While we continue to live our lives more and more digitally and virtually, there will always be a need to move “things” around in the physical world. With the help of mobile applications and the cloud, even the “movement of molecules” can happen more efficiently and predictably than ever.
And while distribution companies have long leveraged “cellular” phones and networks to guide and support truck drivers to their destinations in the most timely fashion possible, while tracking and improving the productivity of those drivers, the rapid progression of web-based applications that run on smart phones and tablets is “upping the ante” in 2015.
We cannot completely eliminate “truck rolls” as expensive as they are, even in the IT world. Particularly because so many systems are now running on software, when there is a physical issue with a system, getting a technician onsite to resolve a glitch is more critical than ever.
Imagine, for example, a nuclear energy plant and the identification, triggered through an alert via a sensor, of rising temperatures. Ten years ago, there would have been many steps to address the threat, and the time from identification to resolution could be hours or even days.
With the combination of “IoT” and real time communications, applications can now blend human intervention into problem resolution much more elegantly.
Today, a sensor can trigger an alert which can advise the manager of the plant at the same time as it advises the company responsible for ensuring the cooling systems are working. Rather than a series of calls, a manual response to the escalation tree, the expert on the system receives a message to drive to the plant to fix the issue. If there are more than one experts locally, the system can hunt for who is available and can respond the fastest.
For extremely technical support, the technician on the “truck roll” can also stay connected to one of the engineers remotely who can provide real time guidance throughout the process.
Let’s say the technician in the truck arrives on site; the expert can “walk with” the technician to the location and utilizing a micro-camera embedded in glasses the technician is wearing, and help the technician find the exact location quickly. The plant manager can also participate even if he or she is unable to get to the site quickly. The technician can continue to share the visual story with the expert, who can provide documentation to the technician, down to the circuitry for the cooling system in a diagram through co-browsing through the web-hosted data.
The problem can be fixed, reducing risk and time, cost and more. In addition to all of this, that multimedia session can be recorded for play back, coaching and future training as well as system enhancements – everybody on the team can benefit when an “event” becomes a “teaching moment.”
One of the enormous benefits of mobile logistics solutions like these is based on software that collects data around predictive maintenance more, enhanced now with increasingly available sources of data, largely driven by sensors, machine-to-machine traffic and wearable devices. Together they offer more extensive analytics on a wide range of data while supporting the real time activities of the human beings who are in place in the physical world to “move, add and change” — and fix.
GENBAND’s Kandy Platform-as-a-Service makes it easy and affordable to add in things like voice calls and multimedia collaboration sessions using WebRTC and other approaches. Kandy’s team also has been working with Samsung for years, bridging devices, software and networks to ensure all this works – in real time – securely and at scale.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about more applications like this – useful, productive and often essential for managing risk and keeping the systems that make our modern lives possible going – nearly invisibly, in the background.