By Sara Williams
These are exciting times in the area of field service management (FSM). In this day and age, there isn’t a single sector escaping disruptive technologies. The rapid rise of services like Airbnb and Amazon Prime has changed customer experience expectations more than firms could have ever imagined. Analytics and mobility are at the heart of these aspirations, as FSM keeps its doors open to new technologies for uniquely diverse functions. This has allowed stakeholders to increase productivity and create a modern work environment that continues to revolutionize the way people work.
To help companies keep up with the latest in FSM, we’ve highlighted five trends that stand to re-shape the industry, both this year and beyond.
1. Virtual Reality
In 2018, expect to see deeper integration of VR in FSM. Virtual reality is being purported as the next game changer that’ll offer organizations the means to improve business productivity and reduce costs. It’s already had a positive impact on several field work-related functions, restructuring the way they’re carried out. In the field of training, for instance, its ability to place engineers and technicians into the environment they’re learning about is without competition. In addition, its potential as a highly visual training tool is simplifying the trainee’s understanding of complicated tasks.
2. Artificial Intelligence
AI has been a hot topic in the FSM domain for a decade. However, the latest developments are allowing field service managers to leverage a mass of data by integrating AI scheduling into their business functions. This form of intelligent planning is allowing them to quickly match the best performing service technician to the issue at hand. It considers the technician’s availability, location and skill set to ensure the right fit shows up for the task. Hence, AI integration will minimize the time wasted shuttling around locations and increasing first-time fixes, leading to increased company revenue and customer satisfaction.
3. Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)
EAM allows the workforce to efficiently manage long task cycles such as managing new neighborhood or construction design as well as scheduled maintenance and inspection of assets. FSM systems that are pure play, on the contrary, usually address short work cycles such as customer service related problems or outages, e.g. customer initiated tasks. By merging these types of workloads through a single system and a single workforce, big savings can be realized because work allocation can be optimized based on proximity, skills, priority and availability to attain maximum efficiency.
The Internet of Things is going to heavily impact the networking of vehicles, buildings, physical devices and other objects containing software and sensors, allowing them to exchange data wirelessly. As a result, IoT-embedded wearables will see greater adoption in 2018, as companies realize the huge benefits of offering hands-free communication for field technicians while on the job and on the road.
5. Field Service Automation
With the predictive ability of IoT devices, field service companies will not only take a more proactive approach to service, they’ll begin automating field service processes. For instance, a piece of equipment with sensors could trigger a service notification automatically if a specialist is needed or maintenance is due. Connected devices have resulted in the idea of proactive service work (FSM has enough insight to inform customers when a repair is needed before a machine or software fails), automating the process.
Sure enough, 2018 will be an exciting time for those involved in field services.
Interested in learning more about how technology can impact field services? Check out XOi’s cloud-based Vision™ platform. It integrates seamlessly into your existing FSM to capture and scale knowledge across your organization, transforming your business processes and improving your customers’ experience.