Zamboni works with Digi International on customized IoT product
Connected ice re-surfacer represents an IoT product-as-a-service
Name two companies that make ice re-surfacers. I’ll wait. Seriously though, Zamboni is the gold-standard in ice re-surfacers–the things that smooth out skating rinks between periods in a hockey match, among other uses–so much so that the machine and the company names are interchangeable like how an adhesive bandage is almost universally referred to as Band-Aid. Working with Digi international, an internet of things (IoT) specialist, Zamboni is working to unlock the data produced by its machines to improve operational efficiency.
“We knew there was tremendous value in the data being generated during the ice re-surfacing process,” Zamboni VP of Operations Derek Gunn said. “The challenge would be to provide the right data in a format which was easy for arena operations of any size to leverage and utilize.”
Working with Digi, which customized its Wireless Vehicle Bus Adaptor into the bespoke Zamboni Connect application, which is a mobile application, accessible from smartphone, tablet or other web-connected device, that provides a dashboard tracking machine speed, energy consumption and water consumption. The app also maintains maintenance logs, stores reference materials and offers maintenance suggestions based on data analysis. The IoT tool can be integrated with Zamboni’s entire line or re-surfacers, regardless of whether they’re gas or electric, and whether to a single unit or an arena fleet, according to the companies. With the right data in hand, operators will be able to conduct predictive maintenance, decrease unplanned downtime and optimize asset availability and efficiency.
“When people think of Zamboni, they probably don’t realize how complicated ice re-surfacers are and what’s involved with maintenance and upkeep,” Tracy Roberts, vice president of technology services, Digi International, said. “Zamboni helped us understand how to design their application to present key data, helping owners and operators understand and take care of their machines.”
As IoT manufacturers and services firm look to address increasingly refined, vertical-specific use cases, this partnership exemplifies the shift from merely providing a platform-as-a-service to drilling down to the product-as-a-service level.