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Innovative companies are pulling elements of artificial intelligence (AI) out of the pages of science fiction and incorporating them as practical, profitable, and actionable concepts for field service.

 

Simply put, AI enables computers to perform tasks that normally require intelligence used by humans. You may not realize it, but artificial intelligence is already deployed all around you: whenever Siri responds to your question, whenever a music station suggests the next song you might like, or in each smart car, smart washing machine, smart TV, even new smart hairbrushes.

 

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Practical uses for artificial intelligence are growing and Indresh Satyanarayana, Chief Architect at ServiceMax, spoke in an interview about the smart way to start leveraging the technology to service equipment running right for technicians.

 

With more interconnected machines and technicians, the overall process can be much more smooth and efficient, conserving money, time, and resources for all. Indresh is already considering ways to leverage artificial intelligence,  from “enabling natural language processing in our mobile applications to realizing autonomous field work by enabling AI-based decision making".

 

However, figuring out how computers and humans work together is no easy task. Satyanarayana explained that, "AI and machine learning concepts operate at a fundamental level in product and feature design, and can sometimes lead to false positives if the data being fed into it isn't robust." Organizations must look at their long term vision and embrace a holistic perspective in our to improve the field service industry with AI. Automation, a natural user experience, and outcome-first machine learning are a few areas that could work well with a holistic, AI strategy.

 

With the right amount of time, the right kind of knowledge, and the right mindset, organizations will develop the right strategy to incorporate AI into their products and services.

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To read more about ServiceMax and AI, check out this article here. Or if you want to hear more about Indresh Satyanarayana’s thoughts on artificial intelligence, check out this post from Field Service Digital.

 

How can elements of AI help service organizations in your industry? How can they improve the customer experience? Is it a part of your field service roadmap?

Have you read The Forrester Wave: IoT Software Platforms, Q4 2016 report? It talks about embracing IoT for digital solutions and business transformations. IoT software platforms are particularly relevant to those in field service. We've seen how customers need insight into performance metrics in their equipment, including water level or air temperature. Forward thinking companies want to leverage smart, connected products to gain the benefits of real time insight. When one component is off, it can point to impending equipment failure. When a machine is down, the customer company will lose money and their customers have a negative experience. With connected products, companies can be proactive. Their downtime is decreased, the customer experience is improved, and they can alleviate worry about their equipment suddenly going down. Field service teams are thinking about the digital opportunities IoT offers and how it can improve their planning, reporting, and operational processes.

 

IoT.jpgThe Forrester Wave reviews 11 popular IoT providers and how they compare to each other. With long-time emphasis on the industrial market and by providing customers with the ability to connect high-value assets, General Electric is classified as a leader with strong strategy and current offerings. To read more about GE and the 10 other providers, download the report for free from our GE Digital site. Click here for the link.

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With the Pay-TV vertical becoming more and more competitive over the last few years, Sky Italia found it vital to focus on customer experience and satisfaction in order to differentiate themselves. What did they need to do achieve this? Lucio Golinelli, a Senior Director of Service & Delivery with Sky Italia, felt that improving the customer experience would come from a digital revolution within the organization. Specifically, the organization needed to move away from the standard processes of field service delivery and prioritize digital centric processes. This move would revolve around the consumer experience and financial KPIs.

 

How did they do this? Sky Italia was not looking for a generic, off the rack solution. They needed a tailored solution that would work across their whole supply chain. Thus, Sky Italia collaborated with ServiceMax to work through the transformation process. Over the past two years, ServiceMax has developed a customized solution for Sky Italia's FSM tools that work for the company itself, their partners, and their customers.

 

For more details about Sky Italia's digital transformation and the rewards they're beginning to reap from their ServiceMax solution, check out "Industry Focus: Pay TV" for the full story.

As we wind down from holiday celebrations in the last hours of 2016, it’s helpful to look back at our body of work this year, as well as the accomplishments, goals, challenges, successes and failures. Here at ServiceMax, we are always looking at important data from analysts and field service surveys to plan for what comes next for the industry. What did we find out in 2016? What does 2017 have to offer in the world of field service?

