AI Is Fundamentally Changing FLS/FI Service

Picture This:

Imagine your company’s best onsite service techs. Picture how busy they are rushing from site to site, noting symptoms, prescribing fixes and installing replacement parts. Every day they are adding to a catalog of causes and effects, symptoms and solutions, fringe anomalies and their root causes. Every day they are on the job they become more effective and more valuable.

Now think of your most junior tech. Skilled? Yes. But that technician just doesn’t have the database of experience to pull from, and it will take years to amass the skills of your most valuable techs.

What if you could have that experienced tech at every one of your ATMs 24/7 – 365? What if every time a new symptom and solution popped up the information passed instantly to every single clone of your best technician? And what if the diagnosis of the problem was happening instantly without a service call even happening? Now, one more, what if the knowledge of that best technician was shared across your entire company from service managers making hiring decisions to purchasing teams deciding what replacement parts to stock? This is what Artificial Intelligence is bringing to the ATM market today.

The Future is Here

Voltonix has worked with service departments across all kinds of electromechanical equipment manufacturers for years, and this is a pivotal moment. We are all standing on the line of the foundational shift from reactive to proactive service. That is, Artificial Intelligence is changing the world around us. It’s not changing only video games and chess matches but also the way we do work, and the way enterprises make decisions.

AI is an elastic term and means different things to different people. Some more well known examples include Log File or Call Analysis, IoT Data, Digital Twins and Rich Sensor Data. It is the last one – Rich Sensor Data – that is both cost effective and transformational to First Line Service Organizations. The data provides real-time actionable insights with anomaly detections, and it learns and understands what is important as time goes on. It is also retrofittable and allows for cross platform implementation.

Voltonix is partnering with Sigsense Technologies on a wall-to-wall AI branch solution that uses Rich Sensor Data and requires only one sensor between the wall and the plug for each ATM, Cash Recycler, etc. An FLS partner recently told Voltonix:

“This is fundamentally going to change the DNA of our business.”

The solution eliminates mistakes in the diagnostic process and dramatically shortens it. Technicians would have the right part to fix the problem the first time on site. Real first call resolution is within reach.

Getting Specific with the NCR SDM

Inside the ATM ecosystem the NCR SDM cartridge serves as a specific use case and illustrates the agility of the solution. The SDM cartridge holds three bands that peel currency from the deposit. It relies on friction and tension and is generally a filthy component that can often jam bringing the ATM down. So, how does a remote computer with the assistance of only one external sensor alert a service organization to a jam in that specific section of the ATM? Or better yet, how can we tell that the cartridge is wearing before it actually fails and causes downtime?

The sensor provides a window into the machine’s entire electronic power draw. Through this we can see exactly which components are being activated and the sequence in which they occur. Sigsense’s Deep Learning algorithm takes that Rich Sensor Data and understands what a good deposit looks like versus a failed one. It is intelligent enough to correlate the jam signal with previous observed signals to alert technicians to the jam’s exact location. Rather than a technician responding to a general “deposit jam service call” the tech is dispatched to address the exact problem the first time out.

Through cumbersome log file analysis some Service Orgs perhaps can tell where the jam is, but the Deep Learning differentiator comes via correlations over time. The Algorithm understands and tracks when the SDM fails to strip the bill two times but then succeeds; maybe tomorrow the deposits fails three times before a successful sort.
In a log file system these ultimately successful deposits probably do not generate alerts. But with a Deep Learning application we can tell that the unit is entering a failure state by the increase in the frequency of almost failed deposits. That is, a non-catastrophic event can be flagged as an indicator of a future failure and thus a service call. Pattern matching over time empowers the unit to make predictive assumptions based on previous observations.

AI On the NCR S2

The same observations are simultaneously done with an S2 dispenser. Failed picks are easy detections as are the alerts, but the AI digs deeper. Typically, the S2 does not suddenly just stop pulling bills; it goes through iterations of increased rejects over time. Maybe it is a vacuum leak, or maybe it is bad currency. Each potential scenario looks slightly different to the algorithm. These observations are pattern matched to deliver prescriptive alerts for preventative maintenance. With enough data, we can even estimate time to failure.

The good news is to roll this out you do not need deep OEM pockets or specialized humans. In many cases, you do not even need a year’s worth of carefully organized log data. Deep learning, sensor-based implementations learn in real time, and the return on investment scales with the amount of data observed.

Getting Started

A number of companies are patching data solutions together to try to get ahead of the curve, but they are often cost prohibitive and lack the granularity and nuance that deep learning and Rich Sensor Data bring. Your data should be working for you already, and with this approach, it will work for your entire organization and not only your most valuable service technician.

