Video case study: How is Volvo CE benefiting from IoT?

Internet of Business caught up with Niels Haverkorn, vice president connected solutions at Volvo Construction Equipment (CE), to discuss how Volvo is using IoT and the benefits it has seen.

According to Haverkorn, the construction industry has long been known for inefficiency and a lack of productivity, which is why Volvo CE chose to invest in Internet of Things technologies.

In conversation with IoB editor, Doug Drinkwater, Haverkorn explained that IoT has improved both efficiency and productivity at his company, as well as improving safety and helping the company to achieve “better results”.

When pressed about what this actually means for the business, Haverkorn revealed that Volvo CE is fundamentally connecting all of its construction equipment – including an average of 400 sensors per machine, plus GPS ports and communication gateways – and funneling the data to an offboard solution which its team can build IoT services and solutions on top of.

The services Volvo CE is looking at are focused on avoiding unplanned downtime for machines, otherwise known as predictive maintenance.

Through IoT the company will monitor its equipment on a real-time basis and send out an engineer to repair a machine before the failure happens. Once that has been achieved, the company aims to move to a more prescriptive maintenance model whereby a machine will predict a failure and send out an engineer automatically, without human interaction.

Related: JCB uses IoT to control 10,000 construction machines


So why aren’t more companies following suit? For Haverkorn, IoT is not a technical issue, but a cultural one. He advocates a policy of starting small via pilot projects and learning from smaller scale trials.

“Think big, act small. In reality for IoT that is vital.”

However, this fundamental transformation of culture is never easy to achieve, a Verizon’s Tony Judd has argued here.

What next for Volvo CE?

Today the Volvo Ce team is spending lots of time and energy on building its technology stack, but Haverkorn confirmed that, once they have the right platform in place, to provide the services described above.

Haverkorn’s team plans to develop a flexible, modular IoT platform, and will accelerate services off the back of that.

Related: Australian construction firm uses IoT for ‘smart helmets’ which keep workers safe