 

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Workforce Changes:

Field service will remain a people business in the new year, even accounting for the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT). Customers will still expect a trained and knowledgable professional to show up at their door when something breaks. For so many of our customers, the field servie technician remains the face of the company for years after the initial sale. However, with retiring talent and the consistent need to update skill sets, it’s becoming a challenge to maintain a strong service team. We now see some organizations turning to freelancers to substitute their full-time workforce.

 

 

New Technologies

Regardless of who’s doing the work, the job responsibilities are evolving more and more. Service can now involve leveraging mobile and social platforms, augmented reality devices, and the Internet of Thing. Nearly every service organization is looking at these tools, and thinking about where they might fit into their future. In a webinar with Bryan Coddington, Vice President of Cloud Technology at USDM Life Sciences, he explains how field service systems are evolving, and which emerging technologies are in the future for medical device field service teams.

 

 

Internet of Things in 2016:

Even though 2017 is right around the corner, wrapping up 2016 is not just about preparing for the future, but reflecting on the 12-months that have passed.

 

This year saw how the Internet of Things can be a game changer. If you are promising your clients quality, proactive service, our 2016 blog explores how, IoT provides new tools and helps teams deliver with a combination of automated alerts and ticket creation, real-time data, proximity-based alerts and predictive maintenance.

 

At the start of 2016,  Aly Pinder, Jr. surveyed over 200 service and manufacturing organizations and found, among other insights, that compared to the industry average, top-performing companies are 50 percent more likely to dispatch service techs based on automated remote data. This Aberdeen Research report shows how the Internet of Things is clearly revolutionizing the world of maintenance service and creating opportunities for the future.

 

 

Research on Field Service: Coming Soon!

 

Research that centers on surveys of service organizations is always valuable to the informed field service technologist and strategist. In April 2016, according to an independent study from Vanson Bourne, commissioned by ServiceMax, almost all (96%) of the IT and field service decision makers surveyed report that their organization could see gains through the adoption of connected devices or sensors.

 

So while you may be seeing the benefits of IoT, your competitor probably is too. In early 2017, we will introduce a new research report that reflects the most recent data from field service organizations.

 

  • What is the impact of your field service technology?

 

  • How does it compare to others?

 

Keep an eye out here on the ServiceMax Community for the latest research on the impact and KPIs of successful field service organizations.

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I am the Regional Marketing Manager for Southern Europe.  Deirdre Yee interviewed me, she wanted me to share a little bit about myself, my role at ServiceMax, and our work in Southern Europe.

I live in Milan, Italy. My favorite thing about my city might be the food - I love tortellini in brodo. I also love travelling with friends. New York is one of my favorite places; to me, it feels like the center of the world.

 

I’ve spent my career in marketing, and spent most of my time focused on regional work in Southern Europe. I would be happy to share my knowledge about doing business in this region with ServiceMax Community members. I will post updates with great new assets, events, and news regularly, here in the community.

 

I was pleased to help with Technologies du Field Service du futur, a wonderful event we hosting in September 2016 in Paris, with a great agenda of content, including 5 top priorities for Field Service Teams in 2016, Connected Field service, powered by IoT, Augmented reality in field service, and achieving excellence through our Field Service maturity matrix assessment tool. Below a picture of the event.

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We also joined the IoT World Congress in Barcelona in October, a great event for IoT; full of business managers, CTOs, CMOs, technical experts who are interested in IoT Solutions. We met great contacts across Manufacturing, Energy, Utilities, Transportation, Healthcare, and technology organizations.

 

One event I am looking forward to next year is the SPS Italian Automation event in Parma in May. Focused on industrial automation, and growing quickly, this conference is great for manufacturing companies and the content will be important for field service teams in Italy. It is very important for us to expand coverage for new markets, to represent field service for customers from these areas.

 

My customers in Southern Europe, they are interested in the technology and understanding how our software works, how it can be flexible for their needs. On the other hand they are focused on ROI and how it can improve their customer’s experience.

