Remote monitoring of IoT devices boosts profitability and customer satisfaction

The implementation of remote monitoring and predictive (and therefore proactive) support can boost both customer satisfaction and bottom-line profitability. For service groups, embedded diagnostics can remotely monitor the health of installed equipment, analyze equipment performance data, understand and predict equipment failure, and trigger preventive spare parts and on-site repair events. But to unlock these benefits, manufacturers need to combine IoT data with existing customer data.

By 2020, the number of internet-connected ‘things’ is expected to reach 50 billion. The enormous diversity of IoT devices is having a significant impact across a wide variety of sectors including healthcare, manufacturing, consumer goods, commercial equipment, and more. Businesses all over the world are exploring the possible benefits of IoT applications, with some making more progress toward bottom-line results than others. One area that holds tremendous promise is post-sales customer service.

Though manufacturing and industrial businesses are at the forefront of adapting IoT technology, consumer IoT is not far behind. It is estimated that 1.9 billion smart home devices will be installed by the end of this year. Recent acquisitions of companies such as Nest by Google and Smart Things by Samsung are evidence that the major platform and device companies are aiming to turn the data from these devices into new insights. Of all smart home devices, connected thermostats are expected to be adopted by 43% of consumers. As consumers become familiar with the convenience of remote-controlling everything from a thermostat to an alarm system to a light, they will see the benefit of connecting appliances to the network — and these appliances will now be able to send useful data back to the manufacturer.

How can businesses use this data to improve customer experience? One area that shows the most promise is the potential to leverage IoT device data to understand the performance and health of everything from a household appliance to an advanced medical device. With remote monitoring now a viable option, business managers can keep their internal and external customers happy, and in turn add billions of dollars to their profitability.

Remote monitoring drives customer satisfaction

As more companies enable their equipment and software to gather data and diagnose problems remotely, customer expectations for improved equipment performance and better service delivery will grow fast — putting pressure on all manufacturers to be more proactive in ensuring that problems with their products are identified and addressed before they impact the customer.

Remote monitoring helps organizations develop an integrated service channel optimization strategy that will not only help reduce costs but also improve the productivity of field service operations. Eliminating unnecessary field service visits and ensuring the tech support and onsite repair interventions are fast and efficient will clearly make customers happy. And, the more incidents that can be addressed remotely, the less impact to customer operations. With predictive service, customers experience less downtime, fewer product support issues are escalated, and more output can be generated from field service operations.

Financial benefits are easy to quantify

An integrated service channel
The financial upside of an integrated service delivery channel is significant. The shift of incident resolution from a high-cost direct labor channel to automated support can drive total cost savings approaching 50 percent―resulting in a major improvement in gross margins.

Parts optimization
Leveraging remote monitoring and diagnostics to optimize spare parts management is another area where manufacturers can boost the efficiency of their service teams. Companies can significantly reduce the time taken to initiate the spare part ordering process through highly accurate remote problem diagnosis. This can be achieved by automated service requests based on alerts and notifications from embedded diagnostics. Increased uptime

Increased uptime
When a machine or appliance can communicate with field operations, an accurate problem diagnosis is automatically provided before arrival on site, without human intervention, including instructions on the repair and how to install the replacement part. This drives a reduction in the MTTR (mean time to repair).

Better products through informed design improvements
A lot can be learned by how a part failed and the sequence of events that led to the fault. Connected devices can transmit product asset information for analysis and verification of issues. This information enables automated feedback into the product and service knowledgebase, and can provide valuable information that can shape future product design and service level improvements.

Happy customers are loyal customers

Informed decision making
Remote monitoring reduces the guesswork and random nature of service requests. Now that customers know the ‘why’ and ‘when’ of service incidents, they have better visibility into the nature and frequency of service incidents and can plan their business activities around maintenance and upgrades, rather than suffering hard downtime that impacts business results.

Improved budget control
By the same token, with predictive service through remote monitoring, customers have more control of their equipment servicing budget — and fewer unplanned and costly equipment replacement invoices.

Drive product satisfaction and customer loyalty
When equipment is maintained before it goes down, and fixed faster when it does go down, customers can derive more value from their equipment – and manufacturers can build stronger customer loyalty.

Data orchestration is key

Connected machines and the telemetry data they generate hold immense potential for every machine manufacturer. The challenge: this data is often unstructured, raw, and in a native format. To derive meaningful insights and drive relevant actions from this data, it must be organized, structured and made accessible — all on a single platform. A data orchestration platform can help organizations perform analytics on these new sources of data, derive useful insights from this data, and then use it to power various customer-facing service and support applications.

By combining this real-time machine data with your existing knowledge bases (such as service, parts, CRM, product registration, product warranty), you’re positioned to implement meaningful enhancements to your customers’ experience: predictive maintenance, remote asset monitoring, rapid diagnostics, customer support, field service, parts inventory optimization, and in the design and engineering of better products.