businesses unprepared forAlmost three-quarters (74%) of businesses wish to embrace machine-to-machine (M2M) technology but admit they face barriers to adoption. These findings are from a new survey by leading field service management software provider, Advanced Field Service (Advanced). The survey was carried out among senior managers and engineers from businesses based across the UK.

By remotely connecting devices, machines and equipment, M2M technologies provide vital business intelligence with data and solution revenues forecast to grow to £30 billion worldwide by 2018*. Service management industries which are looking to benefit from these technologies include the mechanical, electrical, building services, catering and refrigeration, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning sectors.

Advanced’s survey highlights factors which are currently influencing business strategy. 66% stated a need to reduce service related costs and also drive new revenue opportunities. 59% said their customers are demanding a faster, more efficient service while 48% conceded they need to keep up with or stay ahead of their competitors.

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Greg Ford, Managing Director of Advanced Field Service, says: “Balancing costs and resources will always be a key priority for businesses and those which fail to invest in new technology could be at a disadvantage against their competitors.”

Although 74% said they are open to implementing emerging technology, the survey’s respondents stated several business challenges are preventing them from doing so. 57% revealed awareness of M2M compared to 43% who admitted they are confused about what the technology is and how it works. Other potential barriers were insufficient time and resources (33%), cost restrictions (19%), cultural resistance (17%) and network connectivity fears (12%).

Ford comments: “Many service management organisations already rely on connected devices to determine the location of their field resources. M2M is a natural extension of this and uses predictive and prescriptive analytics to reduce reactive works and increase planned maintenance and first-time fix, providing a rapid ROI.”

M2M solutions can significantly improve business efficiency by reducing travel-related costs and better managing stock holdings. Just over half of those surveyed (52%) use sensors to track service vehicles whilst 26% and 24% respectively monitor mobile equipment and mobile handhelds used by field-based workers with 14% using these devices for tracking service parts.

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Ford adds: “The ability to remotely monitor vehicles, equipment and products in the field can transform the way services are delivered using those assets. It enables businesses to gain greater insight and offer added value to meet and exceed the expectations of their customers.

“M2M technologies can also further increase productivity by ensuring organisations send the right engineer equipped with the necessary skills and parts to complete jobs efficiently, helping to maximise profit levels.”

Advanced Field Service’s integrated service management solutions enhance business intelligence for companies that provide installation, service or maintenance via a field or site-based workforce. Its Siclops system enables organisations to improve productivity, reduce administration costs and streamline scheduling processes.