Ali Research InstituteIndustry 4.0Internet of thingsresearch report

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The following is the Data driven new value network From Development mode and successful practice of new generation industrial Internet recommended by And this article belongs to the classification: Industry 4.0, Internet of things, research report, Ali Research Institute.

Today, with the vigorous development of industrial Internet, how to deal with the conflict between industrial thinking and digital thinking, the contradiction between fragmented demand and large-scale supply, the closed equipment connection to open, diversified interest pattern to platform interest community, and realize the transformation from software cloud to hardware cloud, from tacit data dominance to tacit knowledge dominance, from data flow dividend to Knowledge Computing Legal dividend, from the division of labor based on products to the division of labor based on knowledge, from the aggregation of resources on a single platform to the three-dimensional cooperation on multiple platforms are the major propositions of the times.

Based on the white paper “new generation industrial Internet development model and successful practice – data driven new value network” released by Alibaba cloud Research Center, this paper will share with you the opinions on the development trend of China’s industrial Internet.

China’s industrial Internet development: no advance, no retreat

The past year has witnessed the “barbaric growth” of China’s industrial Internet. Whether it is favorable policies, capital injection, the influx of new participants, or the landing of new technologies and products, it has created a good environment for its development. At the same time, all kinds of industrial Internet platforms have emerged one after another. According to the statistics of the industrial Internet white paper of ICT Institute in 2019, there are about 300 industrial Internet platforms in China, and the number of platforms with a certain scale and influence has reached as many as 50. Among them, there are not only leading enterprises in vertical industries, but also digital enterprises represented by bat. At the same time, the entry of high-tech start-ups has injected new innovative elements into the development of industrial Internet. It is worth affirming that more and more platforms begin to mature from the beginning. From the initial rush to catch up with the wind, to the present focus and concentration, they have a deeper understanding of the platform construction in terms of product capability, service experience, business model and development path.

Four periods of industrial Internet development

But the challenge remains serious. At present, the main problem of the development of industrial Internet platform is the contradiction between the supply of fragmented capacity and the demand of comprehensive digital transformation of manufacturing enterprises. If qualitative changes are to take place in the development of the platform, the following five questions need to be answered.

1. When will the “digital twin” lower the threshold?

Digital twin is simply the real-time and dynamic mapping of physical objects in digital space. Digital twin is the foundation of all models and applications. From equipment, production line, workshop, product to factory, the implementation cost and complexity of digital twin do not increase linearly, but multiply. The biggest challenge of digital twins lies in the huge “language barrier”. Only when communication protocol, equipment interconnection, data integration and software interoperability are no longer problems, can the deployment threshold of digital twin be reduced to the range that enterprises, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, can bear.

2. When will “data assets” be realized with high value?

Data is indispensable for manufacturing enterprises to reduce expenditure and open source. However, most of the services provided by the platform are still focused on the data level of production factors, or only describe the physical world with data. The urgent need of manufacturing enterprises is to obtain prediction ability from data and guide decision-making, so as to bring creative economic benefits for business. Only when the platform grasps the four capabilities of data, computing power, algorithm and industrial knowledge at the same time, especially the ability of mutual verification between complex algorithm and industry mechanism model, the developed industrial intelligent applications can face different scenarios and create practical value.

3. When will the “physical boundary” break through?

Industrial Internet platform is a platform of online and offline, software and hardware integration, but the current platform mostly provides digital services in a point-to-point way such as project system and “construction team”. The linear growth mode of offline services seriously restricts the scale, scope and speed of the platform. It is also difficult for the platform to effectively standardize, digitize and app offline industrial applications and solutions, and move them to online delivery. Only by getting rid of the physical limitations of manpower, equipment and plant, can the platform achieve continuous operation of customers, large-scale reuse of services, and reduce its marginal cost.

4. When will the supply side data get through?

Full link and full factor digitization and digitization means that enterprises have the ability to serve users from the overall perspective. However, the data island not only exists in the enterprise, but also comes from the information gap between the supply side and the consumer side. The asymmetry of production operation information and consumption information leads the production enterprises to continue to use the management mode of the 20th century to serve the “digital native users” of the 21st century. Only when the industrial Internet and the consumer Internet are connected to form a “two wheel drive”, can we focus on products and services, ensure the linkage of business form from design, R & D, production, supply chain to client delivery, and enhance the flexibility and response speed of the supply chain.

5. When will the ecosystem be perfect?

The construction of industrial Internet platform is a complex and long system engineering. From link to application to service, it involves many disciplines, technologies, talents and abilities. The logic of platform construction is not fighting alone, but symbiosis and win-win. Only when the platform learns to hand over the products, technologies, services and markets beyond the boundary capabilities to its partners, mutual trust and mutual achievement, can it build a symbiotic and beneficial platform ecosystem and produce huge synergy effect.

Yesterday’s solution can’t solve today’s problem. Through the practice of the past few years, Ali has a clearer understanding and positioning of the platform construction. Through continuous exploration in new technology, new mode, new business, new organization and new ecology, a new industrial Internet platform mode with deep integration of Internet innovation and development and new industrial revolution has been gradually opened up.

Exploration on the development path of industrial Internet

Industrial Internet is a powerful tool to promote the digital transformation of manufacturing industry, which helps enterprises obtain efficient network collaboration ability and data-based intelligent decision-making ability. Relying on the double helix of data intelligence and network collaboration, we can achieve continuous optimization of operation, innovation of business and maximization of asset value. The transformation process can be roughly divided into four stages.

