Nov 28, 2022

How augmented reality helps field service operations overcome challenges

  • Empower frontline workers
  • Expert roles in every company are getting harder and harder to fill and in the last few years, this situation only seems to intensify. The current talent shortage is also a crucial issue for organizations that offer field service operations. Our article shows how those companies can make sure that they are empowering their existing workforce and attract new and sought-after talent at the same time. [By Anastasia Costin]

    Finding the Right Professionals Has Its Challenges

    According to Manpower Group’s annual talent shortage survey, 50% of large companies (250+ employees) reported difficulties in filling open roles in 2018.  Aside from this, skilled trade positions and technician or engineer roles occupy a spot in the top 5 most difficult to fill jobs. These facts impact how companies deal with employee empowerment and satisfaction and how they manage customer needs and expectations.

    When looking at Field Services specifically, there are a few reasons why this situation continues to worsen:

    1. Remote working and freelancing – with the COVID-19 pandemic, companies and experts alike had to adapt and change their working environments. Consequently, more employees stuck to the freelancing model or decided to move out of the big cities and work remotely.
    2. Market growth – Field Services have experienced exponential growth lately. The demand for skilled experts is therefore on the rise.
    3. An aging workforce – With many experts close to retirement and fewer young professionals willing to consider a career in the industry, the workforce in field services is aging more and more. At this point, 70% of service organizations indicate that they will become burdened by a retiring workforce over the next five to ten years.

    How can organizations make sure that they are empowering their existing workforce while also attracting sought-after talent?

    Augmented Reality (AR) Improves Employee Experiences and Company Workflows

    By adopting innovative technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), organizations offering field services can pave their way to combatting the growing skills crisis. But let us take a step back: What exactly do we mean by AR?

    With AR, reality can be extended by smart glasses: The real world is overlaid by digital elements directly on the lens. To help workers with their job, models with a small display directly at the edge of the field of vision are used to display instructions or videos. This way, relevant information accompanies the worker every step of the way.

    How to Use AR in Field Service Operations

    One of the areas where AR is starting to make a notable difference is regarding knowledge transfer between the expert and the on-site technician. Let us take the example of a field electrical engineer. While out in the field, they need to have their hands free to be able to focus on the task and to easily access any type of information in a timely manner. Using smart glasses and AR solutions like , the technician can instantly initiate a call to one of the remote experts without leaving the worksite and without having to use their hands. The remote expert sees exactly what the field technician is seeing. Through features like screen sharing, live pointing, AR markers, whiteboards, and more, they collaborate to solve the issue in no time and without frustrations. After the call has ended, comprehensive service reports will help streamline any further processes.

    Additionally, onboarding processes for newly hired professionals can be both lengthy and cumbersome. Not to mention the travel costs involved in having to bring all experts to one place, sometimes multiple times a year. Thanks to AR technology, training can now happen in a more practical manner, with dedicated workflows and remote experts always there to guide everyone through the processes.

    Augmented Reality Is Transforming Field Services

    When looking at expert retention and recruitment in the Field Service industry, empowerment is key. Employees need to feel valued, and this can be done when organizations offer them the right tools to do their jobs properly and respect their work-life balance. No cumbersome processes, no complicated systems, and no lengthy training. By using AR-based solutions, companies can ensure that none of these challenges affect daily operations.

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