The Big Discussion: Augmented Reality - Part 2.

Jul 24, 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 second of a four part series on Augmented Reality, our panel including Stephen Jeffs-Watts, Senior Advisor Service Management, IFS, Francesco Benvenuto Product Marketing Manager, SPACE1 by OverIT and John Bishop, President, Librestream discuss what role the technology can play in the challenge around an ageing workforce.

What role can AR play in helping field service companies overcome the ageing workforce crisis they may be facing?

As the ageing workforce continues to challenge field service operations, the need to transfer and harness the knowledge of these experts is undeniable. With statistics such as 10,000 workers retiring every day in the US market for example, it is clear why this trend is a major driver for AR within field service.

The ageing workforce challenge is also compounded by the introduction of millennial workers. One of our industrial customers shared that it costs up to $1M and nine months to train a new worker to the previous SME standard. With millennials staying an average of three years, doing things the old way is not sustainable.

Using AR to provide ‘just in time’ training instead of ‘just in case’ training is essential. This ‘just in time’ training is achievable with AR solutions like digital work instructions to step them through a process and remote expert guidance to access advice on the job.

AR makes it easier for companies to move from an employee-centric approach to a wider and constantly evolving enterprise-centric approach where knowledge and know-how transfer are the core elements.

Every company should aim at equipping both technicians and operators with a user-friendly solution which does not require any coding skills for generating new content but instead creates a collaborative working environment where knowledge is easily shared.
Customer satisfaction plays also a pivotal role when it comes to determining the success of a company and the ability to provide the technician with the expertise needed at the right moment helps to reach this ambitious goal.

The spread of consumers’ devices and user-friendly AR products is smoothing such transitions provide all employees, from millennials to more senior operators, with the essential skills required. An AR solution should always adapt to the company information architecture employed and each user should be able to access the data needed to augment the real world with rich and intuitive content.

Choosing an integrated platform, which is flexible and can be easily connected to the existing systems, such as ERP and IoT, will allow enterprises to quickly see the benefits AR can offer to pave the way for success.

The key use-case in this area is the remote expert whose expertise can be leveraged across multiple field technicians to rapidly increase competency in the field.

This is critical in supporting the next wave of service technicians which the industry needs as more experienced technicians leave the workforce.

This use-case also provides a potential way to extend the career of some technicians, re-deploying field-based workers as remote experts whose specific objective is to increase competence and transfer their extensive knowledge, gained through years of in-field experience, to the next generation of technicians.

The third part of the big discussion will be published next week. You can read the first instalment here