In Part 2 of M2M in the Wild I took a look at a few healthcare customers of Axeda that use the cloud-based platform to enhance their service offerings to provide not only remote service to provide a faster and more targeted response and resolution, as well as using the platform to provide analytics to help with preventative maintenance on their equipment. But as you can see from the graphic below, the service organization is only one area that can gain benefits from implementing a machine-to-machine program for their devices.
By including other departments such as finance, sales, engineering and operations in the discussions early on in your connected product journey, you can ensure that you are providing a differentiated product offering that can provide you not only an early-mover advantage in your space, but a stronger brand, and customers for life.
We have seen a few of our healthcare customers moving up the value curve to integrate their connected products with other systems and departments outside of service, so that they can unleash the machine data into their organizations and unlock the value of the data that they collect.
One such customer manufactures battery powered surgical devices such as saws and drills for use in the operating room. By having these devices connected, they are able to provide data not only to their technical support staff, but also to an application for mobile devices that allows the local field service rep, the sales rep and their biomedical staff to see the data in a graphical form. This allows them to see if, for example, the battery on a particular device is not charging to its full capacity, so the sales rep can offer a replacement battery on his next visit. Or maybe they can show the OR staff that one saw has a lot more cycle times than another and suggest that maybe they should rotate them equally.
Another use outside of the service department is that of asset tracking. One client who makes cardiovascular pumps that are designed to be mobile wanted to ensure they and the hospitals knew where the pumps were at any time, as they may be transported with a patient on a gurney out of the assigned operating room or possibly even out of the hospital.
The final example of a healthcare manufacturer offering a higher level of connected product than just a service offering is that of a large disinfection and sterilization equipment for use in hospitals and biopharmaceutical laboratories. They have created their own applications that not only allow them to monitor the equipment for service requirements, but also to provide in-facility dashboards, so that operators can see at a glance what cycle the machines are on, and if any problems are occurring.
Before using this connected system, operators had to stay with a machine while it was running, to ensure that someone was there if anything went wrong. Now they have a mobile app which alerts them of any issues, or when the sterilization cycle completes, so that they can be freed to do other tasks.
The other integration that this company has done is to show the levels available for the variable consumables such as detergents, so that operators can see at a glance on their mobile devices, whether or not a particular system is running low, and need to be replenished.
So, by Incorporating data into one central source this company has simplified the administration of their systems, and provided unprecedented access to data about the status and performance of their customers equipment allowing them to be empowered with their production planning, and also making the work routines easier and more predictable for the operators.
By thinking beyond just the benefits a connected product strategy can bring in the service organization, these companies are transforming themselves by fueling accelerated revenue growth, and providing true value-adds to their clients by providing great products that are easy to use and less likely to fail when you need them most, whether that’s on the operating table, or in the laboratory.