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Is there a future in field service for the Internet of Things, wearables and 3D printing?

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Retired
Retired

Is there a future in field service for the Internet of Things, wearables and 3D printing?

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Dave Yarnold spoke in the MaxLive keynote today about how the Internet of Things, wearables and 3D printing may have an impact on field service. What do you think about these new technologies? Will they change the way we do field service? Will it help our industry?

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Line Chef
Line Chef

Re: Is there a future in field service for the Internet of Things, wearables and 3D printing?

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Great Question! I will offer my opinion prefaced with an analogy from my former life as a Field Service Engineer. When you give an engineer a new tool it is like watching a child at Christmas. There are "Ooohhs" and "Ahhhs" and the new shinny tool goes into the tool box. Every time the engineer needs that tool and uses it, he will think fondly of the person who gave it to them and move on. If you tell them that every time they use the tool, they have to record it, they will be happy to have it when they need it and will loose those good feelings when they have to fill out the usage report. If you mandate that this new shiny tool must be used on every call, they will find some inconsequential spot on the machine being serviced to use it on, and curse the giver every time it slows them down. It is easy to make this mistake. To justify the cost of providing a new shiny tool we often force the use even when it may not increase productivity. From my perspective, if the IOT can be implemented in a way that provides access to information and data in a meaningful and unobtrusive way, then it will be a great influencer on productivity increases. If it turns into masses of meaningless data (like the tera-bytes of Internet pictures of teenagers lunches) then it will become much ado about nothing, or worse - a time waster.  

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Employee
Employee

Re: Is there a future in field service for the Internet of Things, wearables and 3D printing?

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All these 3 forces are going to have a profound impact on field service. Here’s my $0.02:

1. IOT: Companies will be able to harness information emitting from machines in unprecedented ways to prevent, predict and plan service events. Combined with service history, IOT will be a key driver of predictive intelligence. It will enable organizations to sell performance outcomes instead of products & services (aka Servitization). IOT will also have a ‘retail’ effect in Field service - at a transactional & tangible level. Service Technicians and product engineers can stay tuned to machine behavior (variations in configuration, environment etc.) more closely, match it to ongoing patterns, and react quickly. Mobile computing will have a big role here.

2. Wearables: This is still at an early stage from a maturity standpoint - it can certainly benefit from standardization. Apple brand will push Smart Watches ahead of glasses and other wearables. Keeping in line with the general trend to push simpler one-touch actions to smaller form factors, wearables will play a complementary role to their bigger mobile cousins. Accept/Reject jobs, Clock in/out, barcode reading, relay configuration, capture pictures & videos - I expect all these actions to be done quickly using watches instead of having to operate a phone/tablet/laptop. I am not holding my breath on smart hats, headbands, rings and the likes.

3. 3D Printing: Expect Kinkos 3D! Dispatchers send specs to 3D printing warehouses, the parts are printed and delivered to customer locations - just in time when a tech arrives. Dramatic increase in FTFR and Cust Sat. This could also potentially eliminate the scenario when a machine cannot be serviced because of obscure parts. This is not fantasy. UPS is doing it already: http://money.cnn.com/2014/09/22/technology/innovationnation/ups-3d-printing/index.html. The best part is when 3D printers have to be serviced.

Line Chef
Line Chef

Re: Is there a future in field service for the Internet of Things, wearables and 3D printing?

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Great Question! I will offer my opinion prefaced with an analogy from my former life as a Field Service Engineer. When you give an engineer a new tool it is like watching a child at Christmas. There are "Ooohhs" and "Ahhhs" and the new shinny tool goes into the tool box. Every time the engineer needs that tool and uses it, he will think fondly of the person who gave it to them and move on. If you tell them that every time they use the tool, they have to record it, they will be happy to have it when they need it and will loose those good feelings when they have to fill out the usage report. If you mandate that this new shiny tool must be used on every call, they will find some inconsequential spot on the machine being serviced to use it on, and curse the giver every time it slows them down. It is easy to make this mistake. To justify the cost of providing a new shiny tool we often force the use even when it may not increase productivity. From my perspective, if the IOT can be implemented in a way that provides access to information and data in a meaningful and unobtrusive way, then it will be a great influencer on productivity increases. If it turns into masses of meaningless data (like the tera-bytes of Internet pictures of teenagers lunches) then it will become much ado about nothing, or worse - a time waster.  

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Employee
Employee

Re: Is there a future in field service for the Internet of Things, wearables and 3D printing?

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Hari - Excellent points and I'm really excited about 3D Printing warehouses and portable 3D printing machines which are really going to be amazing step forward for field service and like you mentioned FTFR, and NPS scores will go through the roof when you tell a customer their machine will be back up in 15 mins because it takes 5 mins to print the part and 10 mins to install it.   :-)