Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The German perspective of IoT: Industrie 4.0

Last year in June I had the opportunity to join a workshop on the impact of Internet of Things (IoT) for the German industry.
The consensus was that Germany missed the developed of an app-industry and hard-ware development. Instead, Germany should rather focus on proprietary platforms, appstores, for machines, cars and smart home: app-stores for things. A new job profile, the IoT-mechanic, is emerging.

The overall goal of  IoT is to improve quality of life, sustainability and growth (hm...isn't growth the opposite of sustainability!?). IoT bears the danger of forgetting the human yielding a rigid and process-oriented life focusing on the beauty, bold and technophiles.

Instead, developments should be driven by industry focusing on health, energy efficiency and standardization. Research questions could be:
  • how to integrate the diverse and isolated initiatives of IoT into one coherent platform?
  • IP doesn't work for everything, iterative processes based on specific examples should help to develop alternatives.
  • who owns the platform?
  • vertical platforms should be developed to solve societal challenges: production, plant manufacturing, and machine development
  • horizontal integration to reusing technology
    • interoperability
    • discovery/self-organisation
    • open platforms for third parties, SME's
    • reference architecture for niches
Involved parties should be telco providers, device manufacturers, service providers and end-users.
Overall, platforms should help SME's to develop new services and create business and jobs. Open-source should allow communities to develop new services. The german government should provide the legal framework to include various stakeholders, protect their investment, yield services for the good.
I'm looking forward to the results of Industrie 4.0.