Major corporate investments solidify IoT as the next big advancement for field service organizations
The Internet of Things (IoT) keeps moving as big names such as IBM, GE, Microsoft, and Uptake back the benefits of connected equipment.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
has promised to be the most disruptive technological advance since the Internet. This technology means that devices equipped with sensors, hardware and software are networked together through the Internet, where they can communicate with one another, machine-to-machine (M2M).
The ability to put sensors in all of your equipment can yield a huge amount of data. Once you have all that data, it’s what you do with it that can provide significant advantages. This is why so many leading corporations have created initiatives to take on the world of IoT.
The Internet of Things gains its foothold following multiple corporate backings
With the promise of connecting all our devices, appliances, machines, vehicles, or anything else with a current, the Internet of Things has been at the forefront of many industries innovations. Creating this cohesive network would garner greater control and management of our everyday lives.
John Ragsdale of TSIA highlights the Internet of Things as one of the top five areas impacting field teams: “Today’s increasingly connected technology creates opportunities for remote access, improving productivity and reducing onsite visits.” Vodafone also forecasts that 50% of companies will have adopted M2M communications technologies by 2020.
From diagnostics, prevention, to communication and more, the Internet of Things will change how industries operate. It’s this seamless connection to all parts of the service cycle that would have huge ramifications, and why these corporations have put significant initiatives into place:
IBM estimates that 90% of all data from devices like tablets, connected vehicles, smartphones, and appliances are never analyzed or taken advantage of. Further still, 60% of that data begins to lose value within milliseconds of its generation. To address the challenge, IBM has announced it will offer three different IoT initiatives:
- IBM IoT Cloud Open Platform for Industries
- IBM Bluemix IoT Zone
- IBM IoT Ecosystem.
The initiatives aim to insure companies are able to extract insights from connected assets, enable easy integration for developers, and expand the IoT partner ecosystem.
Uptake, a predictive analytics company, helps global companies optimize performance and reduce the failure of assets. By leveraging partnerships, such as with Caterpillar, Uptake integrates cross-industry expertise, data science, and workflow connectivity to turn massive data sets into high-value solutions. The result is a platform that finds problems before they happen as well as producing significant insights that drive efficiency and productivity. As Uptake’s exclusive partner in various industries, Caterpillar has leveraged its data and operational insights with Uptake’s technology to provide unparalleled solutions for customers in its industries.
Predix is GE’s software platform for the Industrial Internet. Predix provides large scale analytics for asset and operations optimization by providing a standard way to connect machines, data, and people. Deployed on machines, on-premise, or in the cloud, Predix combines technologies for machine-to-machine communications, distributed computing and big data analytics, asset management, and mobility, delivering on the industry’s needs for scalability, extensibility, customizability, and security.
The Azure IoT Suite is an integrated offering that takes advantage of the ability to connect “things”, capture the data they generate, integrate the flow of that data, and manage, analyze and present it as usable information to stakeholders who can make better decisions as well as intelligently automate operations. The offering, while customizable to fit the unique needs of organizations, will also provide finished applications to speed deployment of common scenarios we see across many industries, such as remote monitoring, asset management and predictive maintenance, while providing the ability to grow and scale solutions to millions of “things.”
Making IoT work for field service
Machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity is the driving force behind the Internet of Things in field service. M2M has the potential to connect every device, electronic, vehicle, part, asset, etc. within the organization and allows field service companies to do things like communicate directly with their equipment or receive information about vehicle status or location.
For example, the IoT can combine GPS receiver data to identify machine location with an on-board data logger which captures information sent from various sensors on a machine. Telematics devices then transmit information about the equipment, including location, condition, and operational data to provide powerful tools for monitoring machine health and productivity, as well as reducing costs of managing and maintaining equipment.
Here are some other practical ways to get started:
1. Equipment monitoring and repair: Service and repair work is an integral part of any service company. With M2M sensors in equipment and tools, you will know when repairs are needed before problems can escalate into a more expensive issue.
2. Equipment inspection: Self-diagnostics/reporting sensors make late or forgotten inspections a thing of the past, which also means more time for your workers to spend on billable repair and service work.
3. Inventory management: Getting to a jobsite with insufficient or absent tools to do the job results in a loss for both you and your customer. If your inventory is connected to the IoT, sensors will give you a heads up on low inventory before any of your teams are sent out to the field.
4. Asset tracking: A connected data stream through IoT provides valuable insight into your equipment including equipment history, functionality, location, etc. When everything’s connected you gain full visibility into your assets and can make decisions based on the information you receive.
The Internet of Things is no longer a pipe dream but the next step in field service
By utilizing the data of IoT, field service companies can more efficiently manage and repair equipment to keep their customers up and running, conserve costs, and provide the most reliable service possible. When devices and equipment are armed with sensors and software networked together through the Internet, they’re able to communicate and provide information we could once only dream of. Turning that dream into reality will create the next standard in service.
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