Implementing IIoT in Field Services

By CIOReview | Monday, March 19, 2018
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The traditional field service model involves technicians following man-made work orders where systems and equipment that require servicing or repairs need to be diagnosed first. Technicians need to travel to the customer’s location to make a diagnosis and then make another trip to fix the problem after searching through their inventory or waiting for an ordered part. The industrial internet of things (IIoT) promises self-aware machines that automatically send alerts, requests, and reports to a central location.

Machines with embedded sensors can send an alert regarding operational issues before a technician is dispatched to the site. The part to be replaced is located using GPS features synchronized with inventory management, allowing the technician to bring the required part from the nearest warehouse. An Accenture study found that an IIoT enabled fleet maintenance program could reduce breakdowns by 70 percent. Vehicles that require servicing could alert service teams to schedule repairs in advance rather than wait for it to breakdown.

By automating the picking process based on the real-time needs of field service teams, inventory providers and warehouses experience a seamless and refined inventory management practice. This results in reduced man-hours and floor space in the warehouse, fewer errors, and increased overall productivity. IIoT generates a huge amount of data, which service providers can leverage to gather insights about customer preferences and common problems. This data was previously inaccessible because it was recorded on paper. IIoT helps companies not only create new revenue streams from existing products and technology but also increase profitability.