Thanks to connected devices and Internet-enabled sensors, field service equipment is becoming intelligent enough to monitor its health and alert techs when it needs attention. In the Industrial Internet—General Electric’s term for the integration of physical machinery with networked sensors and software—mashing Big Data with big machines leads to better performance.

While GE has pioneered the use of data for real-time analytics of its own assets, such as freight locomotives and jet engines, this week the company announced a service for small and medium-sized original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to follow in its footsteps. Called Equipment Insight, GE’s latest offering will help other companies take advantage of the data sequestered in their heavy-duty machines.

“There’s lots of data stranded in the machines,” Steve Pavlosky, solutions ecosystem leader for GE Intelligent Platforms, tells Automation World. “OEMs can provide far better support levels. And if they can find other uses for the data, they can make more money.”

For years GE has used machine data for predictive analytics and process automation. It used the methods to increase fleet efficiency for GE Aeroderivative gas turbines from 68 percent to 93 percent in one year, for example. Now the company’s technology will help other OEMs remotely monitor machinery and dispatch services.

How Equipment Insight Works

GE’s Equipment Insight combines an on-premises server with remote “field agents” that collect data from nearly any brand of intelligent control device. The system uses historical data to deliver a trend analysis of an entire fleet or single machine. It then can deliver alerts to end users or OEM personnel, who can proactively address quality issues and avoid downtime.

Grain management solutions company TempuTech is using the technology to monitor the health of its equipment at a customer’s grain facility. TempuTech accesses data about its customer’s system and delivers actionable information in real-time. “Virtually centralizing unlike applications, devices and sensors via a web-based remote monitoring and diagnostic solution is improving our ability to service this account, enhancing our value to them as a vendor, and reducing our overall costs to serve,” says Adrian Merrill, vice president of operations at TempuTech.

Equipment Insight offers a glimpse of how the focus of field service is shifting from reactive maintenance and repair to proactive operations and customer service. As OEMs of all sizes gain insight into how customers use their products in real-time, they’ll better predict and respond to the needs of their end users.