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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Niagara Networks will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Niagara Networks offers the highest port-density systems, and the most complete Next-Generation Network Visibility systems including Network Packet Brokers, Bypass Switches, and Network TAPs.
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
We’ve been doing it for years, decades for some. How many websites have you created accounts on? Your bank, your credit card companies, social media sites, hotels and travel sites, online shopping sites, and that’s just the start. We do it often without even thinking about it, quickly entering our personal information, our data, in a plethora of systems. Sometimes we’re not even aware of the information we are providing. It could be very personal information (think of the security questions you ...
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
IoT is fundamentally transforming the auto industry, turning the vehicle into a hub for connected services, including safety, infotainment and usage-based insurance. Auto manufacturers – and businesses across all verticals – have built an entire ecosystem around the Connected Car, creating new customer touch points and revenue streams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Macario Namie, Head of IoT Strategy at Cisco Jasper, will share real-world examples of how IoT transforms the car from a static p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Tintri VM-aware storage is the simplest for virtualized applications and cloud. Organizations including GE, Toyota, United Healthcare, NASA and 6 of the Fortune 15 have said “No to LUNs.” With Tintri they mana...
Creating replica copies to tolerate a certain number of failures is easy, but very expensive at cloud-scale. Conventional RAID has lower overhead, but it is limited in the number of failures it can tolerate. And the management is like herding cats (overseeing capacity, rebuilds, migrations, and degraded performance). Download Slide Deck: ▸ Here In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing for the HGST Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit, discusse...
Whether they’re located in a public, private, or hybrid cloud environment, cloud technologies are constantly evolving. While the innovation is exciting, the end mission of delivering business value and rapidly producing incremental product features is paramount. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Kiran Chitturi, CTO Architect at Sungard AS, will discuss DevOps culture, its evolution of frameworks and technologies, and how it is achieving maturity. He will also cover various st...
If you had a chance to enter on the ground level of the largest e-commerce market in the world – would you? China is the world’s most populated country with the second largest economy and the world’s fastest growing market. It is estimated that by 2018 the Chinese market will be reaching over $30 billion in gaming revenue alone. Admittedly for a foreign company, doing business in China can be challenging. Often changing laws, administrative regulations and the often inscrutable Chinese Interne...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
"We have several customers now running private clouds. They're not as large as they should be but it's getting there. The adoption challenge has been pretty simple. Look at the world today of virtualization vs cloud," stated Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.