Ideas, Information, Innovation

By: Alex Marcy on March 26, 2015
Tagged: Ideas

We are in the final stages of shipping an interesting project.

Our customer manufactures irrigation systems used all over the world. They use an in-house control system with panel mounted operator interfaces. Given the sometimes remote location of some of their installations, they need remote access to each system’s information, process conditions, etc.

The panels have a built-in solution that gets the job done, minus an easy way to access data more than an hour old. “Gets the job done” is very far from “easy-to-use”, “looks amazing”, and “changes industry expectations”. Our system gives the end user more functionality than the existing interface, looks great, and challenges incumbent ideas about what is acceptable for a baseline product.

If that is all the project entailed it would make a great case study with some pretty screenshots and a good testimonial.

Luckily it isn’t the end of the story.

With the new information infrastructure from this project in place some interesting possibilities start to emerge:

  • What if someone owns multiple irrigation systems and wants to track water and power usage against their utility bills across all of their systems?

  • What if our customer wants to collect data to spin up a predictive maintenance program?

  • Those weekly and monthly reports being sent to local municipalities? Why not generate the reports and send email them to the right people automatically?

  • What about automatic leak detection alerts sent to a maintenance crew’s cell phones via text message?

As the number of installs increases the possibilities can go even further.

What changed to enable these new possibilities?

  • Technology? Check.
  • Connectivity? Check.
  • Collaboration? Check.

These pale in comparison to the real driver of change:

A new way of thinking.

Thinking of things as one of many instead of only one enabled new possibilities. Multiple sets of data brings new connections, new information. Sharing this information enables new ideas, new ways of accomplishing the same things and more.

Technical limitations can be easily overcome. The more difficult hurdle is overcoming the status quo.

Where are you doing things because they have always been done that way? Where can you think about things just a little bit differently to achieve amazing results?

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