The road to a digital ecosystem is far from simple. You need to evaluate which areas to migrate first, but you also need to ensure that you don’t end up creating standalone solutions. Highly scalable databases give you the flexibility you need to develop future-proof systems.<p>Products and services are becoming more comparable. As a result, businesses need new ways of enhancing their efficiency. They are also on the hunt for ways to create novel, positive customer experiences.</p>
For manufacturers, for example, it’s all about increasing overall equipment effectiveness, increasing the proportion of product delivered on time and reducing inventories. For insurance companies, a key issue is new services and platforms that really build customer engagement. ‘Digital ecosystems’ that facilitate precisely these objectives are in the process of being implemented across many different industries.
What is a digital ecosystem?
A digital ecosystem encompasses a technical system and the people and organisations that interact with it. Participant interaction with the ecosystem may be independent or may be collaborative and based on predefined use cases.
Behind the scenes, digital ecosystems consolidate data from a number of sources. This data might, for example, be obtained from sensors on connected machines, from tracking your digital services, or be acquired from third-party providers.
The benefits of a digital ecosystem are derived from the proximity to your data.
You can obtain detailed information on your customers and customer behaviour, map positive customer experiences, and be more flexible in your approach to market developments. In manufacturing, it offers the ability to identify new ways of enhancing your efficiency.
Broadly speaking, the areas of application for digital ecosystems can be summed up under the following five points:
1. customer portals
2. connected products
3. data platforms
4. high-speed innovation for new services
5. application modernisation
Below, we examine the role of highly scalable databases in digital ecosystems.
Why use highly scalable databases?
Digital ecosystems are often built around three pillars – cloud platforms, highly scalable databases and standardisation.
It’s important that a digital ecosystem can grow with your use cases and your business. You therefore need an architecture which allows easy scaling of storage space and performance.
The database solution needs to be able to bring together data from different sources and in different formats.
Now we come to a further difficulty – where should you start in implementing your digital ecosystem? If one of our manufacturing clients were to try to migrate their entire production department, it would grind to a halt for six months. That, of course, is out of the question.
Instead, we start out by identifying those areas where migrating to a digital ecosystem is easiest and offers maximum added value. Once that’s done, we move on to the next area. It’s therefore extremely important to ensure that the system offers maximum flexibility in terms of scalability.
Which database solution for a digital ecosystem?
From a technology point of view, when working on digital ecosystems we like working with Crate.io. We use their database solution in IoT projects in particular, but also in other areas where there’s a need to process high-frequency data. Crate.io’s database enables highly scalable, high availability applications, making it perfect for future-proof ecosystems.
Crate.io’s USP is their ability to consolidate and provision data from a wide range of sources faster than competitor products – especially with very large data volumes. Crate.DB supports SQL for machine data (ANSI SQL with JSON), is optimised for industrial real-time data volumes, and offers simple IoT integration (via IoT Hub, Telegraf, etc.).
Solutions like Crate.io’s make it possible to implement a digital ecosystem on an even larger scale, right up to networking production sites distributed globally.
A sample digital ecosystem project
RUBBLE MASTER is a client of ours and a good example for illustrating how implementing a digital ecosystem works in practice.
The RUBBLE MASTER Group is global market leader in compact, mobile crushers for processing mineral substrates and economic reprocessing of construction waste such as rubble, asphalt and roadwork waste.
Establishing a digital ecosystem offers the Linz-based company a decisive competitive advantage. Over the last few years, RUBBLE MASTER has already equipped its mobile crushers with connectivity and a degree of intelligence. The key now is to combine the individual solutions to create value-adding services for customers and partners.
Through its digital ecosystem, RUBBLE MASTER is now beefing up its existing services with remote status and performance monitoring and combining this with useful features for reducing operating costs and improving productivity. These range from service reminders and information on spare parts to tools for optimising deployment for specific applications.
Looking to the future, the digital ecosystem represents the core platform for interacting with customers and partners. The sophisticated architecture means that RUBBLE MASTER is in a position to easily integrate new tools, such as big data, artificial intelligence or augmented reality. Enabling it to continue to offer innovative, value-creating solutions for customers and partners in future.
When it comes to setting up a digital ecosystem, every business is different. What sort of shape should your solution take? Send us a message below with details of your planned project and we will be happy to talk to you about appropriate options.
You can learn more about how Crate.io’s database solution can help you implement a digital ecosystem faster and more efficiently in a Crate.io and Zühlke webcast (German language), which is available now.
We wish you every success with your project and in developing new, innovative services and products.
Bernhard A. Zimmermann
As Director Business Development, Bernhard A. Zimmermann is responsible for the sales agendas for Zühlke in Austria and is co-owner of the Swiss Zühlke Technology Group AG. He holds three Masters in computer science. In his more than 20-year career, he has been working as department head for enterprise security consulting at Unisys and as a sales specialist and sales manager at Microsoft.