Technology continues to break down geographic barriers, making it easier for businesses of all sizes to participate in the global marketplace. And those companies that use the data available to them in an actionable way open up a whole new world of possible success. But what does digital transformation really mean for today’s business?
Recently, we hosted a webinar on this very topic and examined some of the trends currently transforming on-the-go businesses. And in the final post in this series, we’ll discuss the last critical step in the equation: moving from reactive to proactive using the Internet of Things (IoT).
Today, we certainly see business value in connecting vehicles and devices and gathering data. But IoT makes data actionable by adding context—where mobile vehicles and workers are located and what work is being performed in the field and when. The industry has evolved to the point where any tool or asset can be inexpensively connected via IoT sensors and data can be captured, interpreted and acted upon. This provides businesses the opportunity to utilize predictive analytics through data evaluation and AI.
The Benefits of IoT: Enhanced Productivity & Customer Service
The services industry in particular will benefit from IoT through the use of sensors to perform condition-based monitoring (CBM). An IoT sensor placed in an appliance, such as an air-conditioner, will enable a service call to be initiated only when necessary, as opposed to today’s regularly scheduled maintenance trips, which take much more time for service employees.
With IoT-enabled CBM, companies could dramatically reduce their service costs, become more predictive and proactive and deliver a higher level of service to customers. By constantly monitoring equipment via IoT, a fix can be initiated even before a customer is aware of an issue.
As CBM continues to expand, these connections will increasingly be fed into digital twins, a virtual model of a process, product or service that is used to detect issues, test and simulate scenarios on the physical model. This technology provides quick, accurate insights for what is happening inside machines, leading to minimized downtime and increased efficiency.
This predictability, made possible by capturing and interpreting massive amounts of data, could allow companies to begin productizing service, packaging hardware and service together, and leading to recurring sources of revenue beyond the initial sale. This represents a potential disruption for the service industry, necessitating the need to begin gathering large amounts of data now to gain greater insight and make necessary adjustments.
Preparing for the Future, While Improving Productivity & Profitability Today
The ability to proactively understand equipment to reduce cost and downtime is a huge priority for businesses large and small. As machines share information autonomously, actionable data results could help businesses transition away from traditional reactive operations and respond more quickly, becoming more productive and delivering a higher level of service to customers.
And as high-quality services are provided, SMBs can use their capabilities and brand to be rewarded for the excellence they display. As customers rate their services, a more transparent marketplace results and providers can gain visibility for their businesses and compete in a much broader plane. Those forward-thinking companies that manage their demand more intelligently and have a thorough understanding of their mobile resources, while providing quality service, will likely have more power in this new industry dynamic.
However, with a myriad of tools and partners available, it can be difficult to determine where best to make technology investments. A shortsighted approach focused on achieving immediate needs with minimal investment can yield strong near-term results – but leave SMBs open to threats from competitors with more comprehensive digital transformation strategies.
By aligning with a partner, such as Verizon Connect, that invests significantly in innovation and R&D and being a part of its data-rich, secure network, SMBs can reap the benefits of those investments to help them achieve their immediate business goals and support their long-term success plans. To learn more about the future of the industry and how your organization can put data to work, view our latest webinar or download our latest eBook here.