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Technology is a driving force in shaping our world. Like every other walk of life, constant innovation has revolutionized the field service industry. Regardless of the domains, emerging technologies such as big data, IoT (internet of things), wearable devices, mobile apps, 3D printing, machine learning, virtual reality, and augmented reality will have a significant part in paving the way for the future, just as they are changing the course of business all over the world. How will these evolving technologies change the course of the service delivery business? What are the highlights that we should watch out for in the coming years?
According to the 2019 Field Service USA Report, three emerging technologies will take the driver’s seat in the future of field service delivery: IoT, on-site wearables and augmented reality, and field service management software.
Let’s take a look at what the future looks like with the advent of these emerging technologies.
Internet of Things (IoT) in Field Service
Before digital tools took over the service industry, field technicians would often struggle with managing unprecedented issues, such as unidentified malfunctions, misidentified specifications, and delays from misdiagnoses. However, technological advancements such as IoT and AI (artificial intelligence) have redefined the domain of field service, boosted productivity, and reduced unsuccessful attempts. Experts say that these changes are only going to increase with time, and it is predicted that over 35 billion devices will be actively in use in the field service domain by the end of 2025.
By definition, IoT refers to the expanding network of electronic devices that connect to the internet and transfer data between each other as well as the external environment without relying on human interference. The technology enables connected devices to report to a centralized hub and by leveraging the information, service providers can act upon potential threats.
When it comes to field service management, IoT creates a seamless link between customer engagement and service operations. With integrated devices capable of diagnosing a problem and alerting the technicians to resolve it on time, businesses are saving valuable time and delivering customers a better experience. It also allows them to become more efficient and flexible to render quality service.
On-site Wearables and Augmented Reality (AR)
AR-based wearables further increase technicians’ efficiency by reducing the need for handheld devices, freeing them to operate safely and more effectively in complex work situations. Hardware like smart glasses and AR headsets are becoming almost a necessity for handling high-risk jobs. Additionally, on-site wearables ensure a reduced paper trail, enhancing a company’s record-keeping capabilities as well as productivity, which ultimately translates into more profit. It also effectively reduces an organization’s carbon footprint.
Field Service Management (FSM) Software
The most remarkable innovation in the field service industry has been FSM software. Designed specifically with field service technicians in mind, this digital tool efficiently automates and streamlines field service business processes. Edging towards digital transformation, it provides field service businesses with the most effective ways to optimize and organize operations performed outside the office. The features and functionalities of FSM software encompass a vast area of business processes such as consultation, inspection, repair & maintenance, customer support, sales, and more. More importantly, the software solution eliminates the need for manual processes in every step of the back-end operations, allowing service business owners to conduct operations like:
- Creating estimates
- Sending quotes for customer approval
- Generating work orders
- Scheduling & dispatching technicians
- Monitoring work progress from remote locations
- Accessing real-time data
- Sharing images and documents with employees and customers
- Notifying technicians
- Managing recurrent job orders
- Employing reports and analytics for decision-making
- Viewing Technicians’ schedule
- Managing inventory
- Creating, editing, and sharing invoices
- Collecting payment in the field
In today’s business ecosystem, the advantages of such Field Service Software are limitless, playing an integral role in boosting employee productivity and increasing profit for all kinds of service delivery businesses, regardless of their size. The best part of this digital tool is that it is a smart, cloud-based software solution that provides a centralized database that is accessible from any device. It works across various systems, and doesn’t need to be downloaded or require investment in expensive gadgets to employ.
The competitive value of the digital tools speaks for their worth. Companies that have already ditched paper-based systems and switched to automation would vouch for this claim.
As emerging technologies have started to impact business today, service providers must consider adopting the next-generation innovations to stay ahead. As much as they contribute to meeting the new challenges in the future, the technologies have already proven instrumental in meeting today’s customer needs, driving revenue at the same time. Therefore, it is high time for service business owners to contemplate investing in these innovations.