Numerous processes of consolidation, automation, harmonization and virtualization will remain the same, but the infrastructure is changing. What is digital communication?
The innovation brought into being by digital transformation is the communication between all participants. There is no media-switching in the digital future. The economy will be digital – or it will cease to be. The fuel for a digital value-chain is communication or, to be more precise, the ability to have barrier-free communication between users, processes and things.
IoT, the Internet of Things, is initially a technical and financial challenge. If every component, from a CNC milling machine and a talking refrigerator, right through to the driverless car, is allocated an Internet address (lP), then that in itself is first of all a technical masterstroke, and then secondly an infrastructure that has to be financed. Analysts forecast that in a few years every „thing“ with an end price of more than USD 100 will have an IP chip installed. This means that billions of products and machines will be able to communicate.
Digital transformation empowers a global exchange of information. The transformation process is the digitalization of communication – not at a technical level, but at a semantic level. The syntax is the Internet, where every „thing“ (lnternet of Things) is issued an lP address. Due to the consolidated infrastructure, it is now possible, for the first time, for mutual „understanding“ to evolve.
Semantic processes are the added-value of digital transformation. New value chains evolve as a result of new communication channels. Already-existing information can be passed on.
Industry 4.0 is a part of digital transformation. The new area of expertise is largely based on M2M, machine-to-machine communication. It is not machines that are being reinvented, but the exchange of information between the components: the ERP system understands them and talks to production. The transparent factory is a semantic M2M communication network.
The legitimate request for digital transformation processes is change management, which can only succeed with partners who are equal to the task and with a great deal of educational work. In order to resolve these challenges we must be innovative. The digital transformation process has begun, and here we will discuss how to manage it. One cannot take an automated approach to change the organization of structures and of procedures, or to introduce new business processes.
The user needs the IT supplier as a partner and consultant during this transformation.
The challenge for users and IT suppliers is the joint creation of digital value-chains. These cannot be generated with a couple of new and faster servers, smart tablets, and panorama monitors. Information technology and the lnternet of Things provide the basis for the digital transformation process – but not the solution! Communication channels are not generated by the mass laying of Ethernet fiber-optic cables.
New concepts – digital innovations – are needed to enable the factory to communicate with the ERP system and to enable end-users to talk with the lnternet shop via Facebook and Twitter. Business processes must be redesigned, jointly with IT providers and consultants. Industry 4.0 can only be the beginning. The next goal is M2M, IoT and empowerment of all value-chains for digital communication without any media-switching. The key to success is communication between users and providers, between suppliers and consumers, and between machines and business processes.