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Don’t forget the human factor in IoT’s service intelligence equation

Overlooking the human element of IoT can leave money on the table.

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Automation is a powerful lure for businesses investing in the Internet of Things (IoT). Smart devices feeding real-time data to algorithms can find hidden problems, identify efficiencies and circumvent human error. In short, smart automation can save companies a lot of money. But the IoT conversation shouldn’t focus exclusively on automation. 

Overlooking the human element of IoT can leave money on the table. Empowering employees with effective access to intelligence can improve customer service and differentiate a company from its competitors.

Case Study: Advancing Smart Manufacturing Operations Value with Industry 4.0 Platform

For Phanibhushan Sistu, good service intelligence relies on a robust data infrastructure for employees. Sistu is AVP of engineering and IOT solutions at Cognizant. He says that while many companies have already invested in connected devices, “not all of that information is available to the person who is going to a location from the service point of view.”

To illustrate his point, Sistu uses a telecommunications provider as an example of what’s possible. 

This type of business often relies on a fleet of full-time and contracted service technicians who prioritize a daily list of house calls. A pre-IoT business may provide these technicians with a description of a problem as called-in by the customer, but little else. Diagnosis doesn’t really start until the truck pulls up, and anyone who’s heard “I don’t have the right part for this” knows the flaws in this system.

“Their front-end employees cover multiple locations, which comes with a cost,” Sistu says. 

“Somebody goes in to fix a problem or install something, then doesn’t learn until they arrive that they don’t have the right equipment or that a problem was misdiagnosed.”  

[Download]: Real Estate Manager Goes Digital

A modern telco with properly managed data can track how customers are using their hardware, index common complaints and analyze how its different hardware products perform. Put into the hands of front-line staff, this becomes a competitive advantage.

A connected employee can “dynamically manage situations as they change,” Sistu says. Smart data can tell service techs whether other customers in an area have had similar complaints or how a customer’s usage might have affected the product. Even seeing other technicians nearby through real-time tracking can make getting parts easier. By bringing the right diagnostic tools and replacement components, service calls can be resolved faster and more effectively.

[Download]: A New Approach to PLM

And accessible data infrastructure can do more than save costs, Susti says. It can also be a revenue generator. 

“Maybe as an enterprise, I have different levels of services I provide — diamond, gold, platinum or whatever. On the fly, I may decide to redirect my technician to attend to a diamond customer because my [service-level agreement] for them is more rigorous. It’s about dynamic planning, dynamic optimization.”

Of course, Sistu says these principles extend to a wide range of business sectors that have front-line staff dealing with customers post-purchase — from manufacturing to medicine. 

Now that IoT has extended customer success management further beyond the date of purchase, companies must ask how customers are experiencing a product’s “life service.” With proper data infrastructure, long-term service agreements can shift from cost centres to selling points.

“I believe this kind of experience always commands some premium,” Sistu says. “People probably don’t mind paying a few extra pennies or dollars for a better experience.”

DX Journal Staff
Author: DX Journal Staff

DX Journal covers the impact of digital transformation (DX) initiatives worldwide across multiple industries.

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Manufacturing

Manufacturers are recognizing the need to find new efficiencies

Recent data from Oden Technologies shows that 94% of manufacturers have seen significant changes in demand.

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“The challenges facing the manufacturing industry seem to be never-ending.” 

So begins the introduction to The State of Manufacturing: CEO Insights, the new report by Willem Sundblad, co-founder and CEO of intelligent industrial automation company Oden Technologies.

This year, of course, is no exception. “As we enter a period of economic uncertainty, manufacturers are recognizing the need to find new efficiencies and ultimately make more with less,” Sundblad continues.

Featuring both data analysis and insights from industry experts, Sundblad’s report examines current challenges in manufacturing, takes a look at the future, and reflects on the state of digital transformation in the sector.

Challenges facing manufacturing

One of the key findings is that 94% of manufacturers have seen significant changes in demand. Production schedules have no-doubt shifted in the short term, and these companies are “leveraging new technologies to streamline production and maximize capacity.” 

