Companies are leveraging the IoT to digitally transform their business and the results are impressive. But many struggle choosing a place to begin. One proven way to get started is by remotely monitoring machines. This initiative allows manufacturers to quickly achieve IoT value while paving the way for even more substantial benefits over time.
The most common way that companies gain tangible ROI from IoT is through improved service. The IoT lets companies transform service to generate more – and more profitable – service revenue. They do this by moving from reactive to proactive to predictive service, and leveraging advanced technologies like AI, machine learning, and big data analytics. They can also adopt new service delivery processes like remote service. But the most common first step is reducing cost of service through remote monitoring.
This article briefly shares the tangible, practical first steps companies can take to improve service through IoT remote equipment monitoring and how IoT Platforms help deliver the value.
Remote monitoring value starts with the basics of connecting equipment and collecting data. The first step in many company’s journey is simply accessing equipment to understand its current location and status. Then, they can expand their benefits by gathering and analysing basic performance metrics. Leveraging the basics, companies can gain service intelligence to improve service performance. One key way to do this is by recognising that there’s a problem before their customer or operator does. Remote monitoring can also provide the information needed to correct issues
The first step in the remote monitoring journey is to get access to equipment, get it connected, and gain access to equipment data. To do this, companies need to understand which data impacts their key performance indicators (KPIs) and helps them achieve their long-term service goals. Once data sources are identified, they have to connect to the sensors, devices, or equipment that holds it. These connections could include a combination of wired, wireless, cellular, or indirect connections via gateway devices or control systems. An IoT platform must have multiple methods to connect, whether it’s accessing new equipment designed with IoT in mind or existing machines.
Once equipment is connected it’s important to communicate machine data like energy usage, machine settings, hours of operation, or temperatures back to the business to gain service intelligence. For smart equipment, companies can gain even greater insight by capturing error codes or alerts, log files, software versions, and configurations.
This data can improve service by alerting the company to issues in a timely manner and providing the right information to pinpoint issues and root causes. The information may be used to help customers self-service the device or to dispatch the right person, tools, and parts based on a clear understanding of the situation. Bi-directional communication can also help by enabling remote Remote Monitoring service.
One challenge companies frequently encounter is getting overwhelmed by irrelevant information or simply receiving too much data. A single piece of equipment can generate vast amounts of data very quickly, for example from multiple sensors that may take readings every millisecond.
Companies can benefit by adding intelligence to filter data using rules so they get the right information to service the equipment. Edge computing can also interpret data to look for anomalies, out-of-spec situations, or other exceptions that might indicate the need for service. This information can be used to decrease the “noise” so important conditions and events are quickly identified and acted on.
Equipment data must be aggregated, contextualised, analysed, and shared to create valuable service intelligence. Companies may also benefit by integrating other data sources like CRM, service records, weather data, configurations, customer data, geospatial information, or other information in order to gain a more complete equipment service perspective.
Equipment intelligence should be presented as KPIs and alerts, for example in colour-coded dashboards, to communicate status, issues, and priorities
Equipment information should not be passive. When issues are identified, the platform should be able to launch workflows or run applications like work order creation based on business rules.
Finding the right platform is only a part of the challenge. Companies must also develop an implementation and adoption plan. The plan should start with a vision of how they will improve service performance. Most companies will benefit from business-oriented consulting to develop their strategy, define use cases, and determine the value to justify them.
Companies should seek outside help from their IoT platform vendor and partners to guide them through training and adoption. The partner should be able to offer real-world experience, technical know-how, and business-oriented training.
The final point on adoption is to take a platform approach. Choose a solution to grow on, but start small and scale. Companies today should look for pre-designed applications, dashboards, algorithms, adapters, and APIs and not start from scratch so they can focus their energy on achieving service-oriented business results and not reinventing the wheel.
Selecting the right IoT partner may be the most important decision when looking for a solution to improve service with remote monitoring. The vendor should understand IoT technology and implementation, but also understand how to effectively transform service processes and organisations. Remember that improving service should provide a foundation for future IoT value. It’s important to choose a partner to grow with.
Select a partner that can help direct a broader digital transformation beyond remote monitoring and service transformation. It’s crucial to understand the vendor’s vision for the digital enterprise. Look for comprehensive functionality from basic needs to more advanced digital twin, augmented reality, and analytics capabilities.
Leveraging the IoT can help companies improve service for themselves and their customers by reducing cost and transitioning to proactive and predictive service. Remote monitoring allows companies to identify and resolve issues remotely, providing faster service and increased uptime for the customer while reducing the cost of truck rolls and putting service technicians on site. It can go beyond cost savings to create a new source of revenue from paid upgrades or remotely enhancing equipment capabilities or permissions by “unlocking” enhanced capabilities via a subscription.
Service leaders are using remote monitoring and IoT connectivity to become more efficient, proactive and successful. Read the eBook to learn how to: