16 years ago, the movie Minority Report showed actors using gestures to control screens while we watched in awe and imagined the day gesture-based user interfaces became a reality. Today, gesture-based interfaces have become a reality and are in use in industries such as automotive, retail, designing and modeling, and gaming. Augmented Reality (AR) and its gesture-based interface have a significant use case in the field service operations industry where it can be used for training, education, repair, and maintenance.

Ground Realities

With great advancements in technology, a number of cutting-edge technologies are making their presence felt in the mainstream environment. Today, a majority of Industrial organizations are looking to increase operational efficiency using technologies like augmented reality (AR) in field service operations. A recent Goldman Sachs report claims that AR and VR will to turn into a USD 80 billion market by 2025.

Multiple data points are supporting the prognosis that field service organizations are looking to transform their service models in order to achieve higher efficiency and revenue. A 2016 study by Salesforce showed that 92% of executives agree that their organizations need to adapt their service models to keep up with customer needs. In another instance, Aberdeen Group mentioned that best-in-class field service organizations are 72% more likely than peers to utilize visual collaboration tools. The market, also, has begun to expect a high level of service experience. A Microsoft study stated that over 80% of millennial customers have used a self-service portal for customer service.

The Value Proposition

A buzzword once upon a time, today AR is fuelling legitimate tools for the field service operations. There is significant value proposition in integrating AR with Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics and Machine Learning. AR support can allow for manual services such as small repair works being delivered to customers by technicians remotely without having to visit the customer’s location.

If your Field Service unit is not implementing a form of remote telepresence or video collaboration tool today, then you are likely to in the near future.

Key Benefits

  1. Training

    One of the greatest benefits being discussed today is the use of AR in training field service operators. Virtual reality can help new field technicians train and hone their skills by simulating scenarios. Everything from repairing modules to sensor information can be uploaded directly to the technician’s goggles and the information displayed can guide the technician through the steps allowing him to look inside the machine and access sensor, pressure, and temperature data. Hence the technician is allowed to visually inspect the device minus physical interaction. On top of this, it can also help eliminate distractions and viewing of manuals for hours resulting in increased cost savings and customer satisfaction.

    One of the major challenges in the field service operations industry is an aging workforce. With AR/VR-based training tools, hiring novice technicians and training them on the job can become a lot easier.

    In today’s gig economy, mobile workforce management software integrates with AR to deliver hiring labor remotely while technicians are assisted with repair sequences. 3D technical visuals guide the technicians towards solving the issue.

  2. Following complex procedures with ease

    The integration of AR with field service management software will enable technicians to instantly access service manuals containing interactive 3D visuals helping them deal with unfamiliar equipment.

    AR is helping field service technicians follow tough instructions without having to refer to smartphones or tablets. AR also permits graphical information to be displayed across physical environments. This makes it a lot easier for technicians to understand what is required to complete a step.

  3. Improved Service

    Artificial intelligence can enable digital experiences for field service personnel by offering both assisted and self-service interactions. AR can help give customers reasons to buy and use services through immersive experiences which help build connections and brand recognition in VR environments.

  4. Assisting customers

    Customer service representatives and field service technicians will have the capability to guide customers virtually through repair procedures or maintenance. In terms of service calls and minor repairs, field technicians could choose to take virtual tours towards helping customers fix simple issues.

  5. Confirming Product Information

    Field data collection software used to collect data from connected devices such as HVAC units and MRI machines will now enable technicians to predict the number of service hours a device has before it needs to be replaced.

    Additionally, AR also helps the service team confirm device details such as generation and parts number as well as responses to environmental factors.

Improving business outcomes using various technologies, Sasken is engineering solutions and playing a crucial role in the technological revolution that is transforming the way the modern field service industry operates. Sasken is enabling world leaders leverage technology and innovation to implement advanced automation plugged with intelligence. Sasken provides asset monitoring solutions, analytics to optimize OPEX, diagnostic AR/VR applications, and plant and shop floor automation solutions to some of the largest industrial conglomerates across the globe.

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