 

One of my goals is to deliver information for different roles, particularly for Southern Europe. There can be many stakeholders in the process, from the CFO, IT team, line of business, Services team. Each person has needs, has questions, and wants to understand more. All may be involved in the decision making process and I want to help address their interests and questions.

 

Here are some recent assets for you or your team members in Southern Europe or who speak Spanish or French.

 

ServiceMax y PTC anuncian Servicios de Campo Conectados (Spanish subtitles)

 

This is a video where ServiceMax and PTC present their co-joint offer on Connected Field Services. Moreover you can see how IoT technology will be very important in the upcoming years, and also how McKinley Equipment has already started using it.

 

ServiceMax démonstration - Le rôle du field service (French audio)

Improving field service operations requires a complete understanding of and visibility into the complexities of field service delivery. It starts when your customer purchases a product or service from you, and extends through delivery processes such as work order management, and finally to analytics to understand the business as well as ultimately deliver predictive service. Watch this demo video to see how ServiceMax has focused on building deep technology for the entire field service delivery chain.

  • Are you based in Southern Europe?
  • Do you have teams in Southern Europe?
  • What do you provide for those teams?
  • What are the cultural considerations you take?

 

I’m interested to collaborate with members who are doing business in my region, and eager to provide more assets to help with your field service evaluation.

  • What documents, assets, webinars, etc would you like to see in Italian, Spanish, French, or Portuguese?

 

Thanks!

Mauro

It’s always fun to share good news.

 

We’re really proud of our customers’ achievements, and when they go above and beyond to make their customers happy. A huge part of Field Service is the customer satisfaction rating. Some say best in class field service organizations are always engaged in a delicate balancing act between cost, performance, and customer satisfaction. Metrics and dashboards and the human touch help keep that balance in tune.

 

A large part of my role is partnering with customers and helping them tell the story of their field service journey. It’s about collaborating some, about the field service network too. It’s also about helping you brag. Some of the most enjoyable stories I get to help tell are all about our customers’ customers. When excellence in field service leads to a game changing business impact and the clients can tell. That’s my favorite kind.

 

ServiceMax has our own bragging rights today. I’m very pleased to share that we are being named a Leader once again in the 2016 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management. And that’s not all. Read the report for more details, we are so pleased to be recognized and positioned as a leader of field service software providers by this highly respected analyst firm.

 

Access the 2016 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Field Service*

 

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And back to the bragging topic, this is a great opportunity to further your field service story with your customers, executives, and in your sales cycles.  As a ServiceMax customer, you are hyper-focused on superior service. Your team is innovative and looking to the future as you commit to drive measurable results for your own customers.  This is objective proof in the market that you have invested in Best-in-Class cutting edge field service technology with your customers’ success in mind.

 

Now that’s a story that can show off your competitive advantage in service.

 

What stories, anecdotes, and examples do you have of customers showing they are over the moon with your service?

 

How do you prove that service is important to your business?

 

Does your sales team talk about your excellence in service?

 

*Gartner, “Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management”, Jim Robinson, William McNeill, Jason Wong, Michael Maoz, November 3rd, 2016

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Nicole Guzzo

Get In Touch

Posted by Nicole Guzzo Employee Nov 2, 2016

We're excited to offer you a variety of ways in which you can stay connected with us, our news and the updates you need to know. Below are different ways you can reach us, find the option that's best for you!

 

Call Us

Customers can call sales, support or general reception at the following numbers.

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Social Media

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Where do you hang out online? Like us on Facebook. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter. Check out some of our executives' like Dave Yarnold's, Scott Berg's or Athani Krishna's Twitter feeds.

Subscribe to the ServiceMax YouTube channel. Give one of our videos, like this one, a thumbs up. Share links to your favorite videos with your friends and family!

