For ServiceMax and PTC, IoT Opens New Business Opportunity

Through a partnership with PTC, ServiceMax is giving technicians a head start on addressing service calls by allowing them to remotely tap into data regarding a machine's health or status.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor

Mediavators, which makes products used for endoscopy procedures, says that when customers contact its support team, technicians can now resolve issues through remote, phone-based support in more than 75 percent of cases. Before it began using CFS, it could not address issues remotely at all.

"The relationship between manufacturers and customers has traditionally been that the customer acts as the sensor for the product—when something goes wrong, the customer calls the manufacturer," says Steve Morandi, the general manager of PTC's Service Lifecycle Management business. "But we're trying to change that, so that the product [itself] is the sensor." In some cases, he says, a machine can send alerts to its manufacturer—through CFS—before the customer even knows there is an impending problem.

McKinley Elevator, a distributor of elevator systems used in residential and commercial buildings, is also using CFS to provide usage history (how many trips have been taken, for example), as well as live data on sensor status, so that McKinley technicians can call a building's maintenance workers and remotely guide them through repairs. Kevin Rusin, McKinley Elevator's CFO, says that by remotely tapping into elevator status and usage data from sensor systems integrated into its products, CFS has allowed McKinley to make significant improvements to its level of service.

"They're not all that big," Morandi says, referring to McKinley. "I think there is a misconception that Industrial IoT is only for big companies, but [McKinley] has created a differentiator [for its] service—they can be proactive." The company achieves this by monitoring sensor data in order to create preventative maintenance schedules, such that elevators that have been used the most receive priority. Through CFS, McKinley's technicians also receive up-to-date machine-generated error codes, which they can then use to perform maintenance that can prevent downtime.

So far, Krishna reports, only a handful of customers have begun using CFS, but he is confident that the connectivity and platform for proactive maintenance provided by the service will become a game-changer for his firm. "We're excited about this," he states. "We see a lot of opportunities to deepen partnerships [with our customers]."

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