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IoT-Enabled Automobile Battery (IAB) for Business Value Creation

Sandip Pradhan, Chief – IT, Exide Industries Limited

In the fast-changing digitized world, customer needs information in various formats coming to them rapidly in real time environment. Well-informed and value conscious customers want to make use of the high-speed, real time information to improve quality of their life, and therefore look for smarter products in the marketplace. IoT (Internet of Things) enabled Automobile Battery (IAB) as a product is capable of handling some of the key issues of automobile battery segment that multiple stakeholders related to the product encounter. Each stakeholder has different challenges or concerns to tackle, that adversely affects the operational efficiency of the manufacturing firm or in terms of their customer experiences.

Challenges Faced by the Stakeholders:
a. Head of Service struggles to ensure timely service delivery to the customers, categorize customers’ complaints, monitor and control the service personnel working on the ground, reduce process delay for warranty claims and reduction in service cost.
b. Head of Sales would like to have the visibility and control of data related to health of the batteries on the ground so that the customer needs can be addressed before they reach out to the dealers or call centre to register complaints.
c. Head of SCM would like to identify causes of high time and cost of transportation of battery from customer location to service centre for warranty claims.
d. R&D Engineers currently don’t have access to enough data for analysis for value addition to customer relationship management.

The IAB Solution:
A) IoT enabled device B) GPS device C) IoT Platform on the Cloud D) Apps for Customers, Technicians and R&D Engineers etc. E) Analytics / Dashboards.
This is a device mounted on the lead acid automobile battery either on the inside (integrated with battery) or on the outside (retrofit), performing various sensing functions of the battery and battery

parameters and communicating wirelessly the information through GSM (Global System for Mobile) network to cloud platform.

A retrofit or in-built IoT unit can be fitted within the battery during assembly of the batteries in the manufacturing line. As soon as battery gets charged, IoT device will be alive to start capturing the data from the charged battery. The IoT device would be able to transmit the vital parameters like voltage, charging current, discharging current, temperature, electrolyte level, and electrolyte specific gravity. GPS device would be a part of the IoT unit and will provide the Geo parameters like locations of the installed battery, region, district, state etc.

Captured data will be transmitted through a communication network to a cloud platform to establish a Connected Battery Cloud Platform (CBCP). This platform becomes capable of communicating various modules of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system including Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Supplier Relationship Management (SRM). CBCP establishes access to install base information, service contracts, inventory and financial posting etc from the back-office applications. The captured data on the Cloud platform provides are then analysed for Remote Diagnostics, Predictive Analytics, Condition-based maintenance, Asset and Inventory tracking and Warranty tracking.

Knowledge of battery operating conditions at regular intervals provides valuable information

IAB includes few Apps/web portal for Customers, Field Technicians, R&D Engineers, Head of Sales, Service and SCM. Through the Mobile App, a customer can get SMS, Alerts or advanced notifications about the maintenance activity and usage, life of the battery, charging status and service requests raised. Whereas Technician App helps them to diagnose remotely and provide proactive services and dynamic routing for field technicians so that the customer on the road can get services on real time. Statistical model derived from the huge amount of data can help R&D to diagnose the battery failure, faster root cause analysis, decision making and bringing design improvements.

Knowledge of battery operating conditions at regular intervals provides valuable information on operation conditions, customer usage, use/abuse insights, influence on battery performance and dynamics, locations, sales status, inventory, state of charge etc. Armed with this information, IAB would be able to provide various analytics and dashboards based on KPIs like life, performance, reliability, Service management and Safety of batteries achieving customer insights.

In India, the use of IoT devices is still in the evolutionary stage and adoption is limited to a few application areas. However, battery manufacturing firms may use this concept to benchmark their performance in terms of better customer experience as well as the performance of Supply Chain Management which are essentials to sustain in the current competitive markets. The IAB solution provides a data-driven conceptual platform with three key components of Intelligent Enterprise: (a) Intelligent Apps (b) Digital Platform (c) Intelligent Technology.

As a summary, the above concept provides guidelines to automobile accessories firms to develop the Strategic Decision-Making framework in the area of Supply Chain.

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