If You Want to Learn About Digital Transformation – Go Home!

If You Want to Learn About Digital Transformation – Go Home!

Technology is changing our homes. Take for example, the refrigerator. At one point in time, all it could do was keep our food cold. Now there are models that will tell you if you are running out of milk. Almost every household appliance and electronic device today can collect data and share it over the internet to your phone. The goal is to improve our lives with digital technology.

When you install digital technologies to improve your home, you are undergoing digital transformation. Digital transformation is only ever talked about in a business setting. But the parallels between upgrading home appliances vs upgrading a manufacturing line are actually quite similar and are a helpful metaphor to understand how to approach digital transformation. 

When it comes to digital transformation, it is always best to start with the low-hanging fruit; something that is easy to accomplish but still provides value. Amazon’s Alexa is a perfect starting point for a digitally transformed home. It is an internet connected device that can provide you with information like weather and news. It is relatively inexpensive and requires minimal setup time, but most importantly, it can provide you with information that is valuable to your everyday life. 

In a manufacturing environment, the low-hanging fruit is often information as well. Collecting data via IoT sensors is relatively simple, gives you more information into processes, and all of the data can be used to develop insights that drive value to the organization. 

After the informational / data projects have been exhausted, you can move into performance enhancements. The Nest thermostat, for example, is a more advanced take on the thermostat. It collects data on when you are home or not, and uses that data to intelligently automate your home’s heating and cooling schedule. It controls the efficiency of your furnace system so you can save a significant amount of money on heating and cooling bills. 

On the manufacturing side, one of the most common ways to improve performance is with robots. Autonomous robots can perform monotonous tasks, like picking and moving parts across the facility. They boost efficiency on the boring tasks that humans don’t want to perform. 

After performance upgrades have been made, safety is an excellent area to explore digital transformation. The Google Nest Hello is a doorbell that records video when triggered by motion or sound. It allows you to track activity outside your home, like someone stealing a package off your doorstep. It gives you a sense of security by making you aware of any suspicious activity with notifications straight to your phone.

Technologies to improve safety on the manufacturing floor are also quite valuable. Cameras or wearable IoT devices can detect when workers slip or fall around the facility. If a worker is off on their own and falls off a ladder or slips on the floor, an alert can be sent to nearby workers so injuries are attended to as quickly as possible. 

Digital transformation is the simple concept of adding digital technology to improve your home or manufacturing performance — starting with the low-hanging fruit and moving into more complex and valuable solutions.