2018 may be in the books, but buzzwords like digital transformation and the Internet of Things aren’t going anywhere. Field service leaders will continue to look for new ways to drive productivity and deliver better customer experiences, while rapid advances in artificial intelligence and automation will help companies do more with less.
As we enter 2019, here are four of the biggest trends that will define field service in the coming year.
1. IoT will be everywhere
The era of the smart machine is here. In the last three years, the number of connected devices has almost doubled, from 15 billion in 2015 to more than 25 billion today. By 2025, that number is expected to spike to 75 billion.
Although most people associate the Internet of Things with autonomous vehicles and smart speakers, the biggest impact will be felt on the enterprise side. Already, companies are deploying a wide range of sensor-equipped devices to help them monitor equipment health and run more effectively. These devices can look at environmental factors and historical data to identify potential problems, increasing equipment uptime and saving money on expensive breakdown repairs.
2. Companies will collect more data than ever
When we talk to field service leaders, a constant theme emerges — organizations need to find a way to make sense of the complex ecosystem of people, assets, and technologies that make up modern field service. The answer, of course, is more data. But companies are struggling to make heads or tails of all the data coming in.
From mobile apps that make it easy to send information from the field to smart devices that monitor themselves, field service leaders are looking for increased visibility into what’s actually happening in the field. This will continue in 2019, with companies prioritizing speed of data received for better forecasting and a 360-degree view into their operations.
3. Predictive analytics will change service delivery
Gone are the days when field service organizations could sit back and wait for annual site visits to unearth equipment issues. With today’s focus on customer satisfaction and equipment uptime, companies are relying on smart devices to help them predict breakdowns before they occur.
By 2020, Gartner, estimates that 10% of emergency field service work will be both triaged and scheduled by artificial intelligence, up from less than 1% in 2017. Whether it’s preemptively replacing a fuse based on historical data or increasing the speed of a fan to lower the temperature of a room to an acceptable level, smart devices can help companies work more efficiently.
4. Automation will drive success
In an industry faced with shrinking margins and rising customer expectations, the ability to deliver more efficient service is a key differentiator. In 2019, companies are looking to get ahead by automating as many tasks as possible, increasing productivity and allowing back office workers and field technicians to focus on more strategic ventures.
Whether it’s using artificial intelligence to match technicians to jobs or automatically triggering the next step of an installation based on technician input, automation is helping companies improve first-time fix rates, lower mean time to resolution, and increase productivity.
Next step: finding a modern field service solution
Field service organizations can no longer afford to be reactive. Margins are too low and customer expectations are too high. Success in 2019 will be measured by the ability to deliver more efficient field service.
To get the most out of your back office and field force, you need to find an end-to-end field service automation solution that helps you leverage the latest in artificial intelligence and touchless service delivery.