Manufacturers are also feeling the pressure of market uncertainty, as well as making profitability sustainable for the long term.


“Lean startup mentality and incremental growth with a return to fundamentals are crucial in battling through a changing marketplace as well as tsunami-like risks,” said David Rosen, CEO and founder of Kira Labs.  

Looking ahead

When looking to the future — an uncertain one that has been drastically altered by COVID-19 — the report identifies three main areas of focus for manufacturers:

  1. Optimizing production processes
  2. Improving workforce effectiveness
  3. Decentralizing the supply chain

How will they approach these? According to the numbers, 63% of manufacturers say “enabling more remote employees through digital technologies will be an outcome of the pandemic.” Another big focus? Cross-training and streamlining.

“Digital transformation will drive new processes and business models as manufacturers look toward the future,” explained Joe Morgan, founder & CEO of siY. “On the supply chain side, we will likely see a trend toward less globalized supply chains and more focus on local sourcing.”

DX in manufacturing

As we’ve previously reported (here, here, and here), COVID-19 has added major fuel to the digital transformation fire of organizations. And manufacturing is no different. 71% of respondents saying the pandemic has accelerated their DX journeys. 86% report having a designated DX leader — which is great, considering the critical importance of strong leadership to transformational efforts.  

“Embracing these new systems are all indicators that technology continues to be a space that has untapped opportunity for growth,” said Julie Copeland, CEO of Arbill. “I think that manufacturers will also investigate other emerging technology, including finding ways to utilize augmented reality.”

DX Journal Staff
Author: DX Journal Staff

DX Journal covers the impact of digital transformation (DX) initiatives worldwide across multiple industries.

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Manufacturing

What you need to know if you’re attending MWC Los Angeles 2019

MWC Los Angeles 2019 is one of the newest and fastest growing events in the U.S. that brings together leading companies and influential experts from all sectors within the mobile technology industry to advance Intelligent Connectivity – a fusion of 5G, IoT, AI and Big Data.

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MWC Los Angeles 2019 is one of the newest and fastest growing events in the U.S. that brings together leading companies and influential experts from all sectors within the mobile technology industry to advance Intelligent Connectivity – a fusion of 5G, IoT, AI and Big Data.

The event is an opportunity to discover how leaders like Cognizant are looking into the future of connections, content and commerce.

To help you prepare, here is a selection of articles, case studies, ebooks, and clips from Cognizant, discussing digital transformation:

  • Learn Cognizant’s 4 key success factors to Industry 4.0 transformation. For starters, lead with strategy, not the technology. Watch the video here.
  • AI, Machine Learning, and IoT are ensuring the efficacy and efficiency of one of the most demanding engineering projects in the world. Learn how Cognizant helped Norwegian offshore engineering firm Kvaerner adopt these digital technologies.
  • The promise of Industry 4.0 is compelling, but for many traditional manufacturers, the reality is less than ideal. In this new Cognizant report, find examples of manufacturers that are navigating the shift.
  • It’s all about speed: Insight from Cognizant on how 5G will transform the business sector and create a leadership race for data intelligence.
  • Not all smart factories are created equal: Cognizant takes stock of the state of IoT intelligence, and what industrial organizations need to ensure both digital maturity and success. Read more here.
  • The many touchpoints of IoT connectivity allows AI to really shine, and prove its value to manufacturers in the form of proactive preventive maintenance, says James Jeude, VP in Cognizant’s Digital AI & Analytics Strategic Consulting Group, in this piece.
  • The human factor in IoT intelligence is key: Connected employees can “dynamically manage situations as they change,” explains Cognizant’s AVP of engineering and IOT solutions Phanibhushan Sistu.
  • The leap to IoT is a necessary one for your organization. This Cognizant ebook looks at 14 such businesses that jumped confidently into the digital future.
  • It took less than 12 weeks for Cognizant to implement an IIoT platform for a leading global industrial manufacturer. Get the case study here.
  • Without the duo of IoT and the Digital Twin, your organization is living in a black-and-white outlined world, in terms of operational intelligence. Color it in, get more accurate predictions, and fully realize potential.

