Field Service News Editor-in-Chief, Kris Oldland reflects on a busy summer in the European field service industry in his leader for issue seven of Field Service News...
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I’ll be honest, when the doors closed on the third day of this year’s Service Management Expo I gave an almighty sigh of relief...
Not only was it the end of a very busy three days but it also marked the end of what was an incredibly busy conference season in the European field service industry and to be quite frank I think everyone needed to take five just to catch their breath.
Since we published the last edition of Field Service News we’ve attended the Aston Spring Servitization Conference, The Field Service Forum, The TomTom Telematics Developers Conference and of course the Service Management Expo and each of these events brought into focus some of the key conversations that are happing in our industry today.
There has been an abundance of excellent content produced by some of the leading figures in Telematics, Servitization, IoT, Artificial Intelligence and much more with each outlining how these varying tools and technologies will impact on field service.
And whilst long may it continue, it is also good to have a little bit of time in these long, hot summer months to let all these ideas, concepts and strategies tumble around in our heads for a while. Then, as we move into the final quarter of the year, our thoughts and plans around how we can harness some of these concepts, can solidify and evolve into strategies with substance.
And as I start to bring some of my own thoughts into focus my first initial observation is that so many of these new trends are interconnected.
In the past I’ve explained my belief in this column that we are entering a golden age of service, driven by a perfect storm of technologies emerging together and if anything the last few months have reaffirmed that belief.
Service is no longer an after thought but a primary business driver and if there was ever any doubt about this it was completely eradicated at the Aston Servitization Conference.
It was fantastic to see academics and industry leaders coming together to learn from each other and at the end of an intensive two days there was no doubt in my mind that this growing trend of Servitization was moving very quickly from academic theory with a handful of industry examples (albeit high profile ones) to a considerable shift in business thinking which is continuing to gather momentum.
Indeed the topic of servitization raised it’s head again when I interviewed Sony’s John Cooper with Cooper providing a perfect example of Servitization in a new contract with Spanish media outlet Telemadrid. As Cooper himself explains “when it’s pay-per-usage - it becomes all about the service.”
Which of course brings us back to the technology, for working in the parameters of an outcome based solutions contract means that your field service operations have to be highly efficient to ensure you are delivering the uptime levels such contracts are built upon.
“We are entering a golden age of service, driven by a perfect storm of technologies emerging together”
And it is not just the devices our engineers are repairing and maintaining that are becoming connected, it is their tools and even their vehicles themselves that are becoming connected also.
It is of course no surprise that the connected vehicle dominated conversation at the TomTom Developers Conference, but in fact it wasn’t the only game changer for fleet management discussed that day in Amsterdam.
We also saw TomTom Telematics redefine themselves as a Platform as a Service for the telematics industry with the launch of their Apps Store, and this new model for telematics, built on open integration, is something of a game changer.
It is a smart move by the Dutch Telematics giant and one which couldn’t have been better timed as another major player in the Telematics space, Microlise who have a phenomenal reputation within the haulage sector, have also turned their attention to field service with the launch of a very slick new solution Clear.
And then of course there are the two technologies that are underpinning most change in field service, Mobile and the Cloud. 18 months ago we researched the Cloud and I made some bold predictions around it’s adoption in field service. In our latest research project we revisit some of those claims and see if, how and why the adoption of Cloud based solutions in our industry has moved on at all within the last 18 months.
Time to let those little grey cells get to work...