By Brian Albright, Field Technologies
Last week I wrote about GE’s acquisition of ServiceMax, and how the move played into GE’s overarching strategy of linking service and the Internet of Things (IoT) – combining real-time monitoring with analytics and automated field service management to provide smart, connected, and predictive service.
As if to put an exclamation point on this shift to IoT and service integration, there were two other announcements this week – one from a large enterprise player and one from a start-up – that further highlight the importance of this technology convergence for field service.
First, Oracle announced a packaged integration between its Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle IoT Cloud products to help users leverage IoT insights to create improved customer service experiences. The company says the new IoT Accelerator is an open-source integration that will be easy to configure and deploy.
"The Internet of Things is fundamentally changing the way consumers interact with brands and in the process, it is creating volumes of data that organizations can leverage to transform the customer experience," said Meeten Bhavsar, senior vice president, Oracle Service Cloud. "By delivering a packaged integration between Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle IoT Cloud, we are able to accelerate the time to value, while lowering the complexity of IoT projects. For brands, this also means they can easily take advantage of IoT data and make it actionable across engagement channels to deliver exceptional customer service experiences."
Start-up Aquant.io, meanwhile, is promoting its field service solution with an “uptime as a service” pitch, integrating the IoT, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to provide predictive service and maintenance.
Aquant.io cites data indicating that poor first-time fix performance resulting in repeat service visits is costing businesses in the U.S. as much as $53 billion per year. “In today's economy, this problem is set to grow even larger due to shift to service-based business models. Understanding that the need for first-time-fix solutions was one that was rarely met, we made it our mission to fix this,” said Aquant’s CEO Shahar Chen, a former Clicksoftware executive.
Aquant’s solution continuously monitors equipment in a variety of industries (automotive, office equipment, HVAC, aviation, healthcare, manufacturing) and provides “real-time data on sub-optimal performance, leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to use a three-fold solution to predict faults more accurately, diagnose issues and recommend corrective actions.”
In addition to device data, the solution gathers data from CRM, ERP, asset management, parts inventory, machine geolocation, and field service systems.
Another good indicator of the IoT’s role in service is a recent report from Transparency Market Research on the HVAC sensors and controllers market. According to the data, global revenues for those technologies will experience a CAGR of 6.9 percent, reach $9.34 billion by 2024. In part, this is because of the expansion of IoT applications.
“Leading players are already aiming to optimally capitalize on IoT technologies over the next decade, to achieve significant growth in commercial and non-commercial sectors alike,” the report said. “The building automation system is already included in most modern HVAC systems. Integrating IoT with the same will enable HVAC sensors and controllers to establish wider communication streams within related devices installed in a building.”
The IoT emerged from the field service market, where companies have been using machine-to-machine technology to monitor equipment and receive alerts for decades. Now, field service appears to be at the leading edge of IoT solutions that can turn that data into useful business intelligence.