Field service organizations have always been early adopters of mobile technology. When technology changes, the field service industry is finding new ways to use those changes to their advantage. It’s how the industry has changed from a total reaction-based service module, to now one that is preventative and predictive.
More field service organizations are adding cloud-based field service software to their service departments. Many are doing so to get the benefits of mobile technology, specifically from field service mobile apps. As mobile technology changes, field service managers are refreshing their mobile strategies to prepare for a future that includes:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Internet of Things
- Virtual Reality
- Augmented Reality
According to a recent survey conducted by Field Technology Online, 33.7% of respondents said they plan to refresh their technology to take advantage of mobile devices. Another 25% said they will refresh their mobile plans in the next year. 29% said they will refresh their mobile solutions in the next months. Whatever the case may be, it’s evident that mobile strategies need to be constantly adjusted. With new devices and new advances in mobile field service software, plans with mobile in mine need to reflect the advances of the day.
What does the future look like for mobile field service software? Here are just some of the results from the recent survey and what field service organizations are looking at in field service mobile app technology.
Smartphones Dominate Field Service Mobile Apps
Smartphone and tablet technology has clear advanced over the years. Mobile hardware has expanded and grown more powerful. While it seemed at one point that tablets would be the next wave, smartphones have maintained their hold as the main mobile device for mobile field service software. According to the survey, field service executives responded that 37.1% of them are using smartphones as their device of choice. It’s a six percent increase from 2016, and 18% increase over tablets.
Real-Time Data the Most Important Function of Field Service Mobile Apps
Functionality has expanded greatly over the generations, with mobile field service software offering more options every year. But the functionality that most executives and managers are looking for is real-time data management. Field service executives and managers agree that exchanging information from the field to the office is paramount to their success. Real-time data exchange is critical to the success of field service organizations moving forward.
Technicians in the field, armed with field service mobile apps, now have two-way communication devices. And this is greater than just simple text messaging and phone calling, or the ability to answer emails. It is now, real-time data exchange, so dispatchers at the head office can get real-time updates on technician activities and can track the progress of technicians as they work. At the same time, technicians in the field can use their mobile app to:
- View service history on equipment
- Access parts and inventory information
- Produce quotes with real-time quoting information and pricing
- Seek help on repairs and get information sent to their mobile device
With better visibility, dispatchers are now able to make changes when they come, re-route technicians when emergencies are happening, and keep customers updated on the status of service requests.
Moving to Next-Generation Mobility
As noted, mobile technology is constantly changing for the field service industry. It’s why industry leaders are considering a change to their mobile strategy in the next 18 months as mobile technology is driving to the industry forward. The need for handheld devices has increased to 40.5% over two years, as leaders look to add mobile field service software to their organization.
Wearable technology is seeing growth, even though they remain a niche market. Things such as glasses and watches are starting to become a hot trend in the service industry and has attracted service organizations to deploy them in their workforce. But where we are seeing the most movement in the mobile field service software space is in how the technology is being integrated with things like IoT, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.
Internet of Things (IoT) has seen plenty of growth over the years, as 28.1% of respondents to the Field Technology Online survey said they are interested in adopting the technology. What this is doing is changing the industry from a preventative maintenance focus to one that is predictive. By being able to continuously monitor connected equipment, field service organizations can now alert customers when a potential failure is going to happen and even provide remote service. This isn’t possible without the next-generation of mobile devices and sensor technology. It’s also changing the how the customer experience is being viewed.
Artificial Intelligence is also seeing great interest, as 29.2% of respondents said AI is of great interest to them. AI is allowing more data analytics and predictive service models to be built. AI is able to analyze more data than humans can, so mass data analyzing is becoming fully automated. AI is finding flaws in equipment, new contract opportunities and ways to optimize processes that weren’t available before.
Mobile is the Solution Moving Forward
It’s no secret that mobile field service software is becoming a must have for anyone in the field service industry. Whether you are just wanting to simply get away from paper-based work orders and have your technicians answer questions on checklists, or you want to open up two-way communication lines between the field and the office, field service mobile apps are becoming the end all solution to the challenges of the industry.
Field service organizations will face increased pressure to offer a better customer experience, and much of that means on-demand service that can only be achieved through mobile field service software. It’s no longer just a break/fix industry, but rather one where the onus is on the service provider to prevent equipment downtimes or even predict them and have services completed before equipment goes offline.
Look at your mobile strategy and see if a mobile field service software solution is the right option for you.