Tomorrow’s mobile technologies — and the custom apps that will run on them — promise to transform how field service organizations train employees, fix equipment and meet customers’ rising service expectations. Here’s a look at how mobile is changing the face of service, and other news from around the Web this week:

Apple’s Push into the Field

Google’s Android might be the most popular operating system, running 80 percent of the world’s smartphones and 62 percent of tablets, but don’t underestimate Apple. Growth is particularly strong among business users, as companies turn to iPads and iPhones to replace old tools like paper and to develop custom apps for mobile employees, according to a company executive during Apple’s Q2 earnings report this week.

Among the companies rolling out custom apps is Siemens, which has 15 apps for use among the company’s 30,000 iPhones. Siemens wind turbine teams, for example, have used iPads for the past couple of years to help techs manage workflows, complete work orders, take pictures and troubleshoot problems with colleagues on the ground.

Read more at AppleInsider

Avoid Distractions at the Wheel

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, an effort to limit all of the things people do — but shouldn’t — while driving. Mobile Enterprise contributing writer Jessica Binns offers these four steps to help companies limit employees’ distracted driving:

  • Create a policy: “Develop a formal, written policy stating your organization’s position on mobile device use and other distractions while driving. This should apply to everyone in your organization who drives a vehicle, regardless of their position.”
  • Reinforce policy: “To be effective, safety policies should be communicated repeatedly.”
  • Lead by example: “Let employees know that while they are on the road, no phone call or email is more important than their safety. To further prove that point, managers and other staff should defer conversations with employees until they are safely parked.”
  • Reward good behavior: “Managers should define the safe driving practices and expected behaviors of those that drive for any business purpose,” and reward employees who follow the company’s policies.

Read more at Mobile Enterprise

Training, Sales Highlight Field Service USA 2014

FS USA 2014 (April 22-25) ends today in Palm Springs. The annual confab is a chance for field service professionals and managers to talk about the latest technologies and trends affecting the industry. And the big ones on this year’s docket are the latest training strategies, shifting customer expectations and the need to get technicians to sell and to fix, according to the Field Service Blog editors.

If you couldn’t make it to Southern California, don’t fret. The SmartVan Roadshow continues next month with stops in Costa Mesa, Calif. (May 8, 2014) and Houston, Texas (June 4, 2014). Hope to see you there!

Read more at field service Blog

Wearable Tech’s Immediate Impact on Service

The first stage of the mobile revolution changed how employees work and what customers demand of companies. It wasn’t always an easy transition for companies to make, field service firms included. But the next generation of mobile technologies won’t hit the same snags, says J.P. Gownder, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester research. “Wearables aren’t just a consumer trend; they have the potential to change the way companies conduct business,” he writes in InformationWeek. “Perpetually connected wearables will allow workers, partners, and customers to experience more immediacy, simplicity, and context in their work.” Gownder cites three main trends that will set the foundation for wearable technology in industries such as field service:

  • The network effect: “An influx of sensors, networks, and data analytics technologies are reshaping what’s possible in mobile computing.”
  • Increased user expectations: “Workers and consumers now expect that any desired information or service will be available to them — in context – the moment they need it.” As Google Glass and similar technologies become more prevalent, their value will increase as developers create useful applications for them.
  • Predictive analytics makes service more proactive: “The wearables revolution will be driven by data. Predictive analytics that can anticipate what a user needs will underpin the whole experience.”

Read more at InformationWeek