Mobile & Tech

Unlikely, Even Explosive, Technology in the Field

Editor’s note: Originally published in the spring issue of Field Service, a quarterly print magazine from Field Service Digital and ServiceMax. Check out the next issue in early November.

The onslaught of new technologies in service is enough to set your head spinning. The Internet of Things. Augmented reality. Smart glasses. Virtual reality. And before them there were others — Cloud Computing. SaaS. iPads. But look beyond the hype, and it’s clear that technology is constantly upending how work gets done every day in the field. Here’s how three new technologies are already making a mark on field service:

In Southern California, Parts Hitch a Ride with Uber

It’s a scenario any field service manager can relate to: A technician, tools in hand, is onsite and ready to fix the customer’s equipment, only to realize a crucial part is back at the warehouse. Sure, he could drive across town, but it’s a waste of time, gas and will test the customer’s patience. Southern California-based McKinley Equipment has a novel solution for parts delivery: Uber.

“Why not dial up an Uber when we have an urgent need, and use that as another pipeline to deliver parts to our technicians,” — Dave Carevich, director of business development at McKinley Equipment.

Canine Techs (and Artillery) Keep the Slopes Safe

avalauncher

Handheld bombs. Avalanche-blasting “avalaunchers.” A team of Labrador retrievers. There’s no doubt that the avalanche techs at New Mexico’s Taos Ski Valley have some of the coolest tools in field service.

“Sometimes the explosives don’t go off and get lost in the snow. ‘Dud hunters’ search for them, but it’s not uncommon for them to go unnoticed until springtime. Hence, the warning signs for skiers.” — Reporter Jennifer Alsever

The Key to This Company’s Retention Strategy? Wearable Tech

With massive rollout of 500+ smart glasses to its field workforce, American HVAC provider Lee Company looks to retain their aging technician workforce as “virtual supervisors” who can collaborate with the smart-glasses equipped techs in the field … from the comfort of the office. The smart glasses help the company meet this request, without demanding that the older technicians be required to perform feats of strength and agility that might not be attainable.

“Customers always want the most experienced technicians to deal with their systems.” — Steve Scott, VP of facilities solutions at Lee Company.

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