Cloud-based field service softwareOur blog 5 ways Artificial Intelligence is making Field Service Management smarter (Part 2)
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5 ways Artificial Intelligence is making Field Service Management smarter (Part 2)

KieranLePeron
Kieran Le Peron
April 12, 2018
5 min. read

In part 1 of this series, we covered 2 of the 5 ways artificial intelligence (AI in field service) is making field service management (FSM) better, particularly through optimized route planning and AI chatbot customer service. Now we’ll round out the next 3 ways:

3: Connected equipment and predictive maintenance

AI in field service is already playing a leading role in the Internet of Things (field service IoT). This is a big deal for FSM companies because field service AI will be used for predictive maintenance on connected equipment. And we already know that IoT with AI can work well in the real world. In fact, it won’t be long before service companies will use IoT sensors to monitor customer premises equipment using AI tools, including chatbots, field service route optimization solutions, and mobile field service apps for field service technicians.

The end of time-consuming maintenance plans

You know how it goes. Companies set up maintenance plans based on the estimated equipment life cycle. The sequence often goes like this: technicians visit the customer site at regular intervals to check on the status of the equipment. When a problem is identified, a second visit is scheduled to make the repair. Then the field technician goes to the depot to get the spare parts needed for the maintenance/repair work order. All in all, this is a time-consuming process for the maintenance company. It’s also frustrating for the customer who may end up waiting days for a resolution, depending on the availability of spare parts. In addition, the software for spare parts management makes these parts always available, therefore adding efficiency and protecting customer satisfaction and customer relationships. Making matters worse, customers in a manufacturing context can suffer significant losses from an equipment-related work stoppage. Not surprisingly, customers of all types are often dissatisfied with the maintenance company.

IoT and data sensors

With connected equipment and IoT, times are changing. Equipment can be fitted with multiple sensors that transmit data, such as status indicators, in real-time. And, when these sensors are connected to field service work order management software, a predictive maintenance process can be established. The maintenance service provider can monitor the equipment in real-time, and, using algorithms, anticipate breakdowns. This triggers a work order just before a failure occurs. The benefits of “just in time” maintenance are that the equipment service life is optimized and the maintenance provider productivity is increased, contributing to operational efficiency.

Prediction and automation

Fault control and prediction can be fully automated using AI. When connected to sensors, algorithms analyze data flows so humans don’t have to. This approach is more accurate and allows for much faster decision-making. As a result, maintenance technicians are only called in when the analysis predicts that a problem is imminent. If so, the technician is provided with a work order, including a description of the problem, the skills required, and the parts needed to perform the repair. By using field service AI, technician, and equipment uptime is optimized so everyone wins.

4: Smart mobile apps for field technicians

Field service AI is also a valuable tool for field service technicians working at a customer site. An AI-enabled field technician mobile app can be a virtual assistant. For example, when the technician arrives at the job site, the field service mobile app can send detailed and context-sensitive information, including the number and types of equipment on site, models and serial numbers, operating status, maintenance history, as well as step-by-step repair instructions. Furthermore, an intelligent field service mobile app allows technicians to connect directly to the equipment sensors so they can more quickly and efficiently resolve problems.

5: Improved customer experience

Service expectations are rising, particularly in more competitive service sectors. By design, field service AI technologies allow service companies to better respond to customer expectations.

Productivity and efficiency

Gone are the days when work orders were managed using Excel. The focus has shifted to automation. Field service AI technology increases responsiveness, productivity, and diagnostic accuracy for every customer. Connected devices and IoT, chatbots, intelligent planning, and powerful field service mobile apps all come together to create a positive customer experience. Here’s how it works:

  • A sensor registers a failure is about to occur and the data is transmitted to the maintenance provider, using the field service work order management software.
  • The software assembles the work order instructions/information and then assigns the job to a qualified field service technician.
  • The technician receives the work order using the field technician mobile app and proceeds to do the work.
  • The field service mobile app transmits the repair instructions and spare parts needed, as well as the availability status at the depot.
  • At the same time, the field service mobile app notifies the depot of the work order and allocates the spare parts to the job.
  • Route and travel time to the site are also managed by the field service mobile app so the technician can arrive on schedule.

 

As a result, the technician arrives just before a failure occurs with the right parts and all the information needed for the job. And, the field service mobile app virtual assistant helps guide the repair ― step by step, ensuring efficient service delivery.

Optimized customer relationship

At each stage of the process, from initiation through to resolution, the FSM software keeps the customer informed of the progress of the work order. And an informed customer is a more satisfied customer. As we have seen, field service digital transformation, IoT, and advances in AI technologies are changing the way FSM companies do business by reducing planning uncertainty and streamlining maintenance processes.

That’s important because AI-enabled features, such as real-time information sharing, predictive maintenance, more rapid response, work order traceability, and increased productivity can have a significant impact on profitability, leading to substantial cost savings and operational savings. So what are you waiting for? Find out more about field-proven, AI-enabled turnkey software solutions.