You’ve heard it once, twice, a thousand times: this is the time of connected things. The Internet of Everything is upon us, meaning that while the devices techs work with every day will soon be able to collect massive amounts of relevant data, they will also need a new type of technical service.

For this purpose, GE has established a robotic workforce to detect the problems with these new complex systems. Never fear, though, they are meant to work with human technicians, not replace them. Dubbed “The Guardian,” this new service robot is the latest to come from GE’s research laboratory. The idea is for the robot to probe an engine, for example, and collect relevant information for the technician before he arrives. Once on site, he will have a report chock full of data, so he can make an appropriate fix. 

From a productivity and efficiency standpoint, the data and reports these robots collect and output will boost both, GE says. By analyzing performance data, for example, one offshore oil rig recently averted a failure. The savings was $7.5 million, Kate Johnson, vice president and commercial officer for sales and marketing at GE, told Fortune.

These bots and the data they collect are the future and GE is betting big on it — investing $105 million in data analytics company Pivotal last year as part of its aggressive push to own the space. And companies that think this type of technology won’t apply to them are sorely mistaken.

“If you went to bed last night as an industrial company, you’re going to wake up this morning as a software and analytics company,” GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt told attendees at the third “Minds + Machines” summit.

(Read more at Fortune)

Must Reads From This Week in the Field

Oil-field services takes big hit: As oil prices being to fall, major companies in Europe have pulled back spending on big projects, which will affect oil-field service companies moving forward. Spending plans from oil producers are said to tighten up, so there is some speculation that the well will begin to run dry for firms that specialize in oil-field service. (via Wall Street Journal)

Service is a revenue generator: Recent studies suggest that, from a company and customer perspective, the service technician role has evolved from one of “arrive, fix and leave” to something more complex. The complexities involve the idea that good service (i.e., interactions with the customer, knowledge of the issue at hand) can be converted into dollars for the company. “Companies really are beginning to focus on service,” ServiceMax CEO Dave Yarnold says. “Service used to be all about being a necessary evil. You had to provide it and you tried to minimize the cost of it. It’s now seen as a source of additional revenue.” (via diginomica)

How can you price service offerings that are best for customer and company?: It’s hard to put a price tag on service mostly because the price can generally be subjective. That said, there are some rules to apply, such as the implementation of price anchoring or hourly or project-based pricing. All options have their pros and cons, so it’s important to identify what works best for the company and the customer alike. (via Forbes)