The Big Discussion: Augmented Reality - Part 1.

Jul 17, 2019 • FeaturesAugmented RealityFuture of FIeld ServiceWorkforceIFSskillsThe Big DiscussionOverITLibrestream

In the Big Discussion we bring together a panel of industry experts and focus on one key topic within the field service sector.
In the first of a new four part series, we turn our attention to Augmented Reality where our panel includes Stephen Jeffs-Watts, Senior Advisor Service Management, IFS, Francesco Benvenuto Product Marketing Manager, SPACE1 by OverIT and John Bishop, President, Librestream...

Why should field service companies deploy an augmented reality solution if they already have a peer-to-peer video tool (such as Facetime or Skype) already available and free to use?

Choosing a video chat product as a remote expert augmented reality (AR) solution can seem like an easy path to fulfilling an immediate need.

As AR platforms and capabilities like remote expert guidance have matured, enterprises have developed clear requirements for security, IT controls, usability and performance. Requirements that these kinds of tools are not able to meet. For example, how will the solution perform in low bandwidth environments? Can IT control how much bandwidth will be consumed?
How can I quickly engage supply chain experts and customers? How can I be sure my content is safe and meets privacy requirements?

We deployed the first AR remote expert solution in 2006 – long before remote expert guidance was part of AR. Over the past 12+ years, our enterprise customers like Rolls Royce, NOV, Colgate-Palmolive, SGS, and hundreds more have guided the development of our solution to solve these difficult challenges.

Augmented Reality does not imply the use of a mere Remote Support solution but of an advanced tool aiming at supporting field technicians in their daily tasks through advanced collaboration and content sharing features.

AR solutions, such as OverIT’s product SPACE1, offer both real-time remote assistance and access to pre-built AR work instructions simultaneously.

In this way, support means collaboration and remote problem solving, but with a groundbreaking concept in mind. When assistance was guided by standard videos, both field technician and remote operator had to rely solely on voice instructions. SPACE1 is one step ahead, allowing experts to make marks that stick where drawn and annotations to be displayed on the users’ point of view while supporting them. Moreover, it enables the sharing of digital twins to be set where the remote expertise is needed, thus broadening traditional field working modalities and creating a brand-new cooperative virtual environment. See it in action here.

By using AR products users can capture images, record live support sessions to retain and share the expert assistance (both verbal and supported by visual annotations) in the future or even generate reports and offer actionable insights into improvement opportunities while providing additional employee training.v

AR is a far broader topic, with wider use-cases and implications than simply being used for video calls and ad-hoc collaboration.
AR solutions, embedded in the service delivery process can greatly enhance and enrich the customer experience.

One of the most compelling use-cases is in service call avoidance; where AR, when implemented in a seamless manner, empowers contact agents with enhanced diagnostics capabilities and tooling – being able to see and remotely guide the customer in triage with directive instructions, document sharing and image mark-up. These capabilities can reduce down-time, avoid the need to send a field technician to site and thus directly improve customer satisfaction. Additionally, compliance obligations can also be met through integrated session recording; which isn’t possible in the peer-to-peer space.

That same capability can then be deployed in the field; giving the technicians and the remote experts guiding them much wider capability with a resulting increase in effectiveness and efficiency. In this way, the technology increases first-time-fix rates, improving cost-to-serve and providing another dimension in improving the customer experience.

The second part of the big discussion will be published next week, when the panel answer questions on the role that AR can play in the challenges that come with an ageing workforce.