Why Tomorrow Depends on Connectivity

July 7, 2022

In today’s world, we understand the benefits of smart devices, like GPS monitors in our automobiles that enable us to get clear directions to a destination or smart watches that help us track our activity and health biomarkers. But what does connectivity mean at Caterpillar, and why is it so important?

Data is Foundational 

One thing that all “smart” devices have in common is that they communicate via the internet to data platforms that collect, organize and store information. The devices then perform actions based on the collected data. For example, some wearable health monitors can detect abnormal heart rhythms and alert the wearer to seek medical care before the condition reaches an emergency state.

The same principles apply to Caterpillar engines and machines. Using data analytics and machine learning, we’re able to predict critical service events – providing customers with information that can help avoid unplanned downtime or identify a potential problem before it grows into a larger, more costly repair.

But it all starts with data. As we connect assets, we gather billions of data points from our products in the field and apply advanced analytics and machine learning. Then we add our engineering data. The result is “smart” iron and value-add services that help customers improve safety and productivity, minimize downtime, and maximize asset utilization.

Data is the Future 

The beauty of our digital model is that it’s incredibly simple – it all starts with connected assets. The more assets we connect, the more data we gather; the more data we gather, the smarter our iron becomes. And we’re getting smarter every day.

We now have more than 1.2 million connected assets (machines and engines) connected globally – more than double the number of connected assets we had at the end of 2016. Each customer interaction, data point from a machine, and service event performed by a dealer feeds our digital ecosystem.

Nearly all our machines are now connected when delivered to a customer. Not only are we connecting our customers’ Caterpillar assets, but we’re also offering holistic customer solutions by connecting entire customer fleets. Doing so enables us to offer a host of work site solutions that drive efficiency and focus on productivity.

Cat Phone in dirt
Cat machine with diagnostics overlay

We’ve Been Doing This a While 

Although we are on the leading edge of this technology in our industry, it’s certainly not new to us. For more than 20 years, Caterpillar has been connecting machines and leveraging telematics to create machine insights. And because no one knows our machines and engines like we do, it only makes sense for Caterpillar and Cat® dealers to provide customers with digital solutions that work.

Connectivity will continue to be integral to how we do business and help customers. It’s key to our future and supports:

  • Remote service capabilities that allow remote troubleshooting of an asset or the ability to upload new machine software to an asset in the field from another location.
  • Cat Inspect, a convenient mobile way to complete equipment inspections in the field.
  • Cat App, which delivers simplified, streamlined telematics data directly to a user’s mobile device, monitoring machine location and health.

Data and Tomorrow 

We’re committed to investing in the technology necessary to maintain our industry leadership, and we have some of the best and brightest minds working on products and solutions focused on digital innovation.

One thing is certain: we’re transforming customer experiences in ways that we couldn’t have imagined a few short years ago. And together with our customers, we’re building a better, more sustainable world.