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When do technological innovations go from being trends to just being parts of everyday life?

Put slightly differently: When do they stop being “the next big thing” and are just perceived as “a big thing”?

As I have argued before (most recently in Logistics Business IT Magazine), the Internet of Things (IoT) definitely belongs to the group of technological concepts that have transitioned into daily life. But make no mistake—its adoption as a part of daily life does not mean it is any less impactful. Quite the contrary.

Narrowing the scope to the world of business and then narrowing it again to the realm of service providers, it is clear that IoT has had (and is still having) a revolutionizing effect—from home healthcare providers to beverage vending companies to depot repair shops and break-fix field service. Let me explain why.

In the past, service providers have relied on a reactive response to providing service. For example, if a piece of equipment malfunctions, they guarantee a certain response time to arrive and fix the problem. Thanks to IoT and related technologies, this model is currently changing to one in which predictive and proactive service will (I guarantee it will) improve asset utilization, increase customer satisfaction, and accelerate ‘servitization’ around the world. Read more about how IoT is changing enterprise service management in this TechTarget article.

Leveraging the data generated by connected equipment, service companies can get invaluable insights into each asset in terms of use, status, and potential failure. Empowering service companies with an entirely new set of tools, we will see service level agreements (SLAs) transform from specifying reactive, post-event response times to being primarily focused on proactive service.

In fact, I’m convinced that we will soon be seeing SLAs that feature 15-minute response times, rather than 2 hours, and the goal will be to see just how proactive this can become. The potential for service providers to eventually guarantee zero failure rate is no longer a fantasy, but a very real prospect.

So how can service providers look to usher in this brave new world? Field service management (FSM) software can help enterprises efficiently manage work tasks that need to be performed on location. In order to exploit the potential of IoT, the entire process of field service must be automated, from data collection and analysis to optimization and action. And if you don’t think optimization algorithms and machine-learning are a big deal, I challenge you to beat our AI engine.

But the software is only part of the solution; it should be powered by an open, flexible cloud platform such as Microsoft Azure—one that is able to capture the necessary data and make them actionable. This still represents a significant leap forward in the industry, though one which is currently being realized by progressive service providers like Sysmex, Cubic, Loram, ATS, and others.

Even though IoT has shed its image as an emerging trend, there is still an enormous amount of untapped potential. And service providers looking to capitalize on this potential should turn to companies like IFS that don’t see IoT as a passing trend, but as an essential framework for the future of enterprise service.

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