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We encourage you to leave a comment, tweet a message or watch a video! Also, engage with us by using some of our common hashtags including field service, iot, cloud and data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community

To see everyone who's visible to you on the Community, click here. Screen Shot 2016-10-31 at 2.42.04 PM.pngThis list allows you to access their profile, check out their skills and see what content their producing. Or you can keep up with our Field Service Network blogs and jump into a discussion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Website

Fill out and submit a contact form. Below the form are a list of ServiceMax offices - see if there's one near you! Or if you're feeling eager, select "CHAT" at the top of the website to live chat with one of our representatives.

 

Screen Shot 2016-10-31 at 2.02.37 PM.pngThere's also the ServiceMax event page. Attend an event, like Maximize Europe 2016, or see what the upcoming trade shows and regional events are. Register for product demos and webinars to learn about the latest ServiceMax products and features. We make it easy to keep in touch, so let’s keep the conversation going. If there's a better way to communicate with you, leave and comment and let us know!

Do you get this question often - “How frequently will our customers use the analytics tool?”

 

I do.

 

And my response is: it depends if you are building a Tesla or a Porsche.

 

2010-tesla-roadster-2011-porsche-boxster-spyder-front-view-promo.jpgAt the outset: I have very high regards for the breakthrough Tesla has brought about and Elon Musk is my most aspired leader. I have their T-shirts, their jackets and caps. Tesla has a formidable technology stack, modern and highly performant, complete with the latest technology components in AutoPilot and battery technologies. The car even does 0-60 in 2.8 seconds in "Ludicrous" mode.

 

I can build a Tesla. I can put together a formidable analytics stack with the latest and the very best in open source and proprietary software - I throw in Spark, Kafka, Storm, Cassandra, Mongo, CouchBase, Hadoop, Hive, AWS, CloudFoundry all together - and come with a super-cool technology stack that makes me blue with “cool” and satisfies my engineer ego. I am a technologist and so is my stack. Customers take my stack for a spin and they are aghast at the amazing technologies I have used and the power of it. It is the feeling I had after I took a Tesla out for a spin: enthralling technology on wheels. But once I got back home I wondered "but where was the car?"

 

Or I can build a Porsche - my analytics machine is put together with the sole objective of providing my customers with the best driving experience. My customers don’t see my technologies but the experience I create touches every part of their life. Customers do not “use” my stack - they are constantly engaged with it without even realizing they are using an analytics platform behind the scenes. My stack is the enabler - it still comprises some of the technologies from above, but the technologies are not my focus - I deliver customer experience through specific solutions.

 

That is what a data driven solution does - it uses an underlying analytics platform to uncover insights that deliver the business experience without making customers feel like they are using one. It is the platform underneath that powers the applications which in turn deliver the experience. A data driven solution delivers information of the right amount and the right simplicity to its point of consumption. Customers continue with their normal interaction with the systems but the data driven solution makes the experience relevant and engaging.

 

This is really the next evolution in product development - the old way of engineering products is over. The way of delivering the “Porsche experience” is to build an underlying data driven platform and build custom data powered solutions on the top targeted at specific customers and business domains. And open it up to engineers, customers and incentivize the overall developer ecosystem to add more solutions. And we will continue to deliver value through our solutions, not the platform. Platform its the enabler. Several industries have started taking the data-driven approach - Industrial Design, Manufacturing and Content Marketing and Pharma Tech being a few of them. To our benefit we have a more defined market space in Field Service Automation that we can win quicker - key is to remain focused on delivering the experience that the business domain needs through effective use of data. On several meet ups I have discussed with business leaders on how to effectively build and deliver data driven solutions.

 

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I see our analytics platform delivering the Porsche experience - I see an opportunity for us to create  a blue ocean from within a red ocean to push the boundaries of Field Service and make an impact (BTW if you are not already familiar, this is a great article introducing Blue Ocean Strategy from HBR: Blue Ocean Strategy). I see us delivering the only data driven solution for Field Service Automation. If we do, we automatically enhance the lives of Service Managers, Technicians and Service Leaders while they go through their daily lives - through delivering insights to points of consumption without them having to “use” our “stack” or “tool”.

