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How Augmented Reality is redefining field services in the pandemic

How Augmented Reality is redefining field services in the pandemic
October 05, 2021

Overview

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the way of operations for various businesses and led them to tremendous loss. Now that everyone is stuck at home, you must change the approach of selling your service or product. That is where augmented reality (AR) comes into the scene. Many AR applications are providing virtual ‘try-before-you-buy’ experiences for the customers ranging from previewing furniture in your home to luxury fashion products. The worldwide total market value for AR is expected to grow to $140 billion by 2025, according to a report from tech market advisory firm Allied Business Intelligence Inc. These figures include hardware, software and content, AR advertising, platforms and licensing, connectivity, and much more.

Augmented reality brings many possibilities for field services to grow. With the help of AR technology, you can provide your service without direct physical contact. The pandemic has increased use cases to include remote assistance and training because employees and customers are less willing to be in close contact. Thus, AR has quickly become an essential technology for field service. 

Field service  

The implementation of augmented reality in field service is rapidly changing the dynamics of service operations, enabling many organizations to boost their productivity and reduce costs. The AR technology headset uses computer processing and optical projection systems to create digital objects that the users can see and interact with its real environment. AR-supported smart glasses and mobile devices both provide field technicians and experts with the innovative tools that they need to complete their repair and service tasks quickly and efficiently. 

AR features in field service

1. Remote-service assistance- After wearing the headset, users can see 3D visual images, data, and instructions for the task. The users can interact with digital 3D objects with their fingers to grab their corners. With remote assistance software, a user wearing a headset can share their real-time view with technicians and experts who are using a desktop or mobile device. 

Microsoft noticed a 44-fold rise in remote-assistance usage of HoloLens 2 between January and December last year, largely because of the pandemic.

2. Self-service- This allows customers to use their smartphone to access a company’s knowledge base, manuals, and training materials, encouraging them to effectively resolve more issues on their own. The use of AR wearable simplifies the complex processes such as assembly and disassembly of parts. Detailed graphical information is provided to the user in step-by-step directions for an easy and quick understanding of a complicated assembly process.

Based on the self-installation survey, 40% of consumers now choose to receive setup instructions on their mobile device, and out of those, 71% prefer visual guidance self-installation methods.

3. Remote training - All businesses require a competent workforce capable of following processes and procedures easily. However, employee training can be costly and time-consuming. Augmented reality can resolve the problems of staff shortages and skill gaps among employees. New employees can go through pre-recorded training simulations and 3D models to gain a better understanding of the equipment components. It will help in the rapid development of skills and better training information, which will make the workforce competent at doing their job roles better.

Since March last year, Sheba Medical Center has been using Microsoft HoloLens 2 headsets to train physicians, biomedical engineers, and nurses on how to operate ventilators for Covid-19 patients, according to The Israel Center for Medical Simulation.

Conclusion

Advantages of implementing augmented reality are higher operational efficiency, improved customer experience, better first-time fix rates, lower costs, and the ability to train the younger generation faster.

In the next 3-8 years, 33% of Field Service Organizations would implement AR technology to optimize their field service processes, as it is more effective, efficient, and a safer way to perform field service jobs. 

Many industry leaders and decision-makers see AR technology as far-off, futuristic, but in reality, AR is trending with accelerated adoption in field services. In the next 3-8 years, 33% of field service organizations will implement AR technology to optimize their field service processes, as it is more effective, efficient, and a safe way to perform field service jobs. AR can solve the human resource challenge of attracting the next generation to field service.

References

  1. https://www.wsj.com/articles/augmented-reality-gets-pandemic-boost-11611866795
  2. https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-pandemic-brings-new-use-cases-for-augmented-reality-11590777284?cx_testId=3&cx_testVariant=cx_2&cx_artPos=0&mod=WTRN#cxrecs_s
  3. https://www.softwebsolutions.com/resources/augmented-reality-field-service-management.html
  4. https://unvired.com/blog/use-cases-of-augmented-reality-in-field-service/