By Brian Albright, Field Technologies
The field service automation segment is much more complex than it used to be. In addition to traditional field service or work order management systems, service organizations now have access to a wide variety of mobile solutions and apps that can help improve their operations.
Inspired by Uber and other on-demand solutions, field service companies and software providers are innovating in new ways. This will be the next phase of field service evolution as service organizations shift their focus from efficiency improvements to enhancing the entire customer experience.
Emerson, for example, has introduced the ProAct Alerts Mobile App for iOS, which provides facility alarm notifications to stores and restaurants, and helps managers and contractors respond to NVAC or refrigeration problems.
Managers and service technicians can review alerts on their phones, which can help accelerate response times. For technicians, the data from the alert can help ensure they arrive on site wit the correct parts and tools.
“It can be challenging for retailers to handle equipment issues while balancing multiple store priorities and achieving customer satisfaction,” said Ron Chapek, senior product manager, retail solutions for Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions platform. “ProAct Alerts Mobile App gives retailers a whole new level of control over facility alarms, assisting them to review and resolve issues on the appropriate timetable to help increase uptime while decreasing food loss, operational costs and energy use.”
Using the app, end users can either resolve the alarm on their own or send it to the Emerson ProAct Service Center for resolution. The solution can also include historical equipment data, as well as the ability to link alerts with specific assets.
UK telecom service provider QubeGB, meanwhile, has launched an Uber-like booking service for its customers.
The company is guaranteeing two-hour arrival slots and offers online, real-time booking. You can read more about their service technology deployment in this story from Servicemax.
Another innovator in the mobility space, Zinc, received a vote of confidence form GE Ventures via an $11 million funding round that also included Emergence Capital and CRV.
Zinc offers a platform that includes secure messaging, voice, video, and file/location sharing that can help keep field service employees engaged and connected with managers and with each other. GE Digital will evaluate potential collaborations with Zinc – including the possibility of using the platform to help streamline communications among its 100,000 mobile workers.
"There's a massive opportunity for companies delivering technology purpose-built for people working away from the teams, systems, and knowledge that can help them do their jobs better," said Lisa Coca, Managing Director of GE Ventures. "Zinc's platform can completely transform how these companies communicate. This strategic investment will help Zinc grow and continue to build essential technology for a market that's hungry for it."
We recently published a case study about Zinc user Vivint Smart Home, which is using the product to help keep in touch with its 1,000 field technicians. By streamlining communications, the company improved employee engagement by 50 percent, and help reduce time to service by 37 percent.