 

We are getting started laying the foundation -  it is ok for us to start as a Tesla but our goal is to eventually deliver the experience of a Porsche.

Who is ServiceMax?

 

It’s a question I’ve been slowly trying to answer during my time at this company. I was excited to gain more insight into this question as I walked into the On-Boarding | ServiceMax Way program. IMG_3976.jpgDave Yarnold, our CEO, would be explaining to the group who ServiceMax is and it’s history. As a no-corporate-world-experience intern, the term CEO has an intimidating connotation. The CEO is the big guy (or girl), the head honcho, the big cheese of a company. I wasn’t sure if I should expect a presentation filled with numbers and metrics or a discussion on future plans, or potentially both.

 

From the company’s beginning at Dreamforce 8 years ago, to our incredible growth, that made us the fastest growing field service software company in history, Dave touched on a variety of topics about our history and journey forward. By focusing on people, processes, products and promises and placing that all on top of the Salesforce app cloud, ServiceMax has designed a system that the people of the field service world need. Dave emphasized that the products and solutions are incredibly innovative, yet the company doesn’t take as much credit as it deserves. But it doesn’t stop here. Dave wants to expand field service education into universities and create various teaching programs for the future.

 

It’s this passion and the innovative system that makes ServiceMax, well, ServiceMax. “This combination differentiates us from our competitors” explained Dave. He not only applauded how people at ServiceMax “geek out” about the products and plans, but he essentially “geeked out” talking about it! His excitement was infectious.

 

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Yes, he’s the CEO of a growing, innovative high tech company. And yes, he had a lot of impressive metrics and numbers to share with us.  But I was encouraged to see how down to earth Dave was. With values like respect and humility, Dave and the whole team are out to take advantage of the opportunities field service provides, and to help our customers do the same. His love for the company shined through. And he is definitely a great representation of who ServiceMax is: passionate, competitive, visionary and most importantly customer focused.

 

Community members: What was your first impression of ServiceMax?

 

What made an impression? Who, here in the community, have you had great conversations with?

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If you are interested in starting your field service domain expertise journey - sign up today for Field Service University 1!

 

Then further your field service expertise by attending FSU2 in person! Check out our website for the current schedule: Field Service University 2

Marie Coon manages ServiceMax’s Knowledge Base*, our online self-help tool for customers and partners to utilize when looking for help with their ServiceMax product, or answer questions they may have. The Knowledge Base is an exclusive asset for our customers and partners, and Marie is passionate about the potential to build out essential information based on feedback here in the community. We interviewed Marie to find out more:

 

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Why is it important for technology vendors to provide knowledge bases?

 

Knowledge bases are an important tool for customers to help themselves, 24x7.  While more complex issues will need the help of a support team, there are many times where an issue can be resolved or a question answered immediately by using a knowledge base, rather than sitting on hold for a support representative to answer, or waiting for a callback.

 

Why are you interested in knowledge sharing? Why did you go into this direction in your career?

 

I want to make the knowledge base an invaluable tool for customers and employees alike. My goal is to get information to the right person, at the right time, and in the right place. Providing answers and solutions will help customers be successful with their implementations, which is a win/win.  Happy customers help the company to succeed, and I get to help people!

 

What has been happening since ServiceMax Knowledge went live?

 

I have always enjoyed coming in on the ground floor and watching the vision come to life.  There is such a sense of accomplishment to see a knowledge base go live, and as adoption rates grow, the content continually improves and grows. 

 

Since we went live, more and more content has been contributed.  Many articles were revamped, and new ones have been introduced.   We instituted versioning, so you will see newer articles, as well as newly revised articles, will have application versions it applies to included at the top of each article.

 

How would you recommend a new customer go about getting started with ServiceMax Knowledge?


Once customers have access to the ServiceMax Community, they can visit the Knowledge Community page by clicking on the Customer Central link at the top of the page and selecting Knowledge Base from the menu dropdown.  You can also click on the ServiceMax Knowledge “sticker” displayed on the main page.

 

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How can customers request new knowledge articles or provide feedback?

