Developing smart products and services

Smart products and services are at the core of most application scenarios in the Industry 4.0 or IoT environment. Smart products are characterised by the capability to collect and communicate data during their entire life cycle from the manufacturing process up to use by the end customer, or also to autonomously perform standardised tasks. Smart products develop their transformative effect, in particular, as elements in cyber-physical networks, platforms, clouds and ecosystems that are integrated by means of sensors, connectivity solutions and edge computing (decentralised computing at the network periphery).

Networks comprised of smart products form the prerequisite for intelligent, learning services (smart services). These are based on the aggregation and analysis of data collected from people, machines and processes and, in particular, allow individually configurable offers to be created by using targeted forecasts. Smart services can be used for the optimisation of repair and (remote) maintenance processes, for capacity planning and for ensuring business continuity, or for designing highly individualised service portfolios. In future, complex, innovative networks and transactions will be structured and controlled via decentralised and automated smart services.

In addition, the dimension of sustainability is becoming increasingly important in product design. Efforts to reduce environmental impacts along the product life cycle manifest themselves as profitable USPs in product characteristics such as durability, recyclability, reliability as well as minimal consumption of energy in materials, supplies and operating materials.

The development of smart products & services requires not only new forms of cooperation within the development departments, but also a variety of new structures, processes and competencies.

Bild von Vernetzungen unterschiedlicher Produkte
Torminal im Lager
Fokus auf eine Mashine
Bild eines Roboterstaubsauger
Smart products and services are at the core of most application scenarios in the Industry 4.0 or IoT environment. ©Serhii Krot/©asharkyu/©Scharfsinn/©metamorworks/

The consultants of ROI-EFSO have profound expertise and extensive project experiences in building the necessary processes, structures and capabilities for developing smart products & services. In particular, we focus on the following aspects:  

  • Interdepartmental and interdisciplinary data usage, system networking and system development
  • Development of digital product and system concepts (digital twins, user interfaces, predictive analytics & maintenance)
  • Introduction of agile, continuous and rapid development processes (MVP, design sprints, continuous product development)
  • Agile software development and harmonisation of soft and hardware development and manufacturing
  • Introduction and optimisation of big data analytics, as well as data administration, controlling and security
  • Development of skills and recruiting in core areas such as software development, cloud computing, data analysis and service design, as well as modern development and project management methods

Case Studies

Bild eines Monitors der das Haus steuert
©zhu difeng/
Case Study

Transformation through smart product development. A job for the "I-Team": A strong development team at a manufacturer of household appliances recorded solid success. But now customers want to network kitchen appliances, refrigerators and mixers in the “smart home”. ROI-EFESO established an "I-Team" with the fresh perspective of "digital natives" and accompanied the internal change with great success.

Mann mit futuristischem Tablet in einer Fabrik mit End-to-End Digitalisierung
Case Study

In the furniture industry, the use of digital technologies can pay off in several ways: with virtual reality, big data analytics or online configurators, additional sales channels can be opened up. With a globally represented bed manufacturer, ROI-EFESO implemented an "end-to-end digitization" project that took into account all relevant stages of value creation: from the customer experience to ordering to production and logistics.

Zwei Maenner vor einem Computer
©Alessandro Romagnoli/
Case Study

The energy market is data-driven, smart solutions determine the business model. In order to always be a step ahead of the competition, one thing is required: flexibility in thinking and acting. A utility company wanted to take the performance of its global R&D organization to a new level. In the first step, together with ROI-EFESO, it obtained a general overview of the respective degree of agilization of the various R&D units and processes.

Mann mit Kontrollpanel zur Prozessoptimierung der Produktion
Case Study

Predictive Quality and Production. Find out how a Tier 1 automotive supplier was faced with the task of developing electromechanical components for a future electric vehicle concept. With a steep start-up curve to the customer's usual series quality, the company had to implement a new production technology with new materials. Together with ROI-EFESO, it expanded its necessary core competencies.