The Connected Effect

Bill Zujewski

Recent Posts

What CEOs Need To Know About M2M – Part 5 (Automating business processes and driving efficiency)

Posted by Bill Zujewski

Jul 10, 2013 3:20:00 PM

Today’s blog post continues the discussion on the value of machine data integration with other enterprise business applications and processes. In my previous post on “what CEOs need to know about M2M”, I listed 10 processes that can be enhanced with machine data.  Today, we’ll discuss specific customer examples of business processes that have been enhanced and improved using machine data. Many of these examples are about improving efficiency and taking out costs and drive the business cases for investing in connected products.

Let’s start with field service. Many field service requests and visits are initiated by a customer “call” into the call center, typically due to a down or malfunctioning machine. There is often a lag time between the customer placing the call and the initial occurrence of the problem. To remove the lag and improve the service, we have several customers who have automated the creation of a case and a field service request in their back office systems by having rules in our machine cloud monitor machine events and trigger a web service call into their systems. This removes the lag and also proactively starts the repair procedure minimizing downtime.

Customer service and support is another example. Many of these same customers above prepopulate case and asset data in their CRM app with machine status, reading and logs. This shortens call times and improves time to repair. It also eliminates the need for 2 workflows or UIs (one for Axeda and one for CRM)  since the customer service and field service reps can continue to use the CRM app they use today. But now their screens are enhanced with close to real-time machine data.

Another process that can be improved with machine data is warranty management. An industrial manufacturing customer was able to add temperature and humidity sensors to their factory equipment and then monitor the operating conditions of the factories their equipment ran in. This enabled them to forewarn their customers of potential issues and drive them to improve their operating conditions to reduce breakdowns. In some cases, it also enabled them to deny warranty coverage for customer out of compliance. Overall, simply adding a couple of sensors saved this company millions in warranty costs.

Another process that can be improved with machine data is billing. An industrial equipment maker of ours was able to introduce a new “pay-per-use” billing model enabled by machine data. Axeda collects usage data from their machines that generate reports for the invoicing process. This enabled the customer to offer a “product-as-a-service” and go downstream to the mid-market by lowering the cost entry point for their end-users.

In all these examples, think of Axeda as the “M2M middleware”… the software that collects the machine data, transforms it, and integrates it. In my next post, I’ll discuss level 6 – Differentiation. This level is about changing the product experience for customers by adding value-added apps that extend the utility of a machine. These apps can help differentiate machines and provide a competitive advantage. These expanded offerings are driving rapid adoption of connected services, because it’s no longer about just value for the machine supplier/manufacturer, the connectivity is providing value to the end-user… what a concept! 

Maximize the Value of Your Connected Products.  DOWNLOAD the Connected Product Maturity Model White Paper.


Topics: CEO, M2M Value Curve

What CEOs Need To Know About M2M – Part 4 (Machine Data Makes its Way into Enterprise Business Systems)

Posted by Bill Zujewski

Jun 25, 2013 10:32:00 AM

Today’s posting will focus on machine data integration with other enterprise business applications like CRM, ERP and PLM. In my previous posting on what CEOs need to know about M2M, I referenced the Axeda value curve and discussed level 4, machine data analytics. Today, we’ll discuss Level 5… business system integration… how extending your ERP and CRM system with machine data can drive business process efficiencies and optimize processes with accurate machine data. 

m2m value curve level 5
Companies who were early in bringing their products online are now realizing that the real “gold” in M2M is taking that data and integrating with enterprise systems such as CRM, ERP, PLM or data warehouses. This machine data can be used for optimizing critical business processes and essentially M2M-izing their organizations. I use the term M2Mize to describe this notion… M2Mize essentially means to optimize a business process using M2M data from a connected product or asset.

In last year’s survey of our customers, we discovered that 67% of our customers have integrated or are in the midst of integrating machine data with an enterprise system. Why?  What value is machine data to ERP and CRM? What are the benefits of making machine data available to these systems?  The answer is simple: many business processes can be improved using machine data. In fact, here’s a list of the top 10 processes that were identified in the survey:

1)      Field Service
2)     
Customer Service
3)     
Usage-based Billing
4)     
Asset Management
5)     
Consumable Management
6)     
Warranty Management
7)     
Compliance
8)     
Configuration Management
9)     
Recalls
10)  
Product Lifecycle Management

M2M data from connected assets, in collaboration with other enterprise systems, can provide visibility and automation across organizations not previously possible. For example, product data flowing through a CRM system can also be sent to billing or into a supply chain management system — helping to eliminate error-prone manual steps and providing new sales opportunities for things such as consumable replenishment or warranty renewals. Additionally, integration with quality assurance or product management can help enhance product features based on real-world data that shows usage patterns or equipment issues — helping to improve customer satisfaction and streamlining Beta programs.

So how does machine data get from the asset to these business systems?  The data is first collected and transformed into formats that can be consumed by IT. Most of our customers use Axeda’s built-in Web Services and Integration Framework to access data in our cloud. Our integration framework allows for seamless two-way communications with other enterprise systems and makes it easy to pass asset data, alarms, files, and locations to applications like SAP, Oracle, or Salesforce.com. The platform includes 3 ways to integrate: 1) a modern integration message queue for handling asynchronous communication 2) SOAP or RESTful API’s to call into Axeda and extract data or 3) a scripting engine and APIs to call other external web services from within Axeda.

In my next post, I’ll give several examples of how machine data is working its way into our customers back office systems to improve efficiency or enable new services. This business system integration is a relatively new phenomenon. IT organizations are very good at dealing with traditional web-based business applications but have little experience dealing with machine data and M2M solutions. But M2M application platforms like Axeda are becoming very good at turning raw machine data into standard IT formats and web services that IT can deal with. This is driving rapid expansion of machine data into the enterprise.

Maximize the Value of Your Connected Products.  DOWNLOAD the Connected Product Maturity Model White Paper.

Topics: M2Mize, CRM/ERP, M2M Data

What CEOs Need To Know About M2M – Part 3 (How Machine Usage and Behavior Data Can Provide Business Insights)

Posted by Bill Zujewski

Jun 13, 2013 11:02:00 AM

Today’s posting will focus on machine data analytics.  In my previous posting on what CEOs need to know about M2M, I referenced the Axeda value curve and discussed level 3, remote service and monitoring. Today, we’ll discuss Level 4… machine usage and behavior  analysis… how collecting the right machine data and using the right tools to analyze the data can drive better products and services.   

m2m value curve level 4

In a recent survey of our customers, we discovered that 87% of our customers are storing historical machine data.  Why? What can machine data analysis tell us? What are the benefits of building a data mart or big data system for machine data? Here are the top 3 business drivers we’ve seen for machine data analytics:

  1. Predictive Maintenance – To decrease the cost of maintaining machines and to improve up-time
  2. Improved Product Design – To understand end-user behavior and usage patterns to design better products and prioritize new features
  3. Identification of Quality Issues – To understand what’s causing down-time;  To identify  issues with design, embedded  software, part suppliers and manufacturing processes

Let’s look at each driver starting with Predictive Maintenance. If your company has equipment that needs to be maintained by you, your partners or your customers, then there are some basic questions to ask your IT, Product Management and R&D organizations:

  • What machine data can enable us to proactively service machines to drive greater uptime and shorten Mean Time Between Failure (MTBFs)?
  • What sensors do we have or what sensors can we add to help us detect failures before they happen? 
  • What patterns in machine data readings are we seeing that are early indicators of failures?

Answers to these questions will provide Engineering, Product Management and IT the requirements for capturing the right raw data on the machine. It will help field service proactive schedule maintenance or parts replacements, rather than over servicing equipment or waiting to be reactive to failures.

Product Design can be improved with machine data. Behavior data from your machines can give you insights into how end-users are using your machines. This data can be used as input into your next generation product requirements.  It can help you design a product that responds to real world use cases. 

