The Big Discussion: What Challenges, Opportunities and Trends Should We Expect in 2019? Part 2

In the second of our four-part series, our industry experts Bill Pollock, Strategies for Growth, Marc Tatarsky at FieldAware, and Richard Pratley from SimPRO, tackle the area of IoT and its role in field service.


In The Big Discussion we bring together three industry experts and put four key questions for them to answer to give us a balanced view of the major trends impacting the field service sector. This week, the panel look at the impact of IoT in field service and whether it will become a necessity for firms to embrace if they are to keep ahead of the service curve.

IoT has become an increasingly key discussion amongst field service companies in recent years – do you think it will soon be essential for field service companies to embrace IoT?

I believe it is already essential for field service companies to embrace the IoT. That ship has already sailed – and those FSOs that run their services operations on an IoT platform are already beginning to see the return on their investment.

The enormous amount – and wealth – of data that is now being generated through the use of an IoT platform is turning many of the traditional ways of thinking upside-down. For example, it has created an environment where the “old” (i.e., last year’s) way of measuring performance is becoming almost instantly outdated. For example, last year, an FSO might have been assessing its service delivery performance on the basis of asset uptime or SLA compliance, etc. However, this year, they may need to gauge their performance via an entirely “new” set of KPIs!

Measuring your performance in providing “power by the hour” or “airplanes in the air” is quite a bit different than measuring on the basis of the number of monthly site visits, PM calls and asset uptime.



Undoubtedly, IoT has the potential to revolutionise field service in terms of moving to a predictive model of service, increasing efficiency, reducing cost while improving customer service. But any move to IoT is dependent on various operational factors. These include the prevalence of assets and existing IoT sensors, the ability to add IoT sensors to new sources to collect meaningful data and the technology maturity of the organisation and the FSM platform.

These factors can be dictated by numerous elements – company size, the industry and type of clients they serve, the complexity of the work, the value of assets and equipment they supply and service, and their leadership.

It is important for organisations to establish where they need to be in their operational and technological maturity to help the business thrive. For some companies transformative technologies, like IoT, are a key element of their planning and for others they may not figure at all.

IoT is fast becoming an essential service offering that customers will ultimately demand of their service providers and it helps meet the requirement to deliver more for less for customers, particularly for those installing and maintaining high-value assets!

When connecting these ‘Things’ to the Internet, using the live operational data and machine learning to analyse performance, it opens up the possibility of variable-based services based on machine condition and utilisation, rather than prescriptive frequency-based visits and reactive calls.

This proactive approach can help lower TCO and increase uptime for customers and asset owners, whilst lowering the cost of operation and providing differentiation for the Service Provider. If you want to stay relevant in a competitive evolving market, now is the time to be considering how this technology can be incorporated into your own processes and service offerings

The third part of The Big Discussion will be published next week. You can read the first instalment here.


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