One session to highlight? “5G and IoT – Understanding the Relevance to Your Business,” featuring Senior Director, Cognizant Digital Business, Prashanth Bhushan. This session will examine how the impending mass availability of 5G networks is set to mark a major step forward in extending 5G applications to various vertical industries and fields beyond traditional telecom and mobile internet.

MWC Los Angeles 2019 takes place October 22-24, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. 

DX Journal Staff
Author: DX Journal Staff

DX Journal covers the impact of digital transformation (DX) initiatives worldwide across multiple industries.

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Manufacturing

IoT + PLM = Product Intelligence: An equation that delivers monetization opportunities

In the equation IoT + X = Intelligence, what role does product lifecycle management play as the X factor?

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Consumers are fickle. 

Today’s hot must-have can easily fade into obscurity tomorrow. Most products don’t even make it out to the playing field, and instead languish on the sidelines. The B2B world is not much different. Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) however, manufacturers are gaining a better peek at the product lifecycle beyond their distribution warehouse and leveraging that intelligence to their advantage.

Case Study: Advancing Smart Manufacturing Operations Value with Industry 4.0 Platform

PLM matters

More often than not, manufacturers make educated guesses at what consumers want. Sure they rely on surveys and calibrated focus groups but too often they’re still skating on thin ice with data snapshots. Product manufacturers rely on past sales records, future trend forecasts and hope design comes up with a nifty new gadget. They then execute strategic marketing and finally keep fingers crossed for best outcomes. 

The problem with such an iterative pattern is that the process is more or less opaque once the product leaves the manufacturer. Today’s product lifecycle management delivers much-needed transparency to the trail a product follows not just from concept and design and sales but on to how the consumer actually uses and disposes of it. 

And it does so through IoT. An IoT-embedded device relays product information to the mothership long after it has left the point of sale so manufacturers can gain insight into usage patterns and other data. While PLM has always followed the trail of breadcrumbs that products leave, IoT now allows for a longer and more useful trail. 

[Download]: A New Approach to PLM

IoT + PLM

“With IoT live product feedback has become possible. The [data] gap that existed between when we have sold a product and when someone discards that product…that gap has now been connected by IoT,” says Jagmeet Singh, Director, Connected Products, at Cognizant. 

Businesses use cloud technologies to analyze the data that IoT-embedded products spit out and reap a whole host of benefits. Manufacturers access instant feedback about feature design – in an age of user-centered design, this is a big deal – and price points. Product design now needs fewer reboots and manufacturers can produce with more confidence.

The introduction of IoT and associated data analytics expanded the use of Product Data as a Service (PDaaS), where larger sets of metadata about products are now available to be harvested, right from raw materials used, to manufacturing processes to quality control and beyond.

Simply by following the IoT trail (and obtaining all-important user permission), manufacturers can monetize information about product usage to secondary vendors who might benefit from related information. A computer manufacturer, for example, can sell valuable information about the heat exchanger, the battery, the Bluetooth connection to satellite providers who can use this as intelligence for their own sales and marketing promotions.

IoT breathes new life into PLM extending the line beyond the four walls of the warehouse to the real world where live data from every user shapes future product iterations.

IoT + PLM = Customer intelligence. With sharper data based on usage patterns, manufacturers can anticipate customer needs better and deliver they want. The result is more revenue and less waste. IoT lets PLM realize its full potential.

[Download]: Advancing Smart Manufacturing Operations Value with Industry 4.0

DX Journal Staff
Author: DX Journal Staff

DX Journal covers the impact of digital transformation (DX) initiatives worldwide across multiple industries.

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1 download. 14 Case Studies.

Download this report to learn how 14 companies across industries are demonstrating the reality of IoT-at-scale and generating actionable intelligence.

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