Every week we run across dozens of interesting news items, blog posts, tweets, white papers, market data and trends — all tied to field service in one way or another. We don’t have time to cover them all, so we’re starting an occasional roundup to help readers keep tabs on a business sector in the midst of an exciting, tech-driven evolution. (Click here for the last edition):

Lessons Learned From Sandy:  Sandy represented an opportunity to put new technologies to the test — and some did. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has begun working alongside FEMA to provide that department with satellite images of the hardest-hit and often inaccessible areas — which saves FEMA from having to send inspection crews out before offering homeowners rental assistance. . Read More.

Meanwhile, most of New York has been back to work for several days now, but the job of “un-watering,” or draining, the city’s subway and highway tunnels goes on. Brooklyn’s Battery Tunnel is still closed, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard, along with New York transit workers, saying that trying to pump water out from seven stories below ground — without electricity, no less — has proven a tall task. Here’s how they are doing it.

With yet another (far smaller) storm now hitting the region, it’ll be interesting to see whether some of these hard-won lessons learned over the past couple of weeks will continue to bolster the field service industry.

IT Field Techs Bullish: A fourth-quarter economic confidence report from technician outsourcer OnForce showed that economic optimism among IT field service personnel ticked up nine points to 46 compared to the same period in 2011. The firm’s “future index” — technicians’ feelings about the next six months — looks even better, sitting at 65 points. The survey also showed that 43 percent of independent IT technicians expect to see opportunities increase in 2013 — a 12-point jump compared to this time last year. Read More.

Drivers Wanted: A report released this week by the American Trucking Association indicated that the group expects the U.S. trucking sector to be short 239,000 drivers in the next 10 years, based on employment and growth rates. The industry is typically older and retiring — the average age is between 55 and 57 years old. Combined with a new set of hours-of-service regulations that require more drivers to handle the same number of trips, the industry is expecting an “acute” shortage of drivers, according to the ATA. Read More.

Decay Meets Commoditization: Two “meta” trends are causing seismic shifts for technology hardware and service providers, according to Thomas Lah, the executive director of the Technology Services Industry Association. In this video of his keynote address at the TSW Conference in Las Vegas, Lah explains how these trends — the decay of the traditional profit structure, and the commoditization of service — are creating a new “Managed Services 2.0” model. Watch the Video.

Renewed Focus on Technicians
: A newly released survey from The Service Council, “The Role of Service Culture in Driving Service Revenues,” reinforces what many field service managers already know: That as the primary touchpoint for most customers, field technicians represent how an organization is “seen” and judged. A couple of interesting statistics jumped out: More service execs measure customer satisfaction scores (65 percent) than service profitability (59 percent); and more organizations measure service revenue per field tech (28 percent) than total cost of service resolution (20 percent). Again, the individual technician is playing a huge role in how these companies measure success. Read More.

Click here to download a free whitepaper, “Five Steps to Make Field Service Profitable.”

ABOUT Ian Stewart

Avatar photoIan is a veteran journalist who has covered sports for various news outlets. Previously, he was managing editor for an electronic-book publishing company and a public relations writer.