Internet of Things Gathers Pace as True Integration Becomes A Reality
America’s army of field service technicians will for the first time be able to utilize the Internet of Things (IoT) on a large scale to automate a range of functions thanks to job management technology group simPRO
simPRO, one of the world’s leading software as a service businesses for the trade services industry unveiled its new IoT solution this week at the Field Service Management Expo in London. The technology will be rolled out to the company’s 100,000+ users in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand over coming months
simPRO IoT takes hardware, software and data from businesses in the trade and field service industries and integrates them into one platform, allowing previously separate programs and machines to talk to each other and provide automated solutions ordinarily requiring extensive manual effort and significant cost.
simPRO’s IoT solution also includes machine learning, proactive action triggering and automation of field service activities, which significantly reduces the complexity of administrative tasks like selection, installation, integration and management, and can trigger field service activities for businesses in near real time.
The real world applications of simPRO’s IoT solution are extensive. The company has already begun working with airport lounge operator Swissport and facilities (building plant and equipment) management group Thermacell to keep guests at Luton Airport in the UK warm in winter and cool in summer.
The number of connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices worldwide will jump 12 percent on average annually, from nearly 31 billion in 2018 to 125 billion in 2030, according to analysis from IHS Marki (Nasdaq: INFO), a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions
IHSMarkit estimates (https://cdn.ihs.com/www/pdf/IoT-Trend-Watch-eBook.pdf) the commercial and industrial sector, driven by building automation, industrial automation, and lighting, will account for nearly 50% of new connected devices between 2018 and 2030.
simPRO Chief Technology Officer Jonathan Eastgate said the company’s approach to the IoT was the first step toward a new future of facilities management across the United States.
“The concept of IoT, that anything that can be connected will be connected, is exciting for businesses who are looking to integrate their technology to find the straight line to efficiency and success. In the US there is a need for a range of integration and software development to achieve a complete working solution and that’s what we’ve built. “For example, simPRO IoT can save clients significant time and costs running routine inspections to site, by introducing an IoT real-time feed to our already extensive asset management platform, while improving the level of response to issues on site,” he said.
According to Mr. Eastgate, simPRO IoT is the equivalent of giving a business its own brain. “By integrating operations with simPRO a business can increase its own crisis reaction times, reduce reactive maintenance, automate data entry and archiving and even help secure new business,” he said. “When issues are automatically identified early, business interruptions and resolution times are reduced and servicing and maintenance costs are brought down, it creates a formula for inevitable productivity and success.”
The US is not oblivious to IoT services, but in order to for businesses to implement them a range of hardware, middleware, suppliers and vendors is required. Often the effort, costs and time investment needed to introduce IoT sensors into existing equipment installations outweighs the benefit.
However, simPRO IoT is handled through one vendor – simPRO – and can be retrofitted at minimal cost to any existing equipment and be up and running in minutes. Through a partnership with Yosensi in developing this complete IoT solution, simPRO customers are able to deploy their IoT requirements at scale without the need to involve multiple vendors.
The simPRO platform is also open to allow for integration with any other IoT devices or protocols from third parties or existing installations, meaning simPRO won’t demand a business to dismantle its entire digital infrastructure simply to incorporate simPRO IoT into its operations.
CASE STUDY 1 – SMASHING FATBERGS, SAVING MILLION
simPRO is providing its leading edge IoT solution to help tackle one of the UK’s most disgusting problems; the buildup of Fat, Oil and Grease (FOG) in sewer pipes that leads to the formation of ‘fatbergs’that block drains and sewers and cause tens of millions of pounds of damage every year.
simPRO has teamed with hospitality facilities management specialists Three Nations (www.threenations-online.co.uk) to develop the to help eradicate the scourge of fatbergs with a full integrated and automated solution called FOGCheck.
FOGCheck utilizes a new biological treatment for the removal and prevention of build-up and blockages caused by fat, oil and grease in commercial kitchens, drains and sewers called Stopblox. This bio-treatment is combined with hardware that remotely monitors automated dosing to prevent blockages.
simPRO IoT is used for monitoring the dosage system and is dynamically linked to automated waste water sampling and the management of the equipment that dispenses the agent. These unique services and technologies have come together to produce the only self-managing solution on the market that is proven to work and does not rely on the site/ facility manager to ensure continued compliance.
A spokesperson for the Three Nations FOGCheck team said simPRO’s IoT solution was a fundamental offering allowing the creation of an asset register for the FOGCheck System and the ability to easily associate the live telemetry coming through the dosing sensors.
“This provides us a real time view of compliance for the solution which is monitored on each individual unit and site. Any asset failures can be easily flagged for investigation and servicing can be planned and tracked. Without this technology a managed service, with real time visibility, such as FOGCheck, would simply not be possible,” a spokesperson for the Three Nations FOGCheck team said.
CASE STUDY 2 – KEEPING LUTON AIRPORT LOUNGE RUNNING
Using low-cost plug and play sensors integrated with simPRO’s job management platform, facilities (building plant and equipment) management group Thermacell is able to monitor the performance of air conditioners at lounges in Luton airport remotely in near real time and automatically receive alerts in response to anomalies.
This allows Thermacell to identify and diagnose many issues prior to complete failure and without the need for time consuming and expensive site visits, often constrained by airport security measures.
Thermacell Service Manager Alan Chandler said the company shared simPRO’s view that IoT would have a significant impact on the facilities management and maintenance services Thermacell provided.
“simPRO’s IoT solution allows us to get closer to the Swissport Lounge and provide a more responsive, customer-focused offering based on the accurate live data we receive on both asset and facility performance,” he said.
“The simplicity of the solution allows our own engineers to install on customer sites with ease and without the need for IT specialists, thereby slotting seamlessly into our own day to day services.”
Thermacell is a specialist FM provider, providing a blended range of services to lounge operator Swissport including reactive and pre-planned M&E, HVAC and Building Services. The company has security clearance and operating experience across many of the UK airports allowing them to quickly meet the demands of their clients operating in these high security restrictive environments.