The past few years have laid the groundwork for an unprecedented digital transformation. As companies and individuals become more and more digital, and as a result more connected, the potential to exploit this digitalization is exploding. A number of innovations, like IoT and artificial intelligence, have already been making waves. However, the way these technologies are being integrated into the service sector will fundamentally change the way industry operates. Here are the five trends to watch for in 2018!
1. Internet of Things
The connectivity of devices has become more and more prevalent in recent years. The integration of this kind of connectivity into the service sector, has led to groundbreaking innovations. The communication between devices makes it possible for sensor-equipped machines to transmit signals, status updates, and warnings. These reports make it possible to address problems preemptively and thus avert breakdowns and system malfunctions. As a result, companies are spared costly and wasteful downtimes. And it is exactly this breakthrough that has ushered in the next trending innovation: the crowd service.
2. Crowd Service
The predictive maintenance made possible by IoT has led to an increase in subscription model maintenance contracts as well as a growing need for real-time response to service calls. In order to meet this service demand, providers need more field service technicians. A crowd service allows companies to pool together certified and qualified experts within their own network of employees, partners, subcontractors, and freelancers. This not only ensures that there is always a technician available, it also facilitates selecting the best person available for the job.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is NOT just about robots! Innovations like IoT and the crowd service are in fact powered by artificial intelligence. The best example of AI at work is the field service management (FSM) platform like Coresystems. FSM platforms contain an endless stream of data: from customer details, to device histories, to appointments, to service technician availability, location, and skills and more. Thanks to AI, all of this consolidated information can be quickly reviewed to determine which technician has the necessary expertise and availability to successfully tackle an issue. Once the service technician is on site, he or she also has access to a wealth of data to help choose the best approach and solution. AI systems also continue learning from the data collected. This makes it consistently easier and quicker to detect recurring problems. This is especially evident in its application for non-conformance reports (NCR). The power behind AI to detect and analyze nonconformities is having an enormous influence on quality, security and earnings.
4. Augmented Reality
Our increased connectivity has been propelling the application of augmented reality (AR) in the field service sector. Using standard mobile devices and AR glasses, service technicians are finding unique ways to approach service. AR applications that allow service technicians to look into machines without disassembling them have proven enormously helpful for pinpointing malfunctioning parts. Also, the ability to share data from onsite with offsite experts allows for a more collaborative approach to finding solutions. And this capacity to share knowledge and access an endless stream of information is increasing the first-time-fix rate and thereby improving the customer experience.
5. Lead Generation
Greater accessibility to information and knowledge about products and services is giving service technicians the opportunity to inform customers about additional offers. For example, service technicians on site with complete device data at their fingertips can advise clients on what maintenance packages would best suit their needs. And given the shifting demands and expectations of clients, this kind of tailored approach is an essential element of an improved customer experience. Personalized lead generation is becoming a way to stand apart in an industry that is becoming ever more competitive.
Coresystems CEO Manuel Grenacher says it best. “Changes in field service management are presenting service providers with new challenges, most of them in the context of quickly advancing digitalization. That basically means that all stakeholders, including manufacturers and service providers, have to become more flexible. They have to adopt their business models to make way for these big trends. And as touchpoint becomes increasingly important, their consistent implementation will generate more revenue.” That said, 2018 will be a game changer for the service industry. Are you ready?
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