Field service pros wear many hats and work in many locations, from major league ballparks to corner ATMs. Here’s a look at a few tales from the field this week, including an all-female cable installation crew in Bermuda and the techs who help MLB umpires make the correct call at home plate:
MLB Embraces Review Technology
Blown calls are a part of baseball, but this season players, managers and fans should have fewer excuses to get worked into a frenzy. Major League Baseball agreed to expand instant replay earlier this season to cut down on umpires’ mistakes — which, at an average of one missed call every 6.4 games, are few and far between.
MLB’s Replay Operations Center (ROC) is the league’s replay nerve center. Housed in a 9,000-square-foot room in Manhattan, the ROC will be staffed by up to eight umpires who will monitor every play of two games simultaneously. And they’ll have some serious technology at their fingertips. The ROC has 37 high-definition televisions that will stream up to 12 camera angles for every game. The room includes a direct connection to all 30 major league ballparks, which required 172 miles of cable and 42 tons of equipment across the country. All told, the project required more than 32,000 work hours to complete.
Read more at USA Today
Windows XPiration Sends Techs Scrambling
On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will end support for XP, the company’s more than decade-old operating system. That means no more security updates or technical support, which could expose companies to security vulnerabilities. Banking is one industry that’s bracing for the expiration date. With more than 95 percent of ATMs in the U.S. still running XP, techs have their hands full to make necessary updates ahead of the deadline.
In addition to the software updates, techs are making hardware modifications to curb ATM fraud, including so-called EMV card readers. The devices, developed jointly by Europay, MasterCard and Visa (hence “EMV”) contain a chip with security safeguards to ensure that only the proper user can pay or withdraw money.
“Because of the varying timelines associated with each type of upgrade, it looks to be a full year for technicians,” writes ATM Marketplace. Banks and ATM operators, too, have their hands full to train and certify technicians on the new technologies.
Read more at ATM Marketplace
Bermuda’s All-Female Cable Install Crew
Field service technicians are as varied as the equipment they fix. Just ask Marshallene Robinson, a mother of four who leads an all-female crew for Bermuda CableVision, the island’s largest cable TV and Internet provider.
Robinson got into field service because jobs on the island were hard to find, and she actively encourages other women to enter the field. “We do it all from the pole straight through to the house,” Robinson tells the Bermuda Sun. “We rewire, trouble-shoot, pull wires, dig, labour, everything — you name it, we do it.”
Read more at the Bermuda Sun
How 50 Billion Connected Devices Will Change Field Service
The “Internet of Things,” the much-ballyhooed wave of tech in which everything from jewelry to everyday household objects like thermostats are connected to the Internet, is expected to change the way people live and work. Cisco Systems predicts that by 2020 there will be 50 billion connected devices worldwide. The trend toward intelligent, connected devices will undoubtedly have a big impact on the role of field service techs in the future. How big, exactly? ServiceMax CEO Dave Yarnold offers his take in Field Technologies Online:
“The Internet of Things will put the final nail in the coffin of the old way of managing a field service department,” says Yarnold. “When machines can call in their own work orders and send usage updates back to the manufacturer without human intervention, dispatching technicians via a whiteboarded schedule will be impossible. Using ERP, filing cabinets, and carbon copies will be utterly incompatible with the data of a modern field service department, which will depend on cloud, mobile, and social solutions.”
Read more at Field Technologies Online