If there’s one technology that has been gaining more popularity and buzz by each passing day, it’s augmented reality. It even became a household topic when Pokémon Go popularized it further into the common man’s dictionary. The applications range from virtually decorating homes, trying on clothes and sharing an experience with someone far away. AR has proven its resourcefulness in a host of industries and is disrupting the technology world one step at a time.
The use cases of augmented reality is only limited by creativity as it can prove to be a great enhancement in almost any context where human – technology interaction happens. One of the emerging applications of AR is in the field service management space where it can almost fill a huge void of much needed technological assistance.
The field service industry is all about technical personnel responsible for repairing and maintaining high-end industrial equipment, out there in the field. Industry experts are already anticipating the positive changes AR will bring about in the field service management sector.
An AR-enabled workforce for field service management could be truly an upgrade from the current setting and the waves of the same will truly disrupt the industrial world. Leading companies like Schneider Electric have already started trying their hands on AR to see how it can help their service workforce.
Switching to an AR-enabled workforce for field services might have mixed results at this point where the technology is still in its growing phase. It’s a no-brainer that embracing any new technology comes with its own challenges like a steep adoption curve along with buggy IT input.
However, the advantages far outweigh the challenges:
The workforce is more dynamic with AR
A typical field service process without any assistance from AR goes like this – A consumer contacts the customer support to complain about, let’s say a malfunctioning generator. A technician who has prior experience with the equipment is deployed by the company to look into the issue and after several days, depending on the skill level of the technician and access to the right tools in time, the equipment is diagnosed and brought back to its working state.
Augmented reality can make things a lot better here. It could enable retiring technicians to train newcomers with its accessibility capabilities while also making the process of diagnosing and fixing a malfunctioning equipment significantly faster and a lot more efficient compared to the present scenario.
Attracting fresh talent
Augmented reality and the huge disruption it’s going to bring about in the field service management space will undoubtedly act as a catalyst for more people to turn towards a career in the field service industry. The modernization that comes with AR is sure to attract fresh talent in through the doors which will essentially make the industry a lot more productive.
Apart from this, the efficiency and speed that AR is about to bring in will also make way for better customer experience which directly translates into more profit for the company.
Let’s say you run a restaurant and are thinking to get a vending machine installed. Before you make the final call about the vending machine, augmented reality can help you see how the machine would look like in your restaurant, it’s functionalities and other performance aspects that you should know about. You could even learn to operate the machine before it’s even at your restaurant, thanks to the capabilities of AR.
Adoption is the only barrier left
Field service management stands to gain tremendous improvements by adopting augmented reality. However, the adoption rate might be slow in the beginning- remember it took a while for service technicians to embrace even the iPads.
It’s only a matter of time before augmented reality becomes an essential component of field service management by harnessing its true prowess.
At the moment, AR is still on its way to being an affordable tech from super expensive gadgets like the Hololens from Microsoft. Cost can be touted as the biggest hurdle for AR adoption and this is expected to come down in the coming years as the technology gains momentum. With the AR tech becoming cheaper, it’s destined to disrupt many industries including field service management, where the productivity enhancement will certainly be massive.