Smart machines, robots, drones, smartphones, and smartwatches have all begun to integrate into field service. While artificial Intelligence is the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that would usually require human intelligence, cognitive technology is a component of AI that can do things that were once human-only tasks. So as smart technologies continue to grow and expand their reach, Deloitte Global anticipates that by the end of this year, more than 80% of the largest enterprise software companies in the world will have combined cognitive technologies with their product offerings, 25% more than in 2015.
Here are some ways that cognitive tech will be useful for field service engineers:
Hands-Free Field Service
Cognitive technologies can mimic how a human brain works, and they function as an automated individual IT system that can solve problems without needing help from a human. Speech recognition, is a cognitive technology that can correctly transcribe human speech.
Imagine that one day in the future field service technicians who work in dangerous conditions, such as on wind turbines, will be able to communicate directly with their devices hands-free. They’ll be able to voice activate the technology they need to complete a service call, and perhaps they’ll do it all without having to dig in their pockets or tool belts to grab a mobile device.
Another cognitive technology that will facilitate field service is Natural Language Processing (NLP), which is a fancy way of saying computers can hear and read text and process the words’ meaning. What if a computer could write text that was free from grammatical errors and reads naturally, as if a human writer had written it? For software applications that use and analyze text, this would be invaluable. Similarly to speech recognition, what if on top of doing away with paper-based systems, field service workers could dictate their report notes to a device? That device could potentially then push those notes into a report, and it would even further eliminate the need for field service technicians to have to do a lot of administrative tasks after a job has been completed.
And finally, machine learning involves software that can use data intelligently to improve a machine’s performance without needing a programmed guide to do so. This is the kind of cognitive technology that will become the most popular in 2016, as it enhances many different types of applications, including smart machines. Manufacturing, health, and energy companies are always looking for ways to increase the productivity and uptime of their machines. Machine learning uses the best of IoT sensors and automation to let machines put the data they accumulate to use, therefore improving their perfomance without needing a technician to come make adjustments so the machine runs faster or better. With this cognitive technology, technicians won’t have to program step-by-step guides for the machines to be able to improve themselves either.
Field Service and Cognitive Technologies
When software companies integrate their products with cognitive technologies, Deloitte Global says they should expect certain benefits.
More tasks will become automated. Automation is already on the rise, as more companies implement field service automation solutions. Thanks to cognitive technologies this trend will continue to grow. As machines become smarter, technicians are needed for more complex, less mundane tasks. Field service software combined with IoT-connected smart machines are able to improve their core functionality with cognitive technology since the software can identify problems or abnormalities from data. The machines can then adjust and adapt settings and performance on an ongoing basis as the machine continues to learn from its data over time.
Given the incredibly large amount of data that machines have collected over time, many companies haven’t been able to sort through it all, which is one of the biggest challenges of successfully implementing and monetizing IoT. It’s also one of the biggest complaints about the usefulness of Big Data, since companies often find it challenging to decipher and interpret the large amounts of data they receive from smart machines. Thanks to cognitive technology, though, machines will be able to better analyze and learn from an incredible amount of data, which in turn means companies will have clearer insights on their users and customers. Cognitive Technologies will make IoT-driven Big Data more useful than it’s ever been, since machines are able to process data much faster than a human could.
Though cognitive technologies are still quite new, it’s fair to anticipate that they’ll make in a big impact in the months to come.