Virtual reality, augmented reality, The Metaverse. This article focuses on the impact of augmented reality for field engineers.
Your view of the real world is being augmented!
Augmented Reality as part of Field Service Engineering
Will Augmented Reality phone and tablet interfaces, AR Headsets, digital twins, make your life as a Field Engineer easier?
Is it possible that these new tools undermine the need for experienced engineers in the field?
Will customers be expected to repair their own equipment via remote assistance through a phone App?
Rama Sreenivasan, CEO of Blitzz
I spoke to Rama Sreenivasan, CEO of Blitzz, who demonstrated their AR product to me.
Rama calls Blitzz ‘facetime on steroids without an app’, and it is fast and easy to use. He feels that they are not selling technology but also empathy. This happens when you share your problem with a support engineer over a shared phone screen and interact with a remote expert in shared AR screen, rather than trying to explain it in a voice only call.
It’s clear that there is a big difference between helping a domestic customer diagnose a problem with a washing machine and helping an equipment engineer on a manufacturing line to diagnose a problem with a multi-million-pound piece of manufacturing equipment.
As the use of AR technology advances, there will be more expectations from field service engineering. Some modern support teams rely on remote software support 24/7, and there will be more demand for this.
Is it also possible that customers will assume that fewer and shorter onsite visits should mean dramatically lower service and support bills?
Positives for Field Engineers
From the point of view of a field engineer, the introduction of AR could bring these positives:
Better and easier communication between field engineer and remote support and customer in one environment
As well as diagnosis of faults before travelling to site times
Less lonely on site and as more of a feeling of being in a team – sharing the challenge
Gives an alternative for when travel is not easy or safe
Recordings or notes from calls can be used to augment and keep the training process up to date
For experienced field engineers who want to travel less or spend more time at home, AR gives them the opportunity to leverage their expertise in a remote support role. They can see the equipment they know so well in an AR environment.
The flipside of this is,
Will it de-skill the role of the field engineer? Will there be less training given as there is easy and effective remote support to give the critical answers?
What do you think?