Over the last few quarters, Frohman and Associates has been engaged by several clients to determine the impact of Internet of Things (IoT) in their industry and how they can use IoT to improve their overall competitiveness. Here is a summary of initial IoT success.
There's no question, IoT has, and will, reshape the way businesses work. Industries are steadily moving towards an “always connected” paradigm.
But, IoT is a double-edged sword. Although IoT has the potential to deliver an unprecedentedly rich data stream, it can also produce data overload and noise.
Most organizations are in the beginning stages of trying to understand this trade-off.
We have found two early applications where IoT is deployed in a way that improves overall operational efficiency and avoids the pitfalls of data overload.
Smart equipment manufacturers, for one, have been able to intelligently process masses of operational inputs and deliver a service to equipment owners that improves fleet management and increases machine uptime.
Smart equipment manufacturers realized early on that they can:
- Harvest operational insights from the machines they install,
- Return raw data back to equipment owners (sell data subscriptions) or even sell higher level condition or exception reports that go beyond raw data collection to interpret the data and predict maintenance requirements.
Caterpillar is a good example. They are re-writing their digital strategy to provide real-time predictive tools and diagnostics to equipment site managers. Their smart service is a subscription-based online or mobile app called Vision-Link. It allows Caterpillar equipment owners to remotely access real-time data regarding mobile assets functioning anywhere in the world. At first the service was limited to specific construction equipment; now it is being rolled-out more broadly to include equipment such as generators.
The second example of early innovation in the IoT space is consumer appliance manufacturers. In the past, data-streams from smart appliances have informed manufacturers about how appliances are used by consumers: favorite settings, run-time, and wear conditions. The data is monitored by manufacturers’ product development and service call centers. In the next phase of IoT development, consumers track their own appliances and sequence the operations of their appliances via smartphones and social platforms.
How do you use IoT to improve your competitiveness and what early wins have you experienced?