Solutions from the machinery and plant engineering ecosystem – How do I sell my IoT solutions in the app store of the future? | ADAMOS GmbH | Dr. Marco Link

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In this episode, I speak with Dr. Marco Link, Managing Director of the ADAMOS GmbH about Industrial IoT solutions in machine and plant engineering. Marco explains how the future developments of Industrial IoT AppStore’s and associated challenges such as  (monthly) Subscription models, the “Single-Sign On” and a corresponding  device management.

Podcast Transcript Episode 10 | Solutions from the Machinery and Plant Engineering Ecosystem – How do I sell my IoT solutions in the App Store of the future?

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Hello and welcome to the tenth episode of the Industrial IoT Use Case Podcast. I’m your host Madeleine Mickeleit and today I’m talking to Dr. Marco Link, the CEO of Adamos GmbH. Briefly in advance to Marco: He has been the CEO of the IoT joint venture Adamos GmbH since its foundation in 2017 and holds a PhD in business informatics. He previously worked on building strategic IoT partnerships at Software AG. Short summary about Adamos. Together with their partners, they are pursuing a specific goal, namely to create an ecosystem with an end-to-end digital solution for mechanical and plant engineering. This helps a wide variety of machine builders, as well as their customers, to design, further develop and distribute IoT solutions. Adamos brings a range of technology and community to the table, consisting of different areas: the network for mechanical and plant engineering, the platform as a technical basis for the development of digital products, the Adamos Hub as a data infrastructure, and the Adamos Store as a marketplace for digital business. Marco explains what this means in practice right at the beginning of the episode.

Brief summary of what we are talking about. First, let’s define the term platforms and what exactly is meant by them. Afterwards we talk about the so-called store concept. As a machine and plant manufacturer, how exactly can I sell my machine? How will a store concept perhaps also develop to some extent in the future? Or what also already exists today? Then we talk in general about the future of these IoT app stores. There we talk about topics like single sign on and the challenges in multi cloud solutions. It is about the lock-in process and access rights of cross-vendor applications. Then we talk about the added value for the end customer. Marco mentions a number of use cases. One use case is from the company ASM, which does electronic assembly, so to speak, and they have developed a solution called Factory Chat, which is effectively a new chat application for data-secure telecommunications. But information can also be stored here, such as manuals, maintenance plans, addresses, notes, service responsibilities and so on. Then we go into the use case of the company Dürrr, which is called DXQ Equipment Analytics and is a digital maintenance assistant to give workers who are standing at the painting robot, for example, machines indications about, for example, an impending drop in compressed air. Then there are other innovative solutions, such as the customer portal from Mayer & Cie. for the current status of machines and problems in the field with a corresponding jump to the Part-Shop. But then there are also customers like Schenck Rotec GmbH, which has brought innovative solutions to the market. Yesterday perhaps via USB, today digitally, and customers can analyze individual machine components as well as monitor the entire plant. But also solutions like from Karl Mayer for example, where textile samples are available in the cloud, so-called check-parts and scan-to-order Karl Mayer also describes itself on its website to simplify the procurement of spare parts and many other solutions. Then we’ll talk briefly about device management, i.e. machine plus cloud. How do I manage these in the field and then Marco gives us appropriate tips from the network and a future view.

And now I hope you enjoy this episode. With Marco Link, the CEO of Adamos GmbH.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Hello Marco. Welcome to the Industrial Use Case Podcast. I’m glad to have you with us today and how are you and the team doing at the moment?

Dr. Marco Link |

Yes, thank you very much! I am also very happy about the invitation, Madeleine. Yes, we are doing well so far. We are in the midst of the mechanical engineering industry and have noticed that our mechanical engineers are not doing so well at the moment. We’ve had quite a few impacts, short-time work and also declines in orders and so on.

I think that’s difficult right now. Nevertheless, we are happy to be in vogue right now with the topic of digitization, of course, and to really be able to help shape the future at the core right now.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

But that means you are now working from the home office? Or how is your team working right now?

