The Future of Field Service: Internet of Things
For most field service professionals, staying connected is essential to managing customer requests. Fortunately, there are several devices available in today’s connected world to manage these operations. And we’re not just talking about that smartphone in your pocket. We also mean the building where you work, the vehicle you drive, and the house you call home. Almost every aspect of modern life can be connected and managed from the Internet. And field service is no exception.
The Internet of Things (IoT) drives this evolution of modern communication. The Internet of Things is a catch-all phrase that describes the way devices connect with each other to collect and exchange data. The field service industry has evolved alongside IoT. And it has established interoperability across devices, applications, and platforms.
What does the future of field service look like, thanks to the Internet of Things? Let’s see how it addresses three key aspects of field service: costs, best-of-breed solutions, and customer satisfaction.
Increased connectivity within a field service operation fosters a predictive model for addressing customer concerns. The ability to diagnose and address issues before they happen is essential to saving time (and money) on service calls. The fewer second (and third) service requests made, the more your business saves money.
Take your HVAC system for example. The weather can be unpredictable at times. We could experience high temperatures one day and freezing temperatures the next. IoT sensors in your HVAC system can monitor internal temperatures, while considering climate trends. Before you call a tech to turn down the heat, the system can adjust temperature automatically.
It also helps reduce costs from reactive maintenance. One of the best ways to save your organization and the customer money is to fix the issue the first time. It reduces the need for extra service tickets and technician billable hours. IoT uses real-time, predictive analytics to determine which services are needed.
For instance, IoT allows your HVAC system to track each time it’s been serviced. And based on the service trends it can predict when the system is due for a check up. No one’s wasting their work day rushing to get the HVAC system fixed when it breaks. Instead they can schedule a fix before disaster strikes.
Say farewell to the “one-vendor-fits-all” model for enterprise asset management (EAM). Or at least, bid it adieu over the course of the next few years. IoT encourages businesses to adopt a “best-of-breed” model. In this model, software applications and hardware devices are specific to their needs.
As more devices are built and connected to the Internet, a flexible EAM platform can manage the differing assets within a centralized, consolidated system. Using cloud-based technology, best-of-breed providers can push updates to technicians in real-time.
Cost and asset management are key components to achieving the ultimate goal: ensuring customer satisfaction. It strains both the customer relationship and your bottom line when you need multiple service calls because of under-connected devices and lack of information.
With IoT sensors installed in company equipment, you can pinpoint service outages and issues before they’re critical. These sensors can detect when a part isn’t working correctly. And they can send requests to replace the faulty part before someone needs to make a service call.
For instance, IoT sensors can track power consumption in a customer’s refrigerator. Before the fridge breaks and food spoils, you’re already aware that it’s due for service. You can get ahead of the situation and tell the customer it’s time for a fix. Customers can schedule a fix when it’s convenient for them, and avoid ever dealing with a broken fridge. And customers will be pleased because they won’t have to worry about their devices breaking.
We’re not living in a pen-and-paper world anymore. Even the technology we used five years ago pales in comparison to what IoT can enable today. In due time, this technology will automate decisions and launch actions without human intervention. The future is here. Are you on board yet?