Working with complex data behind equipment and services in the field can be challenging. Good service management systems make sense of that complexity by optimizing multiple areas such as scheduling, dispatch, parts and knowledge management, monitoring, and forecasting.
This allows them to cut costs, improve visibility, optimize service delivery, and drive new revenue. Field service companies can benefit from new technical possibilities provided by Augmented Reality (AR).
Unlike virtual reality, which takes over your entire vision and hearing to transport you to a completely simulated environment, augmented reality adds holograms to your real-world surroundings.
Augmented Reality (AR) in Field Services
One of the main goals of Augmented reality and Virtual reality devices for field service organizations is to provide a detailed digital visualization of the asset and the steps required to diagnose problems, reducing new employee training time.
Augmented Reality (AR) in field service operations bridges the knowledge gap between newer and more experienced technicians or engineers, allowing for real-time knowledge transfer.
Another goal of AR in field service is to reduce new field technician training time. The use of augmented reality technology in an on-the-job training program can aid in the rapid development of skills and better retention of training material. Troubleshooting can also be made easier with AR.
To make this work, a company will need to create an AR content library that will allow them to deliver all of the necessary repair data via the augmented reality and virtual reality platforms they use. AR, in which the individual's actual environment is not changed but enhanced, has the potential to transform field service and business operations in the future.
Many people may consider AR in field service to be a distant reality. On the other hand, companies like Vuzix and Lenovo are already providing significant AR for field service today, and those who use these new tools report great success in their field service operations.
Although some may see AR and VR in field service as a significant shift, it is more of an evolution of using next-generation technology with immersive user interfaces to improve field service effectiveness and drive even higher customer satisfaction.
This technology will enable a new level of collaborative VR and AR service solutions, which will serve as new models for field enterprises to operate in the present and future.
Features of AR in Field Service
Experiment without putting your hands in your pockets AR wearable devices enable technicians to work hands-free, removing the need for them to hold a phone/tablet in one hand while repairing equipment or resolving an issue in the other.
Employee training is essential for any company that values a skilled workforce that can efficiently follow procedures and processes.
The use of augmented reality (AR) technology in on-the-job training will aid in the rapid development of skills and better retention of training information, allowing workers to perform their jobs more effectively. Field service is an important part of customer service for any company, large or small.
The use of an augmented reality wearable makes the complicated process of part assembly and disassembly much easier.
The troubleshooting process is being sped up with AR.
By using an AR headset to view a customer's equipment, a technician can quickly identify errors and maintenance issues.
With improved productivity, accurate diagnoses, and higher first-time fix rates, the field service technician's job becomes easier.
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Benefits of AR in Field Services
Why is Augmented Reality needed in the Field Services? We’ve listed some of the reasons below :
Without field service technology, customers are relegated to manual service experiences that rely heavily on inefficient service workflows that are often riddled with human errors.
Customers want more convenient service experiences as well as more control over their experiences to this extent. Fortunately, Augmented Reality can help both of these dreams come true.
Augmented Reality enhances the convenience of service jobs by providing comprehensive and intuitive remote support options, which is especially useful when working on tight deadlines.
In addition, Augmented Reality can improve first-time fix rates and reduce service resolution times, making service experiences more convenient, enhancing the customer experience significantly.
According to the Service Council's latest research, 52 percent of field service companies want to implement mentorship programs to connect their workforce and prevent knowledge loss caused by the retirement of many senior technicians.
Aside from mentorship programmes, augmented reality (AR) can help with knowledge transfer. Senior technicians can use AR to record and document proper procedures, which can then be shared as training materials with younger technicians.
Companies will be able to quickly onboard new technicians using knowledge capture without detracting from the work of more experienced employees. Furthermore, these new technicians will be able to use AR smart glasses to use "See-What-I-See" technology.
This technology enables field workers to connect with a remote expert while receiving live/audio instructions through their AR/MR smart glasses' live Point of View (POV).
Reduced training and time cost
By recording each service call, a field service AR system aids in the gathering of useful data. It captures the skills and knowledge of the most experienced technicians and engineers while also serving as a great source of future training for new technicians in this way.
The use of an Augmented Reality solution allows for real-time communication between a technician and a subject matter expert when giving instructions in difficult situations. An experienced technician can assist a new technician dispatched to a customer's location from the office, for example.
For experienced technicians, this Augmented Reality remote assistance will save time while providing quick training for new ones. For a new technician, gaining such experience is extremely beneficial. Furthermore, using an AR system is less expensive than sending both technicians to the client site.
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Troubleshooting and triage from afar
Customers previously had to rely on the field service technician's descriptions of what might be the problem, and there was a higher likelihood that a technician would need to come in person to resolve the problem.
This "telephone" game between customers and technicians is no longer possible thanks to augmented reality technology. By allowing for a visual approach to remote triage and troubleshooting, neither party is forced to take the other's word for it because they can see the problem for themselves.
Technicians can see exactly what the customer is seeing with remote triage technology powered by Augmented Reality, and they can better understand the space and layout of the product at hand. Technicians can also use Augmented Reality pointers and markers to visually communicate with customers by highlighting specific aspects of the product.
AR Smart Glasses
Field service professionals benefit more from AR smart glasses than from mobile AR apps. As a result, technicians are able to accept real-time instructions. Prior to smart glasses, an expert would have to fly to an on-site location to provide on-site assistance, or workers would have to work and communicate while holding a bulky tablet in their hand.
AR technology can be used in more complex fields, such as the oil and energy sector, in addition to the HVAC industry. Not only can experts use AR glasses to help with troubleshooting, but the technology can also be used to help scientists locate drilling sites and remotely monitor pump and motor operations.
Field workers can create a precise 3D CAD model of anything they're working on or looking at while on the job, whether it's an on-site location or a piece of machinery.
Enhance technician abilities
The data collected by IoT sensors on a customer's equipment assists a technician in properly preparing for the times when a site visit is unavoidable. The technician will have a better idea of the necessary tools and parts and will be able to gather them ahead of time.
This improves a technician's ability to solve a problem on the first try. It also makes it easier for them to navigate the multi-asset environment of the customer.
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Self-administered verification and virtual collaboration
Field service companies that use manual service workflows have been particularly vulnerable to the field service industry's severe shortage of skilled workers. It's difficult to keep up with demand from current and potential customers without an adequate number of experienced technicians to complete service jobs.
Field service companies can use Augmented Reality-powered technology to address the workforce shortage and the numerous flaws that come with being understaffed. Less experienced technicians can provide high-quality service to customers using an Augmented Reality-enabled mobile device.
Furthermore, experienced technicians can easily record their Augmented Reality sessions for new techs to use as training. Field service companies can supplement the skills and productivity of their existing workforce to compensate for the skilled worker shortage by allowing technicians access to this useful and actionable information.
Truck rolls are reduced
Sending a technician to a customer's location to diagnose and repair equipment takes time and money. Travel expenses are also incurred when a technician is dispatched across the city or internationally.
Truck rolls are the name for this type of visit. For service providers who use trucks for field service, there are also fuel costs, vehicle purchase costs, and vehicle maintenance costs. When all of these costs are added together, the company faces a significant financial burden.
By incorporating an AR system to provide customer support, these costs can be reduced. Without having to travel, the field service technician can take service calls and assist customers in resolving issues via video stream.
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These are just a few benefits among the many offered by Augmented Reality in the field service industry. With the world of technology rapidly advancing it remains to be seen how the future of Augmented Reality will shape up in this sector.