Dr. Marco Link |

Exactly, we have now been working mostly from the home office for the last few weeks. We are relatively decentralized anyway, and generally have some employees who work from their home offices. However, we are now slowly getting employees back into the offices. That makes communication easier, doesn’t it?

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Yeah well. I already explained some points about you and Adamos in the Intro of the podcast. But I think it would be good if you could personally tell us some points about yourself, your current role at Adamos, and just some real-world issues.

Dr. Marco Link |

Yes alright, Marco Link, 39 years old. I’m a business information scientist by training, have been at the TU Darmstadt in the past and also at Software AG. I also have been in business development and IT management and via various lines of action also in these areas. I was always involved in industry, automotive also already the beginnings of integration in industry, participated in various projects at Software AG and via the activities there, in particular also with the companies Dürrr, Zeiss and so on. Then I was early bird, so to speak, in the project. At that time still Project Adamos and then also from the beginning employee number one and now CEO of Adamos GmbH.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Yes, exciting. For me, at the beginning, i would like to talk a little more about Adamos itself. I think many people from the IoT environment already know you, but for those who don’t, you are ultimately a strategic alliance for machine and plant engineering around the topics of Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things, but also a platform, platform as a service with a corresponding ecosystem, and so on. What exactly do you mean by this in practice? And what is your vision for this?

Dr. Marco Link |

So we are organized as Adamos as a joint venture, we currently have eight shareholders.

Recently, at the end of Q1, PwC, Germany was added, which is not a classic mechanical engineering company, but definitely a company that has a good view, a very good view on the topic of industry and also digitization. The other shareholders are mainly mechanical engineering companies such as Dürrr, DMG Mori, Zeiss, Karl Mayer, Engel and Software AG. Here, as you said, a strategic alliance has already been formed to provide more support for the topic of digitization in mechanical engineering. Of course, we do not only work with these 8 partners, but we have established a partner network, which now includes over 30 partners. Most of these are also smaller machine builders who want to join us and also benefit from the expertise and the strategies and concepts that we are pushing forward here accordingly. So all-in-all, we just about represent 10% of the German mechanical engineering sector at this point.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Okay. Maybe we can go back to the ecosystem issue later. I would be interested in the platform topic at the beginning. You hear of it everywhere at the moment. What does that mean for you exactly, or you are – at least that’s what you read on the Internet – I’ll say a platform-as-a-service and you also offer that as a service. What does platform mean to you? Do you have a definition there or for you guys as well?

Dr. Marco Link |

Well, platform is often a very inflationary term. So I think you can divide that into several parts with us. For once, we see ourselves as an alliance, also as a community. We also want to promote the topic of knowledge exchange and experience sharing accordingly. In the media or in the writings over the last few years, we have essentially always been mentioned in connection with the IoT platform. I’m going to be a bit flippant about how our positioning was at the beginning, so it was very technical. We have the IoT platform, which can be used to connect machines. You can map applications, different use cases on this platform, and I always say in retrospect, that was a bit like handing someone a hammer and asking them to build the house. But in some cases the competence and know-how is not there to build such a house. That means that this aspect of the community was enormously important for us, even at the beginning. We pushed this even further via various exchange formats, via partner calls. We have such an intranet, a partner portal, we have hackathons. So all of these things to basically really bring these 30 partners that we’re uniting here into exchange and best practice sharing, so to speak, so that each of them is faster in their own topics. So that’s one thing. That’s the community. The IoT platform I just mentioned is one of many IoT platforms that exist on the market, and from my point of view the definition is not really clear, because to describe it very simply, for me an IoT platform is essentially a toolbox that I can use to do certain things faster than without this toolbox, in which I program everything from scratch. This is the typical Path Layer topic, with some Path Layer elements already in place, i.e. services such as device management, which you can then more or less use on the box. Nevertheless, the fact that several companies are now mapping different use cases on one and the same IoT platform, whatever that is, does not mean that these use cases are 100% compatible with each other. That’s why I think it’s very good that you first ask about the term platform. So what we mean by IoT platform is essentially a toolbox for me to use. A path platform that I can use to build applications, using it and that’s basically also due to time and the experience that we’ve had over the last three years and the further development that we’ve done with Adamos at that point, we’ve opened up a lot more to that. We can certainly talk a little bit more about that later, that we have set up a so-called Adamos Hub concept, which, in theory, one would say, is more like a multi-sided platform, namely a platform that brings different stakeholders together, but independent of which technologies are used there, for example, within the framework of applications, so that these applications communicate with each other and so on and so forth. Platform as a toolbox, platform, as an element that minimizes transaction costs, so to speak. And by that we mean this Adamos Hub, which we’re happy to talk more about in a moment.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Exactly. I’ll include that as well. But one question in advance again. The subject of the marketplace sometimes comes up in connection with you guys. How does that play into it? Is that then in the area of Software-as-a-Service, that machine builders can perhaps also market their solutions to some extent, or how exactly do you classify it?

