Connectivity is Key to Customer Support

September 8, 2023

It all Started with a Satellite  

Caterpillar’s journey to connect 1.4 million assets (and counting) began two decades ago, years before connectivity was a standard industry practice. Our team has evolved how we extract data from our assets via satellite technology to terrestrial technologies like 2G, 3G, and 4G. Now, we are harnessing the next wave of connectivity technologies to build even smarter solutions across the industries we serve and provide even better customer insights and recommendations.  

Robust connectivity has laid the foundation for our customers, dealers and Caterpillar to work smarter and more efficiently through the use of machine and engine data. Enhancing and growing our connectivity solutions is an enterprise priority because it serves and supports customers, dealers and Caterpillar teams. 

Exploring Technologies to Solve Customer Problems 

As connectivity technologies continue to emerge, the Caterpillar team evaluates them through a customer-centric lens, ensuring we are highly selective in what we include in our connectivity product portfolio. We know that our customers work in many fields – mining, construction, and energy and transportation – so we work hard to ensure connectivity technologies support our customers’ unique needs. In addition to keeping customer needs top of mind in our technology exploration, our team works equally hard at ensuring the technologies we integrate into our product offerings reduce costs for customers.

New Product Introduction (NPI) Team Leader Derek Light says, “There is no shortage of technology options out there, but we are committed to exploring and implementing solutions that meet the long-term needs of our customers and dealers.” 

We know our customers want to avoid unplanned downtime while working as efficiently as possible, and we're using connectivity technologies to help them achieve that. 5G and Next-Gen Satellite will provide customers with global connectivity, so they know where and how their machines are operating. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies establish a wireless connection to assets for service and configuration and provide the ability to read smart sensors around the machine and jobsite. C-V2X will level up our site awareness capabilities to offer smarter safety and productivity solutions. Leveraging connectivity-enabled solutions helps customers to get the most out of their jobsites while making machine servicing quick and easy. 

graphic of construction equipment connected by digital technologies

Supporting Services Through Connectivity  

Connectivity Chief Engineer Muhammad Yousaf says, “As we build out the technology adoption and deployment roadmap, our core goal is to make it easy to buy, use and service Caterpillar equipment. Our connectivity product strategy reflects the enterprise focus on the service aspect of customer success.” 

Our enhanced connectivity strategy standardizes features like remote service and condition monitoring to equip more Caterpillar assets with advanced connectivity solutions. Condition monitoring, for example, gives customers actionable fleet insights that can predict and even prevent unplanned service events or downtime, which helps customers achieve their goals. Enabling remote service on more machines allows Cat® dealers to be more responsive to customer service needs and provide troubleshooting, repair or software updates. This means more machine uptime, lower total cost of ownership (TCO), and more efficient jobsites.

Standardization is key to connecting more assets, but our teams are also prepared to deliver customized solutions to meet our customers' unique needs, whether they’re running a construction site or managing backup power for a hospital. Our solutions, like our customers, are diverse and position us to execute our strategy effectively through collaboration and innovation.  

Forging Ahead with 5G  

The technology landscape is constantly evolving, and we are keeping our eyes on the future as we explore and integrate emerging technology into our product offerings. To get there, we will work with 5G network operators and wireless technology providers, exploring the capabilities of the technology in customer and dealer applications/solutions. This advanced planning and preparation to deploy the latest technologies, like 5G, puts Caterpillar in the position to provide the best connectivity technology solutions and deliver value to customers and dealers. 

Customer success drives innovation at Caterpillar, and we know that a strong connectivity strategy is essential to the continued success of customers, dealers and our company. We remain focused on integrating only the best problem-solving technologies into our connectivity solutions.