We've been around the world and back a few times since we last gave you an update on what companies have arrived with a solution that could potentially help you meet the increasing challenges of field service. So before we bring the year to a close before starting on our epic travels to scour the world for the best information on what can drive our industry forward, we're providing you with a brief look at three more excellent solution providers serving the field service sector...
The idea of wearables, particularly smart glasses has long been put forward in field service as a crucial tool that will play a major role in field service deployment in the not too distant future. However, after a number of false starts - most notably with the hyperbole surrounding Google Glass we've yet to really see widespread adoption of such solutions.
However, there has been much anticipation around Microsoft's second iteration of their mixed reality headset HoloLens - which has sensibly been designed around industrial use rather than the gaming/consumer market. People in many corners of the market have been waiting with baited breadth to see if HoloLens2 will finally be the device that sees the potential of smart glasses finally become a reality in our sector. Microsoft appears very much to have grabbed pole position in this race.
That was my thinking anyway until I came across Third Eye and got a look at a prototype of their X2 Merged Reality Glasses earlier this year - and I think they may have actually managed to put out a product that has the edge over the Redmond based giants offering.
To start with the X2 is three times lighter than HoloLens2 - something that is important to factor in when being used in the field for any duration of time, but the X2 also matches HoloLens2's computing power with both devices having 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. The X2 is also smartly designed to connect to HardHat for ANSI Z87.1 certification but perhaps most importantly it is priced at $1950 making it around 45% cheaper than Microsoft's offering - when looking at deployments of hundred or even thousands of engineers that could be a major saving.
Of course, Microsoft have an advantage when it comes to a supporting cast of apps and integrations, but Third Eye do offer strong support for the developer community and a fledgling app store of their own is in place as well. Whether they will be able to compete with the full Microsoft suite of tools that HoloLens2 will be able to plug into is to be seen - however for any companies exploring the potential of smart glasses and Merged Reality remote assistance type tools for their engineers Third Eye is certainly worth consideration.
Aquant are a company that have been quietly making waves for some time now if you've been at a field service industry event in the last few years you may well have seen them running around in their rather snazzy black t-shirts, but also in some regards it is incredible that they are not a name on everyone's lips as they offer an impressive solution for field service companies.
In fact, the bold claim shouted proudly from the top of their website states "Give your service pros 20 years of experience in 20 seconds" which sets the tone of just how huge an impact these good folks from Israel can bring to the table for their customers. But of course - the question is how?
Aquant offer a machine learning based solution called a Service Intelligence Platform. In essence this platform uses Artificial Intelligence to work through your various workflows and surfaces deep insights buried within your organisations data, with a bit of slick Natural Language Processing to make sure all the ground is covered even across free text and then offers actionable information as to how you can do what your doing better, faster and cheaper.
Of course, the big wins here come from parts and job prioritisation and automation of key reporting elements which can all massively help the bottom line of your P&L. However, it is their additional tool 'Intelligent Triage' that really caught my eye. An AI driven prompt tool that can launch within your existing CRM can help your contact agents work quickly through an efficient triage process that can result in better first-contact resolution rates but even more crucially reducing the worst case scenario for any field service call - the dreaded No Fault Found.
Find out more about Aquant @ www.aquant.io
Lytx (pronounced Lit-Ics as in Analytics) offer a very well rounded suite of fleet management tools which whilst being available separately, perhaps come into their own when brought together as a cohesive whole.
The jewel in the crown of this suite of tools though is undoubtedly the dash-cam. This is not your run of the mill regular dash-cam mind you. The Lytx video platform allows you to access continual video anywhere you are connected within minutes. In an increasingly congested world where vehicle accidents are on the rise, this essential video footage alone is invaluable. The Lytx camera simultaneously records the road ahead and your driver giving an easy way to access important evidence of regulatory compliance, accident reporting or even delivery of goods and services in an efficient and simple manner. Think of it like a NestCam for your fleet.
However, the really cool bit is when we look at the risk detection solution. This is a very clever bit of AI that interprets the video footage in real-time and can detect when a potential risk is about to happen or when a driver is acting in an unsafe way. This could provide an invaluable tool for helping to train your drivers whilst keeping them safe. Alongside this Lytx also offer a telematics solution to help you keep on top of where your fleet are at all times. Overall, it is an impressive suite of tools for any organisation looking to improve fleet safety and efficiency.
Find out more about Lytx @ www.lytx.com
The final company on our list are an Augmented Reality provider. This is a growing competitive area within our sector at the moment and this competition has seen a number of new entrants in the space driving costs down and the technology forwards at the same time.
What particular stands out about SightCall is the intuitiveness of the solution. It runs effectively on a standard smart phone so there is no additional hardware requirements but still offers all of the tools such as live annotations that are crucial for AR to work in the field effectively. However, the feature that really had me sitting up and paying attention was the ability to go beyond the standard two way call and bring in an additional expert into the call to help further trouble shoot particularly tricky issues. This ability to collaboratively brainstorm in real time with both a centralised resource plus another seasoned engineer who could be in the field on a different service call could be invaluable in terms of getting the job completed and improving first-time-fix rates.
Find out more about Sight Call @ sightcall.com
Who have we missed out - are there any solutions you have seen recently that have impressed you? Let us know in the comments below...