THE REAL VALUE OF IoT and M2M

DATArrive-internet-of-thingsAs with most advances in technology, initial buzz can hover around the novelty of of the technology itself, with a vague understanding of how it might impact our lives. There can be an excitement over what could be, but an unrealized connection to the daily impact.

For some time, this has been the progression of the Internet of Things (IoT) or Machine to Machine (M2M) technology. The introduction of automated process and greater access to information has long been the building blocks of industrial advancement, and now, the latest progression of technology is finding a valuable position in many industries.

Recently, Field Technologies Magazine provided an industry report dedicated to the IoT and the specific benefits within field services. The follow list is taken from the recent report “The Vast Benefits M2M and IoT Can Provide” which help to clarify just what exactly the IoT and M2M devices can do for us:

  1. Improve Efficiency and Productivity – rather than sending a driver out to vending machine locations to fill them on a set schedule, you only send someone when inventory gets low. Instead of having a utility worker spending full days reading meters, you can receive that data remotely. M2M allows companies to evolve from reactive work to proactive work.
  2. Provide Better Customer Service – As an organization shifts from being reactive to proactive in the service of their customers, an obvious boon to customer service is felt. Rather than customers alerting service providers of issues, service providers are enabled to identify issues, notify customers, estimate arrivals and have a better grasp on completion times.
  3. Grow Revenue – a reduction in waste is a quick way to maximize profits. The migration towards M2M automation provides new ways for companies to extend the value of their current workforce while providing added value to their service offering and potentially grow their customer base
  4. Business Insight to Make Process and Product Improvements – the data gathered from M2M-enabled process can provide valuable insight into what is working or failing when it comes to products and processes. The ability to analyze real operational process with hard data becomes a valuable resource for companies

Read the entire industry report here.

Three Field Service Trends That Continue to Deliver Success

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In a recent article at Field Technologies Online, Scott Dutton summarized the three trends in field services that are allowing companies to  cut service costs, improve productivity, and boost customer satisfaction.

Mobile Devices – the continued saturation of mobile devices into our everyday lives has made this resource a swiss army knife of sorts for field service companies. According to a recent survey by Field Technologies, about half the mobile workforce currently uses smartphones as the primary means of communication from the field. The other half is divided unequally: roughly 40 percent still use laptops, and approximately 11 percent prefer tablets. Interestingly, more than a quarter of both laptop users and smartphone proponents are considering a switch to tablets because of the portability, popularity, and screen size tablet provide.

Field-Service Workforce Automation – As the partnership between mobile devices and web-based workforce automation apps continue to become more integrated, companies have an even more powerful resource in the hands of their mobile employees. Web-accessible apps for work-order assignment, customer relationship, billing, and inventory management all provide field-service professionals with the real-time data necessary for informed, on-the-spot decision-making. Longer-term benefits include accurate forecasting and reporting for more productive allocation of personnel and material resources.

Location-Based Services – As customer experience is such a huge factor in field service success, having a toolset that is able to provide the right information at the right moment becomes critical. Having the right expert with the right equipment in the right place at the right time improves field-service performance and productivity, which results in sharp increases in customer satisfaction and noticeable improvements to the bottom line.

The Global Mobile Workforce

VDC-Research-mobile-workforceDavid Krebs, VP of Mobile and Wireless at VDC Research, recently hosted a brief presentation covering trends and expectations within the global mobile workforce. Along with the expected growth in mobility, there were a number of crucial trends to note:

  • Mobile Worker Population – the mobile worker population is forecasted to grow an additional 5% by 2014 to 1.2 billion. What is significant about this trend is that means 1/3 of the global workforce would be classified as “mobile”
  • B2B Trends – some of the continued trends with in B2B mobility revolve around the need for real-time decision making, workforce productivity and business intelligence
  • Continued Growth of the “Knowledge Worker” – Krebs notes importance of differentiating between “task/line workers” and “knowledge workers.” Typically, mobility has been primarily focused on the task oriented or line workers which require very linear and simple mobile workflows. While the rising sector of knowledge workers operate in a more dynamic environment, where lookups, cross-validation, and data access are critical. The important statistic here – line workers are expected to decrease by 11.8% while knowledge workers will rise by 19.1% through 2014.

You can watch the entire presentation here.