, moving from connected products to digital services. For example, this can mean helping manufacturing companies move from a “product” to a “services” business model.

Schneider Electric is a key reference client and is working with Accenture during a 5-year collaboration to design, build and scale-up digital services, including predictive maintenance, asset monitoring and energy optimization, with the aim to improve operations but also to generate, design and deploy new ideas and digital offerings in a much shorter timeframe than has been possible so far.

The Garching center presents showcases for the digitization of manufacturing operations, such as collaborative robots (no programming required, you just show them what to do), connected workers (integrated barcode scanner in factory workers’ gloves as well as a virtual assistant such as Alexa), ALM-PLM integration (allows a more integrated collaboration between HW and SW engineers), virtual plant modeling (better production planning through a digital twin of production lines), analytics deployment for improved asset utilization (predictive/prescriptive analytics of machine failure), shopfloor optimization through real-time tracking and – spanning all this – a security framework to ensure secure IIoT operations.

In PAC's view, what we were shown illustrates well how IIoT can be deployed and what benefits are to be expected. We look forward to seeing more actual use cases with first-hand experience reports from clients.