Dr. Marco Link |

Absolutely, on this concept, Adamos Hub, what I just explained, we actually have two components. For once, it has the Adamos Hub. This is the integration component, so to speak, which supplies different applications with data via a central point. And on the other side we have the so-called Adamos Store. That’s where real marketplaces will come to life in the future. And we see ourselves as Adamos, as an “enabler” for mechanical engineering at this point, so that we also make it very easy for the machine manufacturers and also the ecosystems around these machine manufacturers to get their digital solutions to the end customer in the future. And that’s exactly the marketplace aspect you mentioned, where we believe that various marketplaces will develop in the future with our support, whether it’s brands or company-specific marketplaces or even industry-specific marketplaces.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Okay, if I am a machine and plant manufacturer and have already built my applications on infrastructure XY, for example, are there any approaches as to how machine manufacturers could place this solution there or do you already have initial practical examples of what something like this could look like?

Dr. Marco Link |

Absolutely. That’s exactly the concept, because we’ve noticed our experience with offering a platform or an IoT platform is that the world out there is very heterogeneous. This is not only across companies, but also partly within companies I have issues like competencies, skills in certain technologies, certain preferences of different teams that maybe like to build something on Microsoft or on Amazon or whatever. And this heterogeneity, is also used to generate value, because somewhat it is always about optimizing production, increasing transparency, increasing availability, and so on. And in the end, we said, it doesn’t really matter which technology is used for which applications. But the important thing is that the end customer, who should also notice the added value afterwards, receives a certain consistency. And those are simple issues to start with, like I have a common lock-in mechanism, so I’m “on” all the time where as a customer, let’s take a potential customer of Engel and DMG, these are machines that are often also next to each other in production, where as a customer, if I’m dealing with these machines in different process steps, I can move from the one application that might come in DMG to an application that might come from Engel. The applications may look different, have a different branding and so on, but that alone saves the login process and all the issues associated with access rights and so on, which I’ve already done away with accordingly. And this integration, there we have different levels of compatibility. We are also currently in a private beta phase with all our partners. We will launch this Hub & Store concept at the end of the year and are now in the private beta phase and are in the process of converting numerous existing applications, also built on completely different platforms, accordingly.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Okay. I think the approach of bringing together demand drivers and competencies & skills, as you just said, is a very exciting approach that you are pursuing. What business model approaches do you see from the mechanical and plant engineering sector when it comes to such applications? Do you perhaps have an example, a use case, that you can give us from this area?

Dr. Marco Link |

Yes, I think you first have to understand that some of the business models that are always talked about are very far away, because they require a lot of groundwork. If, for example, you think about machine-as-a-service or subscription models in terms of the quantity of features, there are a whole host of requirements that have to be met before I can even enter into such a business model. And that is exactly the strength of the community, that we work together and create these foundations together, in order to then also be able to penetrate these entire topics. Ultimately, we see, in part, it also starts relatively simple. So, for example, we also have ASM as a shareholder with us. They make electronics assembly equipment like this. And they said to themselves, how do I actually manage to create acceptance on the shop floor for such digital solutions in the first step and have thought completely freely and have built something that they then call Factory Chat. This is a communication medium for the shop floor, so to speak, where different workers can exchange information about machines, various service cases and so on in a kind of chat or forum; very, very innovatively designed, in order to initially create acceptance for this new medium or for a screen on the shop floor. We’re operating in a somewhat different world, where not everyone is running around with a tablet, has an e-mail address, and can do easy workflow management. So that’s an approach where you say, you try to go in with as few hurdles as possible, no machines have to be connected at the beginning, and then you grow, so to speak, with the acceptance and understanding of the customer, you continue to improve this solution and connect machines and so on and so forth.