Lastly, quality issues can be identified by analyzing machine data. Today, analysis of trouble tickets and field visits can provide indicators of issues in your machines. But rather than waiting for calls and tickets to accumulate, connected machine data can be collected and analyzed to detect patterns and identify issues much sooner. The patterns observed can document normal operation and identify exception patterns. These exception patterns can be used to detect glitches in software or hardware design or correlate issues with parts suppliers.  

Machines can also have issues resulting from flaws in the manufacturing process.  Understanding the relationships between problems and specific batches or production runs can identify a bad batch early and streamline the recall process. It is also possible the problems are more serious and still in in the current manufacturing process. In that case, the data may trigger the need to change the current manufacturing process. Net/net...  If you can understand what’s causing down-time, you can identify any flaws in the manufacturing design or process of your machines.

In my next post, we’ll continue the business case discussion and move on to level 5, integration of machine data with CRM, ERP and PLM. M2M Application Platforms of today are becoming very good at turning raw machine data into standard IT formats and web services that other systems can consume. I’ll give several examples of how machine data is working its way into our customers back office systems to improve efficiency or enable new services.

Maximize the Value of Your Connected Products.  DOWNLOAD the Connected Product Maturity Model White Paper.

Topics: M2M, CEO, Machine Data

What CEOs Need To Know About M2M – Part 2 (What You Need to Ask Your Service Organization Leaders)

Posted by Bill Zujewski

Jun 4, 2013 2:00:00 PM

In part 1 of this discussion series on what CEOs need to know about M2M, I defined the term M2M (Machine-to-Machine) and discussed the role of connected products and assets in corporate strategy. The M2M thesis for this series of articles is simple… if you remotely connect your machines, equipment and assets, you can unleash the machine data into your enterprise and unlock the value of that data. So what is the tangible value of M2M?  What are the benefits? What are the hard dollars to the top line and bottom line? What are the soft dollars?  At Axeda we’ve defined an M2M value curve that identifies 6 levels of maturity and organizes the major value propositions into 4 major areas:

  1. Remote Service (Level 3) - focuses on cutting costs from customer service and field service
  2. Usage Analysis ( Level 4) -focuses on predictive maintenance, driving machine up-time and improving product design
  3. Business System Integration (Level 5) – focuses on improving efficiency and enhancing business processes often associated with CRM, ERP and PLM systems
  4. Value-added Applications (Level 6) - focuses on offering complementary end-user applications with your machines and differentiate your product and improve the product experience.

Connected product maturity levels 3

For this article, we’ll cover remote service. If you’re a CEO meeting with your service organizations, here are key questions you should be asking them:

  • What service operations can be done remotely?
  • What machine information can we provide call center and support personnel to solve problems more quickly, shorten call times and solve cases and issues more effectively?
  • What information can we provide field service people to make their customer visits more effective? How can we use machine data to shorten First Time Fix Rates (FTFRs)?
  • What machine data can enable us to proactively service machines to drive greater uptime and shorten Mean Time Between Failure (MTBFs)?

Answers to these questions will provide Engineering, Product Management and IT the requirements for capturing the right raw data on the machine.  It will help R&D design in the right technical solution in a collaborative way with Customer Service and IT. If you’re a CEO, it is key that you have a long term remote connectivity strategy and understand what information should be monitored, collected and remotely transferred. The savings of remote service are black and white and hard dollars.  Many of Axeda’s customers have saved millions of dollars per year by increasing their service efficiency, minimizing field service visits, and reducing call times. Simple remote software upgrades and patches alone can pay for the connectivity project. Recalls are another area for savings. Many recalls are now software fixes.  Enabling remote patching of software drives down the cost of those recalls.

In my next post, we’ll continue the business case discussion and move on to level 4, machine data analytics and machine usage analysis. Companies often start with remotes service, but word rapidly spreads to other organizations that the enterprise now has access to machine data and usage information.  The next projects after remote service are often about usage analysis, quality analysis and predictive maintenance, typically led by Engineering and Product Management.

