Its been a few weeks since we published our blog on Video and Assisted Field Service which has been popular garnering a great level of response from our community. The article has also been picked up by the likes of publications like Field Service Digital.
The response has come in two forms: a) From our community in terms of the applicability of the technology and available solutions for field service work, and b) the existence of additional Augmented Reality solutions, most of which weren’t mentioned in my original post. Both types of conversations have been good.
On the first area, most field service organizations see the value in video-enabled or AR solutions. For those companies facing a high cost of downtime (internal cost or customer cost), the value is even more significant given the premium on getting it right the first time. Yet questions persist over the reliability and business-ready nature of these solutions since this is still considered an ‘emerging’ technology. Remember, our data shows that interest in these solutions is fairly high:
More of our research on the next wave of field service can be found in the research insights section of TSC’s library.
I have to report that the solutions available are further down the path of maturity than originally thought, atleast when it comes to capability. In my previous blog, I mentioned a number of solutions that offer streaming video capabilities for field service teams with the addition of annotations, instructions and more. Well, I’ve been introduced to several more that offer an Augmented Reality experience for the field service workplace.
- APX Labs and their Skylight program - We have several TSC members working with APX on AR solutions for field service. They are device agnostic and offer integrated workflows for the mobile worker so that the AR experience isn’t one that's disconnected from the overall field service experience. This is key to worker acceptance, as we don't really want our field service agents to be jumping from application to application when in front of a mission critical piece of equipment. They have also established partnerships with several enterprise software providers like SAP and Salesforce.com to develop joint solutions.
- ScopeAR – RemoteAR allows support agents to connect with experts to get live help as they are looking at a particular piece of equipment. Experts can make annotations and provide instruction to help the field agent while onsite. With the ScopeAR training system, or InstructionalAR, a field agent can view and interact with live procedures while looking at a particular asset or product. This can be extremely powerful when considering the significant focus of field service companies in finding new ways to get their field agents productive in a shorter duration.
- Rescue Lens by LogMeIn – Aimed a little more at assisted self-service for consumers, Rescue Lens is another video-enabled solution. Here, the customer can connect with a support expert and show the expert what’s wrong via the camera on their mobile device. In turn the expert can provide feedback in voice or in the form of gestures directly on the consumer’s screen.
- Caugnate – Caugnate is an early stage startup looking to enhance collaboration between remote workers. Caugnate’s differentiation is that it creates, on the fly, a detailed 3d model of the equipment being serviced with the aid of video in the field. The remote expert can take control of the viewpoint and explore the scene based on this model, independent of what the technician is looking at. This is key, as the technician doesn't always have to be looking at the piece of equipment to receive help. He/she could work on other things while the remote expert is viewing, manipulating, and making annotations on the 3D model. These annotations are immediately visible to the technician to guide necessary corrective action.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of available solutions. I am sure that there are others out there. These are a few, in addition to Pristine, SightCall, and ResolutionTube that are targeted at the field service market. I have no doubts that there will be more. What I like in the variety of solutions is that they are beginning to:
- Consider the experience of the field technician while in front of the equipment
- Integrate into existing onsite or instructional workflows
- Integrate with existing enterprise systems
There is still work to be done around integration with workflows and with enterprise customer management or knowledge management systems, but we definitely have come a long way. I welcome any thoughts and feedback on the topic in the comments section. If you would like to reach me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.