Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared on Field Technologies Online and is adapted here with permission. Here, FTO Editor-in-Chief Sarah Nicastro speaks with Jon Barr, head of global development and information technology for KONE Americas, about the elevator and escalator repair giant’s field automation project and its reliance on mobile and remote monitoring technologies.
KONE is a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry. The company has more than 2,000 field service professionals in the U.S. and Canada and is taking a next step to automate its field service operations with a number of technologies that today’s leading field service organizations are leveraging. These include remote monitoring, Android and iOS, field automation software, and wearable technology.
What are the goals for KONE’s next steps in your field automation journey — and what is the company looking to accomplish?
Barr: When KONE looks at the accelerating pace of change in the mobile technology landscape, we see incredible opportunities to increase the engagement of our field employees. Today’s field technicians carry incredibly compact and powerful computers in their pockets every day. We feel it’s our opportunity to harness the capabilities of that technology to help our employees achieve their full potential on the job. By utilizing dramatically more reliable and intuitive mobile devices, we can engage our field personnel in exciting new ways and empower them to delight our customers. In short, we’re moving from an older “smart” phone capability to the adoption of the latest market devices. The benefits of keeping up with the latest devices are that our employees are already familiar with these popular devices, and we feel that familiarity will make them instantly more productive.
How do you see remote monitoring impacting KONE’s field operations — and what are the goals of using remote monitoring technology?
Remote monitoring is more than gathering big data from sensor networks across our customer sites. And it’s more than analyzing the data we capture to look for trends. We believe monitoring only delivers value to our customers when thousands of employees change how they do their jobs each day, based on the intelligence gathered using the technology. Our goal with our field automation initiatives is to empower our field employees with the intelligence we have gathered. We aim to dynamically adjust the daily plan for our field technicians, based on the intelligence our systems provide. With our automation, we’re proposing remedies and tracking the efficacy of the actions our field technicians take to reduce the issues experienced by our customers.