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What do you have in your pocket?

I bet you have at least one smart, connected device that can browse the web, send and receive emails, call your mom, take a picture of your soccer super star to post to Facebook, shoot a video of your aspiring rock star in hopes he will be discovered on YouTube like Justin Bieber, and capture a signature on a web form.

We’ve spoken often about the new technologies available to field service organizations, ranging from IoT and M2M, mobile devices and enterprise mobility, wearables and the prevalence of BYOD and WYOD strategies. Social media has changed the way we communicate, to each other and about our experiences with businesses and services. Big data and analytics have changed how we collect data and pushed the industry into cycles of continuous improvement. Millennials, which are increasingly forming the largest labor pool available to the industry, grew up with much of this new tech. They’re comfortable with it and aspire to use it in new ways to achieve success in their work lives. Aly Pinder at Aberdeen goes so far as to theorize that each field technician carries at least two business devices and one personal device each and every day. I think it’s become clearer how we use those technologies to provide our customers with better service.

Our friends at TechnologyAdvice published a new infographic this past week, which also lists 3D printing and NFC tags as new technologies that are changing field service.

3D printing is exciting.  It even appeared in an episode of The Big Bang Theory, albeit related to look-a-like action figures.  Imagine the customer satisfaction improvements based on a technician being able to upload a part spec and print a part not carried on the truck directly from a 3D printer in his or her vehicle? 3D printing isn’t really new technology; it’s been around for a while. But its adoption in both commercial and increasingly in residential applications has taken off in the last few years.  Costs to print a part don’t rise with small lots as typical in manufacturing, so printing one off parts doesn’t increase costs. Add in the IoT and M2M data from a connected device, and you can imagine the impact not only knowing in advance that a part is failing, but being able to upload the part specs in route to the location, ensuring the tech arrives before a full on outage, with the right parts. What does that social media post look like now? 140 characters of pure PR gold!

NFC, or near field communications, tags are also technology that’s been around for a while, though it is expected to take off with the push by Apple, Inc. of NFC in its Apple Pay product, and rumored interest in using NFC for building access and public transit ticketing. In field service, the addition of NFC tags could be used to scan a product or component for warranty or contract information, clock a tech into the day from the van, scan a tech into and out of a facility or link back to service history or product manuals stored in the cloud.  Imagine the opportunities with NFC tags.

These are exciting times. These technologies in isolation are powerful but it is the sum of their parts which will transform field service.  ServicePower will continue to build new concepts with these new technologies into its field service management platform and form new partnerships that speed up that process, so that you can continue to create better service for your customers.

 

 

 

 

 

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