Five ways remote access will transform everything from cashpoints to living rooms

As a digital economy breaks down boundaries between industries, supply chains, employees and customers, we will see new remote access technology creating interconnectivity between companies, workers and consumers in 2018. Company support staff will be able to ‘remote in’ to cars and set-top boxes, delivering connected customer support across millions of IoT devices from the road to the living room. Workers will increasingly ‘remote into’ devices in other departments, divisions or training centres, creating cross-departmental collaboration, learning and oversight, says Adam Byrne, COO at RealVNC.

Future remote access technology will even enable remote human intervention in vehicles, creating interconnected transport ecosystems where everyone from technicians to fleet managers can ‘remote in’ to cars to fix faults, warn drivers, reduce emissions or even view police car chases in real-time from any location.

Below RealVNC outlines five ways remote access is set to transform our lives:

Bank managers will help you from within cashpoints

2018 will see the transformation of the cashpoint into a smart, all-seeing, all-doing ‘bank in a box’ that enable people to obtain audio or video support from bank managers, deposit coins and even make ‘cardless’ withdrawals without ever entering a branch.

The key will be the creation of ‘smart’ cashpoints that replicate bank branches, by using the remote access technology that IT help desks use to allow bank staff to ‘log in’ to ATMs and guide customers through transactions in real-time. Crucially, banks will be able to see inside the ATM and fix faults or remotely update and even upgrade cashpoints from any location.

Banks are particularly sensitive to the loss of an older customer demographic because these are also the wealthiest customers and they are the most resistant to automation and branch closures due to the loss of human interaction. Financial institutions face the dilemma of ensuring that branch closures do not impact a lucrative market segment that attaches considerable importance to customer service and human interaction. Remote access technology will now enable banks to automate services without losing the human touch.

Trainees and support staff will be able to ‘remote in’ to training centres and even living rooms

As the digital economy increasingly pulls down the barriers between geographies, sectors and people, we will begin to see companies and consumers using remote access technology to deliver real-time, remote customer support inside everything from data centres to living rooms.

Already, some pioneering enterprises are reaching out into customer homes by enabling staff to ‘remote in’ to TV set-top boxes and deliver real-time customer support from any location. Other companies are conversely allowing customers to ‘log in’ to training servers in other countries and receive virtual training from any location in the world.

The same is happening for workers. Some enterprises will allow real-time interconnectivity between tens of thousands of employee devices by enabling employees to ‘remote into’ everything from ‘smartboards’ to tablets across departments in real-time, creating cross-sector training and collaboration and allowing companies to oversee and enforce policies from anywhere, on the move.

Vehicle fleets will be remote-controlled

The combination of remote access technology and live telematics data means […]

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What is CMMS? Absolutely everything you need to know

Way back when, maintenance records were kept on paper.  People also used to use paper maps for driving directions and walked uphill to school both ways. Thankfully, times have changed and so haven’t the way you manage your maintenance operations. At its core, CMMS is a tool that enables more effective maintenance operations – no more greasy notebooks or spreadsheets. Before we go into too much depth, let’s get back to the basics.

What does CMMS stand for?

CMMS, short for computerized maintenance management system, is exactly what it sounds like.  It is a software program (computerized) that maintains a database (system) of information on the maintenance operations of an organization (maintenance management).  But a CMMS is not simply about data storage. It also improves workflows and generates valuable insights to take your operations to the next level.

This system allows workers to understand what assets need maintenance and where inventory is stored. It also helps management make more informed decisions around how they spend their maintenance dollars and where to allocate their resources. A CMMS also improves your ability to adhere to compliance standards within your industry. It eliminates the complexity of notebooks and spreadsheets by organizing the information you need at your fingertips to have world-class maintenance operations.

CMMS adds value to your organization

To put the value of a CMMS into perspective, consider this scenario. You own one vehicle. It’s not too hard to remember to change the oil every 3 months or keep up with basic maintenance needs.