 

We have three blog posts on this:

 

 

Do you really read their feedback?

 

Of course!  I thrive on feedback from our customers.  Content is meant to be read, and if no one is reading, then knowledge is wasted.  Getting feedback shows me customers are coming to the Knowledge Community and actually looking at the content.

 

So what happens to this feedback?  Nothing - I just like to collect them.  Just Kidding!!!  The feedback is considered and a determination is made as to whether it is something that needs to be, or can be, addressed, and then routed to the correct person/department to handle the feedback.  Every effort is made to follow up on Its progress.

 

Do you have questions for the ServiceMax Community Members?

 

Yes!

 

Is Customer Service important to you and your organization?

 

What actions do you take to help customers understand the service you are providing?

 

Thanks for reading and please reply in the comments below!



*This resource is in addition to other avenues available in the community, including logging a support case.  These articles are created by Support and other teams across the company in order to help customers find the answers they are looking for.

Earlier this summer, I was delighted to host the System Performance and Integration track at Maximize 2016 in San Francisco. Our presenters shared great insights, advice, success stories, and technical details with attendees. This week, I was interviewed about the track and the great content and conversation that happened all around system optimization and integration.

 

 

Why have a system performance track?

How do you deploy thousands of mobile devices to technicians and ensure they’re not broken? That data isn’t lost? That the machines are being used the right way? We want to make sure that our customers in IT departments have the opportunity to get good information and advice around system performance and optimization of their systems.


How did you choose what topics needed to be covered?

We used past knowledge from other tracks and sessions to determine what we should cover. In general, integration is always a hot topic. When you talk about integrating with other systems, you learn about a lot of other concerns that surround the topic so we looked to cover a variety of those issues.

 

Who was your ideal audience?

We created this track for IT employees and IT administrators, but also for those in the line of business. We wanted to focus on those who needed to manage configuration and the performance of their system and those interested in how ServiceMax runs. Specifically, the people who are the service organization for the service organization.

 

What were some of the most engaging sessions?

Inspecta’s Mobile Data Strategy with Marketplace Partner goformz was an engaging session. The session showcased an extended ecosystems of partners. These partners are now building their own integration, which in return is providing for solutions for our customers. This is important for customers to know– that organizations are making the effort to making integration more understandable so IT no longer has integration headaches. GoFormz was one of the first companies to do the integration, roll it out with customers and have customers experience success, so they were ideal for this session.

 

IT Success: Customers Integrating to Oracle and SAP was important because customer speakers, Bobby Culbertson & Roberto Millan, proved that you CAN integrate and be successful in building integrations. Specifically, having a medical device manufacture speak was powerful because there are many risks when doing ANYTHING system related in a medical device company. There are large corporate IT processes that need to be followed when integration happens; that’s what the customers were interested in hearing. Big questions revolved around what processes were being prioritized for integration.


What seemed to be some of the major take aways from this track?

IT sits outside of the the line of business. They get requirements for what to do, but not how to do it. It’s important for them to see how other people have optimized their systems and what might be beneficial for them to know. They need clarification. Because of the real life examples provided in the System Performance and Integration track, people now know about different solutions they can pursue. They learn how they can optimize their systems for their field service organizations.

 

 

What are your biggest integration questions?

 

Did you attend Maximize and join this track? What were your main learning points and takeaways?

 

What advice would you give to IT and field service professionals who are considering new integrations?

Hello,

Derek Korte here, editor at Field Service Digital. I'm hoping to profile several field service technicians around the world with their vehicles. Driving's part of the job, and techs no doubt spend a lot of time in their vehicles — whether it's a white van in the U.S., a station wagon in the U.K., a Fort Transit in Europe. Field techs' vehicles are as diverse as the technicians behind the wheel, and the machines the machines they fix. I'm hoping to capture that eclectic mix of jobs/fleets in a story that will publish on Field Service Digital.

 

Here's the gist: It'll be a short profile of each technician with him/her posing with their vehicle. I'll include a few details on the vehicle (make, model, year, how many miles on the odometer) and perhaps an anecdote or two.

