That tiny ripple in the Internet Of Things (IoT) has grown into the tidal wave of today, well poised to morph into tsunami proportions in the not too distant future. One does not have to be too adventurous to conceive that a day will come when the number connected machines would demand the need for IP addresses higher than IPV6 to accommodate them all.
The growth of human population in this planet has strained the availability of quality facilities and other essential services that sustain our modern day lives. Similarly the exponential growth of connected machines in the IoT has already started to strain the availability of qualified personnel to service and maintain malfunctioning machines and get them back in operation. Faulty machines thereby leave black holes in the IoT network and depending on the application such as SCADA, malfunctioning control equipment can disrupt essential services due to control system shutdowns.
The truth of the matter is that it would become increasingly challenging to have enough qualified expertise who could be brought to bear in short notice to fix real problems occurring in the field. The number of downed devices in the IoT would far outnumber of the duly qualified service personnel who could be dispatched on location to fix the problem. One way to resolve this shortage would be to increase the quality and longevity of the connected IoT devices, in order to reduce failure rates. But then investing heavily on higher quality also has an impact on increased product costs and hence would demand and increase sales prices. However that could trigger pushback from the consumers who are looking for the lowest cost of ownership. As competition drives the prices down and product costs increase, businesses would be faced with eroding gross margins, reducing profitability, which would take increasing quality levels to a point of diminishing returns. Quality managers and COO level executives are always challenged with identifying that point of optimum quality that returns sufficient gross margins for the business.
Given the true reality that machines are not perfect and everlasting, it is evident that machines will require maintenance, they will fail for a plethora of reasons and would need to be monitored, controlled, maintained, repaired and even replaced in some cases. These business processes are points of analysis and decision-making and quite honestly there isn’t enough supply of quality human expertise and experts to be physically present on location to meet the demands of keeping up with the machines.
So what do you do as smart strategic humans responsible for the operational life cycle of the machines deployed in the field? You leverage! You leverage the modest supply of high quality human intellectual capital and expertise in your organization by offering them the concept, technology and business process plugins provided by Remote Assisted Reality (RAR). Instead of having these product and service experts commute all over your service area following a prioritized task list, RAR enables them to provide real time consultation from anywhere in the world to a distributed network of junior service technicians who are on location with the equipment that needs attention.
RAR enables this real time consultation to occur by provisioning live audio/video high definition streams to be routed to the qualified expert who can watch the real time situation through any browser. This real time situational awareness facilitated in high definition by RAR provides the expert with the most immersive experience of the situation. Not only can the consulted expert provide live and close-guided assistance to the remote junior technician on location to resolve the situation, they can also invite other qualified experts into the same live session to watch the same live stream and together collaborate to provide the necessary guidance. Nothing pre-programmed, no preset patterns to recognize – RAR involves raw human intelligence and expertise to solve real world problems in the field.
In some cases the customer themselves can be provided with a pair of specialized RAR smartglasses as part of a premium service plan. In the event of a machine failure or trouble the customer can initiate the live stream while on call with customer support. More often than not, customers will report the presenting problem, not the root cause. Watching the live stream initiated by the customer, duly trained customer support personnel can provide real time Level 1 live support to the customer and help resolve the problem without even having to send a service technician. The customer is up and running right away much to their satisfaction. In the event that Level 1 support cannot resolve the problem, they could use RAR to engage Level 2 support to watch the same live stream and together collaborate to resolve the problem right away. If the problem actually requires a service technician to be dispatched, the live stream provides a more accurate understanding of the right skills that that service technician must have to resolve the situation. Furthermore the live stream can also ensure that when the service technician shows up, they are also carrying the right parts and equipment to resolve the problem on the first visit to get the customer up and running sooner than before.
Every live stream can be recorded in the RAR application and connected to the service ticket for future reference, training, SOP and regulatory compliance and Big Data Analytics. The multi-party collaboration is facilitated securely in RAR where the business retains total control of every bit of data, every frame of video, every frequency of audio being used during the session.
The result is faster turn-around times of downed equipment back in operation leading to higher customer satisfaction, reduced cost of service, extreme leverage of high quality human expertise, significantly increasing their work-life balance all of which contribute to higher gross margins for the business and reputation in their operating niche market. RAR enables all of these benefits for the organization with secure streams and transactional data stored in on-premise servers or in the cloud (private or public) where the business has full and total control of the data at all times making it a gold mine of multimedia data for future use.
As the Internet of Things population density increases with more and more devices connecting to the network, RAR provides a compelling value proposition to provide faster, more efficient and lower cost of ownership and service to businesses who adopt RAR. We are creating these machines with greater and better sophistication, which in turn makes them high maintenance entities. The leverage of RAR to meet the demands to keep the IoT up and running to deliver on its objectives is worth a key consideration for your operational budget both in the short, medium and long term planning.