Content is and will remain king

How to develop digital platforms into ecosystems for Industry 4.0

Digital platforms have sprung up like mushrooms in recent years. Every company involved with digitalization and Industry 4.0 has at least thought about the potential benefits of building its own digital platform – many have already entered the market. Numerous providers cover the sector; the technology has been perfected and proven.
Developing and creating new technologies as well as implementing digital platforms has become increasingly difficult: while the market is growing more complex, it also appears to be saturated. Yet, this trend should not discourage from engaging in activities in the sector. All that is needed is to create added value. For example, if someone intended to sell digital data and digital services, this person would need a digital platform, which ultimately serves as the intersection between data, systems, and customers. Methods, storage devices, features, applications, user interfaces, and system connections are key aspects to consider when it comes to digital platforms. Accordingly, in order to implement, develop, or use a digital platform, the following questions must be addressed:
How is the system data generated and transferred? Where does the content come from? How can the users be included? How are technologies like artificial intelligence and deep learning integrated? How is the data stored? How is the digital platform managed?

How is the digital platform managed?

These issues, however, focus primarily on technology and its implementation. In fact, it is nearly impossible to make money while only concentrating on these aspects. Customers using digital data and digital services are more interested in the properties, features, and characteristics of the digital products. For them, the platform and its technical implementation is merely a means to sell the digital products – just like the brick-and-mortar store is a means to buy analogue products.
The customer buying decision process is thus influenced far more by the “right” content than by the right technology running in the background. It is what makes the digital platform a digital ecosystem. The following crucial questions must be considered when it comes to the content of digital ecosystems: How is the system integrated into the content? How is the content created? Which content is actually called-for and used by users? Which content is mandatory? How can a business case be build based on content?

What is right content?

Let’s be clear from the start: the “right” type of content is the one that makes money. But what is content? The word “content” as used in this context originated in the field of website development. As a result of digitalization, it extended to Industry 4.0 and took on the meaning of “information or other material contained on a website or other digital media,” as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary. The digital age is all about data with meaning and concrete data structures.
Some Examples: As one of the top trends in Industry 4.0, predictive maintenance uses data and algorithms for performance monitoring, as well as fault detection and correction. These data and algorithms are types of content which we believe provide added value that bring in profit. The same is true for commissioning algorithms for plants and products, for upgrades and optimisations for functions and algorithms, and for data for maintenance or inspection of plants and products. The same goes for algorithms for plant commissioning and product operation, upgrades and optimization of features and algorithms, and data for maintenance or inspection of plants and products.
Content can be created and used by systems, customers and also features. By analyzing the content of leading companies and products, we are able to identify distinctive characteristics that make the content “right.” A successful content strategy requires content structured by experts and designed by professionals, content that connects systems, and can be used by features and customers, while also being affordable and – above all – paid for.
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