InsightProducts demonstrates how to acquire qualitative product data to improve product & service offering

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The lack of access to customer data should not be seen as a problem only pertaining to product manufacturers. Mainly for customers this results in several financial complications such as reactive instead of proactive maintenance, no access to future/novel product optimisations, and unavailability of customised services. The InsightProducts project supports companies to improve their product and service offering through qualitative product data acquisition and use in view of digital servitisation.

In order to improve their product operations and/or service offering, many manufacturing companies are eager to learn how to collect and mine data about their products. In addition, a large amount of technology providers is interested in acquiring domain knowledge to support these. However, there is a lack of necessary insights into the deployment and use of novel technologies, and how to establish new servitisation business models based on these. Furthermore, there is also a large discrepancy between the acquired data by manufacturers and the data quality and relevancerequired by the technology providers to develop supporting services.

In order to help companies 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 center for IT), launched the InsightProducts project last autumn.

Five demonstrators

On 25 March 2019, InsightProducts gathered 13 companies for its second user group meeting. Half a year into the project, the group consists of a highly engaged and innovative mix of machine builders, physical and software-intensive product builders, tool and technology providers, ranging from SMEs to large companies. The user group members are motivated in supporting the project demonstrators with insights and infrastructure validating the end objectives. Based on the user group requirements, the following demonstrators were identified and validated with the user group members. They consist of three technical and two methodology PoCs.

  1. Optimal use of sensor and communication solutions supported by and supporting qualitative data [technology + methodology]
    This demonstrator will illustrate how sensors and communication technologies can best be used, in order to acquire qualitative data. By means of a real-world use case, it will focus on which types of sensors to use, how to deploy and where to place these, and which communication technologies to choose, in order to acquire more qualitative data.
  2. Determining how to acquire qualitative data and extracting actionable product insights from it  [technology + methodology]
    This demonstrator will illustrate how to extract actionable product insights from qualitative data by focusing on: 
    • acquiring & analysing relevant product data
    • showing how to extract actionable product insights from that data
    • identifying required actions to improve the data gathering (e.g. what should be measured, at which frequency, etc.), resulting in improved quality of the acquired (and to be analysed) data.
    This demonstrator will be tightly connected to the previous one. While the first will provide more qualitative data for product insights, this demonstrator will provide improvement actions from that data.
  3. Enhancing the design and operations of a product based on qualitative data insights  [technology + methodology]
    This demonstrator will illustrate how the qualitative data insights extracted after monitoring a product (component) can be used to actually improve the design and operations of that product (component). The data insights will be obtained through the approach put forward by the second demonstrator. These will focus more particularly on characterising how the product (component) works and on extracting operational profiles from which product and operations improvements can be derived.
  4. Enabling a product to be deployed as a service ('product-as-a-service') [methodology + guidelines]
    This demonstrator will illustrate how services can be offered on top of a physical product. It will cover the different steps and skills companies need to master, in order to define services, select appropriate technology supporting the realisation of those services, optimally organise themselves to deliver those services, etc.
  5. Gaining access to customer data [methodology + guidelines]
    This demonstrator will focus on the acquisition of useful and actionable information for the user group companies, in order to help them in convincing their customers to give them access to the data produced by their products at the customers’ premises. It will cover different types of data to which access is requested (usage, performance), legal constraints, etc.

Furthermore, in view of the planned demonstrators, the InsightProducts consortium is in the process of selecting the available infrastructure and datasets from the user group members to start developing the different PoCs.

First annual workshop

On 22 October 2019, Sirris will organise a whole day event, consisting of a third Belgian user group meeting in the morning and a first annual workshop open to the public in the afternoon. During this workshop, the project objectives and progress of the demonstrators will be presented. In addition, taking into account the large interest of the user group in the topics of customer data access (demonstrator 5) and digital servitisation (demonstrator 4), two themed sessions will be organised, consisting of company testimonials highlighting obstacles and approaches.

Are you interested to learn more about the project progress and do you want to be inspired by several industrial testimonials? Join our annual event and benefit from networking with likeminded colleagues!

In addition, are you interested in having a front row seat to the project demonstrators outlined above and benefit from the knowledge that will be developed within the project? You can still join the project’s user group!

Click here for more information on InsightProducts.

With the support of: