Whilst telematics is now a well established part of field service operations, connected devices will open the way for even greater efficiency gains. With the TomTom .connect conference just around the corner just around set to bring together the IT and developer community together to further improve the efficiency of connected vehicles TomTom Telematics George De Boer outlines how connected vehicles are changing the face of field service...
The face of field service is changing more rapidly than ever before. Technological innovations are constantly expanding the boundaries for what is possible and connectivity, in particular, is predicted to sit at the heart of this bold new generation.
Effective use of software and hardware has long been key to delivering top-class field service but developments are now occurring at breakneck speed and the quickest adopters will gain a head-start on the competition.
Effective use of software and hardware has long been key to delivering top-class field service but developments are now occurring at breakneck speed
Data from a range of sources, including routing and scheduling, CRM and mobile hardware, can be brought together on one platform to improve efficiency and increase the sharing of intelligence across different departments.
The power of the API
A number of big players in business technology, such as Salesforce and Mendix, have long operated an open platform approach. This basically means software developers are provided unhindered access to their platform for the purpose of developing scalable integrations and applications that add extra functionality to the core system.
As a result, technological platforms can be tailored to suit a multitude of purposes and offer specific solutions for a variety of different industries.
At this year’s Service Management Expo, TomTom Telematics will showcase its own three APIs that allow developers to create solutions that bring together data from different sources.
The WEBFLEET.connect API allows office software - such as routing and scheduling optimisation, ERP, transport management system (TMS), supply chain planning, and asset
management - to integrate with the WEBFLEET fleet management platform.
LINK.connect allows mobile hardware - including barcode scanners, printers or temperature sensors - to integrate with the in-vehicle LINK telematics device via Bluetooth, while PRO.connect allows the creation of mobile apps for use by drivers on the tablet-style PRO driver terminal.
Efficiency through apps
The outcome for field service organisations is greater efficiency in workflow processes, improved control over mobile workers and less reliance on paper for the recording of data.
To provide an example of how that happens in the field, workers can be given access to a single app on a centrally-controlled, tablet-style device that allows them to complete a number of daily tasks.
At the start of each day or week, vehicle checks can be made via the device, with the results instantly updated in the back office to ensure maintenance schedules are up to date and Duty of Care responsibilities strictly enforced.
Once checks have been completed, daily workflow is loaded onto the device and navigation provided to each destination along the worker’s route. Using live traffic data, the fleet management software can generate accurate ETAs for each journey, with automatic alerts sent to customers via text or email to advise them of arrival time.
On arrival, the worker can submit proof of delivery using the app’s signature capture functionality or by scanning with the device’s in-built camera or NFC chip. Once jobs are completed, status is updated in the back-office system, along with daily mileage records and worker hours, eliminating the need for laborious record-keeping processes.
Revolutionary processes right out of the box
One of the most important things about the recent growth of open platform technology is that companies do not need to invest large sums in IT consultancy to benefit from the latest advancements.
Development projects no longer need to be undertaken on a case-by-case basis. Once a developer or integrator has used an API to create an app, this can be made available to all customers out of the box. TomTom Telematics, for example, has more than 330 technology partners and lists all available applications in its App Centre.
The future of field service is constantly changing but firms have the tools at their disposal to meet increasing customer service demands
The latter integrations can deliver significant gains in customer service, allowing companies to develop a new model of dynamic planning that changes according to the situation out on the roads.
Existing routing and scheduling software can take advantage of real-time traffic information, historic journey times and up-to-date ETAs from the telematics system to ensure schedules are immediately altered to take account of any delays in previous jobs or out on the road. Similarly, the future of field service is constantly changing but firms have the tools at their disposal to meet increasing customer service demands and tackle an uncertain economic landscape by striving for greater efficiency.
IT professional or Developer? Join TomTom Telematics and Field Service News at the .connect developer conference in Amsterdam June 9th