As we rapidly approach 2020 we are starting to see the impact of the 4th industrial revolution (or Industry 4.0) on organisations and their operating models. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a major driver of Industry 4.0 and research studies show interesting results:
- We are approaching 50 billion connected devices by the end of 2020.
- The global spend on IIoT is expected to grow 15% year on year, reaching US$1.1 trillion by 2025.
- The falling cost of the average IoT sensor and data transfer, as well as the pervasive availability of 4G (and now 5G) networks being rolled out, are driving the adoption of IIoT driven solutions.
- IIoT is a key component of digital transformation and driving new operating models and revenue opportunities.
- IIoT solutions and projects are no longer just driven by the technology and by the IT department-specific business outcomes and solutions are driving the adoption of IIoT and Smart Operations. The connected devices and sensors are generating a significant amount of data and alerts; however, this raw data is only useful if it is turned into actionable information. Enable Professional Services, an Elite Partner of ServiceNow, has been developing solutions and capabilities around IIoT and Smart Operations that can be leveraged by ServiceNow customers and the Now™ platform as the system of action. We have started pilot projects with select customers to implement an end-to-end solution for specific use cases.
One pilot project that Enable Professional Services completed is focused on compliance with food safety regulations. A customer with multiple freezers spread out across a large geographic area needs to check the temperature levels of these freezers regularly. The old process involved having the security guards check on freezers during their after-hour rounds. This required unlocking doors to access the freezers and manually documenting the temperature level for each freezer. Any issues with temperature levels were then manually reported to the maintenance teams.
Utilising smart temperature sensors placed in the freezers, linked to ServiceNow’s digital workflows provided the customer with a completely automated solution to get near-real-time temperature measurements from all freezers. This data is now represented on a dashboard for easy monitoring. Any deviations from pre-set levels automatically raise an alert and a work order for the maintenance team. The alert will allow support staff to move food from the affected freezer, reducing the cost of food spoilage as well as any risks based on non-compliance. The work order is generated and sent to the correct maintenance team, including information about the temperature trends for a specified period, details of the freezer model and its location.
New developments in sensor hardware and communications technology now provide customers with access to low-cost sensors using ubiquitous communications technologies such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Wi-Fi and RFID tags. Furthermore, advances in video processing technology and algorithms provide customers with the ability to leverage video feeds from CCTV and security cameras as part of a Smart Operations solution. An example use case of using a video feed is related to occupational health and safety in large warehouse environments. Cameras can analyse the movement of heavy equipment such as forklifts and trucks. If any person enters an unsafe area where these vehicles operate the drivers of the vehicles will receive a notification via an onboard system installed in the vehicle.
Another use case is related to tracking of non-fixed equipment in hospitals. Equipment, such as heart rate, blood pressure and ECG monitors, can be wheeled around hospital wards based on demand. These assets are expensive and need regular servicing and calibration. Adding Bluetooth tags to the equipment and Bluetooth receivers installed in the various hospital locations will allow the maintenance teams to quickly and accurately locate equipment. This includes the ability to show floor plans and the physical location of equipment. The benefit of this solution is that maintenance teams spend less time trying to locate equipment in need of servicing and more time on the value-added work of servicing and calibration.
Smart Operations and ServiceNow
Enable is the only partner in the APJ region currently working with ServiceNow on the integration of smart sensors and devices into the ServiceNow platform via new ServiceNow developed capabilities. Using cost-effective sensors, we can rapidly deploy a Smart Operations solution to ServiceNow customer within weeks. This ensures rapid time to market and a quick return on investment with immediate benefits from a Smart Operations solution.
In the example of the freezers and sensors, a “digital twin” for each freezer and sensor pair is created within the ServiceNow Configuration Management Database (CMDB). The sensor data feed is related to the digital twin in ServiceNow and displayed on a user-friendly dashboard. The digital twin’s attributes are used to define the relevant rules and actions to be taken based on the data feed received from the sensor. These actions include alerts to staff and automated creation of work orders and maintenance orders. Using ServiceNow’s machine learning capabilities predictive and condition-based maintenance can be implemented more efficiently. This, in turn, will reduce overall maintenance costs as well as a reduction in spare part inventory and downtime due to unplanned outages.
Driving digital transformation through Smart Operations
The adoption of IIoT is driving disruption in traditional industries. Companies are starting to adopt new business models – rather than selling expensive compressors companies are starting to sell compressed air as a service. The client does not own any of the equipment required as part of the service – they pay a service fee based on consumption only. The provision and maintenance of the equipment are managed by the service provider.
ServiceNow supports this new ‘service provider’ business model through several modules:
- Customer Service Management – clients can interact with the service provider through a user-friendly portal to order more equipment, raise support cases and view their usage. Clients can also access a catalogue of services and products related to their industry and based on the entitlements in their contract.
- Contract Management – the client’s contract, expiry date, commercial model and entitlements can be stored and managed within ServiceNow.
- IoT integration – sensors monitor the flow of air and provide real-time consumption data and costs to customers via the portal. Any reduction or interruption in airflow will immediately raise an alert that can trigger a work order or maintenance request.
- Field Service Management – the work order triggered by the sensor is managed within the field service management capabilities of ServiceNow. The work order can be assigned to a mobile maintenance team based on their proximity to the client site as well as their capabilities and onboard spare parts.
- Integrated Risk Management – any alerts received from an IIoT device can also trigger an issue or risk within ServiceNow, with an appropriate action to be taken.
- Occupational Health and Safety – ServiceNow can also track maintenance team allocation based on certifications and specific capabilities. Work order assignment will factor in if any of the maintenance work requires specialised resources, such as working at heights or in confined spaces. These tasks will be assigned to the appropriate resources with valid certifications.
- Enterprise Asset Management – all data received from sensors via ServiceNow can feed into the overall asset management and maintenance planning within ServiceNow. Leveraging machine learning and AI ServiceNow can predict potential issues within assets before they occur as well as optimise maintenance as part of a condition-based maintenance plan.
One key aspect that will determine the success of a Smart Operations solution is the focus on the business outcome and expected benefits. IIoT and Smart Operations solutions should not be driven by technology or the plethora of sensors available today. Companies succeeding with Smart Operations projects start with a pilot deployment focused on a very specific use case with clear objectives and key results.