IOT digital transformation – manufacturing

IOT digital transformation – Manufacturing

Dr. Setrag Khoshafian,

When it comes to cyber-physical digital transformation, the manufacturing industry is undergoing enormous digital transition and change.

The impact of IoT on industrial ecosystems has paved the way of robust physical-cyber connectivity, often called the “fourth industrial revolution”. This new phase of IoT in industry is also known as the "Industrial" Internet of Things (IIoT). The connected ecosystem encompasses physically connected assets, including those both on the manufacturing shop floor and manufactured connected devices, such as connected cars or appliances.

IoT/IIoT digital transformation of manufacturing is significant. In his book, “Building the Internet of Things,” Maciej Kranz, Cisco’s VP of Strategic Innovation says, “The Internet of Things will significantly impact and change how global companies conduct business. IoT technologies will transform the manufacturing environment; it will change more in the next 10 years than it has in the past 50 years. Cisco estimates there is $3.9 trillion of value in manufacturing alone for IoT, one of the largest sectors to benefit from this technology.”

Pega’s Adaptive Digital Factory delivers a comprehensive perspective of the digital disruption in manufacturing. The IoT/IIoT digital transformation in manufacturing is providing robust communication, understanding, and even opportunities for innovation involving the manufacturer and consumer. This is manifested in a new era of connected asset maintenance, which we’ve called Digital Prescriptive Maintenance.

Building a Digital Prescriptive Maintenance Strategy

Traditional maintenance tends to be reactive, meaning we respond to failures in equipment or devices after the fact. The next maintenance optimization option is “preventive maintenance.” This empowers operators to carry out continuous maintenance, often based on the recommendations of the manufacturers. Beyond preventive and leveraging analytics, “predictive maintenance” discovers potential options for the future maintenance of the asset.

“Prescriptive maintenance” takes maintenance further and prescribes exactly what needs to be done, by whom and when, leveraging an end-to-end digitized dynamic case. That’s why we call it Digital Prescriptive Maintenance. This implies the digitization and automation of the prescribed task to resolve the dynamic maintenance case. The real value of IoT for maintenance is really achieved in the automation and action of prescriptive maintenance. With prescriptive maintenance, devices, in collaboration with operators, are proactive participants in their own maintenance. Some of the capabilities of Digital Prescriptive Maintenance include:

  • Automatic Updates of Onboard Device Software: Manufactured edge devices often have sophisticated software that the manufacturer can update remotely.
  • Automatic Sense and Data of Measures from an Edge Device: A manufacturer might need to gather data from the device or ping it for specific measurements and analysis.
  • Automatic Control for Maintenance: A manufacturer can also control devices remotely or through onboard decisioning software.
  • Supply Chain and Parts Return: Everyone from the supplier to the distributer or customer can monitor the edge device that needs to replace a defective device (such as via onboard GPS capabilities).
  • Field Service: Maintenance might also require dispatching service technicians. Connected field service involves many parameters for optimized diagnostics, provisioning of skilled technicians, distribution of correct parts, and eventual servicing of the asset.

One of the most pervasive use cases for Digital Prescriptive Maintenance is the instantiation of a dynamic maintenance case when sensing (through IoT sensors) a failure or critical issue with the device. For example, this happens when detecting high levels of carbon monoxide, a problem with an axle, elevated temperature levels, or abnormal reduction in oil level. The intelligent Thing autonomously senses and then, either directly or through a brokering layer, activates an exception case (as discussed earlier). This typically includes monitoring by the back office and dispatching field technicians to respond and resolve the problem. Within the processes executing in the exception case tasks and activities will be assigned to people as well as Things or robots. The dynamic case for Digital Prescriptive Maintenance orchestrates the people, the suppliers, the manufacturers as well as back office operations such as warranty management.

Learn more:


  • Industry Group: Industrie
  • Thème: Internet des objets
  • Thème: Transformation numérique
  • Défi: Excellence opérationnelle
  • Groupe de produits: Plateforme
  • Groupe de produits: Opérations
  • Groupe de produits: Services sur site
  • Groupe de produits: Automatisation robotique

About the Author

Dr. Setrag Khoshafian is an author, speaker, and leading expert on the Internet of Things, digital process automation, and digital transformation. As Pega’s chief evangelist and VP of BPM technology, he provides valuable insight on business transformation and innovation to our clients.