A New Product Rollout Disaster

Imagine this: Your company rolled out the latest and greatest product that will finally allow you to compete head to head with the market leader. Your biggest customers have become your medium accounts as larger players in the market switched to your platform. The growth curve is looking exceptional, and expansion is on the horizon.

And then it happens…

Your service department is suddenly swamped with a series of issues from the new product; three distinct error codes seem to be bricking the machines. As a result, tens, then dozens, then hundreds of replacement units are being deployed all over the country. Your supplier has no answers, and your service team cannot nail down a single source of failure. Now you are rapidly burning through all of the good relationship equity that this product launch afforded you.

Voltonix was brought to the front lines of this nightmare scenario and assisted its client in this potentially catastrophic, company ending battle.

The Problem:

The product involved a chip-based magnetic card reader that could also write to the EMV or chip. The chip lost power during the card read process, and the machine was unable to provide power to the chip on the card… ever again. A bricked machine that costs tens of thousands of dollars does not make for a happy customer base. What’s worse, word travels quickly in this industry.

The Strategy – Protect:

After Voltonix conducted a deep-load analysis and profiled the device’s DC loads, it was determined that the culprit might be insufficient voltage getting to a component. Furthermore, dirty power sources might also have been corrupting a board. While the manufacturer’s engineers continued to troubleshoot additional hardware fixes, Voltonix helped the client deploy a statistically significant number of low impedance isolation transformers to test power as a variable. In a perfect world, this would be the end of the story. Problem solved – wrap it up with a self-congratulating paragraph and high fives all around. But it wasn’t.

The Result:

While the low impedance isolation transformers did reduce the failure rate by a full 10 percent, half of the units were still failing. The engineering team determined that a combination of replacement parts, including one addressing electrostatic discharge, completely eliminated the problem. The incoming cards carried a small static charge into the system and nuked the board responsible for writing to the card. To solve this, a brush could be installed on the card input that would dissipate the charge. Now the client needed to deploy this 40-minute hardware retrofit to 1,600 units across the country.

The Strategy II – Prepare:

The Voltonix site preparation program allowed us to deploy an army of skilled labor nationwide within days. By adapting the workforce to perform this very specific set of tasks, Voltonix was able to rapidly deploy a complicated hardware retrofit to hundreds of machines. Here’s how we did it.

The Real Solution:

First, we went onsite with the manufacturer who was rapidly retrofitting the existing inventory at the client’s warehouse to learn the process and setup the logistics to deploy the kits to our workforce. Next, we trained our project managers on the procedure and developed the full scope of work and deliverables for each site. We created an iFixit-style walk-through webpage as a reference for technicians to review before they went onsite. Finally, we managed technician check ins, troubleshooting and deliverable submissions from our HQ. We were able to launch this program within days of the discovery of the final fix.

Conclusion:

A valued client faced a perilous situation that could have sunk this vertical within the company at best and the entire business at worst. We were fairly confident that our “Protect” P would solve the problem. It was something; but it wasn’t enough. This might have been the end of the line for some consultants. But Voltonix is dedicated to discovering solutions and solving problems. By working closely with both the client and their supplier collaboratively, we helped implement a fix across a widely dispersed deployment of assets.

The client was satisfied, and the client’s customers saw them as responsive and aggressive in their remediation of a serious issue. The client’s supplier saved face by discovering a solution and funding the remedy. It was a win – win – win scenario. The extended result for Voltonix was a new program: Smart Hands. Voltonix now offers ad-hoc break fix services to OEMs anywhere in the country at extremely competitive rates. When phone support isn’t resolving a site issue, and it isn’t feasible to fly a burdened employee out, Voltonix Smart Hands can work independently or with your service team to get equipment up and running again.

 

Executive Bio: Andy Steele

Andy Steele serves as the Vice President of Strategic Operations for Voltonix. It is Andy’s responsibility to ensure the company’s day-to-day operations run smoothly while gracefully navigating any unforeseen bumps in the road. He works closely with all external company principals and owns the company’s customer service process, supporting it from initial outreach through onboarding. He believes deeply in single-point accountability and the need to first listen and understand a customer’s goals before offering a solution.

He says a positive customer experience is critical to the establishment of long-term relationships and thus the health of the business. “We have a real focus on quality and the need to make our clients thrive in front of their key relationships,” he says. “By going to market with ‘The Four Ps’, we are in a unique position to help companies save money across multiple verticals while also helping them to deliver on their own vision.”

Andy earned his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Montana and his Master’s in International Affairs at Ohio University. After living and working abroad for over ten years in Thailand, Indonesia and Afghanistan, he joined Voltonix in 2016.

Andy spends his free time chasing warblers and other avian oddities while keeping tabs on a precocious toddler named Emma Rose.

