Last week I had the opportunity to give a presentation about IoT and condition-based maintenance at the 2018 Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition, hosted by the American Trucking Association in Atlanta, GA. TMC represents some of the best minds in transportation and drives consistent improvement throughout the trucking industry.
My presentation focused on optimizing condition-based maintenance with IoT technology, as well as a look at best practices and potential standards for the trucking industry. Why wasn’t predictive failure – one of the great promises of IoT – a greater point of emphasis? The answer is that, much like those jet packs we were promised as children, there is a difference between what is possible and what is pragmatic.
That’s not to say predictive capabilities aren’t possible. I work with data scientists every day and we do, in fact, combine their skills with technologies like machine learning to predict all sorts of things with confidence. The problem in the industrial space is that, as many thought leaders have recently noted, the data often sucks or the business case isn’t clear.
In fact, I’ve seen many organizations turn what is essentially data-mining into a roadblock for all sorts of other valuable objectives that are readily achievable. This is why I suggest the more practical approach of taking actions in response to combinations of current conditions now as a prelude to greater IoT success – such as predicting vehicle failures – down the road. To accomplish this, I recommended the following:
A practical approach can help minimize organizational and individual resistance, as well as build the foundation for more advanced capabilities like artificial intelligence, automation, and on-board intelligence. All of which can greatly enhance the potential for IoT success. Based on feedback I received at the conference, there was a sense of (almost) relief that a roadmap exists for traditional industrial organizations to reach new goals and remain highly competitive with IoT.