In our previous article in this series How OEMs Can Digitize Their Products Easily With Smart HMIs we looked at how technology works and what kind of functionality it enables. But let’s face it: cloud-connected machinery and equipment is not new. That’s the whole basis of the Internet of Things (IoT), and OEMs already have multiple options for connecting their products to the Internet.

So, what makes so special? Let’s look at how stands apart.

Top 3 Benefits

Foundationally, the system offers three key benefits that separate it from other solutions for connecting manufactured equipment to the cloud. Other options – including RFID tags, QR codes, Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth, and more – might include one or two of the following benefits, but no competing technology offers all three in tandem with both software and hardware components seamlessly aligned.

A unique device identifier: is effectively NFC technology that’s being printed, and each NFC tag has a unique and permanent serial number attached to it that can validate product authenticity.
Superb security: Because the technology utilizes a secure cellular connection, it is not vulnerable to the same kind of breaches and attacks that exploit weaknesses in Wi-Fi networks and other communication protocols.
Real-time information: The latest operating instructions recalls new product offers, etc. are linked to the NFC tag and can be updated in real time.

The reason can effortlessly produce all three benefits is because it combines advanced hardware and software working in perfect tandem at relatively low cost. That means OEMs can integrate into a control unit and add a white-label app that enables whatever added functionality they wish.

The advantages of don’t stop here, however. These benefits are just the key pillars supporting a foundation for a great deal of innovation and inventiveness.

Competitive Advantages for OEMs

Ultimately, puts the future on tap. It gives the OEM access to a highly flexible and configurable way to connect every piece of equipment to easily accessible cloud-based functionality. That, in turn, can fuel business innovations and improve service delivery.

Manufacturers can use this technology to reduce the friction inherent in satisfying customer support needs. For example, end-users don’t have to make a phone call, get on their computer, or travel elsewhere to make a related purchase or schedule a service call. They can do it immediately, while they’re still thinking about it and standing at the machine. The result is happier customers and better business performance, as described below.

Improved customer service

Increase customer satisfaction through an extended service package
Increase quality of service by making spare parts service, warranty, and device information, immediately available

Improved operations

Reduce time-consuming change processes applicable to multiple locations
Reduce error sources through real-time information
Increase sustainability and conserve resources

Improved sales

New business models: real-time customer interaction, web shop connectivity, etc.
Statistics can be accessed at any time via the cloud platform (product insight)

Notably, this technology also offers a great opportunity for manufacturers to get a first experience with IoT or who want a simplified, streamlined form of IoT. If you don’t want to have machine completely linked with overcomplicated, expensive sensors, start with a simple tag that offers an IoT-lite type service.

Advantages for End-Users

Despite decades of rapid technological advancement, end-users today often end up interacting with both consumer and industrial facing machinery much as they did decades ago. They still have to search for paper operating manuals that are easily lost, physically move machinery in order to locate product information like serial numbers, and make a special effort to order repairs or buy consumables.

It’s absurd for end-users to have to take these additional steps when technology makes a solution available that puts all of this at their fingertips, while they’re standing at the machine.

Aside from the benefits that generates for the OEM itself – like more service calls coming directly to them rather than to a third party – it makes the customer experience of using their machinery easier and more pleasing. That adds up to happy end-users who can now:

Save time operating the equipment
Easily check warranty or product registration – no need to dig through the paperwork
Easily obtain product information including repair and service history
Access original, authentic consumables
Contact/schedule repair services directly

Advantages for Authorized Service Technicians

Service technicians can also realize some pretty significant gains from using printed NFC technology. They need only their phones to enable service login functionality and access product information (nameplate) and advanced product diagnostics, including error and/or activity logs collected via integrated sensors and other components. This can facilitate repairs and make support visits happen faster. That, in turn, results in happier customers and service techs who can move on to the next job that much faster. And because in-house service techs will be the only ones who can utilize the log-in functionality, it gives them an automatic competitive advantage over third-party repair services that will take longer and still be less effective.

Enable service login functionality
Access product diagnostics, including error and/or activity logs collected via integrated sensors and other components

Ultimately, no matter whose perspective you’re looking at, it’s a huge advantage to be able to enhance machine functionality via the cloud, all while the end-user and operators are standing right there.

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To learn more about how might fit into your products, contact us today.

Further areas of application for can be found through our sister company HK.SYSTEMS – provider of holistic IoT solutions.

To find out how you can quickly and easily add connectivity to your control panels, take a look at – IoT Made Simple!