From The Editor | June 24, 2014

IoT Is (Finally) Permeating Field Service

Sarah Nicastro

By Sarah Nicastro, publisher/editor in chief, Field Technologies
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The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to an ecosystem of devices or products connected with M2M (machine-to-machine) technology that are able to communicate information through (most commonly) cellular or (sometimes) satellite network connections. Want to know what I find most interesting about IoT at the moment? How much it’s being talked about in the industry right now. Field Technologies first began covering M2M in June of 2008. That first article was likely met with a lot of blank stares and glossed-over eyes. Why? The majority of the field service industry just wasn’t ready for M2M or IoT quite yet.

We’ve witnessed an evolution since then, though, and the industry is definitely ready now. At WBR Field Service USA and The Service Council Smarter Services Symposium events in April, M2M and IoT were among the most buzzed-about topics. It’s exciting to me, because even back in ’08 I saw the incredible potential of what M2M technology could do for the field service industry. And now, it’s great to hear those conversations being led by field service companies wanting to learn more and understand how IoT can impact their businesses, versus the industry driving the dialogue.

Why IoT In Field Service Now?
The uses for IoT in field service are vast — far too vast for me to go into here. But the value proposition the technology holds for the field service market is universal — M2M connections provide valuable insight into what’s going on with your products/assets in the field. This information enables you to a.) better understand what techs will encounter on-site so that they can arrive prepared and achieve a first-time fix, or b.) remotely resolve an issue that doesn’t require an on-site visit, eliminating the need for a truck roll altogether. There are far more benefits to discuss another time, but I think those two advantages alone are contributing to a lot of the buzz we’re hearing today about the growing role of IoT in field service.