Use Case 1 | ASM – “Factory Chat” – Time savings through transparency of maintenance information

Dr. Marco Link |

In addition, of course, classic cases that have now also been implemented on the IoT platform, for example. In cooperation project, for example, the topic is what the company Dürr has done for the automotive segment, they call it texture analytics is basically  a streaming application that is installed directly on the shop floor at the various painting robots, which are always such stations, i.e. Dürr always builds painting robots that are painted to match the cars. There are often six or eight robots placed at a station and carrying out this painting process. And here, this edge component of this IoT platform records the data from the robots in real time and, on the basis of a wide variety of patterns, provides the worker on site with appropriate information as to whether there are any compressed air problems or defects, which can ultimately lead to the paint not being as it should be. This is also a topic that Dürr has built up in the context of Adamos together with Software AG and which is, due to the community, then also readopted by other partners, where they say we do not have the case, but with us the case is quite similar, so that a large part of the development can then also be reused there accordingly.

💡Use Case 2 | Dürr (including painting robots) “DXQ Equipment Analytics” | Troubleshoot, #Maintenance work support, ensure product quality



Use Case 2 | DÜRR DXQ Equipment Analytics

“Avoiding quality losses in the painting process through live monitoring”.
Read the expert article on “DXQ Equipment Analytics” now

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Well, okay. Super exciting. How exactly did you get involved in the project, i.e. Dürr as a member, shareholder, so what does such a process with the customer look like? So, for example, if now someone inquires who has a similar or maybe a different problem or the logic is the same. How exactly do you go about this with the customer?

Dr. Marco Link |

Good. We, as Adamos, naturally take on a mediating role at this point, namely an information distributor role at this point. Of course, we see requirements that exist and can then match applications or solutions that we’ve seen somewhere else and bring people together accordingly. And it has to be said that the partners are also working very, very closely together here. The shareholders also work very closely together. The partners also work very closely together, so this is already a very close cooperation. We also sometimes say very familiar with each other. Great trust, which is also just, I mean it’s also not self-evident that these companies in this community also open the doors and say look, this is what we want to do for the next three years. These are our strategies and so on. And I think that’s what sets us apart here, and that’s ultimately how the project partners are found. So maybe one more example as well. As Adamos, we have built a generic OEE application ourselves and done that in cooperation with 4, 5 of our partner companies by then doing joint sprint reviews, taking the requirements together at the beginning and coming up with a product that can then be used by several for their end customers accordingly. So ultimately everything in terms of time-to-market for the machine builder at that point and thus added value for the end customer.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Yes, exciting. And with this OEE app, that is also transferable to several, let’s say, companies, because it is also complex or a more complex topic, infrastructure on site or per process perhaps. So 4 or 5 partners contributed their cases and you developed a product that can be applied to other similar companies in a scalable way? Did I understand that correctly?

Dr. Marco Link |

Exactly, exactly the goal is also, in the end, as I said earlier about this hub, to generate more and more use cases that also have a horizontal character. After all, the end customer is not usually interested in the individual OEE of a single machine, but rather in his production line. And that’s where we get to the point, you mentioned it earlier – business models. How to do it? And that is certainly not easy, because you also have different, yes, how should I say, interests of the individual groups here. And that’s something where we’re slowly moving forward, where we’re developing concepts. How can you still manage to have scalable cooperation between these partners, for example in the context of an application like this, even later during the rollout? Perhaps also again an example from this general topic. A major challenge for special component manufacturers is that they often have no contact at all with their customers or with those who use their components in the machines, because it always goes through the machine manufacturers who install these components. Now, of course, we have the component manufacturers who also build applications and generate added value, some of which are then interesting for higher-level applications of the machine manufacturers, but some of which are also directly interesting for the end customers. And with this hub, I mean, that’s still a bit of the future, because that’s not the first step that we’re taking there, but with this hub we’re going to create a central point for this data exchange to then also take place between component manufacturers, machine manufacturers in the direction of the end customers.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Hmmm. Now I have two questions, one about your hub and the other about multi-cloud and the complexity and what you just said, that’s exactly the case, I now have a component manufacturer, I have someone who builds the machine or plant himself and various other users. Is there already a solution approach or have you found an approach in this beta version how to somehow solve or address this multi-cloud issue and perhaps also data interfaces, which is an insanely complex topic?

