Service Your Products Better with a Connected Strategy

Written By: Lora Estey
  • 2/13/2023
  • Read Time : 3 min

What Are Smart Connected Products?

A Smart Connected Product (SCP) is any device that is connected to the internet to share data about itself and its environment. This data may include real-time performance metrics, status and health information about the device itself, comparative information relative to similar or related devices, and even predictive information used to prevent potential future problems. To be a considered a true SCP, a device must include physical, smart, and (actively) connected components. While a product’s tangible materials, like mechanical and electrical parts, comprise the physical components, smart components are made up of sensors, controls, and software. These two aspects work together to allow for the connectivity component, which enables the product to connect to its environment and outside systems.

If you are just starting your SCP journey, this all may sound daunting, however, PTC’s Smart Connected Products Accelerator (SCPa) enables rapid implementation of integral remote service use cases and provides significantly faster time-to-value. While they are not holistic solutions, accelerators are an advanced set of capabilities that can deliver a 40% lower total cost of ownership by using templates that allow you to choose your own digital configuration and which properties users will be able to see. This means that you don’t have to start from scratch. The accelerators will get you up and running quickly – even allowing non-IT members to manage the system.

What Is the Need for Smart and Connected Products?

Once industrial equipment leaves their hands, suppliers are often left with plenty of uncertainty. They might have questions regarding equipment performance and uptime, but they don’t have a concrete way to answer them. There may be excellent opportunities to provide additional services, data utilization, or improve customer satisfaction—but all of those opportunities are walled off from the supplier. SCPs can replace this unpredictability with secure visibility — revealing valuable monetization strategies. With real time performance data, Connected Products unlock increased profitability, escalated customer loyalty, and an emphasis on data-driven decision-making.

Why a Connected Product Strategy?

Before you implement any software solution, you need a strategy, and SCPa is no different. Connected products offer functionality far beyond typical products. For most industrial users, the greatest draw toward SCPs is in reducing risks, ranging from lagging in the digital transformation journey to servicing products remotely. Building a connected product strategy will help you identify the greatest opportunities for growth, including reducing waste and costs, and generating additional revenue.

Some of the benefits of implementing a Connected Product Strategy include: 

  • Lowering service costs by minimizing onsite fixes
  • Increasing First Time Fix Rates
  • Allowing for remote diagnostics and remote fixes
  • Optimizing product performance
  • Improving customer retention and satisfaction 

Companies just beginning to implement SCPs must have a long-term vision and strategy to ensure they will see a return on their investments. Once an organization’s goals, needs, and capabilities are identified, it can begin to define what its strategy and process will look like.

How Can a Connected Product Strategy Reshape the Workforce?

Data is the largest driver behind a connected product strategy’s effect on workforce transformation. Today, the plethora of data collected through surveys, research, and other traditional sources is being supplemented by the product itself. Real-time data derived straight from the product can reveal a treasure trove of insights, such as asset location, pending service needs, warranty, and performance.

By using this insightful data, manufacturers and service teams can predict when a product will need service and catch red flags which can prevent equipment failures down the line. When issues like these are caught in advance, costly and unexpected repairs can be avoided. This not only lowers service costs, but also improves customer satisfaction. Organizations using a Connected Product Strategy can monitor assets, optimize service, enable predictive analytics – and ultimately create a heightened trust with their customers.

How to Develop an Effective Connected Product Strategy

To develop a strong connected product strategy, it’s important to start small and focused. It can be tempting to attempt to solve every challenge from the get-go, but it is easy to get stuck dreaming of everything you can do. Rather than looking at a wide breadth of issues, it is better to focus on depth – unlocking value comes seamlessly when it is centered on a specific goal. Smart Connected Product strategies grow with your company; learn which SCP efforts will provide the most value, and build outward from there.

Learn About Smart Connected Products

Check out Episode 13 of our Speaking of Service podcast series to learn more about how implementing a Connected Product Strategy can bring about faster time-to-value while saving your organization money.

  • Connected Devices
  • Industrial Internet of Things
  • Remote Service
  • Thingworx

About the Author

Lora Estey

Lora focuses on the solutions for Smart Connected Products within the IIoT ThingWorx Platform. She previously worked at the PTC Center of Excellence for IIOT where she collaborated closely with customers using the ThingWorx Platform for their own Smart Connected Product applications. Before PTC, Lora worked as a Release Engineer, Development Tools Lead, and DevOps Engineer for various enterprise systems.

She holds a Bachelor of Science of Engineering with an Electrical Emphasis from Grand Valley State University.