Stage 1: plant / workshop interconnection (cost oriented)

The local cloud and digitization of production and operation in factories / workshops often become the first stop for manufacturing enterprises, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. The contradiction between the urgency of factory digital transformation and the high cost of traditional information means drives the production and operation of enterprises to turn to industrial cloud platform. Through the cloud of local industrial equipment and industrial application, it can help to quickly build an entry-level “digital twin” factory. Manufacturing enterprises subscribe to industrial cloud services according to time, people, and usage frequency. With only one fifth of the time and cost of traditional factory digital transformation, they can connect people, machines, and materials inside the factory, effectively improve the visual operation efficiency of the factory / workshop, and optimize decision-making.

Stage 2: internal collaboration (efficiency oriented)

Relying on the Internet Architecture (e.g. data center, business center), break through the internal data island and Business Island caused by the traditional architecture. All links, including product design, production process, inventory management, production execution and order management, can be opened up to help enterprises optimize their decision-making from the overall perspective. Driven by data automation and intelligence, the real-time decision-making of front-line business gradually replaces the experience decision-making of management, and supports the transformation of enterprises from linear and static collaboration to network and dynamic collaboration.

At the same time, with the deepening of the integration and collaboration of cloud, edge and end, data can flow quickly and form a feedback closed loop. Enterprises will be more confident to try the application of data intelligence in multiple industrial scenarios, gradually apply it to the core business, and give machines more cognitive ability to assist people in decision-making.

Stage 3: external collaboration (user oriented)

In this stage, the “value network” constructed by the platform replaces the traditional “value chain” mode. No matter 2B or 2C manufacturing enterprises, they are eager to obtain more open cooperation ability through the platform, not only the cooperation ability within the organization, but also to open up the upstream and downstream supply chain and sales chain, and speed up the construction of the whole upstream and downstream industry chain system with big data support, network sharing and intelligent cooperation. Enterprises will rely more on industrial Internet platform to realize online design, online R & D, online production, online users, online service and online consumption, as well as the direct chain between internal and external businesses. At that time, the overall data intelligence will improve the overall operation efficiency of the organization. The interaction between all links is promoted in a network way, all business decisions are based on user insight, all production activities can be flexible, and all products and services can meet the needs of “individuals”.

Stage 4: industrial ecological integration (innovation oriented)

More leaders in vertical industries turn the complexity and knowledge asymmetry of their industries into their own competitive advantages and benefit from them. On the one hand, enterprises open their accumulated knowledge, experience, resources and data assets to upstream and downstream enterprises or cross industry users in the form of digitization, cloud and platform, so as to realize their knowledge and data assets in a large-scale way. On the other hand, through the construction of a cross platform and cross industry ecosystem, a larger dimension of cross and collaboration will be formed, and new business models and formats will be created, such as industrial e-commerce platform, supply chain finance, mobile travel services, industrial big data trading platform, etc.

At that time, the new generation of platform based digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, will become the “digital nerve center” of industrial Internet innovation, and promote the manufacturing industry to enter a comprehensive “formalized” development state.

Future prospects: big cross, big integration and big collaboration

As Brian Arthur expressed in the book “the essence of technology”, technology has biological attributes. It evolves like biology, and there is considerable uncertainty in the process of evolution. The same is true of the industrial Internet platform as a master of technology and knowledge. The evolution of platform has no clear order, and it is difficult to predict which phenomena will be captured and utilized in advance. The combination and evolution of technology is even more accidental. Therefore, in this round of industrial reform led by industrial Internet, practice is particularly important compared with theory.

In the next decade or more, the industrial Internet platform may still be in the period of exploration and installation, but it is certain that the next decade will be a feast of great cross, integration and collaboration. The highly cross of technology, science, industry, regional economy and society brings the industrial Internet a wider range of “chaos” and “confusion”. In the “chaos” and uncertainty, more new models, new formats, new phenomena and new ways of value creation will emerge.


The deployment costs (labor, time and risk costs) and benefits of industrial Internet will usher in an inflection point in the next 3-5 years. The platform is well prepared for the whole industry, the whole value chain and the whole factor empowerment. The majority of small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises will eventually become the main beneficiaries.


Data intelligence service is no longer an option for platform manufacturers, but an indispensable capability. The end-to-end data service capability around data, model, algorithm and application to final decision execution will build a new “moat” for platform manufacturers.


The rise of regional industrial Internet platform. In the future, the scale and growth rate of the industrial Internet platform in the head region and the region with obvious industrial cluster effect will exceed half of the national distribution platforms.


Future oriented innovation will not come from existing solutions and the industries / scenarios they serve, but from a wider range of connections and customer interactions. The boundary breadth and cross-border integration ability of the platform determine the scale of synergy effect and the ability to create “new species” of industrial Internet.


In the next five years, the number of industrial Internet platforms will increase by 30%. There will be local competition among platforms, but more value creation comes from cooperation among platforms. Symbiosis and win-win will become the main keynote of industrial Internet development in the future.


More platform manufacturers will open “Taobao mode” and build the platform into an open “social place”. Many participants, such as buyers, sellers and service providers, interact on their own with the help of the tools provided by the platform, creating a huge bilateral network effect.

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