AR beyond games and into the field.
When we think of augmented reality, the first thing that typically comes to mind is the game Pokémon GO. Right? So, I want to take a moment to thank Nintendo for bringing this amazing application to the forefront of our awareness. I mean, I’m a “mature adult” and on every business trip I was secretly excited to add new and different creatures to my Pokédex just to show off for my kids. What Pokémon did was to open people’s minds to new and innovative applications.
Suddenly augmented reality was relatable. Beyond fun and games, the applications for businesses are endless. We are seeing a huge uptick in adoption of augmented reality for things like object identification, mapping and 3D modeling. In fact, augmented and virtual reality are on track to achieve a five-year CAGR of 71.6% by 2022, according to IDC.
“But wait, are we talking about augmented reality or virtual reality or even mixed reality – and what’s the difference?”
According to The Franklin Institute:
- Augmented reality (AR) adds digital elements to a live view often by using the camera on a smartphone. Examples of augmented reality experiences include Snapchat lenses and the game Pokémon Go.
- Virtual reality (VR) implies a complete immersion experience that shuts out the physical world. Using VR devices such as HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard, users can be transported into a number of real-world and imagined environments such as the middle of a squawking penguin colony or even the back of a dragon.
- In a mixed reality (MR) experience, which combines elements of both AR and VR, real-world and digital objects interact. Mixed reality technology is just now starting to take off with Microsoft’s HoloLens one of the most notable early mixed reality apparatuses.
For us, we work in the augmented reality space and are most excited about how the technology is changing field service.
How can augmented reality enhance field services?
By literally giving a field service team all industry knowledge in the palm of their hand.
There are multiple reasons for service calls. It could be that something is broken, needs maintenance, or analytics are necessary. What would happen if:
- Your team has access to every piece of critical service information needed for every work order on every technician’s smart device in the field.
- Techs see interactive overlays to guide their work using state-of-the-art technology, reducing error and improving time-to-completion.
- What if your field tech can’t solve a service call solo? They have immediate live and interactive connections to your experts – anywhere in the world - who assist in completion of a call.
- Data digitization so that you will have lessons learned in the service call searchable and available to everyone within your organization
- Never having to remind your team to log time and materials for a work order as the geolocation and service tools automatically track and even streamline approvals and invoicing.
It’s a service manager’s utopia.
As a service manager, you have been left behind the technology curve for a while. Now, you demand a whole new way of working with field service technicians and remote experts. By empowering your field techs with SaaS-based instantaneous effective smart tools that leverage augmented reality and artificial intelligence, you reduce service call time, improve efficiency, minimize travel time and expenses, and improve customer satisfaction – all with a potential 34%+ increase in first-call resolution.
Want to see how Livemote will impact your organization?
Now, let’s take a look at a “typical service call”. You are a service manager at a company with technicians all over the globe. Each field tech is equipped with a ruggedized smart device – tablet or smartphone – and uses it multiple times a day to successfully execute his or her job. For one service call, they might:
- Turn on their GPS to find the most efficient route to a job site and track mileage
- Open a time logging application to say they’ve arrived and track their on-site work
- Call the office to update job status
- Text, voice or video-call an expert with repair-related questions
- Open another application to log parts used
- Fill out paperwork on the work order
- Have the customer sign-off on the work performed
- Drive back to the office
- Complete the job paperwork
Think of all the areas where something can go wrong and how inefficient this is. In particular, the logging of the work and assistance with resolution is quite complicated, and if you need to get more than one tech/expert involved, things can spiral quickly leading to multiple call resolution, delays, mis-information, etc.
What is a different way to approach this call?
- Turn on GPS to find the most efficient route to a job site
- Open an all-in-one application which immediately begins:
- Tracking mileage to/from and at job site
- Updating job status
- Using augmented reality to show the service call repair area, identify parts, assist the repair, access knowledgebase and team of off-site experts
- Initiating customer sign-off
- Drive back to the office
- Submit the job for invoicing
By leveraging the power of overlaid graphics, comprehensive knowledgebase, and artificial intelligence support assistance in an augmented reality app, technicians are equipped with the knowledge they need to complete a service call – regardless if they have been on the job for 1 week or 10 years.
As we move into a new age of service, it is important for field service managers to examine the tools that will best support their team in the field while adding measurable value to the bottom line. Implementing the right augmented reality solution can have an immediate impact on revenue but also boost your field tech team’s confidence as they are able to solve more service calls themselves and have a much higher first-call resolution rate. All this leads to happier customers, happier techs and happier company management. And it makes your job as a service manager easier. I encourage you to examine what the right augmented reality app can do to bring you into the 21st century.