Maximize the Value of Your Connected Products.  DOWNLOAD the Connected Product Maturity Model White Paper.

Topics: remote service, M2M, CEO, R&D

What CEOs Need To Know About M2M

Posted by Bill Zujewski

May 28, 2013 3:22:00 PM

m2m connected productsWith all the industry buzz and vendor movement around M2M (Machine-To-Machine), the Internet of Things, and the Industrial Internet, it’s time for CEOs to understand more about M2M, the value it may bring and how connected machines and assets can change their business.    If you’re a CEO, CTO, CIO or VP reading this, you’ve probably heard the M2M term, seen the GE brilliant machine commercials and you’re trying to figure out exactly what you should be doing with M2M and connected products.

I deal with companies, many of them manufacturers, on a weekly basis who are planning on connecting their products or already shipping machines with remote connectivity built-in.   And it’s no longer just about connectivity to enable remote monitoring and remote service.  There is an acceleration of focus that these companies have on shipping connected products that include new applications for end-users to better service and manage connected products.   In a previous blog, I called this corporate ecosystem of connected assets the “Internet of Corporate Things”    

Today, I’m starting a series of articles (blog postings) to help executives understand the value of M2M to enterprises.  I will include a framework CEOs can use to include connected products in their corporate strategy and strategic initiatives.   For those new to M2M, these articles can serve as a primer on the business case for investing in M2M. 

Let’s start with the definition of M2M.  For simplicity, think of M2M as connecting “your machines”, the first M in M2M, to “your computer systems”, the 2nd machine in M2M.   If you remotely connect your machines, equipment, assets, you can then unleash the machine data into your enterprise and unlock the value of that data.   The value propositions are straightforward and fall into several buckets of capabilities including remote monitoring, remote service, usage analysis, ERP/CRM integration and value-added services that differentiate your products.  

M2M embraces the reality that no product or asset will be an island. All products, devices, facilities, systems, equipment, goods being delivered, processes, workflows, and people will co-exist in a connected world, interact and be interdependent.   M2M systems will act like social networks, socializing machine data to foster unparalleled knowledge and collaboration.  The vision is grand and we’re only in the first inning, but the time to get serious about M2M is now.

In my next post, I’ll start the business case discussion with the most obvious and tangible ROI of connecting machines.  You’ll have to return to find out that that is… yes, the classic tease.  But seriously, I hope I’ve sparked some interest so you’ll return to hear more.   As one of the leaders in M2M software, my company Axeda owes it to the industry to share what works and what doesn’t.  We owe it to the industry to clearly articulate the value of M2M and why connecting machines can be transformational.   I’ll be one of the voices of M2M because I enjoy it.  And of course, as CMO, I owe it to my company to get the word out and move the ball forward in our quest to be the “machine cloud” everyone looks to as their great M2M enabler.

Topics: M2M, CEO

The Machine of the Future

Posted by Bill Zujewski

May 13, 2013 2:54:00 PM

Bill Zujewski, AxedaThere’s no doubt machines are becoming more and more sophisticated and intelligent.   During my keynote at our Connexion event last week, I discussed how machines have evolved the past few decades. Fifty years ago, machines were still mostly mechanical. It wasn’t until the past few decades that software became a major component of machines. Today, product design is just as much about software design as it is hardware design.   

Network connectivity also began to make its way into machines the past couple of decades.   Recently, we’ve seen remote connectivity being designed into the machine natively. Although the connectivity was typically put in place for diagnostics and remote service, it has enabled machine data to be used in many innovative ways including usage analytics, business system integration and new end-user apps.

