Last updated: Disrupt or be disrupted: Top tech disruptors in field service

Disrupt or be disrupted: Top tech disruptors in field service

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The term ‘disruptor’ has become nearly synonymous with digitalization. Over the past decade, we have witnessed platform-based businesses upend traditional businesses. From transportation to the tourism and media industries, companies are capitalizing on digital tools, IoT, artificial intelligence, and the sharing economy. And there are few sectors where the change is more visible and vital than it is in service. Is your organization equipped to withstand the field service disruptors making waves today?

With technical changes and customer service making up core components of this sector, not implementing new technology could mean falling behind. And that could be detrimental to the future of any business.

Top 5 field service disruptors to watch for

1. Mobile accessibility & cloud services

Nowadays, smartphones are ubiquitous. In fact, mobile data traffic across the globe is projected to have increased nearly sevenfold from 2017 to 2022. Customers expect that information can be transferred, services organized, and problems solved on the go. Cloud services further facilitate this constant accessibility, making information easily readable, retrievable, and downloadable from any and all devices. Any time, from anywhere.

With mobile data traffic showing a consistently steady increase, and the rise of 5G, service providers must anticipate that doing business and communicating will soon center around tools and solutions that are always readily available.

2. Algorithms & machine learning

As machines and devices get smarter, they provide manufacturers and technicians with more data than ever before. But this data is only truly valuable with the right tools in place to analyze it. Algorithms powering machine learning make it possible to quickly sift through and process countless bits of data (be it from customers, technicians, device sensors, or knowledge management tools) and effectively and quickly detect patterns.

What potential does this unleash for field service businesses? The potential to avoid problems before they occur with predictive maintenance, and the to improve on next-generation models using the knowledge gleaned from all the acquired data. As predictive maintenance becomes more prevalent, service providers not employing this technology will miss out on its key benefits: diminished downtimes, fewer breakdowns, and increased productivity.

3. AI planning & scheduling

Artificial intelligence is redefining how companies structure standard business processes like planning and scheduling. AI-based field service software accounts for information like a technician’s experience and expertise, customer location, device history, necessary tools, and inventory availability. This means field service providers are getting better and better at dispatching the right person for each job. And thanks to connected IoT devices, they can integrate critical external information like traffic reports and optimized travel routes.

Field service providers who embrace AI-enabled scheduling tools will find an increase in first-time-fix rates, quicker repair times, and the potential to provide real-time solutions.

4. IIoT & machine-as-a-service

The connectivity of devices ushered in by IoT extends far beyond our smart watches and smart homes. The industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) refers to the connectivity of factory machines and devices, and it takes IoT to a whole new level. And with large-scale applications in vital industries (like utilities, healthcare, and security), any connectivity failures could have serious repercussions.

Successful manufacturers are thinking beyond sale and purchase. Some are offering extensive service-level agreements to ensure connected devices receive necessary maintenance at regular intervals. And others have adopted a machine-as-a-service model: rather than just selling machines, they rent them with a promise of a certain level of service and production. Rental agreements include regular service and maintenance, facilitated by the data acquired by the extensive connectivity of devices and sensors.

The marriage of IIoT and machine-as-a-service has the potential to completely redefine how industrial machines are produced and distributed.

5. VR & AR

Virtual reality and augmented reality are quickly expanding their usability beyond the gaming industry. With a mobile device and VR goggles, field service technicians suddenly have access to more information than ever before. And AR overlays allow them to look inside machines, or visit virtual spaces where they can consult with off-site experts and solve problems they might not have been able to otherwise. An investment in VR and AR technology is a surefire way to empower your technicians and boost their abilities to solve issues quickly and effectively.

The fast pace of the digital transformation has the potential to make or break traditional businesses. Are you prepared for the changes these field service disruptors are bringing? As new technologies emerge at an unprecedented pace, business leaders must stay abreast of the tools reshaping their industries. Disrupt or be disrupted!

Learn how to meet disruption head-on with an agile service organization. 

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