Solutions : IFS Labs

One of the ways we drive innovation and new technology incubation is through IFS Labs. Here we apply the latest thinking around consumer technologies, digital trends and innovative solutions across a range of industries to our products and software solutions. The mission for IFS Labs is to create customer value and inspiration by formulating, incubating and evangelizing new use cases and solutions with the objective to accelerate product innovation. It’s all about delivering innovation at the right time, in the right wat, considering applicability for our target industries and customers.

To IFS, the capability to think freely, build on inspiration from wider trends and innovations, and work in a more exploratory way without fixed requirements or deadlines is a vital part of the innovation process. For our customers, it is part of ensuring we provide great enterprise software solutions today and into the future.

Core Capabilities

IFS Labs Success Stories

IFS Labs operates under a license to fail. Not all innovative solutions will make it into the product. Some may not even make it through the first months. But as Edward Land once said: “An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.”

The mission of IFS Labs is to drive innovation and new technology incubation. Some examples of the success of IFS Labs can be found here:

  • IFS Remote Assistance for Service and Maintenance
    Early 2019 IFS Labs signaled that the technology to perform collaboration video calls had become mature enough for production level roll outs. After running a successful incubation project through 2019, followed by a regular development project in 2020, embedded remote assistance capability inside IFS products is now a fact.
  • IFS Aurena Bot
    In 2015, IFS Labs showcased the first version of the chatbot’s artificial intelligence capabilities inside IFS Applications. Many iterations and technology try-outs later, the 2019 release of IFS Aurena Bot is a fact. Surfacing both inside IFS Aurena and in third-party channels like MS Teams, it provides the user with a new conversational user interface to improve user experience.
  • IFS IoT Business
    This Internet Of Things application started out as a proof-of-concept project with the urban transport operator, Sporveien, in Oslo, Norway, whose trains are equipped with sensors capturing large amounts of data about their service needs, enabling flexible, predictive maintenance, lower costs and ultimately more trains running.
Digital Twins

Digital Twins are virtual representations of physical assets. Most people use the Digital Twin in the context of IoT, but a Digital Twin is much more. To achieve the end-state of Digital Twin, many different features and use cases are needed. IFS Labs is collaborating with the rest of the RnD organization in order to bring the right features and use cases into the product, in the right order, at the right time.

  • Easy access to relevant data in the context of the twin. In the context of an asset this can certainly contain live data from IoT sensors, but also the data typically found in Enterprise Asset Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, and Service applications – maintenance data, health and safety records, risk and compliance data, procurement data.
  • The possibility to visualize the status of the twin and use the visualization to navigate structures and data. The visualization can be an exploded drawing, a 2D drawing, a 3D model, or even a 4D model, where the fourth dimension is time.
  • The ability to handle the past, present, and future – to view the status, look back and see how things were some time ago, and simulate or extrapolate what might happen moving forward.
Augmented Reality & Wearable Technology

What’s the business application of wearable technology? Very simple – you can interact with your IFS business software whenever and wherever you are. There is no need to use your laptop, tablet or even your phone. Combine it with augmented reality and you can have the information anywhere, anytime, interacting with the real world.

IFS Labs is continuously monitoring new developments in the wearable market. Most actively we’re working on solutions for smart glasses or other head mounted devices that will let users superimpose business data retrieved from IFS products in the real world using augmented reality.

Imagine field service technicians using smart glasses to view pertinent onsite assignment data as a virtual overlay. Collaborating with leading tech providers like Microsoft and Zebra, IFS Labs is exploring how to maximize the business application of augmented and mixed reality.

Intelligent Autonomous Assistants

Recently IFS has announced the IFS Aurena Bot, a simple yet effective chat bot that lets you interact with IFS Applications to perform simple but effective dialogues such as “Call in sick” or “Update a CRM activity.”

But what’s next? Why do people perceive chat bots, or other forms of conversational user interfacing as “intelligent”? At the same time something like general intelligence doesn’t exist yet. At IFS Labs we believe that by providing the bot with enough capability, including machine learning algorithms, data and context, a chat bot can be perceived as intelligent and provide the user with an increased user experience and value.

Therefore, IFS Labs continues to investigate what’s next for conversational user experience.

Artificial Intelligence

Much has been written about artificial intelligence (AI). It is and has been part of regular software development within IFS for many years. For example, IFS Planning and Scheduling Optimization has been using AI capabilities like neural networks for the past 12 years to create the optimal schedule for field workers.

AI could provide a lot of possibilities for business software that we haven’t thought about. IFS Labs is researching and prototyping many different use cases to identify opportunities to improve or add features to our products.

IFS Labs Blog

The IFS Labs blog is where we share our latest thinking and let you know about the technologies we’re focusing on. The blog is about software technology and innovation from a business perspective, which is the core of what we do within IFS Labs. It also gives you the views and opinions on current events, latest innovation trends, news and technology from the viewpoint of our enterprise software development team.

Immersive experience

Allinq and IFS Labs join forces to investigate the potential of advanced mixed reality by field-testing an integrated solution, using MS HoloLens smart glasses, to get system information to the eyes of their field service technicians.

Factory of the future

Partnering with IFS Labs, Cheer Pack turns an idea into reality with a robotic handling system. Completely autonomously orchestrated and optimized by IFS Applications, the solution provides $1.5 million in savings per year and allows Cheer Pack to place staff in higher-skilled positions to better manage labor shortages.