Our work

Digitising data streams between companies

Digitisation is part and parcel of Smart Industry and it is increasing important that digital data be shared across company boundaries. In the manufacturing industry a great many transactions take place between companies, such as order processing, the sharing of plans and schedules and invoicing. Time and money can be saved when the digital systems of different companies are easily compatible. Regrettably, this is still too often not the case. This gives added impetus to the need to develop a data standard for these systems. And the ability to do just this is one of TNO's core areas of expertise.

The safe, correct and controlled exchange of data requires that the systems of different companies are interoperable and use the same semantics. TNO helps companies and sectors to make agreements about the necessary standards and ICT systems. In addition, TNO is researching new technologies that will make it easier to share data reliably.

This development helps companies save time and money. Even now when different systems do not understand each other's language or are not compatible, it is still necessary to deploy staff and have the data transferred manually. This is time-consuming, error-prone and cost-inefficient. When a common data standard is used, this becomes a thing of the past.

Fieldlab: Smart Connected Supplier Network

A good example of a fieldlab that is working on solutions to this problem is the Smart Connected Supplier Network, set up by TNO and Brainport Industries. Twenty-seven organisations are now affiliated, including the top sector High-Tech Systems and Materials, the manufacturing companies of the NTS Group, KMWE and Euro-Techniek and the ICT suppliers ISAH, Fujitsu Glovia and MKG. The focus of this Dutch initiative lies on simplifying the exchange of information between companies in the high-tech supply chain. This network of suppliers comprises some 300 companies supporting large high-tech companies like ASML, Thales and Philips Healthcare.

In the fieldlab the consortium is developing, testing and implementing new standards for exchanging data based on semantic technology designed to optimise the interoperability between companies. An efficient and safe data exchange affords industrial partners an estimated 20% increase in productivity in the supplier chain. Moreover, in time it builds the international position of the digitally connected supplier network because the reaction speed of the complex supply chain increases enormously, transaction costs are reduced and the wastage caused by communication errors is reduced.

Digitisation in your own company

Are you keen to know what opportunities Data Transfer & Digitisation can offer within your company? If so, get in touch with Sam Helmer to to discuss your digitisation case.


Sam Helmer MSc

  • Smart Industry
  • Public Private Partnerships
  • High Tech Systems and Materials


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