Platform and smart factory. Innovation looks towards services.
Nowadays, when talking about innovation, one increasingly refers to new procedures for providing services, a compartment ever less distinct economically speaking from true and proper production and ever more an integral part of production and distribution activities.
Manufacturers must offer a great variety of both pre-sale and post-sale services that go to play an important part in drawing up an offer. Certainly, it is strategic to understand which service should be considered at the sale stage, but how these services will be provided is an issue of even greater importance. If the manufacturer put itself in the customer’s place it would realize just how far the latter could be facilitated by exploitation environments built with a holistic logic, that is to say built with simple integrated languages, as far as to render the various services nodes in a network of solutions easily accessible and operated in real time. In this sense the platform system, especially cloud, offers the possibility to study the architecture of what is needed and create various portals of access within a system of services. Technological infrastructures become the territory where various maps of solutions in support of differing needs to relate with the users, can be created. Like any map helping us to find the right direction there must be a shared, coordinated code; what is also required is the possibility to easily combine the services and manage interactions between various players in the process, with agility. What is more, today with IoT technology the product can play an active part in the flow of information and relations destined to improve the consumption experience. Industry 4.0 solutions enable forecast analysis, for example on how the product itself works or on the estimated consumption flow, facilitating the organization, effectiveness and performance of services under supply. The “lower the costs greater the service” equation can only be achieved by reducing the costs induced by “misunderstanding” the languages and codes used for interaction in an environment. The platform provides a complete series of instruments enabling the various players in the utilization experience to communicate. In this way, if platforms were once directed towards developing in-house teamwork in an organization, today continual, horizontal (i.e. no longer one towards many) collaboration involves the user in an increasingly active way in the service system, making them feel even more central in the development of a product.