Dr. Marco Link |

So on the subject of multi-cloud, our approach is as I just said, that all digital solutions applications are ultimately held completely responsible by whoever offers them. What we don’t do is we do any now in this hub context on the IoT platform there we also do operation and so on, but in the hub context it’s like, from here on, the entire operation for this application is the responsibility of the application manufacturer. And if he chooses platform A, B or C, then he is also responsible for ensuring that the corresponding application runs on these platforms at the contractually agreed SLA (service level). In principle, you then have to conclude certain agreements. If, for example, I have three applications for a process that run on three different technologies, then these providers must of course not only apply the technology, but must also ensure that certain availabilities are given and that a certain level of support is also provided. These are such prerequisites that we also give in order to then ultimately also bring these applications into this ecosystem, which we also prescribe. And then it’s like these applications can have different levels of compatibility. And what you’re saying, it gets very complex very quickly. However, we said that we wanted to keep the complexity low in the first step and not start directly with the most difficult, as often happens, but we have now decided, as already mentioned, log-in with Adamos, single sign-on compatibility to applications in the second level, the whole topic centrally stored in machine master data, i.e. the customer defines his machine park at the end, i.e. the machine operator defines which hundred machines are in their halls, in which time, in which lines and so on. And this data can then be used by the various applications if the customer allows it, and there is also a corresponding rights management system so that the customer can also make certain data available to certain applications. The next level is, for example, the whole topic of condition monitoring, where I simply get information about the status of the machine and everything that goes beyond these levels, we are still in the process of building on existing standards. But we also want to make it a bit dynamic. We don’t want to say we’re just going to take a standard and implement it and hope that it works. We want to build this very dynamically, that the data exchange between applications comes with a clever model. But that, as I said, is still a bit way off in the future. However, we believe that we are already generating enormous added value with the other topics.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Hm. Again, a quick question for those who don’t know the subject in depth. Could you explain the term single-sign-on again?

Dr. Marco Link |

Well, the single sign-on is ultimately like from Office world, I think we all know that. We don’t have any problem with that when I jump from Excel to Outlook. Then I am always logged in as Marco Link. The applications that are currently on the shop floors of this world sometimes do not even have a log-in mechanism, and the applications that are currently offered by various manufacturers on their own platforms always provide the option that the users who use these applications must always be created accordingly. So you have a maintenance application, for example, and I have to say that 15 people in my company work with it. I have to create them, invite them and then they can work with this application. But if I now assume, and this is our hypothesis, that the world is developing more and more in the direction of the cloud and the applications are becoming more and more data applications, then I would like to jump from one application to the other and would then also like to be logged in there immediately. And as I said, for us it goes without saying that in many places it is a challenge for the machine operators who have different manufacturers behind them, and it is not only the manufacturers but also other software providers who bring in different elements or software here.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Okay. One question I had earlier about the Adamos Hub. Do you already have a kind of logic or somehow filter criteria, however, how to cluster these individual, I say topics. Because there are so many different use cases on the Internet and everywhere, different stores that open up at one point or another. Have you already developed a kind of logic or perhaps an approach?

