A Contracting Business Article
I’ve seen the future of service contracting and it’s absolutely amazing. It started with a visit to UI Labs in Chicago, in itself an amazing place. UI Labs calls itself an “innovation accelerator” and a “catalyst.” It puts together various manufacturers and emerging technologies to create leading edge products and solutions. It gets a lot of its funding from the Department of Defense and DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, real techie stuff.
One of the products that they showed me was called Remote AR (scopeAR.com) video augmented reality that allows, say, your service manager or top technician, to see what your field techs are trying to fix. The demo used a tablet computer. Hold it up in front whatever you’re fixing and it can superimpose repair instructions on the tablet. It works on any hardware platform, which means you could use augmented reality glasses too. The only thing holding it back is content — industry manufacturers have to enter their repair data into the Scope AR platform to make it work.
The next major development was two announcements from XOEye Technologies (xoeye.com) that it has sold hundreds of augmented reality glasses to Lee Co., Franklin, Tennessee, and Brady Services, Greensboro, North Carolina.
(See August 2016 CB, p. 36, or visit online, at bit.ly/SmartGlassesLeeCo)
The results have been stunning for Lee Co., one of the nation’s largest mechanical contractors, that’s reporting a $20 ROI for each dollar invested. Lee Co. is saving $500 a month per technician on travel and labor costs and getting an additional $2,500 per month in incremental sales per happy customer. They’re also able to hang on to older top tier techs that want to get away from the physical demands of onsite work. They can give junior technicians immediate support. The smart glasses, which capture and stream high fidelity audio and visual content, enabling first-person point-of-view, were rolled out to Brady Services field technicians as part of the company’s vision of changing from a building services company that uses technology to a technology company in the building services market.
Brady provides customers with a diverse range of HVAC and building solutions, including building automation, energy conservation, green design, and mechanical solutions.
“As part of this vision, we look for partners to help us use new technology to increase value for our customers,” said Brady President Jim Brady. “In this case, XOEye helped us figure out how to simultaneously increase value to our customers and help our technicians be more productive.”
Read the entire Contracting Business article here.