Making the most of the Internet of Things (IoT), in which everything is connected to the Internet, has become indispensable for companies. While public attention in IoT has surged, we often hear from companies that they do not know where to start. In this report, the Fujitsu Journal team interviews Fujitsu Limited's Soichi Nishiyama, who facilitates hands-on workshops that explore how IoT should be used, regarding the current state of IoT usage by companies and the workshops' purpose.
Issues We Face in Using IoT
IoT connects people, things, and the environment to networks, and new value is created by analyzing and using the things so connected. Several years have passed since the term IoT began to draw attention. However, Nishiyama thinks that many companies are still searching for where to start and how to proceed to achieve innovation with IoT. Nishiyama described the current situation as follows.
"In trying to use IoT, many people focus on physical things, such as sensors. However, please know that IoT has two aspects. The first is to find new data using sensors or other devices in order to improve daily operations and efficiency. For example, sensors can be attached to factory production lines to improve productivity. The second aspect is business managers' expectations for IoT to generate business innovation in the future. However, innovation does not occur simply by extending current methods of improving efficiency."
Nishiyama also pointed out that IoT must be considered from two perspectives: the field side and the management side.
"System improvement on the field side is called Systems of Record (SoR), while innovation on the management side is called Systems of Engagement (SoE). There is a gap between these two. At present, we often confuse the two in our examinations; we must first improve the situation by rectifying this."
Nishiyama remarked about the first measure companies should take: "In fact, most customers still do not know what data to collect and how to proceed with IoT introduction. Implementation of IoT should proceed after accurately identifying which stage the company is in."
Advantages of Participating in Workshops Together with Other Departments
Neither companies' information systems departments nor field departments are experts in IoT. Therefore, it is very difficult for them to figure out which sensors to use, what data to collect using the sensors, how to use and analyze such data, and what to do next.
Nishiyama continued: "At our workshops, we welcome companies that are considering IoT usage now, companies that have done some consideration but are not sure about what they want to do, and companies that are confused about SoRs and SoEs, as I mentioned earlier, or that are facing other problems."
More than 150 customers, mainly those from the manufacturing and distribution industries, have participated in IoT workshops at Fujitsu's Digital Transformation Center (DTC) co-creation space in Tokyo's Hamamatsucho since its opening in May 2016. Workshop participants include those from enterprise information systems divisions as well as field divisions, management, and marketing divisions.
For those who are unfamiliar with workshops, DTC provides an environment where participants can feel at ease in sharing ideas by, for example, using digital cards. Then, all participants discuss what they actually want to do and what they truly want to realize, all the while sharing the sources of ideas and values they cherish. Customers who are clear or nearly clear about what they want to do can try prototyping and verify their ideas by using the IoT Verification Service * and IoT Business Support Service **.
In the studios, customers can experience many IoT solutions by trying on various Fujitsu-developed devices, such as location badges and vital sensing bands, and also get tips on using IoT. "I think it is very important to actively use IoT and acquire hands-on experience at our workshops," Nishiyama said, emphasizing the importance of raising one's awareness through actual experience.
Nishiyama noted that he definitely recommends workshops at DTC for those who are still unsure about what to do for IoT.
"In the realm of IoT and digital transformation, various industries and business sectors want to expand their businesses while making the most of their experience. It is important to understand that digital transformation connects various industries and business sectors digitally, and we must move ahead together to create new value."
In addition to deriving and integrating customers' opinions smoothly, Fujitsu's workshops also provide a demonstration of Fujitsu's know-how and knowledge for achieving co-creation with customers.
Please consider trying one of our workshops at DTC.