Mobile maintenance at Philips Lighting

An example of an Internet of Things application in business can be found at Philips in Turnhout. The site covers more than 20 hectares of technical facilities that all need to be properly maintained. It took a lot of work to keep up with the administration and all the necessary technical information. That’s why, together with several partners, Philips created the Philips wearables project.

“What’s innovative about this project is that it makes the job of our maintenance technicians a lot easier. In this world of increasing complexity, maintenance staff has to contend with large amounts of information and a huge diversity of tasks. If we want to keep on top of it all in the future, the existing methods are no longer going to be able to ensure a professional standard of maintenance. And we believe that having quick access to information at the location where it’s needed, and being able to share that information with other people in a connected world represents a tremendous added value that can certainly resolve the issue of maintenance complexity. So, in this way, using wearables or smart devices such as smartphones or tablets can offer tremendous added value for our staff. Their work covers a very large terrain. In all those different locations scattered throughout the site, they need to work with an exceptionally large amount of information and they need to be able to share it with others in real-time. They also want to be able to quickly connect with people who can provide extra input. And in light of those needs, it’s clear that a smart device was the right choice.”

“According to our calculations, it saves our maintenance technicians a full hour each day. Time that they can now spend on all kinds of improvement projects. What we’re noticing is that our staff is getting extra energy and lots more satisfaction from being able to work on improvements rather than spending their time on administrative procedures. And then you also have the gains in terms of the technical quality of the work. Thanks to having all that information available in real-time at the site where the work is being done, we are able to act much faster. And while, in the past, our approach was more reactive, fixing problems once they had occurred, now, with the help of trend analysis, we can instantly intervene in the right place, just in time.