Arthur Mulligan and Ed Spears from Eaton explore the value of predictive analytics when planning risk mitigation for critical system management. They also share examples of customers using predictive analytics to avoid problems associated with business and environmental challenges beyond your control.
While a growing number of organizations have prioritized disaster avoidance and recovery efforts in recent years, few could have imagined that an effective strategy in 2020 would include the ability for employees to telecommute in their pajamas for months on end ── not to mention, stockpiling toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
Yet in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, the value of a proactive business approach cannot be overemphasized. Remote monitoring and predictive analytics have emerged as a crucial aspect of a successful strategy, dramatically increasing an organization’s ability to be more resilient, efficient and poised to manage risk.
As businesses seek to support employees working from home ── coupled with industry trends such as widespread distributed and edge applications ── risk mitigation for critical system management has never been more essential. Organizations need the peace of mind of knowing that someone is carefully monitoring their systems, even when they cannot be there in person. Power is a key component of critical system management, and one that doesn’t discriminate by industry. From healthcare to IT to utility management, even a single, brief power interruption can cause irreparable damage, from potentially devastating financial tolls, to equipment damage and data loss, to a company’s wounded reputation.
The bottom line is, no business owner wants to take a hit that could have been proactively avoided. The good news is, companies of all shapes and sizes can now leverage the value of predictive analytics, a solution that wasn’t even on the radar just 10 years ago. The proliferation of smart, connected devices and IoT sensors resulted in a data explosion that sparked a number of IT shifts long before COVID-19 transformed the business landscape. These drivers ── all of which rely heavily on data ── include a surge in unmanned sites, organizations transitioning to more data-driven decision support tools, increased risk management awareness, an emphasis on lower total cost of ownership, and growing adoption of condition-based maintenance where devices determine how often they require service.
The trend is underscored by an April 2020 global market study by Omdia1, which forecasts total sales for remote monitoring services in the North America market to be $13.4 million in 2020. The analysis also revealed a 2018-23 CAGR at 5.3 percent for the segment ── nearly twice the overall market growth for UPS services at 2.7 percent.
As remote monitoring and predictive analytics have flourished, the power industry has also evolved, providing the ability for companies to access real-time system information. As a result, they are changing the way they determine UPS service, as well as interpreting data to become more energy aware and bolstering overall reliability. By layering in the additional level of protection afforded by predictive analytics, organizations can now use data to forecast the risk of component failure in their power equipment, enabling them to proactively replace batteries and capacitors before they fail ── slashing downtime risks and extending asset life. In addition, advancements in select predictive analytics solutions offer companies additional benefits, including significant long-term savings of time and money.
Eaton has seen many customers reap the value of predictive analytics during the pandemic. Retail giant Ralph Lauren, for instance, used real-time data from Eaton PredictPulse to proactively mitigate the risk of stores overheating. Amid the shutdown of all of its North American locations, the retailer was able to receive instantaneous temperature and humidity data, which alerted officials about rising heat levels in specific stores that had turned off air conditioning. The organization’s IT manager cited the capability as a huge win, noting that company officials couldn’t believe he had so much critical information right at his fingertips.
“With PredictPulse, we’re able to take care of problems before they impact a store, even if nobody is on-site. It’s invaluable being able to proactively mitigate potential issues, especially during these challenging times.” ─ Elvin McLaughlin, Ralph Lauren IT manager
Other organizations are getting creative and exploring predictive analytics as a cost-cutting measure. One of the world’s largest oil companies recently approached Eaton to investigate how it might be able to use PredictPulse to mitigate expenses in the wake of plummeting oil prices. The firm is assessing whether it can eliminate some services by remotely monitoring all of its data center equipment.
By integrating cost savings while connecting people and systems with vital information, predictive analytics can be a beacon of hope in an otherwise dark storm; helping calculate outcomes when faced with unimaginable situations. While you can’t always see the future, one thing is clear: predictive analytics provides a huge advantage for organizations seeking to remain proactive and resilient, with tools that enhance reliability, save money and identify future service needs. If there’s one lesson that companies take away from 2020, it may well be the value of preparing for the unexpected.
It also doesn’t hurt to stock up on toilet paper.
About the authors:
Arthur Mulligan is a Raleigh-based product line manager for Eaton’s U.S. power quality service organization and has celebrated more than 20 years with Eaton. He has a varied background of marketing, advertising and sales experience in telecom, software and professional services.
Ed Spears is a Product Marketing Manager, Eaton’s Critical Power Solutions Division. He is A 35-year veteran of the power systems industry, Ed Spears has experience in UPS systems testing, sales, applications engineering and training—as well as working in power quality engineering and marketing for telecommunications, data centers, cable television and broadband public networks. He may be reached at EdSpears@Eaton.com.
Eaton is a power management company made up of over 97,000 employees, doing business in more than 175 countries. Our energy-efficient products and services help our customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more reliably, efficiently, safely and sustainably. To help you maintain business continuity and prevent downtime, Eaton offers a comprehensive portfolio of backup power and distribution equipment, protecting your data center from a host of threats, including power outages, surges and lightning strikes.
- Omdia, UPS Service & Support Market Tracker, April 2020 (Only available to subscribers)