Dr. Marco Link |

All right, we see ourselves here classically as enablers. We are not saying that we want to set up the store now, or that this is the only one, but we want to “enable” our machine builders to sell their applications. And in these new subscription models and so on, selling is not at all as you know it, but there I have perhaps dynamically some changes during the month, there are sometimes a few machines more or less or I have two users less and so on. And mapping that is something we do with the store. That is the aspect where the machine builder, I say, also has a great advantage, we offer this to them, but we also give them the opportunity to cluster the whole thing. And that is now my answer to your question. Machine builder A will put together a portfolio of what is interesting for its customers and will also market this portfolio accordingly to its customers. Of course, it may be that he also sets up subcategories again, that he says that these are the machine tool-related topics, and the others are more the planning topics, so that they are also structured according to the value chain. That’s where we see it happening more often now. But we leave that to the machine manufacturer, so to speak, who can manage his own portfolio. The second thing, which I also mentioned briefly earlier, is that this is also seen in various segments, in industry-specific marketplaces, where you say, well, different players who are on the move around the machine anyway come together, so it makes more sense if you also include the entire stakeholders there and set up the whole thing industry-specifically. These are the approaches that can be used to manage the portfolios in a decentralized manner, and the structuring that you mentioned also takes place accordingly.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Right. I ask myself now, for example, if I am a mechanical engineer who perhaps has a very special system and wants to sell it to his customer with a digital service or an app, then it has to be classified somewhere and be findable for his customers. I’m imagining that it’s complex, but there are certainly standardized approaches, and that’s why I think this hub idea or store idea is very appropriate.

Dr. Marco Link |

The nice thing now, is going 2 steps further. The customer has already mapped its machinery and has a few applications. If he is also in the store then he will of course in the future or the store knows how the machine park is looking. Then, of course, you can also imagine compatibility matches and so on in the future to drive the topic forward. But if the listeners think, okay, now we’re all going to take off, I just want to come back down to earth a little bit. Many of the applications are not actually SaaS applications at the moment, we are starting very early with the topic, but we believe that it is also important for application developments that are just starting now to be able to specify the framework conditions, so to speak, and we really invite everyone here to support this concept. So we also try to be as open as possible, so that, as I said, in the end, the benefits can be improved accordingly with the machine operators.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Have you identified concrete added value within the network, for example, how a machine builder, for example from the special machine construction sector, can offer its end customer concrete added value, i.e. in the sense of I sell the machine with a digital service and give the customer process know-how as a machine builder and specific, perhaps also process steps within this machine or within the machine line? Have you already developed approaches in your community as to what concrete added values are then for this end customer?

Dr. Marco Link |

Well. We have, for example, Mayer & Cie. who make circular knitting machines, i.e. in the textile sector, who have ultimately built a kind of customer portal on the IoT platform, i.e. now we are no longer with Hub, but with the platform, in order to always give their customers the current status of the machines and here on the basis of relatively simple and they have also built this relatively quickly. I think that was also quite good from the entire project support, where they can also show their customers relatively quickly that there are various problems and that is not sophisticated prediction or anything else, but there are problems where you simply have a jump to the spare part store and so on. The processes on the customer side are greatly simplified in that case. Something similar was made by SCHENCK RoTec GmbH. They make balancing machines, which are then such topics, where you had to go and get the data, which such a machine generates, quasi yesterday still via USB stick at the machine. These are the first small topics where you can say that if you start networking now, then you can of course also improve the processes and the throughputs here, or the example of Karl Mayer, which launched a machine at the beginning of the year, they make these knitting machines, which is this special fabric that is processed in the functional underwear, where the patterns are brought from a cloud application directly to the machine and the machine actually only works via cloud connection. These are now, of course, the first steps at the point.

💡Use Case 3 | Schenck RoTec GmbH (balancing machines) “SmartCockpit” | Production and quality KPIs as well as availability and errors/machine

💡Use Case 4 | KM.ON by KARL MAYER “k.innovation” | Loading textile machine with patterns from the cloud for process optimization


Use Case 4 | KM.ON – “k.innovativ”

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

What are the issues that come up beyond that in the process of finding a solution? So what content issues are these companies dealing with then? Do you have an example?