Now you have five vehicles. Maybe you have a little notebook where you keep track of when each needs an oil change, new wiper blades, an inspection, or a new set of tires. Not too bad as long as you remember to write everything down and keep an eye on things when you drive each vehicle.

Now you have 50 vehicles. That notebook is getting crowded and confusing. Did you remember to write down when vehicle 27 went into the shop for new brake pads? Is vehicle 33 due for an oil change – or is that vehicle 34? Oh boy, you just spilled coffee on your handy notebook. There goes all your notes on vehicles 17-24.

Now you have 500 vehicles. You’re beginning to see the issues that start to arise. If only you had a database where you could easily track all of this information with no risk of it getting lost or misplaced! This is exactly the purpose a CMMS serves. A CMMS helps your business reduce costs associated with maintenance by organizing workflows and giving insight into the status of each asset. This ultimately improves the bottom line of your organization by ensuring all maintenance is performed at the most optimal time.

How did CMMS come to be?

The earliest versions of CMMS systems have been around since the 1960’s but the technology didn’t really hit its stride until the 80’s and 90’s with the emergence of affordable computing and increased network access. As the technology has evolved, so too have its capabilities and the value it can provide.

IBM was at the forefront of the first form of CMMS. In the 1960’s, maintenance technicians would use punch cards with IBM mainframes to handle maintenance tasks. As mainframes evolved into the 1970’s, it enabled organizations to move from using punch cards to paper to feed their CMMS. Maintenance technicians would hand in paper checklists at the end of their shifts for submission into the CMMS.

As computers began to get smaller and more powerful in the 80’s, CMMS technology became more accessible and affordable to small and mid-size organizations. The 1990’s brought customization and the ability to share information across a local-area network (LAN). In the 2000’s, we saw the emergence of the inter-webs, allowing development of CMMS to expand on any internet-connected device. These advancements led to access to billions of individuals.

The latest generation of CMMS is cloud-based and mobile. Having a cloud-based solution has multiple benefits, not the least of which is speedy implementation (in as little as 30 minutes!), easy upgrades, and data security.

Introducing Project Mitchell, our CMMS early adopter program

Currently in beta mode, IBM is launching a new CMMS solution, IBM Maintenance Essentials, to help you optimize your maintenance operations. Built on the IBM Cloud, it is a simple, inexpensive, no-frills approach to reducing the complexity around your maintenance needs.

Ready to take a leap into CMMS? Join our beta . Start a free 30-day trial of IBM Maintenance Essentials and, as an early adopter, you may qualify for an additional six months free once the software is available.


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Everything can be smart: Key traits of the newest smart cities – Part 2

According to the IoT analytics, smart cities constitute 20% of IoT projects around the world. We seen a few traits yesterday in Part 1 of the article. The rest will be discussed today in the 2nd part. If a standard scheme of energy supplying transports electricity into consumers’ homes in a one-way direction, the smart […]

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Everything can be smart: Key traits of the newest smart cities – Part 1

According to the IoT analytics, smart cities constitute 20% of IoT projects around the world. Europe implemented about 47% of them, America – 31%, APAC – 15%. Such numbers reveal that the niche is on demand and could be considered as an influx of new ideas for development of new projects. Let’s discourse the ways […]

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City of Tomorrow: The Integration of Everything

On Thursday September 14th Ben Stanley, Automotive Research Lead from IBM’s Institute for Business Value, spoke at IAA 2017 about the changing ways consumers will engage with their vehicles.

Ben explored the promise of self-enabling cars, the power of cognitive technology to offer a connected experience and the willingness of consumers to embrace these new capabilities. The following post is a whistle-stop tour of some of the points he made in his presentation.

Ben Stanley presenting at IAA 2017

Ben Stanley presenting at IAA 2017

Consumer perspectives on mobility are shifting

Last year, the IBV published a paper entitled ‘A new relationship – people and cars’, which explored how consumers around the world envisage that cars should fit their lives. The paper’s authors analysed the reactions of 16,000 participants to understand what people want from transportation.

