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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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