How IoT can build additional revenue streams for discrete manufacturers

If you speak to any discrete manufacturer, they will tell you that it’s getting even tougher to stand out to prospects and even their own customers with traditional product/service offerings.

While there are many ways to differentiate – with innovation sitting firmly at the heart – it’s a challenge with the pace that many manufacturers are working at just to keep up with their orders.

As one innovation leads to another, we find ourselves in a time of the Internet of Things, machine learning and advanced analytics where opportunities for continued innovation and development are better than ever.

IoT for discrete manufacturing

The advancement in sensors, devices, connectivity, machines and data insights have created a powerful combination that can unlock business value, drive innovation and take discrete manufacturing business to greater heights than ever before.

With the Internet of Things, discrete manufacturers have the ability to innovate in all areas of business, from the factory floor, through the supply and demand chain to product development and after sale service.

Manufacturers capitalizing on IoT benefits

Kuka Systems Group is a great example of a manufacturer who took advantage of the Internet of Things, creating a highly automated plant that connects as many as 60,000 devices and robots to a central data-management system.

With a streamlined management environment, the system is able to adapt quickly to changes in production requirements, and powerful new access to data allows KUKA to drive actionable insights into factory operations.

“We ship our customer a complete car body every 77 seconds,” explained Jake Ladouceur, managing director, KUKA Systems Group Toledo facility. “We don’t have time to adjust source code, and we can’t introduce something that isn’t trusted and proven. Our intelligent system built with Microsoft technology enables us to react very quickly.”

Opportunities for revenue growth

In addition to the key areas mentioned above where IoT can unlock value, it also has the ability to transform business models, providing new opportunities for revenue growth.

Today, selling a product to a customer is just the beginning of an ongoing, mutually beneficial relationship when a robust after-sale subscription based service program – using the Internet of Things – is established.

By harnessing the capabilities of IoT, you are differentiating, and delivering greater value to your customers by using data that helps you to understand maintenance requirements, new product opportunities and product improvement needs.

Becoming a consulting manufacturer

As a discrete manufacturer, you’re not typically seen as a consultant, but when you understand your customers patterns and needs, and you have access to data, you can help them to improve their processes and operations.

Using a software-licensing model, you can easily offer product enhancements through software updates and charge for the enhanced functionality based on a software maintenance and updates.

There are opportunities to charge for new levels of software support while simultaneously delivering a better customer experience too. As software allows for flexible product configurations, you can quickly, easily, and inexpensively package and price their devices to uniquely address new, emerging, or niche markets that would previously have been impractical or prohibitive due to costs.

The benefits of IoT

The benefits of using the Internet of Things in discrete manufacturing doesn’t just stop at building additional or alternative revenue streams. Further benefits of IoT include:

  • Reducing manufacturing and distribution costs
  • Product life extension
  • Maximizing the use of manufacturing assets
  • Increased customer loyalty and satisfaction
  • Improving time-to-market

The discrete manufacturing series

Our series focuses on five common problems discrete manufacturers are currently facing, and how to solve them, including case study examples of where discrete manufacturers have implemented our solutions and seen success. The full series includes tip sheets – available for download – on:

Internet of Things

The Global Standards Initiative on Internet of Things (IoT-GSI) defined the IoT as “the infrastructure of the information society.”

The IoT is a giant network of connected things (ecosystem).


The vision for IoT is that millions (and potentially billions) of devices will be connected to each other and the Internet allowing people to communicate with machines, and machines to communicate with other machines.

“Things,” in the IoT sense, can refer to a wide variety of IP-enabled devices and various devices such as cellphones, heart monitoring implants, biochip transponders, automobiles with built-in sensors, home monitoring devices, coffee machines, lamps, Amazon Eco, etc.

Analysts estimate that 20+ Billion devices will get connected to the Internet by 2020

IoT creates a large digital presence connecting organizations, cities and countries. Security decision makers must embrace fundamental principles of risk and resilience to drive change. With billions of devices connecting together in today’s digital environment, what can people and organizations do to make sure that their information’s stays secure. Will someone be able to hack into your toaster and thereby gain access to your entire network. The first step is to educate ourselves about what the IoT is and the impact on how we work and live with these devices. Second step include changing the default password on such devices if possible. Third, apply security and firmware updates.


The October 21, 2016 attack on online infrastructure provider Dyn was launched at least in part by Mirai, an open-source malware strain that scans the Internet for routers, cameras, digital video recorders and other Internet of Things “IoT” devices protected only by the factory-default passwords. Once infected with Mirai, the IoT systems can be used to flood a target with so much junk Web traffic that the target site can no longer accommodate legitimate users or visitors traffic, which resulted in a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

The Mirai botnet attack took down parts of Twitter’s network, as well as hundreds of other sites—including GitHub, Box, The Verge, PlayStation Network, and personal webpage provider Wix. Level 3 Threat Research Labs has been continuously tracking these botnets as they wreak havoc on victims across the internet.


This article was written by Osei Owusu, Technical Consultant for  Tridea Partners. Tridea is a leading Microsoft Dynamics provider.