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September 8, 2016

Internet of Things (IoT) in field service management (FSM)

In today's competitive world, real-time data and innovative service methods are vital for field service enterprises to ensure customer delight, increase revenues, and expand profit margins.

The IoT explained

The Internet of Things (IoT) allows machines to communicate with each other (M2M communication). It is built using a combination of networks that comprise of data-gathering sensors, devices, big data, analytics, and cloud computing, which communicate via secured and encrypted channels. Connected devices enable efficient predictive maintenance by constantly providing information on a machine's performance, environmental conditions, and the possibility of failures. IoT can connect machines on the field in order to record incidents in real-time into a semi-intelligent 'Gen-X' FSM system.

Integrating IoT with FSM software applications

Field service organizations always strive to consistently provide the best service experience to their customers, by ensuring immediate repair and maintenance of their equipment and machinery. By collecting data about the machine's health and performance from IoT sensors, organizations can leverage predictive and preventive field service to minimize device downtime.


Three primary traditional FSM challenges

Here are three primary issues that challenge the current reactive scenarios:

    Field technicians execute the job and fix the equipment after the issue is reported. However, the delay can impact business continuity, which in turn affects the operating profit margins


    Adding more field technicians and service trucks to the field comes at a cost and sometimes the increased capacity remains under-used


    Assigning more work to existing field teams can have a negative impact on SLAs and first-time fix rates. Even worse, it can increase the cost of travel and overtime

Essentials of a new-age FSM solution

A field service management system that integrates device sensor data, technicians, customers, and technology is the key to address these issues. It should function in a predictive and preventive mode with the following features:

    The FSM process, which includes issue identification, communication, incident creation, scheduling, and assignment can be automated, thereby ensuring zero disruption in machinery operations and no or negligible downtime. This not only increases productivity, but also expands operating profit margins

 

    Most FSM products can also automate incident creation, scheduling, assignment, and invoicing processes. Using IoT, we can predict upcoming issues based on sensors data analysis and auto-creation of incidents based on preset threshold rules

The workflow of a FSM system with IoT integration

Here is an outline of the flow of incidents in a typical IoT-enabled FSM system:

1.   Data from the equipment's sensors is collected and transmitted, using secured and encrypted channels, to a big data storage


2.   Big data management and analytics is used to parse and analyze for refined sensors data


3.   The IoT command console is configured with predefined threshold rules to identify errors and monitor the device's health and performance


4.   Incidents are auto-created in the FSM system whenever errors are detected


5.   Auto-scheduling, routing, and dispatching of field service technicians against the incidents is done based on customer entitlements, location, product, skills required for the job, technician's availability, parts availability, etc. via the FSM system


6.   A field technician performs the job at the customer's site; records the effort, parts used, travel time, and any expenses incurred; and then bills the customer


Workflow of Field Service Management application using IoT.

Six Solution benefits



Wind turbines: A case in point of how IoT integrates with FS systems

Failures in wind turbines interrupt power generation leading to lower productivity and higher system downtime, which result in varying energy production and higher operating costs. To maintain profit margins, higher efficiency and uptime are required.

Near-real-time analytics provides data so that FS teams can react faster and address the issues before they become mission critical, thus reducing impact and avoiding downtime.

The wind turbine's sensors collect real-time data that is analyzed and through which, auto incidents are created, service scheduled, and an agent assigned to fix the issues. Wind turbine sensors are also used to continuously collect operating temperature, rotor acceleration, wind speed and direction, and blade vibrations - all of which can be used to optimize the turbine's performance, increase its productivity, and execute predictive maintenance to ensure reduced downtime.


*** Authors: R.N.Sarath Babu and Haresh Sreenivasa ***


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August 13, 2016

Oracle Transportation Mobile app: A review

Oracle has come out with Oracle Transportation Mobile app version 1.1 which is compatible with Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) 6.3.X version. This app provides a very natural mobile experience as the user can work with this application using the swiping, scrolling, and rotating mechanism. You can download this app from the App Store or Google Play. While reviewing this app, I will be analyzing it based on the following criteria:

1. Ease of use: Mobile app should be intuitive and easy to use

2. Functionality to review tendered shipments / accept tendered shipments

3. Ability to add events

4. Feature to add signature

5. Capability to add damaged item's condition / photo

6. Functionality to view contact details of consignee

7. Ability to work offline as connectivity can be missing in remote locations such as Alaska / Hawaii

8. Feature to review invoices

9. Ability to add multiple events across multiple shipments

Having reviewed the OTM mobile app, this application is easy to use and fun to work with. From an initial setup perspective, it is quite easy to get started. The transport carrier needs to login using an email ID and password. The admin needs to provide certain access control lists to the service provider, to provide permission to access the application and to be able to enter events. When connected to internet, you can begin with onboarding carriers on this app within a week by doing necessary setups and providing the login/password info to the carrier.

As soon as shipment is reviewed for execution and tendered to carrier, the carrier can view it immediately by refreshing his data on the App user interface. The carrier can review shipment information such as shipment stops, weight, order information, item information, equipment information, and consignee contact information. This helps create a complete paperless experience, thus aiding the cause of green transportation.