So what’s next?   Here at Axeda, we’ve identified 9 major characteristics we will see in the machines of the future.  A couple of these are already in most machines… they are 1) Connected and 2) Remotely Serviceable.   Many now have GPS or some other means to locate them, making them 3) Trackable. The machine data will be available via an agent or gateway that will collect and send data and enable machines to be 4) Informative 5) Self-Healing and 6) Integrated with business systems. This machine data is also being made available via APIs enable them to be 7) App Centric. The green movement will drive machines to be 8) Eco-friendly and Energy Efficient. Lastly, machines will become part of larger systems and be 9) Collaborative.

GE calls it the Industrial Internet with brilliant machines. The Analysts often refer to it as the Internet of Things or Machine-To-Machine with intelligent systems or smart devices.  Regardless of what we label this macro trend, most agree we are in the first inning of a new “connected world” order.  The machine will be at the heart of it and I welcome the machine of the future… healthy, wise, well-spoken, green and social! Here at Axeda, we are working hard to connect these machines to Axeda’s Machine Cloud… to unleash all that machine data and unlock all the value.

Topics: Machine Cloud, Machine Data, Machine of the Future, Connexion

2013: The Emergence of the Internet of Corporate Things

Posted by Bill Zujewski

Jan 3, 2013 12:03:00 PM

A new year, a new perspective ... With all the hype around the Internet of Things in 2012 behind us, it’s time to think about what themes will emerge in 2013. One trend seems to be the acceleration of focus that corporations have on shipping connected products that include applications for end-users to better manage operational assets and equipment. I call this corporate ecosystem of connected assets the Internet of Corporate Things™. It’s the B2B subset of the Internet of Things.

Essentially the Internet of Corporate Things focuses on the management of the “things” that a corporation has to deal with. It is an approach to the management of the physical products that a company delivers to its customers and the management of a company’s corporate assets including facilities and plants, operational equipment, vehicles and goods being delivered. The Internet of Corporate Things begins with the fundamental understanding that supporting customers’ use of a company’s products requires connectivity, monitoring, remote service, usage analysis, ERP/CRM integration and value-added services that leverage connectivity and mobile devices. It also includes managing internal corporate assets and operational infrastructure which requires a deep, intuitive understanding of the complex web of interconnectivity between assets, places, people and information.

Internet of Corporate Things

The Internet of Corporate Things embraces the reality that no asset is an island. All products, devices, equipment, goods being delivered, facilities, systems, processes, workflows, and people co-existing in a connected world are interdependent. It acts like a social network, connecting information and democratizing management tasks across organizations to leverage machine data to foster unparalleled collaboration. It tears down the silos between OT (Operational Technology) and IT (Information Technology) …between customers and the enterprise. It connects equipment, facilities, vehicles and corporate assets to drive a new level of operational efficiency.

Axeda’s Role in the Internet of Corporate Things

The Internet of Corporate Things is the domain expertise at the heart of Axeda. It embodies Axeda’s expertise in managing connectivity to optimize the efficiency, agility, and availability of a company’s connected product and connected asset ecosystem. Axeda provides the technology and services to manage the Internet of Corporate Things including the administrative and management console for a company’s connected products and connected assets. It’s our unique skill set and “library of learnings” that help us drive business value quantifiably and continuously – unleashing the true potential of connected products and assets.  

Topics: remote service, CRM/ERP, Internet of Corporate Things, Asset Tracking

GE’s Machine-to-Machine Initiative Reaches New Heights

Posted by Bill Zujewski

Dec 8, 2012 2:01:00 PM

Promises Real-time Integration of Machine Data from all GE Products

There are a lot of ways one might describe GE's 'Industrial Internet' vision. "Bold" is certainly one. "Inspiring" some may say -- but perhaps "Impossible" for others.  

For Axeda, it's the embodiment of the vision for our customers: innovative and transformative application of real-time product/machine data. This includes integrating machine data into their enterprise systems, mining data to improve maintenance as well as product design and delivering new innovative applications to their customers that leverage machine data.  GE is undeniably one of the best of the best in the M2M space -- that's why we awarded them the Best Product Intelligence M2Me at Connexion earlier this year.

