The Era of Connected Field Service is Upon Us
In this article looking at the findings of an exclusive Field Service News Research Project, run in partnership with FieldAware we can find clear indicators that we have firmly entered into an age of connected field service..
The one technology that could play a significant role in companies’ ability to maintain asset uptime from off site is of course the Internet of Things (IoT). The importance of IoT in the role of field service delivery has long been documented. In an exclusive Field Service News Research Study back in 2016, while adoption had yet to truly take root, the predictions of an IoT based future in the field service sector were already well identified.
In that study four years ago, we asked our respondents to rank the technologies they felt would have the biggest impact on field service within the next five years.
IoT was the clear winner with more than twice as many people stating they felt IoT would be the big technology in the short to mid-term for field service, than those who cited the second most popular technology, Big Data.
This belief in IoT was further evidenced when over half (55%) of our respondents stated they thought “IoT will become a fundamental part of field service operations in the future” whilst a further 21% went further stating that “IoT is critical to any field service organisation’s strategy”.
Further findings in previous studies from Field Service News also pointed to a rapid rise to prominence of the role of IoT in Field Service, including the fact that almost three quarters of respondents (74%) felt that IoT based field service strategies were applicable to companies of all sizes and that well over two thirds of respondents (71%) felt that IoT would be common place amongst field service companies by the end of the decade.
So have those predictions met up with the reality?
It would seem they have. We have now reached a point where over three quarters (76%) of field service companies within the study have the capabilities to read data from their assets in the field. (Figure 7). Additionally, over two thirds of these companies are able to do so in real-time.
What is interesting here is just how firmly established the practice of taking this asset data and utilising it within the service workflow is. Of those companies that are able to access asset data remotely, again almost three-quarters (72%) of companies are utilising this data as part of the triage process for identifying faults and guiding the best route for issue resolution. The findings of the study are clear, we are now entering into the dawn of a new connected age and asset data is becoming a fundamental part of field service delivery in many ways.
Yet, when we look further into how many companies have ‘joined-up’ the dots and have implemented smart sensors and alerting updates to monitor asset usage and performance status – essentially adding a degree of automation to the modern IoT centred workflow, just over half (55%) of field service companies have still yet to take this next step. This would suggest that the while we can firmly state we are in an IoT-focused era of field service management; our industry at large is yet to fully leverage the potential of such tools.
Essentially, while there may be growing pockets of maturity within this space, in broad strokes you would still have to say that the current use of IoT data is in its infancy in terms of the true potential that we could be harnessing.
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Written by Kris Oldland
Kris Oldland has been working in Business to Business Publishing for almost a decade. As a journalist he has covered a diverse range of industries from Fire Juggling through to Terrorism Insurance. Prior to this he was a Quality Services Manager with a globally recognised hospitality brand. An intimate understanding of what is important when it comes to Service and a passion for emerging technology means that in Field Service he has found an industry that excites him everyday.