Manuel Grenacher, CEO Coresystems, explores the major trends that he expects to impact field service companies across 2018...
While 2017 introduced innovative new technology-based trends with the likes of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR), 2018 will bring real-world applications that put those buzzwords into practice. Here are the top trends we see this coming year.
The IoT will drive more proactive device maintenance, service and repair
In 2016, Gartner, Inc. forecasted that 8.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2017, with 5.5 million new devices being connected every day. The vast majority of today’s devices and machines come equipped with sensors, which transmit signals, status updates and warnings.
Field service innovators are finding ways to use the IoT and increased connectivity to their advantageThese alerts not only allow people to address problems proactively but also accelerate expectations around service time. The alerts notify users the moment their device needs maintenance or repair, which immediately puts the technician on the clock to resolve the issue. Challenges such as long response wait time and excessive appointment windows already plague the field service industry, so the IoT threatens to exacerbate these existing issues.
However, field service innovators are finding ways to use the IoT and increased connectivity to their advantage. In 2018, further innovation in the field technology space will enable technicians to take advantage of the IoT’s increased connectivity and automation in today’s devices, enabling them to provide service in real time to meet and exceed customer expectations.
Artificial intelligence will simplify and automate service appointments
2018 will focus on not the adoption of AI, but the implementation of it in real use cases. One industry that stands to greatly benefit from AI is customer service, particularly field service. Gartner forecasts that 85 percent of customer relationships will be through AI-powered services by the year 2020.
AI technology will make strides in streamlining the customer experienceIn 2018, AI technology will make strides in streamlining the customer experience. Chatbots will troubleshoot issues with customers, determining all necessary information before dispatching a technician. Powered by machine learning, chatbots will understand if a customer needs assistance in resolving an issue or wants more information about a certain piece of equipment. Logistic regression capabilities will enable chatbots to walk customers through equipment problems step by step.
AI will also automate the technician’s workflow. One of the biggest pain points in customer service – particularly field service – is dispatch time. To combat this, heuristic search functions in AI technology will determine which technicians are not only available but also knowledgeable enough to properly service the request. AI will also consolidate relevant customer details – from device history and prior appointments to technicians who are qualified and available to resolve an issue – to ensure customers receive the most efficient and painless experience possible.
Augmented reality will provide unprecedented visibility into worksites
Augmented reality enhances the way we see, hear and feel by bringing elements of the virtual world into the real world. Many people associate augmented and virtual reality with the gaming industry, but the technology offers far more than entertainment for a niche group. Industry forecasters predict that by 2020 the market for AR will reach $100 billion in value.
The increased connectivity that the IoT brings will continue to propel the application of AR in the field service sector. The increased connectivity that the IoT brings will continue to propel the application of AR in the field service sector. Using standard mobile devices and AR glasses, service technicians are finding unique ways to approach service. AR applications that allow technicians to look into machines without disassembling them have proven enormously helpful for pinpointing malfunctioning parts. Also, the ability to share data from onsite with offsite experts allows for a more collaborative approach to finding solutions. And this capacity to share knowledge and access an endless stream of information is increasing the first-time-fix rate and thereby improving the customer experience.
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