Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

Where the Physical Meets the Digital in Field Services and Asset Management

I am fascinated by the notion of the physical world converging with the digital world and the benefits that become possible as a result.  Not in the context of a humanoid weeding my garden, although that would be nice, but in the context of making better business management decisions based on more efficient data collection and reporting.  The term digital transformation is often used to describe this convergence.

Think of growing the best possible garden full of award winning fruits and vegetables.  The garden may consist of some physical things like dirt, seeds, containers, plants and tools, but the key to success is the information about the garden.  The information about the soil, types of plants or seeds, appropriate time to plant and harvest, weeding and watering schedules, the best fertilizers to use based upon the soil conditions etc.  This information can be collected and input into a software application as digital information.  Once digital, software applications can analyze this information and create schedules and plans on how to optimize the production of the garden.  Business operations are much the same.  The more data that can be collected and analyzed on location, physical assets and facilities, environmental conditions, tasks, status, etc, the better planning and optimization can be done by software applications utilizing artificial intelligence.
Integrating Geospatial with ERPs

Let's consider utilities and other geographically dispersed operations.  Effective data collection, management, analysis, and reporting of data is critical.  They own and management data-driven systems of pipes and wires, poles, valves, substations and switches all associated with data such as location, service history, asset details, maintenance records, applicable product warranties and history.

Utilities must know a massive amount of geospatial information about their assets and the environment around them.  Think about an underground gas line.  The utility needs to know the exact location of it, creeks, rivers, roads, property owners and property lines, access routes, location relative to other construction sites, environmental impact studies and issues, minor and major transportation lines crossed, just to mention a few data points.  In addition, a lot of information is dynamic like new construction sites, road building, digging, erosion, etc.  Not only must the utility collect and store static information like asset details, but dynamic data about activities and tasks around it.  Wow!  You can quickly see that efficient information  collection is critical.

Efficiently operating a utility grid is mostly about implementing an efficient logistics of information system connecting field data collection and management and planning solutions in the office.  If you are a sub-contractor for services, it is also the way you get paid.

Today many are considering the use of tablets for collecting and querying required field data.  The problem is tablets still have painful limitations. First, while tablets have the computing power of laptops, their memory remains limited, which impacts their capabilities when working with large geospatial databases unless you purchase specialized geospatial software purpose-built for tablets.  Secondly, connectivity in the field is often intermittent, while geospatial data access needs are constant.  This necessitates a robust offline mobile app and data storage capability often missing from tablets.  And finally, there are multiple tablet operating systems available, which often dictate the type of applications, databases and geospatial applications that can be used by your workforce.

If your organization is considering the use of tablets in the field look for applications that can support multiple tablet operating systems, offline data editing and data collection and integration with all of your required ERPs and geospatial enterprise applications and databases.

Now let's get back to the notion of the physical meeting the digital.  In a utility, the digital information (code halos
) related to a physical asset and the tasks around it are the keys to planning, scheduling and maintaining it for optimized productivity.  That means efficient data collection is critical to digitizing your physical environment and gaining the benefits of artificial intelligence built into your planning, scheduling and asset management solutions.

Today efficient data collection can be facilitated through M2M (machine-to-machine) embedded wireless chips integrated with sensors that automatically report on conditions and statuses of equipment, assets and facilities, and by field workers using smartphones, rugged laptops or tablets.

How efficient is your data collection system?  Are there gaps that are preventing you from fully digitizing your physical operational area and leaving you with geographical and operational blind spots?

*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict, Head Analyst for Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) Cognizant
View Linkedin Profile
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and SMAC analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict is an opinionated Senior Analyst at Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work, SAP Mentor Alumnus, speaker, writer, and mobile and digital strategies expert. He is a popular keynote speaker, and in the past three years he has shared his insights into mobile and digital strategies with companies in 17 different countries. He has over 30 years of experience working with enterprise applications, and he is a veteran mobile industry executive. He wrote the Forward to SAP Press' bestselling book on enterprise mobility titled Mobilizing Your Enterprise with SAP, and he has written over 3,000 articles.

