You have probably heard of M2M like you have the Internet of Things, one of those buzzwords that has taken the tech world by storm declaring itself the “next big thing” from a technological perspective.And perhaps it is. But the concept of M2M, just like artificial intelligence, has been around for years. At its core, M2M is merely the ability for one device to communicate with another. Remember Samsung’s big anti-iPhone commercials that emphasized the tap-to-share feature on the Galaxy? That is M2M (one phone communicating with another). Home security systems that can be controlled by a smart phone app are another example of M2M.
Similar to an industrial revolution, M2M technology and the Internet of Things are on the verge of a big breakthrough. The challenge in the past has been how to get devices with different software, language and connectivity to communicate seamlessly with each other and with the cloud. A unified platform is needed and is now finally being provided by the likes of Concirrus, Aricent and Bosch Software Innovations. With this facilitation, machines can talk to each other cost effectively and virtually effortlessly. What makes this a big deal?
Here are some of M2M facts:
- By 2015, CSPs expect M2M to generate 5% or more of their revenues. This equates to $65 billion for mobile operators alone. (SAP)
- Ericsson predicts that there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020. (SAP)
- The US smart grid industry value will exceed $42 billion and the world market will reach a value of $171.4 billion by the end of 2014 (Cisco).
- Ideal Life reports a $7.57 ROI for every $1 spent on M2M technology.
How does this affect the service industry?
The service industry will arguably be the biggest beneficiary of the M2M movement. Entirely people based, the industry is prone to human error, inconsistency, and time challenges. M2M helps to solve these issues while increasing awareness, response times, safety, and more. Here are 5 ways the service industry will be affected by M2M technologies in the coming years:
Sparked, a Dutch start-up, uses wireless sensors on cattle to alert farmers if a cow is pregnant or sick. Each cow transmits 200 megabytes of data per year. Imagine using this technology on your field techs. Sensors could monitor your field technicians’ health in more precarious situations, like on oil rigs or repairing windmills or live wires and report back to dispatch. Not only would you help ensure you are working within all the right safety codes and regulations of your industry, in real time, but you would also be giving your field techs a peace of mind they haven’t experienced before. (Source: Cisco)
2. Fleet Tracking
You can truly get the most of an optimized schedule while increasing field technician accountability and efficiency if your fleet continually reports its location to your scheduling software. Emergency jobs can be more accurately assigned based on a technician’s location while mileage is reduced by ensuring that technicians’ paths don’t cross while being assigned to specific regions. The same can be said for tracking assets. If you use scheduling software to schedule your assets, having sensors monitor and report location can give you a better sense of time while greatly reducing the risk of loss and damage.
3. Remote Repairs
Medical tech provider Welch Allyn can make remote repairs to their equipment and even run software updates from afar with their M2M cloud based solution. This ability greatly reduces costs for field service organizations by reducing visits to customer sites which involve billable hours and often shipping costs, while minimizing downtime. (Source: FieldTechnologies)
4. Monitoring and Diagnostics
Preventative maintenance. In a dream world, this concept would be applied to every aspect of the working world, and wouldn’t be solely something health insurance organizations advocated. M2M makes this possible, giving organizations better visibility of their assets as well as the chance to provide the best customer service possible. By tracking the normal patterns of an asset, alerts can be sent to a qualified field technician’s mobile device when that asset isn’t functioning within previously set parameters. In some cases, remote diagnostics can be run to inform a field tech of what exactly is wrong and what parts and labor are needed BEFORE the technician gets to the customer site. According to Beecham Research, remote monitoring and diagnostics can reduce service visits by 60% while improving overall customer service.
5. Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is an added bonus that comes from the culmination of the above M2M benefits for the field service industry. If M2M can reduce downtime and human error while increasing efficiency and affectivity, customer satisfaction is pretty much a given. In our ever increasing technological world, consumers and businesses alike are looking for instant gratification and the easiest route possible. M2M makes this possible by getting rid of the headache and reducing the customer involvement when it comes to errors and faults. In some cases, M2M doesn’t just give you the vendor visibility, but it shares this intelligence with the customer as well. In other words, you are looking at smoother working relationship with your customers all around.
Looking for more information on how M2M is impacting the field service industry? Read ServicePower’s white paper Consuming M2M Data in the Field Service Organization HERE and see how ServicePower is already utilizing the power of M2M.
Image courtesy of SAP Infographic. Find it HERE.