IoT Sensor Solution Identifies Equipment Failures Before They Happen

Equipment manufacturers and users have begun utilizing a wireless system from ServiceMax that employs RFID and other technology to capture sensor data about a piece of equipment, and to identify problems as soon as a change in performance is detected.
By Claire Swedberg
Apr 12, 2017

Field service technology company Servicemax has partnered with software and services firm PTC to offer an Internet of Things system using radio frequency identification, satellite, long-range low-power (LoRa) RF or Wi-Fi technology to report when a piece of equipment starts to malfunction—even, in some cases, before a user notices the problem.

The system, known as Connected Field Service (CFS), was released last year and is in use by equipment manufacturers, maintenance companies and equipment users. Such users include utility companies, oil and gas firms, and manufacturers. CFS employs a variety of wireless technologies (including RFID) to capture the sensor data, says Amit Jain, ServiceMax's senior director of product management, while in some cases it also utilizes wired connections.

ServiceMax's Amit Jain
ServiceMax provides field service software and mobile applications for businesses that need to manage assets, Jain explains—anything from wind turbines or elevators to small appliances. The software is designed to manage data about each asset and its field service, as well as schedules for future services. It enables users to schedule services and track the parts and inventory used with that asset.

The ServiceMax mobile app (for iOS, Android or Windows) adds another layer of visibility by allowing technicians to view details about a particular asset—by entering that asset's ID number into the system—and to record new information in the fieldindicating which parts are being used, what service is being provided and the time required to accomplish that. The data can be collected, managed and stored in the cloud, Jain explains.

"Our core business grew about five years ago," Jain says, "with a focus on customers with complex work flows." Companies that use ServiceMax are often those that make equipment, for instance, and provide that equipment, as well as maintenance services, to customers—for example, a generator that might be installed at thousands of customer sites.

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