 

 

Executive Bio: Ken O’Connell

Ken O’Connell serves as the Vice President of Business Development for Voltonix. It is Ken’s job to ensure Voltonix is connecting with the companies looking to aggressively tackle service burden, reduce warranty exposure and increase reliability across their manufactured products. Ken helps the Voltonix team work closely with executive, service and engineering teams to implement key initiatives around artificial intelligence for predictive analytics, power protection and end user install site preparedness. He helps marketing and sales teams within these OEMs introduce products and services to their customers.

Ken believes simplifying the complexities around AI and electrical engineering problems helps OEMs drive toward the implementation of solutions. He says, “Many OEMs have 2020 and 2021 initiatives around implementing deep learning and artificial intelligence platforms to reduce service costs and predict failures. Often they struggle with the resulting science experiments that don’t lead to actionable services. We help introduce much more simple, cross-platform solutions that drive toward specific and measurable service cost reduction from day one.”

Ken studied Electrical engineering at the Ohio State University. He’s spent over 6 years with Voltonix working with OEMs in the ATM, clinical diagnostic and 3D printing markets.

When he’s not crunching algorithms, Ken spends his time with his wife corralling his two rambunctious boys on the shores of the Gulf Coast.

 

 

Voltonix Welcomes Ryan Huffman

Westerville, Ohio – Voltonix is pleased to announce that Ryan Huffman has joined the executive team as the Director of Strategic Partnerships. Ryan has an extensive background in leading customer facing organizations where success was contingent on developing long-term strategic relationships. Ryan is the past Chair of the Ohio Grocer Association where he helped implement industry best practices at the c-suite level and programs to identify and promote industry leaders. Ryan recognizes what it takes to understand customer expectations and work with employees, suppliers and partners to ensure key initiatives are executed and delivered. He also has had hands-on P&L responsibility, which will help him apply our data driven ROI strategies to Voltonix partners. With Ryan, Voltonix will be better equipped to help our strategic business partners understand and implement the powerful Artificial Intelligence applications in our portfolio.

Ryan is enthusiastic, he said, “Voltonix is bringing some really disruptive technologies to well-established markets that are ripe for innovation; I’m excited to be a part of that.” The CEO of Voltonix, Craig Kalie, is excited too, noting, “Our customers have been asking us for a better way to forecast maintenance or predict in-store device failures; with Ryan’s experience with compressor, kiosk, POS and IT maintenance challenges, we will be able to better help them respond to and tackle those challenges.”

Interested in learning more about how predictive analytics is going to change the grocery and quick serve markets? Give Ryan a shout

Voltonix – CUSI – One Became Two

Here We Grow Again

 

What Happened?

We are excited to announce that Customized Uptime Solutions, Inc. split into two separate entities in 2018 to create a clear distinction between its lines of business. The new entities are CUSITech LLC, at www.cusitech.com and Voltonix LLC, already active here. Both companies will continue to operate out of the headquarters in Westerville, OH.

What’s Different now?

CUSITech provides national onsite electric, structured cabling and smart hands support to help companies achieve smooth implementation on a broad geographic scale. CUSITech provides its services to companies that need a simple new electric or data circuit to very complex projects that require trenching, boring, 1,000’ of feet of conduit and major system upgrades. It also provides turnkey installation services for applications that require electrical and structured cabling infrastructure as part of the installation such as HVLS fans, kiosks, dock and door as well as electric car charging stations. CUSITech helps streamline reliability, simplify complexity and provides single point accountability. It is the trusted national partner providing consistent onsite site prep services.

Voltonix LLC provides power quality consulting and hardware and software technology to reduce electro-mechanical equipment downtime. Voltonix provides its services to companies that manufacture and/or service equipment such as medical devices, lab instrumentation, 3D printers, POS systems, ATMs, kiosks, heavy industrial presses and lasers and medical imaging equipment. The proven process and patented technology is paramount in reducing service spend and helping customers increase revenue. The return of investment is less than 90 days in most applications.

What does Voltonix Stand For?

Power is complicated. It’s a major variable that has qualitative and quantitive effects on our customers and partners. Our first goal is to make sure our products and services are effective. Our field trial process makes this free and painless. One of our customers once told us “In god we trust, all others must bring data”. Our goal is to create demonstrable results so that our partners can calculate exactly what our products will save in reduced service costs. We believe in optimizing uptime and empowering reliability.

What will Change to You?

In short, our email signatures and our website. Our team will work with the contract administration departments over the next 8 weeks to update all of the important documentation such as Supplier Agreements and Confidentiality Agreements. Give Craig, Ken or Andy a call or email if you have any questions.