It's important to start the discussion with the business outcomes and see how various technologies work together to enable them. High-tech/industrial manufacturing sector has a potential to better solve some of the issues known for a while. Sensors/data etc. are of course not new to manufacturers. They not only improve the productivity/cost base, but more importantly provide a way to get closer to the customers. Here's how:

Improving Customer Experience

- Service Monitoring : Monitoring connected products at a customer site to provide proactive service, automated firmware updates, and consumption-based billing (20.4B connected products will exist by 2020)

- Product Insights: Leveraging product usage data from sensors to identify potential quality issues, new product ideas, and enhancements to existing products (30% of global 2,000 companies will use data from digital twins of IoT connected assets by 2020)

- Demand Sensing: Increasing forecast accuracy with intelligent segmentation and demand sending using downstream data (20-50% reduction in forecasting errors is feasible with machine learning. Lost sales due to inadequate supply can be reduced by up to 65%)

Cost Base / Productivity

- Preemptive Maintenance: Predicting equipment maintenance problems to maintain service levels / operations and improve manufacturing processes (38% increase in manufacturer's adoption of machine learning/analytics for predictive maintenance is predicted over the next five years)

- Intelligent Manufacturing: Discovering patterns to predict yield and product defects early in the manufacturing cycle, and tracing products to analyse impacts (30% improvement in semiconductor yields by reducing scrap rates and optimising fab operations is achievable with machine learning)

- Production Monitoring: Monitoring all aspects of connected equipment on factory floor to optimisie manufacturing performance, predict issues, minimise maintenance (67% of industrial manufacturers have an ongoing smart factory initiative)

- IP Management: Providing a secure IP registry to increase efficiency of patent process ($100B in IP losses were incurred when mainstream products were 'stolen' by thieves using 3D printers)


- Compliance Management: Confirming product compliance and checking for products from embargoes and/or conflict zones (90% of companies submitting conflict minerals are not able to ensure compliance)

- Product Traceability: Tracking product genealogy, production process assurance, and identifying counterfeit products across the value chain (84% of high-tech companies outsourced some portion of their supply chain)

The key challenges to overcome would be - understanding the complete customer life cycle, data analytics, building trust amongst selected parties and ensuring the underlying enterprise systems are always up-to-date.