Dr. Marco Link |

Well, that is of course a close exchange with customers, where processes can be improved and the whole thing then supplemented with the work in the community. It can then deal with the whole issue of device management, which then plays a role when I say, okay, I can only get this machine with cloud access, then I also have to somehow manage this machine from the cloud and manage the whole thing, so of course the customer requirement comes in the area of the technology and we have provided our puzzle pieces accordingly.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

And the approach with you in the hub is then so to speak also to take up that and perhaps also to consider, that can now also be used as a solution for other customers who perhaps have a similar problem, perhaps sell or at least share the approach, the idea, in the network or get input back elsewhere?

Dr. Marco Link |

So at this point I think it’s quite specific, I think you’d be lying now if you said you could somehow push it 1:1 somewhere else, certainly the concept is interesting. I think it’s more the generic topics that you say you have, for example, something like OEE, which I just mentioned, or production planning systems, yes, with such generic parts, so it’s already about the fact that you get into the topic of reusability faster.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Now we had already spoken briefly earlier on the subject of standards. Which are still relevant in the environment? I mean you mentioned the rights management issue and also the single sign-on issue. Are these topics that are of concern to mechanical engineers, or are there other topics or standards that come up in this context?

Dr. Marco Link |

Well, of course we always have the standardization problem when it comes to connecting machines and then using this data generically for different applications. In your last podcast, you had the Cybus people on board here, and they have already reported on this topic and are also involved in the IoT committees, such as the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance. Of course, we also have these challenges and we also try to build on various standards, so we have seen that, for example, for the master data accordingly that we have tried to reuse existing standards there. Most of the time, a standard represents a theoretical element that has to be implemented in some way, and then there is the question of whether everyone implements it in the same way or not, and we have now tried to go our own way in our community and come to a common denominator. That was already very good. We then set up a Symantec workgroup on the subject of machine master data, where we ultimately also completed the application. The machine book is ultimately a kind of contact book that can be used by everyone, and the data that comes out of it can then also be used in the applications in a standardized way. And what’s underneath can be different Euromaps or different standards, where you say you’ve picked out the topics or the related fields.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Okay. Exciting. If I now go into more detail about the business doings as a machine and plant manufacturer. Do you have any real-world tips that you see from your community where you say, maybe I should pay attention to this when I’m building my Industrial IoT solution now? Maybe I already have an app or maybe I’m launching one, depending on what status I’m in? Do you have any practical tips?

Dr. Marco Link |

Yeah, so the biggest tip is don’t procrastinate. I think a lot of experiences have to be made and my impression is partly that you are held up for a very long time with the platform decisions, evaluation and so on, so don’t hesitate and try new business models or to think, where is my business in 5 years, how can digitalization support the whole issue. I think that’s the first thing to do, to gain experience or to join communities like ours, in order to benefit from the experience of others.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Do you see any approaches in your network of mechanical engineers for, I’ll say how I get there in everyday business to produce agile ideas at all? That is, so to speak, far away from the core business, which is what I usually do. Do you see any ideas there with your network that have worked well?

Dr. Marco Link |

So the biggest challenge I see is besides what I just said platform issues, evaluation, waiting a long time to launch, I think that’s one thing, but the biggest challenge I see is that a lot of initiatives come from digital areas or heavily technology driven areas. And the challenge is really to get the people who know the customer well, who also see in business models or also the possibilities of digitization, to get them on board. So something like, maybe our own production managers or service managers, they don’t just see a digital solution as an additional revenue stream, but maybe it’s the tip of the iceberg of a business model that we’re implementing to maybe optimize our service processes. So I think this farsightedness is important, and this may also be a cultural question: How do I manage to bring together people who have actually had experience in these areas for 20 or 30 years, and how do I manage to combine their knowledge with these new possibilities in order to generate the right solutions from them? Because these issues, are set up everywhere with these digital startups and especially with larger companies. I think it’s a good thing that something like this is being done. However, you have to be a bit careful to what extent they also have the DNA of the company in them. Because when they then maybe, come into the company and want to understand how the processes are running not too external to be able to grasp the processes.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Perhaps in the future we will also have new professional fields, on the one hand those who know the processes internally, and on the other hand perhaps also the product in order to work together with the corresponding experts there or similar. I mean brainstorming, maybe it’s going in the direction that maybe you don’t have to set up your own limited liability company or something like that, especially for smaller companies, to drive digital issues like that. Maybe it’s enough to have someone who takes care of the issues and gets the appropriate support from internally.

