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In its brief study the IAO concentrated on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working in machine and plant engineering and described the benefits that can be derived from offering smarter services . Industry 4.0 trends such as digital twins smooth the way for bundling smart products and smart services, which opens up for companies the option of successfully occupying market niches and offering their customers integral solutions in place of individual products.

Above all, the study presented the use of data and service platforms with the associated smart services and provided concrete recommendations for action. This includes developing suitable strategies and business models as well as the collecting, structuring and preparing of data as the basis for the smart services and the timely involvement and training of the workforce. Data protection is also becoming increasing important within this context: The German Engineering Federation (VDMA) offers a free guide on this topic.