Category

Service Technology

Galileo Facing the Roman Inquisition (Chistiano Banti, 1857)

Why Service Organizations Resist Predictive Maintenance

By | Field Service, Internet of Things, Reliability, Service Technology | No Comments

Much of the buzz about the industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and predictive algorithms is calling service organizations to adopt predictive maintenance (PdM) methods and tools. In fact, PdM is one of the frustratingly few-well flashed-out use cases for IoT.

The rationale for adopting predictive maintenance is quite convincing.

Many service organizations schedule equipment maintenance activities based on statistical models.  Routine preventive maintenance (PM) schedule is based on average failure rates of components and systems and prescribes mandatory part replacement and other maintenance activities before a critical failure is likely to occur.

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The Conjurer (School of Hieronymus Bosch, after 1500)

Predictive Maintenance: Myths, Promises, and Reality

By | Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Field Service, Service Lifecycle Management (SLM), Service Technology | One Comment

The industrial Internet of Things and its Digital Twin surrogate are fueling exciting conversations about business process innovation on the factory floor and in industrial equipment manufacturing. One hot area in particular is the broad and often loosely-defined practice of Predictive Maintenance (PdM) of complex machinery. As is frequently the case when technology innovation is trying to penetrate (should I have said “disrupt”?) an established business practice, there’s a good dose of hype and optimism on the side of technology pundits, countered by skepticism and resistance to change from maintenance organizations and experienced field service technicians.

A business associate sent me an article written by a technology vendor seeking to debunk what the authors deem to be myths about PdM (try searching for “predictive maintenance myths” and you will find a few on the topic). That article and recent vendor presentations I attended suggest that further examination of misunderstandings and perhaps exaggerated expectations from PdM technology is in order. Read More

Elevator Out of Service

An Elevator Pitch: IoT Improves Elevator Service

By | Internet of Things, Service Lifecycle Management (SLM), Service Technology | 3 Comments

The Risk of Market Commoditization

For companies that operate in a commodity market, competing on price alone is usually a stressful and futile business strategy. When the only protection a company has against competition is lower price, an aggressive new entrant offering an even lower price for the same product or service can disrupt the business overnight, luring customers away from an established business that had nurtured customer loyalty for decades. Indeed, low-cost products and services often mean subpar quality and poor customer service, and by the time the newly-recruited customer realizes it, the damage has already been done and is difficult to reverse. As the old adage goes, it costs much more to regain a lost customer than to keep an existing one.

McKinley Elevator Corporation is a family-owned business that specializes in elevators, accessibility lifts and car lifts for homes, public facilities, and businesses. Even with reputation for top-notch customer service, the company is constantly at risk of losing market share to lower-cost competitors, and under pressure from elevator manufacturers seeking to drive down cost in a highly commoditized and price-competitive market. Read More

Airstream by Ralph Goings (1970)

Get Real: How to Build a Useful Augmented Reality Application

By | AR/VR, Internet of Things, Service Technology | 2 Comments

Gauging Value in AR Service Applications

You know I have been very vocal in criticizing augmented reality (AR) applications that, in my opinion, demonstrated too little business value.  You have heard (or read) me referring these as righty-tighty lefty-loosey systems.

From time to time, clients and attendees of my public lectures challenge me for guidelines to help them gauge the potential business value of AR applications. If a simple air filter replacement procedure isn’t useful, then what is? Read More

Righty-Tighty, Lefty-Loosey

Augmented Reality and the Righty-Tighty, Lefty-Loosey Demo

By | AR/VR, Field Service, Service Technology | 4 Comments

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) technology seems like a natural fit for personnel performing intricate assembly, maintenance and repair jobs. AR technology is used to annotate physical objects by superimposing physical objects, in real-time, with virtual information from documents, databases and sensors to assist technicians in performing complex tasks. For example, the AR annotation layer could highlight a part to be replaced, identify special tools needed for the task, prescribe detailed work instructions, and display warnings about potentially hazardous materials and activities.

Unlike virtual reality, which replaces the physical world, AR adds information that augments and enhances the real-world experience.

Work on using augmented reality in industrial settings dates back to the 1990s. The renewed interest in applying AR in service and maintenance tasks stems from two converging trends. Read More