Technology finds its way into every industry, transforming it as it goes along, and the field service industry is no stranger to its offerings. Numerous field processes have seen remarkable changes due to the globe’s movement towards the digital medium. Programs and apps have replaced planners and notebooks, while files are being cast aside to make way for blockchains to store records. But while there are countless new buzzwords in the digital vocabulary that are changing the very way the field service space operates, there are a few pivotal terms that demand the attention and understanding of every individual who makes up the industry’s workforce. So, here’s some insight into five crucial terms that form the vanguard of the digital transformation that’s taking over the field service industry as we know it.
Put simply, big data is nothing but a lot of data. So why is it a big deal in terms of field service? This is because a deeper look into big data has the potential to facilitate better decision-making and far more efficient processes. It can even help you understand your customers better. What’s even better is that big data analysis can provide predictive and preventative solutions. Imagine predicting a crisis before it occurs and hence, being able to prevent it! Invaluable, particularly in field service.
IoT (and IIoT)
Of all the smaller movements comprising the larger digital shift, IoT (the Internet of Things) is probably the most talked-about and is revolutionising how the world looks at integrated services. To put this in simpler terms, imagine all the electronic objects you use daily — everything from smart devices like your smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, to appliances like your refrigerator, apartment lighting, and even your car — connected to each other through a smart network powered by the latest tech. Now imagine this connectivity extended in the context of the field service industry, and you get IIoT, i.e. the Industrial Internet of Things. It is this system that is taking forward predictive technology and the ground-breaking idea of the smart factory: i.e. a set-up where processes are automated and can self-optimise, making them quicker, more efficient, and more complete. For instance, connected machines and devices, robotics, and sensors that replace manual operations. The possibilities are endless.
When it comes to digital transformation and its impact on field service, the talk is very often that the future of this industry will be cloud-based. In fact, cloud-based processes are already replacing certain other processes that are now seen as inefficient were once indispensable. Cloud computing is basically computing via web-based systems and not via a direct connection to a server, and the implications of this are incredible. Cloud-based field service management software lets you store and manage data remotely, so you can benefit from the functionalities of an on-site system while simultaneously eliminating the cost, burden, and risks of implementation.
The digital world is a smart world where machines are slowly developing minds of their own. The idea is that if our machines get smarter by themselves, we won’t have to keep manning them. But for this to happen, the machines need to learn. Machine learning can have untold impacts on the world of field service. The best application of it is probably in route optimisation and predictive maintenance, i.e., reducing travel time and predicting when machinery will fail, allowing technicians to plan better routes and conduct pre-emptive maintenance, prolonging the life of older machinery. For instance, in the field service industry, machine learning is currently being used to determine the very best combinations of carriers and lanes for delivering shipment loads.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Most of us are familiar with the term ‘virtual reality’, which is a simulated reality. However, ‘augmented reality’ is a view of the real world with digital elements ‘augmenting’ it. One of the coolest technologies to be talked about in recent years, the innovation is beginning to spread its roots to field service as well. Service, repairs, decision-making, delivery, and loads more can be utterly transformed by AR. The technology is already being used to visualise technical issues remotely. This allows technicians to have the necessary tools and parts ready even before they arrive at customers’ homes!
These are just a few buzzwords that have taken over the field service industry. However, technology is changing on a daily basis, with new buzzwords popping up faster than we can learn existing ones. So, if you want to stay updated with the latest technologies being adopted in the field service and asset management spaces, follow our social media channels.