5 tech trends field service companies are likely to implement in the next 3 years
Field service as an industry has grown and developed significantly over the last few years. Companies had to adapt to technological advancements and the global pandemic that has changed the way people work.
In the future, fieldwork will shift towards mobility and interaction through digital channels. Gartner assumes that by 2025, more than 50 % of field service management deployments will include mobile augmented reality collaboration and knowledge sharing tools.
Another of their expectations is that algorithms and bots will schedule most of field service work. In their Magic Quadrant research, Gartner has identified several technologies that field service companies will likely implement in the upcoming years.
1. Augmented reality and video collaboration
Augmented reality (AR) is perhaps the most prominent technology trend that is transforming the field service industry. The incorporation of AR and video collaboration into field service management systems can significantly increase the field service technician´s efficiency and safety.
Thanks to these features, technicians can directly connect and collaborate with experts who can help them solve their issues or provide on-the-job training. For example, if a less experienced technician working for a machinery manufacturer needs to repair a broken piece of complex equipment, an expert or a senior colleague can remotely guide him through the process. Thanks to AR, the technician can show him the equipment, and the expert can draw instructions directly into what the technician sees in front of him.
2. Customer portals
While AR is changing service calls and communication between field service providers and their employees, customer portals are changing how they communicate with clients.
Thanks to automation, portals take the burden of communication away from technicians, who can then focus on their assignments and work more efficiently. Portals help customers keep track of their projects, request service, report problems without calling, check their appointment status, and much more.
Suppose an elevator in an office building is not working. In that case, the property manager can take a picture of the error message and upload it to the portal with a detailed description of the issue. Meanwhile, a technician can work on his current assignment without interruptions such as phone calls or sending text messages. Once he finishes, he will check the portal to see if there are any new assignments for him.
3. Zero-touch work assignments
Customers want their machines and equipment to be fully functional all the time, and we all know this requires regular maintenance. Despite this, accidents happen, and they often disrupt the schedule of everyone involved. Especially in these cases, automating work assignments instead of manually assigning work saves both field service managers and technicians a lot of time.
Zero-touch work assignment enables managers to set up rules for scheduling and models that can handle task assignments and react to changes. That means they can define monthly maintenance appointments or a rule that assigns new tasks to the nearest technician.
Wearables such as smartwatches and glasses are a great help for field service technicians. Thanks to voice and gesture control, field service technicians can keep their hands free to complete many their tasks. They can be also used for time and location tracking, health and stress monitoring, and collecting various data.
Another benefit of wearables is that just like mobile devices, they can be used with AR. Smart glasses can help technicians connect with an expert who will walk them through the process of repairing a piece of equipment. Technicians can also use voice commands to open a digital instruction manual they would otherwise have to carry around in paper form.
5. Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are helping field service providers perform time-consuming tasks. Predictive systems driven by AI can automate tasks that are usually done manually. These include scheduling, task assignment, resource and inventory management, or data collection.
Intelligent systems can optimize assignments for technicians based on multiple factors such as their experience, proximity, available resources, and the customer’s preference. Thanks to machine learning, they can learn to assign tasks to the best available technician automatically.
Take your field service technology to the next level
Customer expectations are changing along with the emerging technologies, and companies must keep up. If you are interested in increasing your field service efficiency we can help you with that.