Field Service News spoke to Bybox's New CTO Arun Prabhu and asked him what the technological future holds for the service sector.
In the field service industry, staying ahead of technology trends is critically important to remaining competitive. As we start a new year, there is no better time to look to the future. So, we sat down with Arun Prabhu - new CTO at ByBox - to find out what tech you should be keeping an eye on in 2020.
What is your background?
My career spans many different areas. I have expertise and experience of leading large, complex, global software and high-tech businesses, but I've also worked with the other end of the spectrum as technology adviser to various start-up companies in Silicon Valley and government entities. The constant wherever I’ve been is, always working closely with customers to determine their business challenges and then developing technology solutions to these challenges that are both friendly and reliable.
Which technological trends do you think our readers should be closely following this year?
There are so many trends, but in my opinion, there are a few which are really worth keeping an eye on:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) is helping to transform many industries and will also significantly help Field Service Management. Nowadays, we’re working with lot of data that is related to Delivery, Inventory and Engineers. Using AI we can very effectively connect 3 building blocks (Engineers, Parts and Smart Lockers) of Field Service Management. This will reduce human dependency for effective and faster decision making; as well as significantly reducing cost/uncertainty and increasing predictability.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is of course a technology that is shaking up the way things work. Already we have devices that can be predicatively maintained, but this is only the start. Ensuring our tech is interconnected, so that each step of the supply chain talks to each other, could open up huge improvements in processes. We can automate a lot more with the right data and at ByBox we're looking at how we can integrate extra data points into our own systems.
Augmented Reality is another technology that I expect to really change working habits. For engineer compliance, being able to follow virtual instructions while repairing could be valuable. And, let’s not forget the use of AR in warehouse applications.
We should also not overlook the impact the growing millennial field service workforce. A new group of colleagues who embrace and know how to use tech such as drones. The gig economy has already changed industries from take-aways to taxis, so having a flexible field service workforce, supported by the right technology, will be invaluable.
Other technologies that are worth mentioning: RFID, Bluetooth tags, Beacons, Drones, Robots, Mobile Computing, Wearables, Biometrics, Interactive Voice Recognition.
What is your advice for our readers who are implementing a new technology solution?
Mapping new technology with real problems
Many people will get excited with new technologies and rush to implement them without verifying the cost of implementation, the effect on the end users and most importantly how it will improve existing processes and functionality. It is very important to do a proof of concept to make sure new technology really helps to solve the problem and to understand implementation and adoption challenges.
Set goals, be transparent and show value: Introducing a technology change can be daunting for an organisation, but it becomes exponentially more manageable and effective if it’s started with small user groups who are willing to learn, adopt and expand. Make sure this user group is trained adequately and they are not intimidated with new technology use.
While implementing new technology it’s always good to set measurable goals
As you start implementing it’s expected that you will have some setbacks, so celebrate small successes and show the value of the new technology. This will reduce friction from your users and get them excited to use new tech. It’s also very important to listen to the feedback and quickly rectify any issues. Doing this will build confidence and users will quickly become champions of change.
Support and growth
As adoption grows make sure that there is adequate people and processes in place to quickly address questions, concerns or suggestions from end users. This is extremely important for growth of adoption. Once adoption grows make sure that technology is updated on a regular basis; provide constant updates to users with the progress and success stories.
As ByBox’s new CTO what will you oversee?
As CTO, I will oversee the technology strategy, design and implementation at ByBox. This includes the ways in which we use tech to support our customers’ business goals. Designing solutions that combine various software and hardware components; ensuring the end result is completely user-friendly, fast and highly available. All the while, keeping an eye on technology advancements, such as the ones we have discussed here, to provide the best and future-proof solutions for our customers.