The future of hybrid cloud and AI is here

Democratizing AI by Putting It into Workers’ Hands with IBM Maximo Mobile

The use of AI is already a common business practice. Almost a third of IT professionals surveyed as part of a recent IBM study say their business is now using AI, with nearly half of them reporting that their company has accelerated their rollout of AI as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To continue this transformation, we need to take steps to make it more accessible to the people who need it most, even when they are in the field or without internet access. One area where we can make gains with AI is the role of the field technician. In the asset management space, these professionals have the responsibility of looking after often complex and high-value assets such as roads, bridges, cell towers and pieces of industrial equipment. By putting advanced capabilities like AI into technicians’ hands, we can help them accomplish more in the field, reduce downtime and help keep technicians safer.

It’s with this ambition and sense of democratization of AI – meaning everyone gets the opportunities and benefits of it – that we developed Maximo Mobile, part of the IBM Maximo Application Suite for intelligent mobile enterprise asset management (EAM). Maximo Mobile completely transforms how field technicians get the job done. Even in the most remote locations, technicians armed with Maximo Mobile can access AI and in-depth organizational knowledge to easily solve complex issues more efficiently.

Simplifying the work of technicians and keeping them safe

The Great Crew change is coming, along with an aging global infrastructure that needs maintenance and repairs. There’s a pressing need to transfer knowledge on how to keep things operational to a new generation of workers. According to one study from 2019, 26% of respondents said an aging workforce and technician turnover were current challenges. This turnover requires the right tools to transfer knowledge to a new generation of technicians. When critical asset repairs are done incorrectly, labor and maintenance costs increase.

Today’s field technicians need access to relevant information and institutional knowledge, like asset history, operational data and technician expertise, anytime and anyplace. Approximately 52% of companies still use manual methods for their field service tasks, according to one survey.  Technicians also need a more efficient way to understand and resolve issues. Often, when major assets break down, a technician must travel back and forth to the site to research solutions and analyze data before making any repairs. Slowing them down even more – many of the assets that they help maintain are also located in places that are difficult to reach and potentially dangerous, like gas or electrical transmission lines, offshore wind turbines or scaffolding on buildings and bridges. Maximo Mobile is designed to make the technician’s job easier and safer. With Maximo Mobile, when an asset breaks down, the technician can access a more powerful solution in hand, including the ability to remotely collaborate with experts and access Watson to help them diagnose problems and identify the likeliest fixes.

Advancing Industry 4.0 with AI and Hybrid Cloud

A mobile native app, Maximo Mobile can be deployed on premise or in any cloud environment via Red Hat Open Shift.

With some clients processing more than 100,000 work orders per year, hybrid cloud’s containerized, easy-to-deploy and scalable design is built to help organizations scale as their order and asset data volumes grow. The powerful combination of artificial intelligence, intelligent workflows, remote human assistance and access to digital twins helps enable Maximo Mobile to put Maximo’s decades of industry experience into technicians’ hands. Access to specialized knowledge, asset health and predictions about outcomes and other insights can help them accomplish more in the field while dramatically reducing the costs and time spent during inspections.

AI cannot help humans with complex tasks like repairing remote assets if technicians can’t bring AI to the assets with them. A key step toward facilitating the adoption of advanced automation and Industry 4.0 is not only applying AI and machine learning to solving difficult problems, but also in ensuring that you can run your AI anywhere. Maximo Mobile bridges the gap in a crucial way, by helping technicians to easily access and use the most advanced tools and technology available today.

You can read more about Maximo Mobile here.