Every morning, I can’t wait to grab my iPad and read the Bleacher Report.  Born and raised in San Francisco, I devour every tidbit of news I can about the Niners, the Warriors, the Sharks and, of course, the World Series Champs, the Giants.

But then I want to get the latest and greatest about my other passion, field service, and my morning gets frustrating.  Why isn’t there a place where field service pros have access to the latest and greatest info and news in the space?  Why isn’t there an online forum for the industry to connect and share views?  With constant innovations in green energy and cloud technology, this space is more cutting edge that most others.  So where do I go to learn about it?

You can probably guess I’m excited about Field Service Digital .  Finally, the field service industry has a place to share ideas and learn about how to grow our service businesses. (Check out this post on Marketing Sherpa that explains what we’ve done with The SmartVan, and why.)

We are clearly at the dawn of a new era in field service: fantastic new technologies that will drive billions of dollars of new business, new ways to implement change and, ultimately, more effective and profitable service businesses.   So, welcome SmartVan. I hope to see, participate in, and drive lively and productive discussions.

To kick off the conversation, here are a few observations about the technological changes and opportunities that I find most striking:

Clean/Green Tech Explosion

We’ve heard the hype.  We’ve gotten the pitch.  I recently replaced my working pool filter with a Pentair Intelliflo VS 3050.  Why?   Well, supposedly the new pump uses 80 percent less energy, and it’s quieter. $1,400 later, it was also a nice upsell deal for my service provider!

Given the focus on increased energy efficiency, coupled with the aging infrastructure throughout the economy and within our own homes, this is a trend that service businesses can’t afford to ignore.

A good friend of mine has developed a new solar-driven curtain wall technology that will result in new buildings that will actually be net generators of energy as opposed to the current enormous drains they are today.  How cool will that be to move into a building where all your electricity needs are provided by the solar panels that are built into your building’s frame?

All in all, there are tons of potential new revenue sources in a now-recovering economy.  No doubt the technology exists, or is being developed, that will save companies and individuals billions in energy costs.  How do you sort through it all?  How will we all get educated as to the opportunities and trained on the specifics? All that should be fair game here at The SmartVan.

Tablets Fulfill the Promise of Field Service

ServiceMax CEO Dave Yarnold

Granted, I’m biased here. We provide a cloud-based technology solution, and an iPad app that helps field service organizations run their field organizations more flexibly and profitably.

For years, service managers have asked me, “What mobile device do you recommend?”  To date, every mobile device came with significant compromise; from the cost, to the user interface, the deployment process, GPS capabilities, etc.

Tablets offer so much promise for the field service:

  • They are comparably inexpensive
  • The touch screen interface is easy to learn
  • Multimedia content is easy to access such as training videos and product manuals
  • Easy app deployment through mechanisms like Apple AppStore or Android Market
  • Collaboration capabilities are unlimited

I’m guessing that tablets are the first gadgets that truly fulfill the promise of the field mobile device.  We should see some explosive growth in the numbers of these deployed in the field over the next few years.

Cloud Computing Within Service Operations

Cloud computing is the great equalizer in the software industry.  Like a utility, you plug in and use what you need and pay for what you consume. Cloud computing gives small and mid-sized businesses the opportunity to make use of advanced capabilities that were previously only available to large enterprises.  Cloud computing is configurable, scalable and less expensive. Pay for what you require, and tailor it to your specific needs without expensive hardware and consulting — amazing potential to quickly implement systems that profitably improve customer loyalty and generate upsell opportunities.

So much change and opportunity … we will look back on this time as the dawn of a new era in field service. Follow my thoughts on this blog and on Twitter.  I look forward to sharing my insights with you and learning from your feedback.