 

Do you have a trusty work vehicle that you love (or love to hate)? Let me know at derek@original9.com Thanks!

 

But I will write about it anyways.

 

You are familiar with iot and if you like the cool IoT pictures of “things” lighting up all over the world much like the picture here, this article is for you.                                                                               

 

The primary value in an IoT system is its ability to perform analytics on the acquired data and extract useful insights. But for folks who have been there and done that or are doing that, building a pipeline for performing scalable analytics with the volume, velocity and variety of data associated with IoT systems is no easy task.

 

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Kinds of Data

We encounter three kinds of data on an IoT platform:

  1. Metrics – sensor data such as temperature, humidity, vibration, and so on. This is typically high volume of small amounts of data with a high velocity.
  2. Diagnostics – data that gives indication into the overall health of a machine, a system or a process.  Diagnostic data often comprises but is not limited to log data and may indicate that a process has started to fail and might need further analysis to determine the root cause.
  3. Transactions – Data related to interaction between systems and human beings. This is what completes the M2M2P (Machine to Machine to Person) together with Metrics and Diagnostic Data, completes what I call M2M2P data. This may include adjustment to the parameters of a machine, completion of a planned maintenance etc. The sort of data that transactions give rise to is likely to be less frequent than metrics and diagnostics, but may be more complex and insightful when combined with the other kinds of data.

 

 

IoT Pipeline

The real value of IoT is in bringing these different types of data together to add value. And that’s also one of its key challenges. It's a challenge that involves data acquisition, combination/integration, data transformation, data processing and computation, data storage,  and, more often than not overlooked, data security.  Here is a typical IoT pipeline:

 

Receive data

A variety of protocols enable the receipt of events from IoT devices, especially at the lower levels of the stack. The more popular and widely supported protocols for transferring data in IoT applications are MQTT, XMPP and Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP). Time-series data is captured as events take place around these devices. This use of real-time information provides a complete record for each device, as it happens.

 

Combine data

Whether it is preemptive troubleshooting, monitoring or improving customer service, answers to business problems almost always require combining sensor data from multiple sensors often across multiple physical locations with data from other sources like ERP, Manufacturing systems, PLM systems and other home grown systems.  You can combine the device-generated data with other metadata about the device, or with other datasets, such as weather or traffic data, for use in subsequent analysis. By combining data you can also add checks such as averaging data across multiple devices to avoid acting upon data only from a single device.

 

Enrich and/or transform data

Data from devices in their raw form may not be suited for analytics. Data may be missing, requiring an enrichment step, or representations of values may need transformation. You may also convert the data into another format. Also, in order to avoid “drowning in sensor data”,  certain events must be filtered out in order to better manage the storage and processing requirements. While processing diagnostic data it is also typical to filter out all of the 'normal' data in order to focus on the “true diagnostic” data that suggests there is a problem that needs further investigation. However, transformations and enrichments can be expensive and may add significant latency to the overall pipeline. Hence it is best to avoid the need to rerun the transformations if you rerun a sequence of events.

 

Aggregate and compute data

By adding computation to your pipeline, you can apply streaming analytics to data while it is still in the processing pipeline. Calculated metrics are typically written to a persistent data store. The calculated metrics  can then be used to suit business requirements - trigger real-time notifications, update real-time dashboards or generate events for downstream applications. For most applications, it makes sense to store the computed/aggregated data alongside the “raw” data. Time-series data is a form of data that is typically stored in the persistent data store because in the business domains related to IoT, it is often essential to understand how data relates with time.

 

Stream processing technologies are required to combine and correlate data from different sources often in real-time. Failures, exceptions, service level breaches will be identified in real-time, allowing notifications to be sent out immediately with the ability to drive automated actions and responses. Storm or Spark fare typical technology choices because they excel at managing high-volume streams and performing operations over them, like event correlation, rolling metric calculations, and aggregate statistics. They also leave the door open to implement any “custom” algorithms that may be required.

