Our colleague Mandar Parikh reminded us recently that while IIoT holds a lot of promise, there is no “there there” yet. But as Paul Harvey, the radio personality used to say, “and now for the rest of the story”!
The promise of IIoT is massive; harnessing machine data, sensor, fault logs, operational information etc. to drive very specific and targeted insights, with the main goal of pre-empting failure events and ensuring high asset uptime. These ideas are not new; about 25 years ago GE, Rolls Royce and other engine makers would routinely get performance data off an engine to understand failure, duty cycle etc. What was hard then is much easier now.
There are a couple of problems with the GE and Rolls Royce Engine model. First, not everything in the field is a Rolls Royce Engine. In fact, most installed equipment isn’t, and these assets also don’t have sensors on them. The result: a vast majority of the installed base of manufacturers is mostly unconnected and the timeline to connecting is way in the future.
What is worse is that for the small minority of devices that are connected, getting actionable data from those devices remains a long-term objective. So for now, those manufacturers that are connected with sensors and the ability to remotely extract that data (not the majority for sure), are complacent just collecting gobs and gobs of data and promptly relegating that data to a data lake where it’s never touched after. This model then, doesn’t exactly solve the “fix-before-failure” requirement for pre-emptive customer service.
So what’s a manufacturer to do? How do we drive improvement quickly…like tomorrow!
Corporations are sitting atop vast amounts of data collected from daily interactions with customers. These range from order entry events, invoices, field service calls, tech support, CRM and so on. These individually have value, but collectively are an amazing source of customer and asset behavior insight. These can be used to predict failures, service events, sales opportunities etc. More importantly, they drive timely, targeted and proactive engagement with customers to drive loyalty and lifetime revenue growth.
This data can be reviewed and analyzed today…with deployment “tomorrow” (read – quickly!) We think of this as “IIoT for Unconnected Things” – same if not similar results without waiting for the promise of connected things.