Massive remote monitoring, smart services and equipment-as-a-service can be the key ingredients of a recipe for restarting the equipment manufacturing business in the post-Covid-19 era. Let’s see how.

Massive, IoT-based remote monitoring: a “must”

With “massive remote monitoring” we mean a permanent IoT-based connection and a continuous, two-way data flow between the installed base and a central system.

This is something more than the “old” concept of remote control, implemented through a point-to-point connection with the machine, often through a VPN connection. Both solutions allow remote communication with the machine, but the IoT-based solution has some significant advantages:

  1. the connection is always on, without an operator having to activate it; this allows you to collect a continuous data stream, to recognize faults before they occur, to warn the right people in time, to recognize usage patterns for improving your products and services;
  2. to recognize faults, errors, wrong usage patterns, you can rely on a central system with pre-established and certain rules, instead of relying on human interpretation.

The advantages of this approach are many:

  • you can increase the effectiveness of your technical support by fully recognizing the reasons for a failure and precisely identifying the necessary spare parts
  • you can assist your customers remotely, advising how to solve a problem or how to optimize the use of the machine based on real usage patterns
  • after all, you can avoid unnecessary visits to your customers’ premises by ensuring the same (or even higher) level of service

The post-Covid-19 era will further increase the value of these advantages, making massive, IoT-based remote monitoring a must.

More value to smart services

With “smart services” we mean a combination of physical and digital IoT-based services.

Digital services are enabled by an IoT-based connection with the installed base. This allows manufacturing companies to:

  • add value to traditional physical services: e.g. an enhanced maintenance program, a smart technical assistance support, a smart extended warranty contract;
  • offer completely new digital services: e.g insights for optimizing the efficiency, the productivity, the lifetime and in general the usage of the product.

The benefits of smart services are both for the manufacturing company and the customer:

IoT data monetization vs IoT-enabled service monetization
  • the manufacturing company can enhance the value proposition delivered to its customers and generate new revenue streams; in fact smart services are an efficient way to monetize IoT data (see our previous post: IoT data monetization vs IoT-enabled service monetization);
  • the customer can focus more on its core business and rely on smart services to manage and optimize the usage of the machine / appliance.

We can expect these two benefits to be even more valuable in the post-covid-19 era.

Expecting an increasing demand of equipment-as-a-service

Equipment-as-a-service is first of all a change in the business model and not only a technical matter. However technology is fundamental. Massive, IoT-based connection with the installed base and smart services can be the digital ground on which to build an equipment-as-a-service offering.

In the post-Covid-19 era we can expect an increasing demand of equipment-as-a-service offering. The reason is that everyone, people and companies, will have to adapt to much more dynamic and fluctuating economic trends. We cannot expect the economy to grow continuously for the next 20 years, but we must prepare for new contractions. For this reason, as a consumer I will be less inclined to buy and own a car, but willing to pay for the distance traveled. In the same way, as a company I will be less inclined to invest in the purchase of a machine, but willing to pay for the result obtained by using it.