Blog | April 25, 2017

Field Service, IoT Integrations Continue

Source: Field Technologies Magazine

By Brian Albright, Field Technologies

Field Service IoT

The pace of activity around the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the field service space continues to accelerate. We’ve written about these trends before (see our previous blog on service/IoT convergence here), as major technology providers like GE, Oracle, Salesforce, and others have announced initiatives.

In the past week, a leading oncology treatment system provider has announced it is deploying an integrated IoT/service solution, and field service software provider IFS has announced its own IoT solution for service.

Varian Medical, a manufacturer of integrated cancer therapy systems, has deployed a connected IoT solution from PTC and ServiceMax. The Connected Field Service solution will help improve device performance throughout Varian’s network of 20,000 devices at 5,000 hospitals via predictive monitoring. Varian provides radiotherapy and radiosurgery equipment and software for hospitals.

The IoT solution will also allow Varian to improve customer satisfaction by reducing wait times for service.

“Our focus is to deliver the highest value to our customers through more effective and more proactive service,” said Todd Lauer, product support engineering, Varian Medical. “By connecting our devices to the IoT, we are able to execute service proactively and reduce the number of technician visits per year, per device.”

The Connected Field Service solution was introduced in 2016 and includes ServiceMax’s field service management mobile solution as well as PTC’s ThingWorx platform. ServiceMax was acquired by GE Digital last year.

In addition to the collaboration with ServiceMax for Connected Field Service, PTC and GE Digital announced plans this past November to expand their strategic alliance to bring integrated industrial IoT solutions to market. The companies are developing “ThingWorx for Predix,” a solution that will make it easier for joint customers to use ThingWorx to develop custom applications that run on Predix, GE’s Industrial Internet operating system.

New IoT Field Service Solution

IFS introduced its IoT Business Connector last year, and has now announced updates to its Field Service Management (FSM) platform, which will incorporate IoT capabilities and integration with the Business Connector.

Business Connector provides connectivity with the Microsoft Azure IoT suite, as well as APIs for connecting to other IoT platforms.

The FSM suite will now enable customers to use the IoT to analyze data from connected machines and devices.

“IFS FSM provides a comprehensive set of functions for optimizing resources along the service lifecycle,” said Ralph Rio, ARC Advisory Group’s vice president of enterprise software. “Adding IoT allows field service organizations to become proactive and predictive by identifying equipment issues and mitigating the problem before it cascades into dreaded unplanned failure that impacts business performance and safety.”

“Service is an area where companies can realize real value from IoT, and by embedding the IFS IoT Business Connector into the application, we are unlocking a new realm of possibilities for our customers in terms of predictive and optimized service management,” said Mark Brewer, IFS industry director.

You can read the Field Technologies’ special report, “Preparing Your Business for the IoT Era,” by clicking here.