 

Store data

It is critical that the platform can extract deep predictive analytics from historical data combined with real-time events. Therefore, integrating a low-latency, high-throughput database system into the platform is extremely important. In addition to massive scale, IoT workflows often require both fast lookup and writes, requiring a persistent store that responds fast to high volume reads and writes. Common data stores are HDFS and NoSQL databases like Cassandra. Relationships are often captured using Graph Databases.

 

Visualize data

Once the calculated metrics are stored, business users should be able to use the native query facilities in the database for generating reports. Additionally, a fixed set of commonly used reports and dashboards can be provided out of the box using custom portals based on Javascript  frameworks like c3 or d3 or reporting frameworks like Tableau, Pentaho, JasperReports.

 

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Security

This must be a key overarching objective of any analytics platform. Virtually anything connected to the Internet has the potential of being hacked, no matter how unlikely. Internet of Things devices often lack systematic protections against viruses or spam. In addition to these, privacy and security need to be covered by an IoT data processing platform. Protecting the privacy of users is key, from data masking to  support for encryption.

Secondly, any devices connected to internet, would potentially be monitored. If you are putting cameras in all the rooms so that you can monitor your teenager or intruder remotely from your office, the same cameras can be potentially monitored by hackers.

Third, the devices can be subjected to Denial of Service attack hence they would not perform as expected.

Fourth, is they can be controlled. Once, their control plane is hacked in, the devices can be controlled.

 

 

In a recent report:

  • 458 percent increase in vulnerability scans of IoT devices in the last two years.
  • 88 percent said they lack full confidence in the security of their business partners' IoT devices
  • Approximately 68 percent plan to invest in IoT security in 2016.

 

Last but not the least, accuracy of data is of utmost importance because it not only impacts the queries today, but also impacts the predictive analytics to be gleaned out of it in future and all downstream applications. Take telemetry data from vehicles. If the time order of data is not completely aligned and accurate, then it points to potentially different results when analyzed.

 

As you see, there is a lot going on for those of us working behind those “cool, connected everything” pictures that make the splash everyday.

computer-with-screenshot-reflection-300px.pngToday the Workshops & Certification team at ServiceMax is excited to announce our new eLearning offerings featuring our first on-demand product certification course SVMX101-V Introduction to ServiceMax Administration and SVMX101 Product Certification Exam. These items are available for purchase from the ServiceMax website and if you register before May 5, 2016, you can take advantage of a 20% discount.

 

What's great about the SVMX101-V eLearning course?

The SVMX101-V eLearning administrator course covers the same content as our in person 4-day SVMX101 administrator workshop. This eLearning option offers learners who prefer a self-guided hands-on training alternative for the introductory level of product certification training. You learn at your own pace in the comfort of your surroundings. Online courses offer you and your busy teams greater flexibility in scheduling and additional cost savings in both the classes and travel.

 

Who should take the SVMX101-V Introduction to ServiceMax Administration eLearning course?

This course is perfect for anyone who wishes to start or continue their ServiceMax product certification journey. Whether you prefer to learn in your own environment or would like a refresher training from a previous workshop you attended, the SVMX101-V offers core, out-of-the-box administrative features, and basic skills delivered through real-world scenarios, watch-it demonstrations, and hands-on exercises.

 

Who should take advantage of the online SVMX101 Product Certification Exam?

At ServiceMax we know there are experienced, product-savvy customers who are either self-taught or have been using our product for many years. Are you looking to take your career to the next level or attend one of our Advanced Admin workshops? This online, timed, certified exam will reinforce your skills, help protect your company’s investment in ServiceMax, and look great on your résumé! Visit our website to download the SVMX101 Product Certification Exam study guide today.

 

Why act now?

For a limited time, we are offering a discount to customers who purchase within the first 30 days. Sign up before May 5th to receive 20% off!

 

Click here to purchase today

Use the code SVMX20 to receive a 20% discount

*offer is valid until May 5, 2016

 

ServiceMax partners can contact us at certification@servicemax.com to receive an additional discount.