Standards are similar toothbrushes. Everyone need one, but nobody wants to somebody else standard. CAD and PLM solutions are supporting variety of standards, but the situation is far from ideal. In 2015 you can exchange design and engineering information, but most of the data exchange is focusing on design data and import/export of files in CAD systems. Although two standard such as STEP and PLCS use is proliferating, the business case to support industry standards by vendors aren’t obvious.
At the same time, our lives are getting more connected these days. Can you imagine your day without Google searches, Maps and many other online services that made our life different for the last decade. A word of manufacturers is changing as well and online presence is a significant part of that. The information about products lives online and for many manufacturing companies it is a critical element of business model and operation.
Search Engine Land article – 5 Essential Search Trends That Will Impact Online Revenue In 2016 speaks about importance of structured data for the success of online business. More specifically, it speaks about the role of standard such schema.org to create structured data about products online:
On a technical side, to anticipate this development, brands will need to focus on structured data. Structured data markup, such as that found on schema.org, helps websites communicate with search engines by precisely describing what is on the page rather than leaving it up to the spiders to interpret. This helps search engines display the website more accurately.
In the past, missing or inaccurate structured data markup could usually pass by unnoticed or with a minimal impact on brand performance. As the search engines become more intelligent, however, they are likely to also become more dependent upon this extra data — failure to do it correctly will have a greater impact on site success.
IoT is another significant trend, which is pretending to change the way products are communicating in a real life. IoT technologies supposed to connect products in a virtual life with physical products. For the last year, PLM vendors made few visible expansions related to the future of IoT in manufacturing.
My attention was caught by TechCrunch article – What will be IoT when it grows up. The element of standards will play a significant role in the future development of open IoT services. Here is an interesting passage, which can give you an idea about IoT and standards:
In 2016, a certifying authority will begin to form so that some level of trust can be converted and conveyed to boost consumer confidence as they “hire” new IoT devices in their lives. This authority will most likely employ an easy-to-understand confidence badge certifying that devices comply with a minimum level of security and data protection.
I also think that a dominant schema will become evident next year, which will serve as the suggested “dictionary,” and that much of the industry will choose to follow it. This schema will be treated as open source, so individuals and companies around the world can participate in its evolution.
You ask how is it connected to product lifecycle? Here is the thing… Both examples made me think about forming of “dictionary” standards that can help manufacturing companies to communicate. Both IoT and online commerce can create a potential impact on the way manufacturing companies communicate online. Physical products life can be captured using IoT technologies and sensors. At the same time, online presence is reflecting sales, marketing and related manufacturing and commerce activities.
What is my conclusion? My hunch we are going to see an impact of online content discovery and IoT technologies on forming business dictionary and standards for manufacturing industry. Not all domains and verticals will be impacted immediately, but some industries such as consumer goods, fashion, retail, high-tech and electronic, automotive can come as a first cohort of manufacturing companies trying to triangulate between virtual product definition, online presence and physical product traction. Just my thoughts….
Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing a digital network-based platform that manages product data and connects manufacturers, construction companies, and their supply chain networks. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.