5 Ways Augmented Reality is Improving Field Service

5 Ways Augmented Reality is Improving Field Service

In our series about the workplace of the future, we show how Augmented Reality solutions improve the way field service organizations work. In this post, we focus on how AR-powered remote collaboration can support workers and technicians in the verticals of automotive, transportation, manufacturing, energy, and telecommunications - whether on-site or in the field.

How often are you confronted with equipment that isn't working, did you have to look for the needed fix information yourself, or did you have to wait for an expert? With remote support, these problems are something of the past.

Did you know that US companies spend $100,000,000 each year on paper? We are talking about digitization and disruption, but workforces still handle paper-based documentation. Since Johannes Gutenberg started the paper revolution more than 600 years ago, paper has been our primary source of information and knowledge. Today we have other resources like Wikipedia or Google, but most handbooks and manuals are still only found in paper form. Paper can't be updated, paper isn't safe, paper can't be zoomed. What can replace or at least enhance paper-based manuals and provide your workforce with the needed tool?

What is Remote Support with Augmented Reality?

Imagine you are a new employee faced with a task you don't know how to do and you could call a more experienced colleague or expert to support you. This expert would see exactly what you see and guide you step-by-step through the task by providing graphical illustrations, 3D instructions or even live support. You could complete a job without even having to touch a single piece of paper. Remote Augmented Reality support makes it possible. You can use your existing smartphone or tablet, point it towards the machine or equipment, share your camera view as you would do on Skype, and the expert is virtually on-site or in the field. With live annotations, the expert can show you what to do and how to do it. Drawings in real-time on the real equipment or component can guide employees precisely through a task. Instead of smartphones and tablets, remote assistance can also be used with smart glasses - allowing you to work hands-free.

How can you use it in field service organizations?

The possibilities of remote support and collaboration are endless and we are only getting started to discover them all. The industry is ripe for remote support with Augmented Reality. Here, machines and equipment are getting more complex, which requires specialist knowledge and permanent training. On one hand, there are high costs to hire the right people, whilst on the other hand, it can be just as expensive to send the wrong technician with the wrong materials to a customer with continued downtimes and increasing dissatisfaction. Whether you are in automotive, transportation, manufacturing, energy or telecom sector, the use case scenarios are obvious.

REFLEKT Remote Support Augmented Reality

Over the last years, we have developed REFLEKT Remote, a tool that meets the needs of the Industry. With our experience and the knowledge of our industrial partners, we have created a productive solution that offers each company a modern tool for their own field service technicians. Remote is easy to use, simple to start with and doesn't cause difficulties in your IT department. Simply, bring your own device and get started.

1. First Call Resolution and Customer Support

One of the critical points of customer satisfaction is the first-call resolution rate. While it is important for the service company to get the job done in an effective way, the customer is only satisfied if the problem can be solved immediately. If a repair can’t be made because the technician realizes upon arrival that they lack either the specific expertise or materials, the customer will undoubtedly experience costly downtimes and frustration. REFLEKT Remote allows the customer to show the problem visually even before a technician arrives, the service company can prepare the repair and have parts ready to avoid long waiting times for the customer. On-site, the field service technician can make use of remote services to get immediate access to the right information.

Augmented Reality Remote Support Field Service

2. Machine & Equipment Setup

Machinery and equipment setup is not always easy. A small mistake, missed step or error can quickly escalate into a costly scenario. To avoid this, many companies have a set number of skilled experts that constantly fly around the world to setup their companies machinery and equipment. Remote AR support alleviates the strain placed on these mobile technicians. Experts can easily and effectively guide the local technicians through setup procedures and perform inspections without having to leave the company HQ. This not only saves the company significant travel costs but allows technical experts to spend more time to tackle their job lists and get more operations up and running even quicker and without any travel delays.

3. Telecom Service Training

It is not uncommon for telecommunication field technicians to service more than 100 different variations of a single component during their offsite callouts. Whether the components are from different suppliers or in different combinations, it is almost impossible to train technicians on every scenario before sending them out in the field. Remote assistance enables technicians to assess the situation upon arrival and provides a safety net should something need to be checked on the spot with an expert. In the end, customers are left with increased levels of satisfaction when the job is completed correctly the first time and any repeat visits are avoided.

4. Equipment & Component Inspections

Almost every owner of larger industrial equipment is faced with the hassle of shipping or delivering entire pieces of equipment or individual components to the supplier service center for regular inspection. Every minute they are on the road, waiting for service or in service, operations at home are in downtime. Remote Augmented Reality solutions enable equipment owners to perform component inspections on the production floor. It saves time and money and improves in-house component failure and review diagnostics.

5. Remote Expert Guidance

Not every repair center, workshop or service facility has the technical knowledge to diagnose and repair every item that comes in to be fixed. Often technical experts from other locations or from the supplier need to be called-in when specialist knowledge is needed. Remote collaboration empowers on-site technicians to contact experts who can help to immediately diagnose and repair parts that previously needed specialist knowledge. The assistance is instant and in real-time and works in and out of office hours across the globe. Remote solutions significantly reduce travel costs, expert labor requirements and customer downtimes.

Asset Management, Reporting and Knowledge Base

The ability to get instant access to knowledge (such as instructions and manuals) is a big improvement for today's workforce. What shouldn't be underestimated is the fact that REFLEKT Remote supports you with additional incident management and reporting. Field service organizations can analyze all incidents within REFLEKT Remote and use the gathered data for reporting. In the case of customer support, the Remote tool can provide relevant data for the key performance indicator of first-call resolutions. Technicians can also leave comments in the incidents for documentation and build a knowledge-base. Augmented Reality then allows you to create different visual layers that can be displayed in the real environment, one with instructions and the other with the Wiki information.

Want to learn more about the Workplace of the Future? Visit our page and download one of our white papers.

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