InsightProducts offers support to improve product and service offering with product insights

The InsightProducts project supports companies to improve their product and service offering through qualitative product data acquisition and use, in view of digital servitisation.

For many companies digitising their product portfolio is of the utmost importance, in order to keep up with the current landscape of multinational industrial players paving the way towards digital transformation. However, this requires a large amount of operational resources, knowledge into novel disruptive technologies, and revenue model switch, in order to transform the entire business. For this purpose, the InsightProducts project, led by Sirris, supports companies to improve their product and service offering through qualitative product data acquisition and use in view of digital servitisation.

Many companies, in particular in manufacturing, are eager to learn how to collect and mine data about their products and use it, to improve their product design and/or service offering. However, many lack the necessary insights into novel technologies, how to deploy and use them, and how to establish new servitisation business models based on these.

In order to help companies to acquire these insights and overcome related business and operational challenges, Sirris, in collaboration with Hahn-Schickard (German association for applied research and development in microsystems engineering, micro assembly technology, microanalytical systems, and IT) and Forschungszentrum Informatik (German research centre for IT), launched the InsightProducts project last autumn.

First user group's challenges

The first Belgian user group meeting for InsightProducts was held on October 11, 2018. There, 13 companies, including machine builders, physical and software-intensive product builders, tool and technology providers, ranging from SMEs to large companies, presented their challenges and expectations with regard to the problems put forward by InsightProducts. The most mentioned challenges were:

  • Gathering data from products in the field in a more continuous way.
    Often, data is stored locally and is only gathered manually when a maintenance operation is required. Having remote access to that data as it is produced makes it possible to continuously monitor how products are used, observe degradation of some functionalities, anticipate potential problems, and intervene proactively.
  • Gaining access to product-generated data from customers.
    Machine builders and producers of components integrated into larger systems have rarely access to the data generated by their products. Their customers are reluctant to give them access, as this data might reveal trade secrets or information about how a product is (mis)used.
  • Exploiting product-generated data in more advanced ways.
    Companies are interested in better understanding how their products are used (which enables improving their design), and in identifying trends and anomalies, possibly by benchmarking machines and components at different installations (which allows for example to increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption).
  • Predicting maintenance operations.
    Stemming from the previous challenge, many companies expressed the ambition of realising predictive maintenance of their machines and components, mostly to reduce downtime and help ensure high availability.
  • Developing and offering data-driven digital services.
    As a result of exploiting product-generated data in more advanced ways, companies have the ambition to package the data analyses into (new) services with high added-value through which they can better serve their customers and create new revenue streams. They acknowledge that offering services will require significant changes in their organisation, as many of them are used to and organised to sell machines or system components. In addition, companies expect that such services will offer their customers a compelling reason to give them access to the data generated by their products.
  • Managing a product over its entire lifetime.
    For companies it is important to be able to keep track of all the significant incidents in the history of a machine, of a system component or even of external items processed by those machines and components. They are looking for best practices, in order to achieve this in the most optimal way, resulting in optimised servicing and circular economy in the long run.

Second user group meeting

After the first user group meeting, Sirris further delved (through bilateral discussions) into the specific needs and expectations of some of the user group companies in order to better understand their challenges.

On 25 March, Sirris will organise a second Belgian user group meeting, where it will present, on the one hand, a consolidation of the challenges and expectations expressed by these companies, and on the other hand, a series of demonstrators to be developed in the remaining (one year and a half) of the project, aligned with these challenges and expectations.

Are you too confronted with (some of) the challenges outlined above or with similar or related challenges? You are still on time to join the project user group, have the opportunity to shape its demonstrators and benefit from the knowledge that will be developed within the project. Join us on 25 March!
You can find further information on InsightProducts here.