What does the future hold for Predictive Maintenance?
Over the last three posts, we’ve looked at the rise of PdM, why so many vendors - and their customers - get it wrong, and how we apply all that we’ve learned about predictive maintenance over the years to everything we do today, making Senseye PdM the leading predictive maintenance product on the market. In this post, the last in the series, we’ll consider what the future of predictive maintenance might look like.
The global predictive maintenance market is growing - fast. According to analysts, an increasing need to reduce maintenance costs and downtime will see its value reach over $12 billion within the next five years - triple what it’s currently worth. However, while demand clearly exists, there’s still work to be done for the market to achieve that level of growth.
As we’ve highlighted in previous posts, the marketplace remains fragmented. Achieving some sort of standardization will take some time. Ultimately, though, we believe the ideal solutions are the ones that take an integrated, holistic and - perhaps most importantly - a user-oriented perspective.
Capturing information from a broad range of different sources, it should facilitate “conversations” between users and the system in order to augment this information with knowledge and experience, and it should be agnostic to all models and algorithms. Indeed, we don’t believe in the idea of a single “master algorithm”. Factory floors are dynamic environments, and no two machines are identical - there’ll always be a need for custom models and data scientists.
Our belief, then, is that the predictive maintenance system of the future will be one that can elegantly integrate all of these features, and their nuances, into a single product.
A shift in mindset will be needed to ensure the successful scale-up and integration of a company’s PdM system into its wider digital ecosystem. Once the domain of OT teams, the responsibility and ownership of a PdM deployment will become that of IT teams instead.
Continuing to scale rapidly across an entire business will depend on an ongoing transition to the cloud, with edge devices on the shop floor carrying out any particularly heavy lifting. Over time, on-premise resources will become increasingly limited, their use largely restricted to more sensitive areas.
We expect there to be a greater, more diverse range of sensors, too - often at lower costs - particularly with regard to vibration (read our first impressions of AWS Monitron). At the same time, other sources, such as current, are likely to be harnessed far more than they are today.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that, in addition to the efficiency and cost-savings it delivers in and of itself, a PdM system is one component in an organization’s wider Industry 4.0 initiative. It’s important, therefore, to look at how it fits into the bigger picture, and how the connectivity and architecture offered by IoT platforms such as PTC’s ThingWorx, Siemens MindSphere, and Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure can play a pivotal role in enabling this, delivering a host of benefits across the entire business.
It’s not all plain sailing, however. There are still obstacles to be overcome before the PdM market can truly flourish. A lack of sufficiently skilled staff, for example, is currently hampering the projected growth, as are concerns around data privacy and security, and difficulties in deploying a system at scale. There’s also a great deal of confusion around marketing hype versus what PdM can actually deliver. To that end, many companies still don’t have any real clarity about their own internal direction. With no strategy in place, it can be hard for an organization to identify the best system for its needs.
Questions around technology and culture will be addressed in time. But issues of uncertainty will take longer to resolve and will have the biggest impact on the pace of the market’s growth. We share the analysts’ optimism, however. As we know, predictive maintenance may not be new, but its continuous and rapid evolution is fundamental in accelerating the drive by organizations everywhere toward greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
As the market leader, Senseye is proud that, thanks to years of PdM experience and knowledge, we have a key role to play in the direction this exciting evolution is taking.
For more detail on the most important things we’ve learned about PdM, and how they’ve informed everything we do - now and in the future - download our white paper “Senseye in Depth: Why is Predictive Maintenance so hard?