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Asset Management in the Era of the Internet of Things

Asset Management in the Era of the Internet of Things by Andrea Ceiner

Asset Management in the Era of the Internet of Things

by Andrea Ceiner

Before addressing the way asset management changes in the Internet of Things (IoT) era, it is worth summarizing what has happened since information technology (IT) became one of the main forces influencing the global economy and the competition.

Figure 1 shows the historical IT waves that changed the competition. Each wave represented a big move in many businesses, asset management included. Every wave required new skills, techniques and technologies to manage a new kind of asset.

figure 1 Figure 1: The four waves of IT-driven competition

It was in the second wave when a European leader in multivendor clinical engineering services designed a new enterprise software application supporting asset management. The company’s core business is all about the management of medical devices in the hospital environment, a particular kind of asset management.

The main tasks were grouped by the following services portfolio:

The IT system was a multi-tenant web application, replicated with the single-tenant local servers spread throughout the network of hospitals served by the company. This architecture permitted the company’s technicians to work in a collaborative manner: technicians inside the hospitals performing equipment tests and measurements, and experts of regulations and senior technicians and engineers assessing remotely the results and defining the operative protocols and procedures to be shared.

This architecture was uncommon in that market niche. Most, if not all, competitors had a single-tenant local server, installed on premise at each hospital, with no replication or sharing of data. The fact that the company had all data replicated and shared gave it two competitive advantages:

  1. It was able to leverage the remote collaboration and knowledge sharing among technicians in different countries about different medical devices, which meant giving its customers a good quality for a nice price;
  2. It was able to be very precise in bid quotations, thanks to its big and historical database (one million devices, with all economical and technical data).

Unfortunately, all the data was manually inserted by the company’s IT team during working hours. If, instead, the company was in the third wave utilizing IoT, more than 60 percent of that costly quantity of data input would have been replaced by an automatic computerized process, from the medical device down to the shared database, until the backlog of the single technician, permitting the company to deliver even better service with less people. But, this is not the only benefit of IoT. It is interesting to see how IoT impacts that business. Table 1 presents a summary of the differences between the pre-IoT era (second wave) and today (third wave).

Table 1 – IoT Impact on Clinical Engineering Services
Service Second Wave (pre-IoT) Third Wave (IoT-1)
Inventory and Localization Manual IoT driven: Automatic
Preventive Maintenance IT aided IoT driven: Predictive
Corrective Maintenance IT aided IoT driven: Over-the-air maintenance plus machine learning and cognitive computing suggesting intervention
Safety and Security Checks IT aided IoT driven: Over-the-air telemetrics and image detection plus machine learning and cognitive computing recalculating risks and reprofiling
Replacement IT aided IoT driven: Automatically calculated

Here’s a deeper look at how it all changes with IoT.

Conclusion

pull quoteThe Internet of Things will change the asset management market, led by those companies that will design their business models as IoT-driven. To succeed, they will have to create an ecosystem of clients, partners and suppliers because IoT can only succeed by leveraging an ecosystem. No company, regardless of its size, can do it all by itself.

There are more than 360 IoT platforms and over 100 protocols available today, with an impressive concentration of venture capital in start-ups having IoT in their goals. You need to partner with a local company that has the expertise and skills to help you make the right choices for your business and helps you in designing your IoT solutions.