Code Halos: How the Digital Lives of People, Things, and Organizations are Changing the Rules of Business, by Cognizant’s Malcolm Frank, Paul Roehrig and Ben Pring, discusses the impact of the already huge and ever-increasing amounts of data surrounding individuals and our environment. The authors point out today many pieces of equipment or devices have the potential to generate data about themselves and we can collect, analyze and act on that information and transform the world around us. The implications for service providers are exciting.
The authors of Code Halos explain that equipment, processes and people will have so much information coming off of them that it will create a halo that surrounds them, containing an ongoing flow of information.
An example is a GE jet engine into which GE has put sensors that provide GE and its customers with ongoing diagnostics of an engine’s performance, location and conditions on which it’s operating. This information is collected and synthesized, allowing GE to move from a one-to-many maintenance schedule to an individualized path that treats all of its jet engines the same with customized maintenance. This allows GE to predict when an engine is going to fail so the company can act ahead of failure. Creating customized maintenance also dramatically improves the performance and cost to maintain the engines.
The same potential exists for most, if not all, pieces of equipment. Let’s take the common light bulb. Today we can put a sensor on the light bulb and treat that bulb as an independent entity. We can monitor its working conditions, its useful life, replace it when necessary and adjust the electricity coming to it for greater or lesser amount of light at certain times and conditions. So we can take the most mundane household appliance and create a code halo around it and transform its use, its cost to serve and its usefulness.
As the authors rightfully point out in the book, if we apply this to business processes, it opens up an unending series of opportunities to apply digital technologies and transform the world around us.
One of the meta effects of this phenomenon is that service providers can create completely new lines of service to transform their impact on their customers. Think of GE, which utilizes Genpact to gather and analyze the data to transform its maintenance of its jet engines.
In a services world where we have maturing markets for traditional outsourced application development services, the potential of these code halos is almost limitless. And the need for partnership with companies such as Genpact and Cognizant is significant.
This could create a whole new set of services and market growth opportunities in a maturing market space and become a significant bright spot for the services industry.