Make the competition nervous with AI and IoT for your physical assets.

This isn't some aspirational future state; this is something you can do now

By | 3 minute read | April 11, 2019

AI and IoT can help you optimize your physical assets.

People in charge of managing the performance of physical assets in industries such as energy and utilities, mining and real estate are now reducing overall maintenance costs by 5-10 percent.1 They’re also increasing equipment uptime and availability by 10-20 percent.2 If results like these don’t make their competitors nervous, I don’t know what will. These best-in-class organizations are achieving dramatic operational transformation, reducing costs and ultimately achieving a competitive advantage – and they’re doing it through the use of IoT data and AI.

Maximize the value from your high value assets

Across all industries, the companies who manage physical assets are tasked with reducing the expenses associated with the maintenance and operation of equipment. To achieve this, they closely manage maintenance schedules to ensure continuous uptime for every asset they own. When high-value assets are connected with strategically placed IOT sensors, those assets can provide volumes of data about equipment performance. Coupled with analytics software and AI, this data can be analyzed at scale to predict when assets need repair, when they might fail, and diagnose what is required to get them up and running – and stay that way.

Today, this can all be managed from a centralized platform that allows managers to monitor multiple devices at once. This significantly cuts down on the time and personnel required to perform manual inspections. The end result is significantly reduced maintenance costs, an extended lifecycle of high-value assets and enhanced overall operational performance. Not too shabby.

Real-time prevention. Real-world performance.

It’s important for leaders to realize that this isn’t some aspirational future state. Companies across all sectors are already seeing dramatic results with high potential for more of the same as the AI solutions learn about their businesses. For instance:

  • Energy:  With demands from regulators, manufacturers and consumers to supply increasingly higher volumes of clean, environmentally responsible power at an affordable rate, energy companies struggle to profitably survive. Today, using analytical tools, and data from sensors, weather patterns and other sources, some innovative energy providers are able to forecast such things as temperature, sunshine and wind speed to predict consumption demand. They can then adjust production according to specific conditions.
  • Mining: Sandvik, a manufacturer of mining equipment, changed their mindset to data-driven productivity. Using IBM IoT and AI technology, Sandvik concentrated on the entire mining process rather than simply the equipment. In doing so, they were able to utilize digital twins to determine the root causes of malfunctions, predict when maintenance was required and, thereby take preventative action. Reliability was assured and productivity was increased. IBM is helping Sandvik meet their challenge to assure the reliability of equipment that is deep within the ground and ensure the safety of their workers. Our solutions also help mining companies adhere to environmental regulations and address the sensitive social issues that affect the mining industry.
  • Industrial Products: Maintenance engineers are challenged to optimize equipment in their buildings and plants to achieve greater maintainability and availability. To be successful, they depend on their suppliers to provide safe, reliable equipment as economically as possible. One global manufacturer and maintenance provider of escalators and elevators, moves millions of people every day in some of the world’s most prestigious buildings. Their close long-time partnership with IBM is centered around the use of IoT with AI to achieve uninterrupted performance and deep understanding of how people move through their assets. Through the installation of sensors in over a million units and the real-time collection and analysis of data, disruption has been significantly reduced. Even before a malfunction–and a potential accident–occurs, the system foresees the issue, diagnoses it and sends a technician to make the needed repair.

And the list goes on …

Other industries that can benefit from asset performance management include:

Transportation – Optimize TCO of fleets by improving performance and lifespan

Chemicals & Petroleum – Achieve safety, reliability and compliance throughout the supply chain

Industrial Products – Control production variables such as waste reduction and maintenance

Wholesale & Distribution – Improve equipment operations while meeting increased customer expectations

Energy & Utilities – Manage sophisticated, dispersed assets to achieve efficiency with simplicity

Aerospace & Defense – Gain real-time visibility across the lifecycle to accelerate launch time

Retail – Develop new customer focused tools to create more engaging experiences

State & Local Government – Optimize space in engaging, highly productive public facilities

Financial Services – Optimize dispersed critical assets and reduce energy consumption

Automotive – Increase speed of development and deliver an engaging experience while adhering to standards

Medical Devices – Innovate while achieving real-time transparency in a safety critical environment



1,2 Chris Coleman, Mahesh Chandramouli, Satish Damodaran, Ed Deuel, Making maintenance smarter, Deloitte Insights, 2019