The Industrial Data Platform – Changing the Way We Use Data, Forever
Data can come in many forms: from customer feedbacks, usage data collected automatically by sensors for products and services, through data collected during the process of production. In our digitally-focused economy, it is a supremely valuable commodity – the fuel at the core of digital transformation – and we guard it carefully through encryption, firewalling and password protection.
Given the enormous expense that businesses go to in collecting, crunching, storing and mining their data, the idea of sharing it with partners, competitors and the wider industry may seem rather unlikely but at Atos we believe it is the natural next step.
We already see companies like Here the former division of Nokia recently bought by BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen to have common cartographic data going in this direction. Recently the three major German car manufacturers have decided that all data collected in their cars will be put in common within Here for the benefit of all.
Known as Industrial Data Platforms, they will embody the very essence of collaborative working, driving partnerships between a wider variety of enterprises. And like the impact of multi-sided markets, these information stores will create numerous interconnected networks using insights derived from the common data platform to accelerate the development of technology.
Critically, the Industrial Data Platforms will create ‘positive externalities’ – defined quite dryly as “a benefit that is enjoyed by a third-party as a result of an economic transaction” – that will have helpful implications for wider society; creating better technology and more engaging experiences. For example, should telecom providers share a data platform with smartphone manufacturers, consumers will be the ultimate beneficiaries – seeing new methods and forms of communications developed faster than ever before.
We will soon see the rise of Intelligent Networked Enterprises. Through enterprise collaboration and co-innovation, these partnerships will create rich and complex eco-systems of capabilities that enable whole industries, as well as individual organisations, to proactively adapt to market needs and conditions. Again, it is ultimately the consumer who will win out – as technologies and services become better aligned to their needs and demands.
The important shift here is in the value of data. Data, itself, is no longer considered as valuable but as a commodity; it is the insights and learnings that are derived from the data which are valued. Each company can still maintain its ‘DNA’ and Intellectual Property by performing its own analytics and applying these to their common sticking points, improving understanding and situational awareness when preparing the next generation of its products and services.
Of course, some form of agreement or contract will be needed – sharing data does require some level of trust between parties. In the B2C world, this is usually an agreement from the consumer to share their personal data in return for a free service – think of Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. In the B2B space, we will see the rise of Innovation Value Webs, with data sharing being organized in a way similar to outsourcing contracts: using specific data, for a limited time, and with a guarantee of reversibility at the end of the contract.
Eventually, Industrial Data Platforms will cover the entire ecosystem, creating value from end-to-end. If wisely implemented, Industrial Data Platforms hold the potential to digitally reinvent a leading role for service incumbents – for example, a truck manufacturer selling smart truck usage à la Uber and displacing transport companies; or a logistics company reinventing itself digitally to be the champion of 3D printing services – before they are displaced by the digital giants.