“We are all connected.” This mantra from the 1960s had a spiritual connotation, informing both a growing environmental awareness and the peace movement.
But as I recollect this theme from the past, the subject I’m discussing is about the future. We live as connected beings, in increasingly smart homes. We drive connected cars that grow more intelligent as the months and model years pass. We use connected products – from smartphones to voice-activated in-home assistants like Amazon’s Alexa. We engage in commerce through digital channels and mechanisms.
The same degree of connectedness that we’re seeing in our personal lives has also infiltrated the industrial world. The products we buy are built in connected factories. Not only are these products made by increasingly smart robots, but operations are also connected throughout the value chain, from customer orders to sourcing materials to shop floor fabrication and final delivery. To businesses, the power of digital brings new efficiencies; it lets them customize offerings based on the needs and wants of the customer, and it enhances consumers’ user experiences like never before.
All this is possible through the technologies that form the backbone of the Internet of Things (IoT). Sensors that gather vast amounts of information on how products are being used and where, and about their environment. Processors that use algorithms to identify key information, share it and act on it. Cloud-enabled infrastructure that allows data sharing to happen on a common enterprise platform.
These capabilities are all realized by the vision of the IoT-enabled enterprise, which creates new commercial opportunities and engenders new business models, from consumer products to connected cars to healthcare to product manufacturing.
Making IoT Real
In Cognizant’s Connected Products team, we’re at the epicenter of this global revolution, building intelligent products and solutions for clients around the world. We’re connecting the world of physical things to the world of digital insights. In the past year, our team has had the opportunity to drive real value to our customers:
- We worked with a global medical device company to reconceive the design of its range of hospital products, including devices for critical patient care. We worked with the company to embed sensors in its devices, adopt a common operating system and furnish an integrated platform for updating software and rolling out new features while monitoring product performance and feeding that data back into product development.
- For a Tier 1 automotive manufacturer, we developed a new mobile application that ties drivers to their cars – and consumers to their brand. Drivers can monitor a vehicle’s use, receive alerts on their phones when it’s driven outside a prescribed area or timeframe, and use their own voices to interact with the vehicle, from locking doors to controlling the internal temperature to locating the nearest dealer.
- We’ve also worked with a global appliance manufacturer to rethink the connected cooking experience, from smart refrigerators that know what’s in them and can suggest recipes, to smart ovens that scan barcodes to cook food automatically, including preheating and keeping food warm while people head home from work. Other solutions include a refrigerator that tells its owner if a key ingredient is missing and then orders it, and an oven that sends alerts when food is ready.
- For one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies, we helped modernize factory floor operations to increase visibility into production flows and efficiency. By doing so, the company accelerated its planned multi-year digital migration strategy to a few months, while optimizing management control and collaboration across the enterprise and through its supply chain.
ISG Recognizes Cognizant as IoT Market Leader
From homes to hospitals, from cars to the factories that build them, we are connected by the power of digital, and digital is transforming our lives. Integrating information and operating technologies, our Connected Products team is driving synergy between the physical world of smart machines, industrial operations, and facilities and spaces, and the digital world of IoT-enabled platforms, applications and insights.
In fact, leading global technology research and advisory firm ISG recently examined how 26 different IT and business service providers are positioned relative to their peers in IoT consulting, delivery and solutions across five categories: overall IoT services, IoT in healthcare, IoT in connected cars, IoT in retail and IoT platforms. ISG noted that Cognizant is one of the top three leaders in four of the five categories it surveyed, more than any other provider.
As I reflect on the opportunities we’ve had in the last year, and our success in delivering real value in those opportunities, I believe that in this case, past performance is indicative of future results. In this connectedness journey, together, we are truly just getting started.