Sunday, 27th September 2020

How IoT is set to transform the world of field service

By Paul Whitelam, Group VP, Product Marketing at ClickSoftware.

Imagine if field service engineers could anticipate service needs before they arise: if every service visit resulted in a fixed issue on the first attempt. The Internet of Things is making these possibilities a reality.

The proliferation of smart devices has given rise to the Internet of Things (IoT). From household assistants like Amazon Echo, to complex machines supporting businesses that can’t afford downtime, IoT has opened a world of possibilities for improving field service.

As soon as an everyday piece of technology is given network connectivity, it becomes IoT enabled, which allows machines and devices from washing machines to HVAC to relay information and intelligence to field service engineers. The engineers, equipped with wearables such as smart glasses, will become far more self-sufficient in terms of maintenance and preventing failures. Ready access to work history and information from previous site visits will further ensure the engineer is equipped with the information they need, both before and during a field service visit.

In this sense, IoT holds the power to unlock a more predictive approach to field service management, and most industry commentators would agree that the adoption of IoT in a field service context is expected to become increasingly commonplace over the next few years. In fact, a recent ClickSoftware global survey, which polled consumers and suppliers of field services, identified that technological development is expected to play the biggest role in improving supplier agility and responsiveness over the next five years. More than half (51%) of respondents specified that IoT will be a key component of these technological developments, allowing for stronger long-term competitive advantage across the industry.

Beyond improvements in the field, IoT also provides unprecedented data about devices and their use. Armed with AI-based solutions, providers of field service can transform data into real business insight. With solutions sophisticated enough, the resulting optimization of service delivery can occur seamlessly, without intervention from customers or employees.

As IoT remains in its infancy, the potential for continually improving field service operations is endless. Once IoT becomes an everyday essential for field service engineers, they will be able to proactively prevent issues from arising, rather than simply acting in a repair role. That opens the door to altogether greater opportunities in both a customer experience and business context.

While IoT spells good news for the field service industry, it’s important to note that its use in any advanced context needs refining. This is just a matter of time however, and witnessing the success that other industries are reaping from IoT, those in the field service industry are undoubtedly on course for continual improvement that will enhance customer experience, improve customer retention and boost business performance for the long term.

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