To spot the next likely breakthrough technology in field service, look down.
Smartphones and tablets, now standard fare in any technician’s toolkit, have redefined how technicians do their jobs. Now, those devices — and the live video they stream — are ushering in changes around how organizations share knowledge and train their employees.
“Longer term, I think [training] is the biggest reason for the interest in video,” Sumair Dutta of The Field Service Council tells Field Service Digital.
The excitement is thanks in part to streaming video software built for field service users. Here, Thomas Cottereau, founder and CEO of SightCall, a San Francisco-based streaming video provider targeting the service industry, explains the clever ways companies are using live video to fix products — and recording those video streams for training purposes.
How is video changing the way field service organizations train their employees?
Cottereau: When technicians in the field collaborate with a colleague via video to solve a problem, that’s an obvious training experience. It’s happening live. But companies can also record and store those videos to train new employees, or to help technicians solve a specific problem.
We’re also running tests with several customers to automatically transcribe videos and send the transcripts to the company’s CRM or field service management system. Technicians can search with keywords to find tips for solving a specific problem. That could solve a big problem in field service training, since most knowledge is shared live from one technician to another.
How impactful is video-enabled self-service for field service organizations?
It’s a big opportunity when a company can leverage its customers to help solve the problem. We’ve found that customers are often more happy to help. It saves time, and there’s no waiting around for a technician to arrive.
What needs to happen for more field service companies to adopt live-streaming video technology?
We are strong believers that an embedded experience is key. The technology should integrate with the devices and applications that technicians are already using — without requiring someone to switch to a new app. When that functionality is embedded into the tools people use every day, they will use it in a natural way.
This is a huge market considering the big IT shifts taking place. Equipment that used to be static is now connected to the Internet. It’s also a big opportunity for service organizations to optimize their costs and reduce the number of service visits.