Even as GE reinvents the many industries it touches , its initiative, as GE's Audi Lucas pointed out recently, still hinges largely on the critical primary stages of M2M: getting more machines connected, harvesting more and better product data, and continuing to brainstorm new ideas on how to use it.

In other words, as companies advance up the connected product maturity curve, they don't move away from those fundamental, base-building steps -- they become even more important to their overall success in M2M. It's not an easy undertaking -- as GE will attest -- but it fuels the business transformation we're currently seeing GE achieve.

We're incredibly excited to see GE carry the promise of M2M, and we're looking forward to continue helping them innovate and inspire their industry.

Bill Zujewski

Topics: Connected Products, GE, M2Me

Enterprise Integration of Machine Data: Big-Time Value for Everyone

Posted by Bill Zujewski

Nov 7, 2012 9:11:00 AM

How are you Using your Machine Data?   

It’s time to think big: R&D wants the right priorities. Operations wants real-time tracking of remote assets. Sales wants eyes everywhere at the customer site.

As machines get easier and less expensive to connect every year, companies are realizing that the M2M data they create can provide massive benefits beyond the service team. At Axeda Connexion 2012, we asked savvy M2M adopters about what’s next for their M2M strategies, and the answer was clear – Extend the Machine Cloud to the entire organization.

Machine Cloud InfographicTwo-thirds of the M2M innovators at Connexion said they are interested, planning, or scheduled to integrate M2M data with back-end enterprise systems, with the goal of breaking down silos and sharing valuable connected product data to business functions across their organization.

M2M metrics vary from product to product, and can impact reduced time-to-market, improved productivity, and lowered or avoided costs – the possibilities are endless. Our Machine Cloud Infographic highlights some of the processes where back-end integration can have the strongest impact.

These findings demonstrate why the M2M industry is so exciting right now. Organizations are finding ways to leverage business analytics, increase automation, transform their business, and, ultimately, deliver a superior experience for customers.

Topics: M2M, machine-to-machine, CRM/ERP, Machine Data

Mobile Is Speeding Up M2M Adoption – and in Surprising Places

Posted by Bill Zujewski

Oct 26, 2012 3:10:00 PM

connectionsToday’s cellular capabilities for connecting machines creates a lot of possibilities – untethered from wired or wireless internet connections, mobile products like cars, personal health monitors, or shipping crates can get connected fast.

But surprisingly, it’s not just things that move that are going cellular. Our recent survey from Axeda Connexion 2012 found that a whopping 86 percent of M2M adopters currently support or plan to support mobile connectivity – representing all flavors of connected enterprises, including those with large, non-moving assets.

Why the massive interest in cellular? Three simple reasons:

  • M2M is global. Many areas of the world can’t provide reliable Internet access. Cellular allows organizations to expand their global footprints to remote regions.
  • Cellular is easy. As Robin Duke-Woolley, CEO of Beecham Research, points out in our new eBook, fixed line installations are labor-intensive, and require data to navigate on-site networks. Cellular connections can bypass these steps, and provide data straight into the data center.
  • Mobile is affordable. Once-prohibitive costs are rapidly falling – and organizations are jumping at the opportunity.

As everything from iPads to ATMs to entire electrical grids become ‘mobile,’ a new concern arises: what does this mobile device management (MDM) entail?

SAP’s Sanjay Poonen believes, on one hand, that the huge demand for managing and securing all the apps and content that comes with the ‘Internet of Things’ will push the industry to the mainstream. On the other hand, the tools and processes that already exist for managing mobile ‘devices’ (i.e. tablets and smartphones) can be extended to manage mobile ‘things’ – which is why SAP is investing more resources to extend the capabilities of Afaria.

SAP’s focus on mobility gives a glimpse into just how big the M2M industry will be in the coming years, how much value enterprise systems turn from machine data, and how the innovators are tapping cellular to get connected – and integrated – fast.


Topics: Axeda, M2M, Mobile, SAP, Cellular

Subscribe to Email Updates