Dr. Marco Link |

Exactly. After all, these are always interface topics: classically, like business informatics, or even today, it’s still about the intermediary role between the worlds, and it’s the same here. Some have the technical know-how, the process knowledge, they know how the customers work and what the customers have in mind, and on the other hand, there is the possibility to optimally span this bridge. Ultimately, that’s where the success factor lies.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

It’s almost a kind of matrix organization or whatever you call it in terms of bringing together the various initiatives and ideas from the individual departments. Exciting.

Yes, on the subject of the future, what do you think is going to happen in the next 5 years?

Where do you think it will go?

Dr. Marco Link |

Well, I think the cloud will become even more important from a technological point of view. We are seeing more and more hybrid structures emerging, so I think the hybrid will be around for a long time, and it makes a lot of sense in terms of costs, but with 5G and the scalability that a cloud provides, I see a very clear path in this direction. Now, during Corona, we have also seen that you can set up a Microsoft Teams company, no problem at all, scalable without end. And I believe that this flexibility will be even more necessary in the future, and I also believe that the entire mechanical engineering sector will become much more flexible, where you can perhaps also use mechanisms that are known today in the IT world, where you say, okay, I’m going to throw an order into a plant somewhere, I think that’s where it’s really going, but we still have to do a lot of preparatory work so that it really works across the board, and I see a relatively big challenge in that, because it’s a very big change and different players are coming in. There will be potential changes in power relations and so on. And I’m a little bit afraid, I’d say, that the will to cooperate, which let’s say is definitely there in our community, could also be improved beyond our community, and somewhere we also have to look at it from an economic point of view, I’m a little afraid that we’re getting too caught up in the nitty-gritty, because everyone wants to be a little bit themselves and openness can still be expanded in some places, and that we’re blocking something for the future. I hope not, but we are also an alliance that tries to counteract that on the whole.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

I was about to say that is exactly the approach to use networks like yours. Particularly in mechanical and plant engineering, you can access the know-how and learn from mistakes and also expand the whole thing in a scalable way in the future. Yes. Exciting.

Dr. Marco Link |

Yes.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Yes to the end. Contacting you. Through Adamos.com or what is the best way to find you?

Dr. Marco Link |

Adamos.com, LinkedIn, google for Adamos or Marco Link. This is relatively simple.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Yes, I will link that again accordingly as well. We have now also touched on some use cases. I think if there are any questions, you can be contacted directly. I’ll link your LinkedIn profile and the website and all the use cases for that. This is certainly very exciting for some listeners. Thank you for your time and also that our listeners now understand what the Adamos Hub is and how you work in the network, how the way to you is, what standards and topics you work on. Exactly. I was very happy that you were there today. Thanks also for your time and enjoy the rest of the week.

Dr. Marco Link |

Madeleine, thank you very much. I was very happy about the invitation and would be happy to get contact requests from the community as well. We are an open network and are looking forward to pushing all these topics further.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Very nice. All clear. Thank you very much. See you then.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit |

Hello back. I hope you enjoyed this episode and were able to take away some value-added content for yourself. If so, feel free to become a follower of the podcast or follow me directly on LinkedIn and you’ll be up to date for new episodes. News and trends around the topic of Industrial IoT. All info about the podcast can be found at iotusecase.com. Quite easy to write with contact persons of the individual experts and the different demand drivers of the individual use cases, but also the corresponding implementation partners for this and that assigned to individual IoT categories. For questions about specific IoT projects or feedback, feel free to contact me directly on LinkedIn or use the contact form at iotusecase.com. There is one more thing I would like to mention briefly. If you know an expert for the next episodes or would like to hear about a particular topic, feel free to write to me on LinkedIn or via the contact form on the website and we’ll do everything we can to ensure that this interview partner or topic is also included in the next episodes. Thank you and as usual until the next episode next Wednesday. Your host Madeleine Mickeleit.


Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit

Host & General Manager
IoT Use Case Podcast