Latest Stories
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, discussed how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He also discussed how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
Docker containers have brought great opportunities to shorten the deployment process through continuous integration and the delivery of applications and microservices. This applies equally to enterprise data centers as well as the cloud. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Jari Kolehmainen, founder and CTO of Kontena, discussed solutions and benefits of a deeply integrated deployment pipeline using technologies such as container management platforms, Docker containers, and the drone.io Cl tool. H...
Any startup has to have a clear go –to-market strategy from the beginning. Similarly, any data science project has to have a go to production strategy from its first days, so it could go beyond proof-of-concept. Machine learning and artificial intelligence in production would result in hundreds of training pipelines and machine learning models that are continuously revised by teams of data scientists and seamlessly connected with web applications for tenants and users.
Given the popularity of the containers, further investment in the telco/cable industry is needed to transition existing VM-based solutions to containerized cloud native deployments. The networking architecture of the solution isolates the network traffic into different network planes (e.g., management, control, and media). This naturally makes support for multiple interfaces in container orchestration engines an indispensable requirement.
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Carter, CEO of Approyo, discussed the basic set up and solution for an SAP solution in the cloud and what it means to the viability of your company. Chris Carter is CEO of Approyo. He works with business around the globe, to assist them in their journey to the usage of Big Data in the forms of Hadoop (Cloudera and Hortonwork's) and SAP HANA. At Approyo, we support firms who are looking for knowledge to grow through current business process, where even 1%...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, will introduce two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a...
yperConvergence came to market with the objective of being simple, flexible and to help drive down operating expenses. It reduced the footprint by bundling the compute/storage/network into one box. This brought a new set of challenges as the HyperConverged vendors are very focused on their own proprietary building blocks. If you want to scale in a certain way, let’s say you identified a need for more storage and want to add a device that is not sold by the HyperConverged vendor, forget about it....
There is only one world-class Cloud event on earth, and that is Cloud Expo – which returns to Silicon Valley for the 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center, October 31 - November 2, 2017. Every Global 2000 enterprise in the world is now integrating cloud computing in some form into its IT development and operations. Midsize and small businesses are also migrating to the cloud in increasing numbers. Companies are each developing their unique mix of cloud technologies and service...
With Cloud Foundry you can easily deploy and use apps utilizing websocket technology, but not everybody realizes that scaling them out is not that trivial. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Roman Swoszowski, CTO and VP, Cloud Foundry Services, at Grape Up, will show you an example of how to deal with this issue. He will demonstrate a cloud-native Spring Boot app running in Cloud Foundry and communicating with clients over websocket protocol that can be easily scaled horizontally and coordinate...
IT organizations are moving to the cloud in hopes to approve efficiency, increase agility and save money. Migrating workloads might seem like a simple task, but what many businesses don’t realize is that application migration criteria differs across organizations, making it difficult for architects to arrive at an accurate TCO number. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Joe Kinsella, CTO of CloudHealth Technologies, will offer a systematic approach to understanding the TCO of a cloud application...
"With Digital Experience Monitoring what used to be a simple visit to a web page has exploded into app on phones, data from social media feeds, competitive benchmarking - these are all components that are only available because of some type of digital asset," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Channels, a cybersecurity firm, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Secure Channels, Inc. offers several products and solutions to its many clients, helping them protect critical data from being compromised and access to computer networks from the unauthorized. The company develops comprehensive data encryption security strategie...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
Vulnerability management is vital for large companies that need to secure containers across thousands of hosts, but many struggle to understand how exposed they are when they discover a new high security vulnerability. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, John Morello, CTO of Twistlock, will address this pressing concern by introducing the concept of the “Vulnerability Risk Tree API,” which brings all the data together in a simple REST endpoint, allowing companies to easily grasp the severity of t...