The Big Discussion: The Internet of Things (part two)

Jul 21, 2017 • FeaturesFuture of FIeld ServiceMark BrewerMark HomerPaul WhitelamClickSoftwareIFSIoTservicemaxThe Big Discussion

In the Big Discussion we take one topic, bring together three leading experts on that topic and put four key questions to them across four weeks to help us better understand its potential impact on the field service sector...

This time around we turn to a brand new topic which is the Internet of Things and our experts are Paul Whitelam, ClickSoftware, Mark Homer, ServiceMax from GE Digital and Mark Brewer, IFS...

The first question of this topic was "Just how big is the potential impact of IoT on Field Service?" 

And onto this week's question...



Question Two: Is IoT now making the shift from early adoption to mass adoption amongst field service companies?

Paul Whitelam

Although IoT in field service is still relatively new, early adopters like manufacturers of capital equipment are approaching greater maturity. They’re leapfrogging other industries in terms of first-time fix rates and overall operational efficiency.

Other industries are beginning to recognise the potential benefits, and we’re seeing conversations around IoT shift from wide-eyed wonder to practical next steps. Utility and telecommunications providers are well positioned to benefit by making the infrastructure they maintain smarter and better connected. Consumer-facing organisations can better empower customers to participate in diagnosing and repairing problems.

The Smart Meter initiative in the UK is a perfect example where mass adoption by consumers will force manufacturers to advance. A couple years ago IoT in service was largely seen as tomorrow’s problem.

Today service providers are eager to take the next step.



Mark Homer

IoT hasn’t reached mass adoption in any market just yet, but certainly field service is seen as the ‘killer app’ for businesses. And it’s making fast progress.

Senior management are realising that service is the hidden gem within their organisations, largely due to the untapped potential of the Industrial Internet, and it’s something we’re seeing in our own global customer base.

Fuelled by the shift to outcome-based service models, shrinking product margins, and globalisation, and the Industrial Internet, industry watchers have been predicting that service revenue will eventually eclipse product revenue. Smart, connected, optimised equipment assets are accelerating that shift.

As companies begin to properly monetise service with sensors at the edge, they have the opportunity to increase service revenues and margins further, providing an effective hedge in a downturn economy.

That’s why we’re seeing greater adoption and acceleration in this space.




Yes. The concept of IoT and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) isn’t a new one.

It has been around for more than 20 years. But now, thanks to advances in technology and digital transformation, it is at the forefront of business opportunity. There are many field service sectors that have already been working with sensors and IoT technology for a few years now, such as the medical industry (like the IFS customer Sysmex).

Over the next five years we will no doubt see the number of IoT implementations rise among field service organisations as the industry becomes regulated and more best-practice cases are publicised.



Next weeks question: What are the challenges of implementing an IoT strategy within field service operation?



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