Adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) is critical to support the UK’s Industrial Strategy.
The Pitch-In project aims to collaboratively identify ways to encourage the successful development, introduction and further exploitation of the Internet of Things, focussing on addressing barriers across five key areas: Cities, Energy, Health and Wellbeing, Managing the Introduction of IoT and Manufacturing.
This Research England funded CCF (Connecting Capabilities Fund) project, run by a collaboration of four universities (Sheffield, Cambridge, Oxford, Newcastle), consists of 67 mini-projects which aim to promote the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) through collaboration between academia (HEIs) and industry.
The Cambridge mini-projects focus mainly on the manufacturing theme, with some crossover with healthcare, management and smart cities. They demonstrate how digitalisation and the adoption of IoT can transform efficiencies in the manufacturing industry, in particular how collaborative analytics, low cost automation and strategic digitalisation processes can be implemented across the manufacturing sectors. In addition new business models are explored such as IoT-driven mass customisation and an automated IoT platform for IP licensing. A regional engagement project is developing an executive education program on learning IoT for middle managers to help enable the adoption of IoT in manufacturing companies.
Pitch-In manufacturing theme introduction
Below is a quick summary of each of the Pitch-In mini-projects involving IfM researchers, grouped under topic areas.
Low cost automation opens up digital manufacturing. SMEs can quickly increase efficiencies by using low cost off-the-shelf and open source technologies. Pitch-In sponsored the creation of real-life IoT demonstrators as part of the Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring project, to illustrate digitalised processes that companies can adopt easily and affordably.
Low-cost IoT using legacy systems. Adopting IoT and digitalising manufacturing processes doesn’t need to involve expensive hardware and software upgrades. This mini-project will help companies to recognise off-the-shelf affordable technology by establishing a methodology to identify, classify and select technologies compliant with low-cost digital ('Shoestring') solutions.
IoT-based devices for non-critical support in hospitals. Recent pandemics have increased pressure on the healthcare sector highlighting the need for more efficient processes. This mini-project draws on prior research to develop low cost digital solutions to support healthcare professionals in non life-critical situations.
Autonomous supply chains reduce costs and repetitive processes. By bringing together research on IoT data capture, autonomous systems and manufacturing analytics, this mini-project demonstrates how different research outputs can be integrated to create an automated procurement industrial system.
Integrating IoT and static data from multiple supply chain companies improves efficiencies. This mini-project aims to demonstrate the benefits of combining real-time data (from IoT) with static operational data in an integrated platform, enabling up-to-date informed decisions to be made.
IoT-based Supply Chain Digital Twin. This mini-project will illustrate how data-driven analytics and a simulation engine that replicates a real-life supply chain can help create a ‘Supply Chain Digital Twin’, which can be used to optimise coordination for the current state of the supply chain and what-if analyses for the future state.
Strategy, digitalisation and IoT skills
Learning IoT executive education course. As digitalisation increases in manufacturing, the need for a general understanding amongst non-technical executives grows. This online course is being developed as an immersive experience to equip learners with a conceptual understanding of the opportunities and structural changes that IoT brings.
Formulising IoT digitalisation strategy in manufacturing firms. This mini-project will test a blueprint strategy document on digital managers in manufacturing, and follow up with best-practice guidelines on how to write a successful IoT digitalisation strategy.
Research team: Dr Mohamed Zaki, Prof Fraser McLeay (Sheffield)
New business models
Automating licensing payments. As products increasingly incorporate multiple hardware and software technologies, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have to navigate this complex ‘licensing web’ and settle IP licensing payments (semi-) manually. This project aims to build a digital infrastructure that enables automated calculation, execution and verification of accurate payments from licensees to licensors.
When is IoT-driven mass customisation appropriate? Find out if your company manufactures goods that could be suitable for IoT-driven personalisation. One of the Pitch-In research teams has developed a theoretical tool to measure consumers’ perception of value of customised products. The follow on project will test and trial the tool.
Legacy systems and digitalisation
Improve quality prediction in manufacturing processes using IoT. This mini-project will showcase what industry can achieve by using IoT data capture and AI algorithms to help predict quality.
Low-cost production processes
IoT applied to large curved engineered surfaces. As customer demand increases for smart products, manufacturers need to find low cost ways to customise large surfaces with sensors. This mini-project demonstrates how to prepare a large automotive component so that a simple printed device can be printed directly on to it.