By Brian Albright, Field Technologies
The availability of small, high-resolution cameras in mobile computers, wearables, smart glasses, and other devices is opening up new ways for technicians to better serve customers and improve their own efficiency and first-time fix rates.
This type of video technology, deployed with tablets and/or smart glasses, can help technicians document service calls, provide better visibility to customers and managers, and provide a way for staff to better collaborate or assist each other. With a “tech’s-eye” view of the problem, senior technicians can help guide their co-workers through complex repairs or help them troubleshoot customer issues remotely.
Marietta, Ga.-based HVAC service company Maxair Mechanical has deployed this type of video systems from XOEye. Using the company’s Vision platform along with smart glasses and mobile computers, the company has enabled their technicians to create and share video content and collaborate.
“We are excited about the potential this new technology can provide in increased visibility to our customers,” said Jon Sterling, president of Maxair Mechanical. “Equally important is the impact it will have on our employees as a platform to share information and training.”
“Maxair Mechanical understands the need to optimize their workforce to increase productivity, efficiency and customer trust,” said Aaron Salow, CEO of XOEye Technologies. “We look forward to helping them gather actionable data so they, and their customers, can start seeing results right away.”
Video for field service emerged in the wake of consumer technologies like Skype and FaceTime that technicians began using in an ad hoc fashion once they had their hands on newer iPhones and Android devices.
Solutions specifically tailored for field service have since been developed. According to an Aberdeen Group survey, 15 percent of field service respondents had live video collaboration tools in place that could enable access to remote content. Another 41 percent indicated they planned to add this type of capability.
Use of these systems has been made possible via high-bandwidth wireless networks, more complete cellular network coverage, the rapid adoption of tablets and phones with cameras, and the availability of augmented reality (AR) systems.
While the use of AR is still nascent in field service, several companies are piloting or deploying the technology. AR systems allow companies to overlay data, repair instructions, diagrams, or specifications on a video image captured via a tablet or smart glasses.
Companies like Fujifilm and Xerox are already experimenting with AR in the field. Xerox Israel has deployed an AR platform called Fieldbit Hero that has helped the company improve remote resolution rates by 76 percent, improve first-time fix rates by 67 percent, and increase utilization of field engineers by almost 20 percent.
In some cases, companies will be able to leverage their own customers’ access to reliable video technology to help improve initial contacts – customers could share live video of their service issue with a call center employee or even directly with a technician.
We’ve previously written about the benefits of video for field service here.