Using an internet search, explore an Internet of Things project currently underway or already in place. Provide a detailed account of the issue it responds to and outline its key features. Consider from more than one point of view. Provide arguments for and against the main ideas and draw a Conclusion.
In an attempt to improve its equipment and customer relations, Caterpillar Inc. (World’s leading manufacturers of mining and Construction Company) has unveiled a predictive and analytic technology to optimise machine availability. In essence, the company will establish an end to end platform that will provide customers with predictive diagnostics and analytics for the machines they use. In all the project is designed to respond to the major issue of combating systems failures, where a proactive approach will be used, unlike the existing system that mainly uses a reactive approach (TMV, 2015).
According to Caterpillar, the project will generally apply the concepts of the Internet of Things (IoT) where sensors and actuators will be fitted into the company’s machinery to provide customers with the necessary diagnostic data. This data will then be transformed into actionable intelligence across all the platforms the customers’ use i.e. web and other online applications (Roberts, 2016).
Features of the project
To meet the needs of the project, the company (Caterpillar Inc.) has contracted one of the leading ICT companies, Uptake to implement the necessary IoT equipment. On its behalf, Uptake is well known for its analytic tools, that combines both design and hardware systems which will form the foundation of the IoT project. Therefore, as a first step, the project will start by installing the necessary IoT sensors in all the machinery used by Caterpillar. However, to meet the needs of the technology, only the newly manufactured equipment will be fitted with new systems. Secondly, Uptake will link these sensors with predictive systems based on locomotive structure. These predictive systems are purely designed to optimise the solutions provided by electro-motive diesel (EMD), a major component of Caterpillar industry (Caterpillar, 2017). Thirdly, Uptake will use its expertise and analytic tools to assess the data obtained by the IoT infrastructure. Now, it’s through these assessments that Caterpillar will leverage the data it acquires from its customers thus provide them with the necessary insights into their operations (TMV, 2015).
IoT presents many benefits to the users, for instance as shown case above, the customers will be able to manage their operations based on the control given by the predictive system. Moreover, they will be able to assess the behaviour of their equipment on a real time basis, based on the end to end operational platform. To the customers themselves, this will improve their experience while using their equipment. This outcome will be as a result of the increased operational conveniences that will substantially increase revenues and operation safety (Cognizant, 2014). On the other hand, the company (Caterpillar Inc.) will increase its customer satisfaction rate which will result in more revenues as well as other operational conveniences. In addition to these outcomes, other additional benefits such as pollution reduction will be experienced as a result of the minimal energy consumptions and carbon emissions.
However, while the project may have its resounding benefits it also faces many challenges that will defiantly affect its implementation and operational effectiveness. First, it’s a new technology and therefore it will lack the necessary standards for operation. A consequence of this outcome is data management issues where people’s privacy will be compromised (Cognizant, 2014). Moreover, the data in question will include content legally owned by the customers i.e. names, location and addresses among many others. This content is legally classified as the intellectual property of the users which will cause a serious security problem. Finally, consider the complexity of the project, from managing the data itself to linking the predictive system through secure connections and structures. Regardless of the measures put in place by both companies (Caterpillar and Uptake), they will have to contend with inconveniences, such as data breaches and system failures (OECD, 2016).
To many, IoT is the next evolution of the internet as it will provide services based on the immediate needs of the customers. The project at hand provides a simple illustration of this objective where the users (Caterpillar Inc. customers) will be able to optimise their operations based on the predictive diagnostic system. This system, which mainly depends on the features of IoT (as outlined above) will facilitate a proactive failure response. As a result of this outcome, many benefits will be experienced such as improved customer experience, safety and increased revenues. Yes, there will be drawbacks mainly with regards to data security and privacy, however, these minor setbacks should not act as an excuse for limiting the application of the technology. In actual fact, they should motivate the industry to invest in IoT technology so that it's able to develop effective solutions for the challenges it faces.
Caterpillar. (2017). Caterpillar official website. Retrieved 03 August, 2017, from: https://www.caterpillar.com/en/company.html
Cognizant. (2014). Reaping the Benefits of the Internet of Things. Cognizant Reports. Retrieved 03 August, 2017, from: https://www.cognizant.com/InsightsWhitepapers/Reaping-the-Benefits-of-the-Internet-of-Things.pdf
OECD. (2016). The internet of things: seizing the benefits and addressing the challenges. Working Party on Communication Infrastructures and Services Policy. Retrieved 03 August, 2017, from: https://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=DSTI/ICCP/CISP(2015)3/FINAL&docLanguage=En
Roberts. F. (2016). 9 examples of manufacturers making IIoT work for them. Internet of business. Retrieved 03 August, 2017, from: https://internetofbusiness.com/9-examples-manufacturers-iiot/
TMV. (2015). Caterpillar advancing Internet of Things strategy. Retrieved 03 August, 2017, from: https://www.todaysmotorvehicles.com/article/truck-design-caterpillar-uptake-internet-of-things-030615/