Advances in technology have always resulted from people combining existing concepts and components and thereby creating something new.
This is as true in the modern era as it was when we first hit one stone with another in order to make one stone slightly sharper.
It’s easy to lose sight of this fundamental truth at a time when individual technological innovations have the power to change entire societies almost overnight, as we have seen repeatedly in recent years.
The smartphone revolution exemplifies the disruptive power of technological innovation. Ten years on from the launch of the original iPhone, its introduction to the market is regarded as one of the seminal events in the history of mobile technology.
But what was so disruptive about it? In many important ways it was just like almost any other phone of its era, only with touchscreen technology rather than buttons.
As ever, the truly disruptive element in smartphone technology was the innovative way that the devices combined existing technologies, and it’s difficult to overstate just how disruptive the combination of telephone and personal computer turned out to be.
Some estimate that the global app market alone is worth £1tn per year, which isn’t bad for an industry that’s only been around for a decade. This reveals a second truth: the party responsible for developing a technology can have the biggest impact by freely sharing its innovation and expertise with others.
These two truths are central to the thinking behind our customer centre in the tech region of Karlsruhe, Germany.
Yes, we can show you an array of our products there, but to be honest, it’s simply not what we want to talk about.
What we want to do, and what we’ve been doing with many of the industrial household names who have come to visit us, is to understand how our customers are using the existing technologies for their specific needs on their specific journey to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
In some cases, we’ve used the centre as a digitalisation clinic – looking at what has worked and what hasn’t, or what is blocking an IIoT project.
Now, the best use of the space, both in terms of the expertise we’ve assembled onsite and the feedback we’ve received from some of the biggest industrial companies in the world who have visited, are the workshops.
The workshops bring together, sometimes for the first time, the full range of stakeholders in the IIoT future of a company. This is where true innovation is unleashed.
Senior management from across an organisation can get face to face with their information and operational technologists, and work with them to discover what kind of future they want to build for their organisation.
Our expertise in helping companies realise their IIoT potential adds invaluable structure and insight to the workshops, which can then be used to help determine the future of the entire enterprise. The true innovations of the IIoT can be conveyed to stakeholders throughout the business from an information, technology, skills, and workforce perspective.
So – we don’t really talk about products. We use technology to illustrate and enable the business, engineering or scientific insights, in pragmatic and actionable manner.
We define scalable solutions, innovative ideas, and services. We talk about where to start and how to start – our customer centre is not about showing off our products, it’s about our customers.
At a stretch, you might even think about our Karlsruhe customer centre as a big smartphone. It contains some fantastic technology of course – but most importantly, it is a place for our customers to develop their own apps – to develop their own IIoT, and to develop the future of The Connected Enterprise for their own businesses.
If you’d like to find our more or to book your company in for a full workshop, I’d love to hear from you.