The application provides the ability to accept / reject the tender, and the response is immediately available to be seen by shipper. Thus, there is no translation (B2B) involved in between. Carriers can cut down on the cost of B2B implementation with this app.

Once the carrier is ready with the pickup, he can add events like pickup, in transit, delay events with date / location. The application provides the capability to add an event based on the shipment's stop location or current location. The application also provides the capability to add photo / signature for the event where the set-up is defined in OTM. Hence, it should be known to the carrier that he/she can add a status on certain events only.

This application comes with a local Structured Query Language (SQL) database which allows relevant data associated with the shipment to be stored on the mobile. However, in case connectivity is an issue, the carrier must be able to only view the shipments but will not be able to add events till the connectivity issue is resolved.

The application does not provide the capability to review invoices as an out-of-the-box feature. It could, however, be possible to add it via Representational State Transfer (REST) application programming interfaces (APIs), but I am yet to review REST APIs. Also, the application does not provide the capability to add multiple events in its current state, and only one event can be added to one shipment at any given time. Overall, this application helps in providing enterprises with quick onboarding capabilities to their carriers /drivers.

otm_mobile_app.PNG

Screenshots from the OTM Mobile App

OTM Mobile app Features

Rating ( 5/ 5)

Ease of Use

5

Review Tender / Accept Tender

5

Ability to add events

5

Add Signature

5

Add Photo

5

View Contact Details

5

Ability to work offline

2

Review Invoices

0

Ability to add multiple events

0

The app gets an overall rating of 3.5/5

Written by: Vipin Kumar Madan

September 18, 2013

Hitting a home run by going social

Guest post by
Tulica Tripathi, Senior Associate Consultant, Infosys

 

Consumer behavior has undergone drastic change over the past few years. Today, customers recommend a new product on Facebook, share an interesting campaign on their wall, tweet publicly about their bad experiences and sometimes, purchase directly from social sites!

Social media, therefore, can be used very creatively and uniquely across industries to increase customer engagement and generate more buzz around your brands. Let's talk about some successful examples where social media was used to create online buzz.

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September 11, 2013

Siebel Open UI - Steps closer to Enterprise Mobility

Guest post by
Alpesh Narendra Chauhan, Lead Consultant, Infosys

 

Enterprise Mobility: 

Field work force wants to access CRM applications on their mobile devices, giving them agility and flexibility to access required data anytime and anywhere to respond to customer query quicker. Consumerization of IT is enforcing enterprises to go for mobility solutions. Enterprises are defining mobility strategies to define long term mobility goals. Users are expecting to use same consumer technologies for personal as well as professional work, which is resulting in surge of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) implementation. With emergence of smart devices usage, enterprise mobility is going to gain further momentum.

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September 10, 2013

Oracle ADF Mobile - Taking the pole position on Enterprise Mobility

Guest post by
Praveen Verma, Project Manager, Infosys

 

With the advent of wireless technology and smartphones, world now realizes that this century will be the century of transformation, led by communication. We will continue to see massive changes in the way information is made available. This ongoing transformation is also being acknowledged by various industries, who in-turn, have started exploring various possibilities, challenges and opportunities with the changing environment.

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October 3, 2012

Radical Progress : Infosys Keynote at Oracle OpenWorld 2012

Guest post by
Abhishek Sabharwal, Principal Consultant, Infosys

 

They say the time stops at Oracle OpenWorld (OOW) when a keynote is on! Thousands of folks from our industry (clients, partners, media, analysts, academia) get charged up to know more about what's coming in the ever dynamic IT world, waiting patiently much before the keynote actually starts. While yesterday's keynotes were focused around innovations in hardware, social, cloud that Oracle continues to drive, the focus of Infosys keynote was about Radical Progress. I quickly reconfirmed the meaning of the world radical on my iphone and it said, something that changes the fundamentals. The first thing that I could think of was the world moving from flat to being round by Galileo which was then challenged by the church as well.

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July 3, 2012

CRM to CXM to C3E - Innovation or Evolution?

While CXM (Customer Experience Management) was floated as a concept almost a couple of years ago, it seems quite recent in wake of the fact that CRM (Customer Relationship Management) has been the mainstay of enterprises worldwide for almost 2 decades now. Despite the fact that most of the organizations are yet to latch on to this, and the fact that the ones who have latched on are yet to mature the concept when implemented on ground, the industry is looking for something newer already. The new acronym on the block is C3E (Cross-Channel Customer Experience), and at least for now it seems to satisfy everyone's appetite for innovation.

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June 13, 2012

Oracle Mobile Supply Chain Applications : Be Mobile, Be Quick, Be Accurate and Reduce Waste

Guest post by
Shantanu Bedekar, Senior Consultant, Infosys

 

Anyone who has visited a manufacturing plant or a warehouse knows that there is always a time-lag between physical movement of material and recording the same in the system. The unavoidable reason of this is: material is stored in racks, bins, containers spread across the warehouse or shop-floor but computer terminals on which Oracle forms are opened to enter data are far and few.

Continue reading " Oracle Mobile Supply Chain Applications : Be Mobile, Be Quick, Be Accurate and Reduce Waste " »

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