Retrofitting with IoT

What is digital retrofitting and how can it help product managers?

Digital retrofitting is the process of upgrading an existing product into a connected device. By doing so, we are making products “smarter” as the added connectivity layer extends the basic features of previously-existing products. This digital transformation is changing the way we interact with products and services.

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The Hycleen Connect Automation System from Georg Fischer: An example of successful digital retrofitting.

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Digital Retrofitting Benefits

What are the main benefits of digital retrofitting?

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    Upgrading an existing infrastructure can be cheaper than the capital expenditure needed for replacement. Running costs also need to be considered: from the labor cost of replacing an existing fleet of products to the cost of staff training to a completely new product, etc.

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    Extended product features

    The connection of an existing product to the cloud extends basic functionalities, attaching new digital services to the product. Attractivity is increased through the combination of the physical entity and its digital counterpart.

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    Business Transformation

    Extended product features can even lead to adjustments in business models. A common example is a transition from a fixed one-time purchase model to a license-based model where customers pay for the product use and data requirements they have.

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Connecting an existing infrastructure to the cloud can be challenging.

To benefit from the promises of digital retrofitting, organizations need to have a clear digitization strategy that takes into account the new cost structure, maintenance requirements, technological challenges as well as the company culture readiness. In this white paper, we list the benefits and challenges of digital retrofitting and present a successful case with the upgrade of the Hycleen Connect product from Georg FIscher +GF+.