Subcontracting Trade Fair

Those who share data win the next industry Olympics

Column  25.05.2020

Rio Olympics were held in 2016. What was the industry way of thinking like back then? Let’s look at Jussi Puura’s statement at the time. “The demo that we received from DemoBooster works as a great boost for our larger development project,” said Puura, Sandvik’s mining technologies specialist. He had just recently, in December 2016, with his colleagues opened his company data on DIMECC’s DemoBooster® day in Tampere and its preliminary assignment for several different companies. Many DemoBooster participants suggested how the data could be used to make a demo for Sandvik, and one company was selected to do that.

In the spring of 2016, Ilari Kallio from Wärtsilä was elected the CTO of the Year in Finland. He said in his thank-you speech that public innovation funding should be targeted at Public-Private Partnerships, where companies lead applied research and development projects by sharing data and involving universities and research institutes in collaboration. Since then, Kallio has served as Chairman of the Board of our company for three years, investing in the launch of new initiatives related to industrial data sharing, such as the Intelligent Industry ecosystem, the Machine Learning Academy, and the Industrial Data Excellence program.

Indeed, a growing portion of new openings and business growth in the manufacturing industry today comes from data, its collection, analysis, and utilization, both on its own and by sharing it in some form with outsiders. As early as 2015, IDC Manufacturing Insight calculated that by 2019, 75% of the manufacturing industry value chains in Europe and Asia will shift to digitally connected processes, with increased productivity and reduced average response times of 15% both. In the same year, Boston Consulting Group and PWC forecast that digital connectivity of products and services would generate 2-3% additional revenue compared to conventional sales. In Finland this would mean 3 billion and at EU level up to 130 billion euros a year! However, most of this potential was almost completely untapped. In an industry comparison in 2016, McKinsey found that the manufacturing industry is among the best in the world in producing data but in its utilization it is losing out to everyone else but the construction industry and public sector.

Juha Pankakoski, Chief Technology Officer of Konecranes, took over the role of Chairman in the Intelligent Industry ecosystem launched in 2017. A dozen of industrial companies have set an objective to create an industrial data operator by the end of 2020. The aim is not only to share data, but also to give everyone involved in sharing it new ideas, raw material for utilizing machine learning methods and physically improving their existing products through digitalisation. Data is not shared for fun, new services are being created all the time. We see these on our smartphones. Weber’s barbecues can already be connected to the web and you can tell the neighbour what temperature your steak is at. This is probably just for fun, but knowing how much barbecues are heating up somewhere can be a huge business opportunity for the energy and food industries in the fight against climate change.

In 2018, we launched an SSAB initiated smart steel project in Sweden with Siemens, Sandvik, and other collaboration partners. It creates a digital identity and new business for steel with the theme “What would steel say if it could speak”. The project would not even be possible if the idea of opening up data to others were not commonplace. Work begins with value chains, but expands rapidly in business ecosystems. The harshest statement I have heard so far came from DIMECC Fellow Sauli Eloranta from Rolls-Royce, elected the CTO of the Year 2019, who, as Chairman of the One Sea ecosystem, emphasized the “brutally” open need required by autonomous maritime traffic for sharing of information between different parties and even competitors. The European Commission is currently preparing a European consortium and common guidelines for the creation of industrial data sharing platforms. It is great to be involved in this work.

And: Sandvik’s Jani Vilenius was elected the CTO of the Year 2020. Coincidence? The Tokyo Games have been postponed this year, but those who share data win the next industry Olympics. Congratulations in advance!

Harri Kulmala



The author is one of the Theme Partners of the Event.