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A framework for differentiation in composed digital-physical products

Baumers, Martin; Ashcroft, Ian; Benford, Steve; Flintham, Martin; Koleva, Boriana; T�th, Zs�fia; Winklhofer, Heidi

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Professor of Mechanics of Solids

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Dunford Chair in Computer Science

Zs�fia T�th


Product-service systems (PSS) composed of physical products and digital services are emerging as an important new product category. In this paper we suggest that the established metaphor of 'layering' is insufficient to capture the diverse ways in which PSS can be differentiated for, and by, consumers. Responding to this issue, we develop a new framework that centres on the distinction between different modes of horizontal product differentiation, including static, dynamic, compository and user-journey differentiation. Using a design science research (DSR) approach, the framework is applied to two case studies of prototype PSS that use augmented reality to connect physical goods to digital services. Building on this analysis, we argue that the uncovered aspects of differentiation should be further investigated in the management literature and that the existing metaphor of layers should be superseded by a more suitable one.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 18, 2020
Online Publication Date Dec 31, 2020
Publication Date Dec 31, 2020
Deposit Date Jan 11, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jan 1, 2022
Journal International Journal of Mechatronics and Manufacturing Systems
Print ISSN 1753-1039
Electronic ISSN 1753-1047
Publisher Inderscience
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 4
Pages 286-298
Keywords product-service system; horizontal product differentiation; compository differentiation; user-journey differentiation; augmented reality; layers; design science research; CIMO; context-intervention-mechanism-outcome.
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