Field Service technicians have long been regarded as the brand ambassador or 'face' of a business, with technicians regularly interacting with customers long after the initial point of sale.
In addition to the technician's hardware expertise (and parts and components provided), mobile computing devices have also been a crucial component of the services regularly performed for the end customer. A new digital trend – the Internet of Things – has emerged within the industry, helping businesses unlock a new level of productivity in their Field Service teams.
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the connection of devices to the internet and each other, enabling the automatic transmission of data over wireless networks without human intervention. Research shows that over 80% of businesses within the Field Service sector said IoT will be the largest strategic technology initiative for their business in a decade.
IoT is transforming the Field Service sector by increasing device connectivity and visibility across a fleet of devices. As a result, operators are experiencing an increase in first-time resolution and data accuracy, predictive maintenance through remote diagnostics and an overall rise in customer satisfaction.
IoT allows technicians to detect, troubleshoot and resolve issues early by analysing data received from their customers through their connected devices. Using preventative maintenance, Field Service technicians can utilise information obtained from networked devices, to identify and solve problems. This can often be completed remotely, before customers are aware of the issue.
As an example, Rolls-Royce has more than 13,000 engines for commercial aircraft in service around the world, and uses IoT to monitor and service each of their engines. Through IoT, each Rolls-Royce engine has thousands of sensors that produce terabytes of data on long haul flights.
This data is analysed remotely to deliver real-time, actionable insights to pilots and the airline about engine performance and operational efficiency. Advanced analytics help optimise fuel efficiency, anticipate preventative maintenance needs and avoid costly downtime and delays.
Increased Resolution Efficiency
When issues are unable to be resolved remotely, IoT empowers Field Service technicians to resolve issues in the first instance. This is achieved by using scheduled optimisation, performance indicators and remote diagnostics to locate the root cause before the technician arrives on-site to perform the service. This also ensures a technician with the right skillset and the right parts is sent to the job for a first-time fix.
A single unscheduled disruption and its flow-on effects to a fleet and its passengers can cost an airline up to $1 million per day. Through IoT connected devices, Rolls-Royce can proactively have parts ready at the right place at the right time. Overall this ensures they can reduce inventory costs and maximize resolution efficiency.
Implementing IoT solutions and cloud technology within the Field Service sector helps technicians gain actionable real-time insights, minimise downtime and maximise productivity- all of which are key to reaching a new level of efficiency, accuracy and quality.