The breakdown of the respondents’ answers uncovered some interesting trends that are expected to present themselves over the next ten years. Among them are anticipated:

  • A 5% reduction in personal car usage;
  • 15% increase in ride sharing;
  • 19% reduction in public transport use;
  • 30% increase in other modes of transport.

The figures are interesting because they indicate changing attitudes toward personal mobility. For many consumers, transportation will no longer be simply a case of getting from A to B. Instead, we see expectations that modes of individual transport will serve as platforms for entertainment and information, hubs for retail and even health monitors.

Above all, these vehicles will be able to look after themselves. They will perform engine diagnostic checks to identify when maintenance needs to be carried out, book themselves into a garage and drive themselves there for servicing – all without human input. In other words, they will be self-enabling.

Self-enabling vehicles

Self-enabling vehicles are cognitive computing’s big promise to the automotive industry. Not only will they look after themselves; they’ll also look after the interests of their occupants.

For example, a self-enabling car will be able to drive itself (and its occupants) to work, allow them to make in-vehicle purchases (like toll-paying and parking charges) and keep them updated about current affairs, the weather and flow of traffic as needed.

In a snapshot, a self-enabling vehicle is:

  • Self-integrating: supporting seamless and secure digital integration;
  • Self-configuring: customizing itself to its environment and personalising its services to appeal to those on board;
  • Self-learning: cognitively optimizing its performance;
  • Self-healing: undertaking analytics and prognostics for service and maintenance;
  • Self-socializing: performing ancillary tasks and accessing social networks;
  • Self-driving: managing automated and autonomous mobility.

A vehicle like this acts like a PA to its occupants, offering them a rich and varied mobility experience. Some anticipated in-vehicle services include:

  • Weather and traffic information
  • Entertainment
  • Commerce (payment for tolls, parking)
  • Health (measuring the occupants’ heart rate and blood pressure)
  • Concierge (recommending hotels, theatre and dining experiences)
  • Education (offering training materials and video)
  • Marketing (making special offers to occupants based on their location or preferences)

Cognitive computing: making it happen

At the crux of these tempting possibilities is cognitive computing. Cognitive systems can assist us in ways that were previously unimaginable because they mimic the way that human beings engage with and make use of information. Like us, cognitive systems can understand imagery, interpret language and handle other unstructured data – i.e., anything that doesn’t fit neatly on a spreadsheet.

By drawing on existing knowledge, these systems can reason, come up with hypotheses and select the most likely outcome based on their interaction with new data points. They can develop and sharpen their expertise with each new experience, and communicate those experiences with those around them.

Are we ready for this level of integration?

In this way, self-enabling vehicles supported by cognitive technology possess a level of autonomy that was previously impossible. But are people ready to accept them?

Naturally, vehicles that offer such a complex roster of services and capabilities may be met with skepticism, and not all consumers are on board with the vision of enriched mobility experiences. Some early adopters will lead the way, while others only belatedly accept new technology. The paper, ‘A new relationship – people and cars’, identified four broad groups:

  • –       The pacemakers (16%) – early adopters, eager to try new technology;
  • –       Fast followers (32%) – close behind the pacemakers;
  • –       The pack (38%) – view technology conservatively, but are eventually open to it;
  • –       Spectators (14%) – happy with the status quo, inflexible with new mobility solutions.

The challenge for the automotive industry will be to communicate the value of this new proposition to consumers who are naturally reticent and slow to embrace new technology.

In the industry, however, automotive executives are generally ready to embrace cognitive computing. Hopes are high – and so are expectations. Seven in 10 automotive executives believe cognitive computing will have a significant impact on the in-vehicle personal experience, while the same proportion believes it will significantly impact mobility services.

Learn more

If you are interested in the future of self-enabling vehicles, you might find these resources useful:

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