Digitally connected products and services provided and combined on software-defined platforms and service platforms are at the heart of the SMART SERVICE WORLD economy. The advent of smart products and services that communicate with each other sees software emerge as the “glue” binding value creation in the Internet of Things – for producers of physical and non-physical products and services.
New digital infrastructures that allow physical products and digital services to be combined to create these smart services are a necessity. Germany has put plans in place to ensure ubiquitous broadband infrastructure delivering download speeds of at least 50 Mb per second by 2018.
Conventional industry supply chains are typically linear in nature, concentrating on the efficient delivery of physical goods in response to a stated demand. The shift away from mass-produced products and the scalability made possible by software and the internet effectively dispenses with standard delivery models as we know them.
The convergence of the physical and virtual worlds witnessed in the Internet of Things sees the emergence of smart digital infrastructures. The platforms placed on this network infrastructure are central to success in the SMART SERVICE WORLD.
Software-defined Platforms (“Smart Data”)
Software-defined platforms in the SMART SERVICE WORLD allow modular configuration of value chains for combination to create network-like business models. A process of “virtualization” is imperative to the process, thereby dispensing with the need for the use specialized hardware along the value chain (i.e. products, processes and actors). Highly automated cloud centers process data to provide almost real-time information that is captured on software-defined platforms and refined at the next service platform level to create smart services.
Networked Physical Platforms ("Smart Products")
We are already surrounded by all manner of smart products with high-resolution sensor network capacity for the creation of context-specific “real world” data. Actuators are used to make smart product capabilities available as the building blocks for digital services.
The intelligent products created within the smart production environment simultaneously function as networked physical platforms; with individual smart products acting as nodes in a much bigger, connected network. Smart products constantly collect data which is collated and processed at the next software-defined platform level.
The preliminary digital infrastructure work carried out as part of the INDUSTRIE 4.0 project means that Germany has already consolidated its networked physical platform strengths and is therefore starting from an excellent position.
Service Platforms (“Smart Services”)
Networked business models combining virtual and physical services require service platforms to allow modular configuration of value chains. Service platforms are the facilitators allowing product suppliers and service providers to communicate in order to create completely new types of outcome-based services.
Digital working between product suppliers and service providers can only take place where interactions follow a shared protocol and set of tools, processes, interfaces, and mechanisms for establishing shared business practice. Service platforms may differ significantly according to specific area of application and consumer profile.
Layer Model: Digital Infrastructures | © DFKI | acatech