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article imageCaterpillar is an IIoT Hipster — they’ve been on it since the 90s

By DX JOURNAL     Sep 5, 2018 in Business
This article is sponsored content from Cognizant.
How the heavy equipment manufacturer unlocks 45% increases in efficiency for customers with the Internet of Things.
J&B Excavating owner Brenen Newman was facing a labour shortage. To avoid a slowdown in the business, he needed to get his 19-year-old son working on excavating operating equipment fast.
Problem was his son had little experience. But thanks to advances in digital and IoT tech, Brennan’s son had no trouble getting up to speed.
“He picked it up the first day,” Newman said. “The second day he dug a basement by himself without a grade checker. I don’t know that a guy with 20 years of experience could do that.”
Unlock decades of experience
The machine Newman’s son was working on was a Cat 300 series excavator that includes Caterpillar’s IoT technology and services toolkit called Cat Connect. The tech allows for services to increase efficiency and improve performance, like Grade with Assist. Grade with Assist allows operators to reach grade quickly and accurately, by offering guidance for depth, slope and horizontal distance to grade.
Related: Stepping into digital with IoT – 14 Case Studies
Both Newman and his son appreciated the simplicity of the tech. “This machine is a trainer,” Newman says. “You can put an inexperienced operator in it, and the machine will train that operator how to dig flat and how to hold grade.”
Caterpillar says this Cat Connect feature and others — such as Cat GPS, Cat Link, Cat Payload and others — increase operating efficiency by up to 45 percent.
For example, another construction company, Hemphill Construction, has been able to cut down on surveying, reduce project cost per hour and, working with their Cat dealer, perform predictive maintenance and protect the value of their assets.
Cat’s been into IIoT since the 90s
Caterpillar launched its vision to leverage the internet for service in the 1990s. Now, the company has 186 dealers and about 500,000 connected assets worldwide.
Tom Bucklar, Caterpillar’s director of IoT and channel solutions, says their digital strategy is “customer-centric.” It’s not just focused on giving insights for Cat equipment, but all the equipment a customer may have in a “mixed fleet.”
“We started in the mid-90s connecting equipment, we now have one of the largest install bases of connected equipment, which gives us a lot of rich data to build customer solutions,” says Bucklar. “When we start to talk about our digital strategy, we really look at digital as an enabler. At the end of the day, we’re not trying to build a digital business. We’re trying to make our customers more profitable.”
[Download]: Stepping into digital with IoT – 14 Case Studies
Earlier this year, Caterpillar started using AT&T’s IoT services for the connectivity and management of their fleet of heavy machines in 155+ countries, which will bring 4G to Cat Connect services. “[It] will deliver near real-time information to Caterpillar, its dealers and customers about their equipment’s performance on a job site,” according to reports.
Well Positioned for the Future
In the next 3 years, Caterpillar is planning on “using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) for sales, operations and service applications,” says Terri Lewis, digital and technology director at Caterpillar in this Automation World article. Possibilities include virtual rendering of products for sales conversations or machine performance data displayed via an AR overlay on a physical product via on a mobile device.
Bucklar says that all the data collected from Cat’s IoT devices means companies and consumers are able to access insights and analytics en masse.
[Download]: Stepping into digital with IoT – 14 Case Studies
“What IoT does is bringing all that data from connected machines into one place,” he says. “You can start to get massive amounts of insights, and with analytics can really start to build some rich solutions and customer value.”
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