Augmented Reality has been widely predicted to become a fundamental aspect within field service delivery in the future. Here Jereme Pitts, COO, Librestream discusses how you can get a lead on your competitors and secure investment in AR for your field service operations today...
According to The Service Council, 70% of service companies stated that within 5-10 years they will face challenges due to the retiring workforce. This fact has created an industry wide need to capture and leverage knowledge, one of the top drivers for augmented reality (AR) technologies. Compounded with this challenge are the increasingly complex assets and operations that service teams face.
After deploying AR technologies, service operations have reported strong outcomes in worker safety, increased uptime, accelerated training, and knowledge retention, employee retention and productivity gains. Over our 15 years of delivering AR solutions, we’ve seen these outcomes across our customer base.
To successfully deploy and adopt AR within an enterprise, it is important to understand which use cases will drive the highest value across your operation. These use cases will determine which form of AR solution you should focus on first. Two of the most popular AR solutions in the industry are remote expert assistance and digital work instructions. Both solutions capture and leverage knowledge and are ready-to-deploy with strong proof points in the industry.
The first solution, remote expert assistance, is the ability to connect with virtual specialists immediately by sharing live video, audio, telestration and augmented content through wearable or smart devices. This solution is making way for just-in-time training, which is the concept of giving workers the tools they need to learn on the job at the scene of an event. With the growing turn-over rate of millennial workers, taking the time and money to train a new technician is a huge investment. Just-in-time training reduces the investment in time and money and instead trains the technician when it’s needed.
"Investing in AR is proving to combat the loss of expertise and growing complexity within the field service industry
The second highest growth AR solution is digital work instructions. Digital work instructions involve transforming paper processes into digital step-bystep workflows - accessible to technicians on their wearable or smart devices. This solution provides enterprises with the opportunity to streamline processes for consistency and better accuracy across their entire operations. Creating actionable data enterprises can use to create smarter and more effective business decisions. Here are examples of benefits and outcomes our industry-leading customers have reported since deploying these two AR solutions:
• 20% accelerated time to resolution and 50% faster support calls
• 33% faster training by mentoring field technicians with live video
• 5-10% reduction in return visits with improved first-time-fix rates
• 70% time saved in total productivity hours of technicians
• Improved worker safety statistics measured by indicators such as fewer miles travelled.
After selecting the highest value use cases and type of AR solution needed, the next step is often creating a successful business case. This step is crucial to gain consensus internally for a successful deployment of the AR solution. Over the years, we’ve worked with our leading customers to compile the main requirements they recommend in building this business case. Here are three important aspects to consider:
1. Name all the important stakeholders who should be involved from the beginning. For example, who are the executive sponsors, key team members, IT and security personnel?
2. Set benchmarks for success. Create a way to measure how well the solution is performing against the ‘old’ ways to help with determining the success of the project.
3. What are your formal KPIs? Make a list of your tangible and intangible benefits and how you will collect that data. These are just a few of the key thing to consider when building a successful business case for AR. To learn more, you can read the ‘Build a Business Case’ chapter in Librestream’s Industry guide on remote expertise.
This guide includes helpful content on the entire process from selecting an AR remote expert vendor to successfully deploying and gaining adoption.
Investing in AR is proving to combat the loss of expertise and growing complexity within the field service industry. Choosing the right AR tools and creating a strong business case are vital to the success of the deployment. As a part of many companies’ digital transformation strategies, AR is becoming the new industry standard.