Cloud-based field service apps create opportunities for communication and connectivity across devices and platforms
How would your life be different if all of your electronic devices could connect? For starters, by one click of your iPhone you could turn on your crockpot without even leaving your desk at work. Your car could trigger your thermostat to set to a certain temperature when you’re close to home. Oh, and your speakers could start playing your favorite playlist when you walked in the door.
Pretty awesome, right?
There is no denying the inevitable changes in the consumer market as a result of advances in internet connectivity. Likewise, the field service industry is about to see major changes, particularly in communications and connections across companies’ employees, devices, and equipment.
How Mobile and Cloud Fuel Connectivity for Service Companies
A mobile cloud-based application allows you to access information at any time, regardless of your device or operating system, meaning it can run both cross-platform and natively (offline).
Equipped with a mobile field service app, technicians can:
- Automatically receive work orders and set statuses throughout course of work
- Receive call notes, contacts, and alerts on mobile device
- Access customer and asset service history
- View asset contract and warranty coverage
- Record work order labor time, parts/inventory, and tasks
Not only can technicians perform these tasks in the field, but, if the app is cloud-based, the information they collect is instantly accessible from anywhere to other departments and roles.
As field service companies continue to introduce cloud-based applications into their operations, they will be able to stay better connected with their company, their customers, and each other. On top of encouraging connectivity within the organization, cloud-based apps also assist in cutting costs because they eliminate the need to employ a specialized IT staff to manage the application.
Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Connectivity, or The Internet of Things (IoT)
The idea behind the Internet of Things (IoT) is that all devices that are capable of internet connection should be connected. As stated before, you could program every device and electronic you own to communicate and work together. For example, in an IoT world, you can automatically access the location of each vehicle in your fleet, learn the contents inside those vehicles, and send all of that information directly to your back office.
Machine-to-Machine (M2M) connectivity is the driving force behind IoT. M2M has the potential to connect every device, electronic, vehicle, part, asset, etc. within the organization and allows field service companies to do things like communicate directly with their equipment or receive information about vehicle status or location.
Let’s Get Practical
While the idea of the Internet of Things sounds attractive, how could you actually apply it your organization? Here are some practical ways to get it started:
1. Asset tracking:
A cloud based mobile app provides valuable insight into your equipment including equipment history, functionality, location, etc. When everything’s connected (equipment to mobile app and mobile app to equipment) you gain full visibility into your assets and can make decisions based on the information you receive.
Because contracts are inherently tied to certain pieces of equipment, asset tracking features in the cloud are integrated with service contract maintenance. Cloud-based applications provide detailed information and automated updates about the state of your equipment and the terms of your service contract. Techs can also receive automatic access to warranty, history, and terms of the contract, which can be used to sell or up-sell field contracts.
With a cloud-based app, it is easy to employ a mobile solution that runs on multiple platforms. Additionally, technicians no longer have to worry about communicating with co-workers or customers using different devices because all communication would take place in the cloud.
4. Technician location and status tracking:
Instead of making techs update their status at every new location, a connected mobile device could automate tech status and provide location alerts to the back office. Schedulers can also set up automated alerts that can be sent to the appropriate technician to indicate any changes in his schedule.
5. Fleet tracking:
By connecting your fleet of vehicles to your field service management system, you can collect information about how well a vehicle is functioning, which parts need replacing, fuel efficiency, and how aggressively techs are driving. Having access to this information would allow you to instate company-wide driving codes, which not only improve technician safety and decrease the risk of accidents, but would also cut down on the wear and tear of driving too aggressively.
Bringing the Connectivity Revolution to your Business
While you might not be able to heat up your dinner at home from the office just yet, the movement toward The Internet of Things is upon us. In order to prepare your organization for this change, investing in a cloud-based app is key, which will allow your technicians to work on any device and keep costs low by eliminating IT maintenance.
One thing’s for sure…as the idea of Internet of Things becomes more concrete and the benefits continue to unfold, you will never be told to “get your head out of the clouds” again.
A Buyer’s Guide to Mobile Field Service Software: 9 Tips for Choosing a Mobile Solution that’s Right for You
In the market for a cross-platform or cloud-based mobile app for your field service organization? Learn important tips, guiding questions, and to-dos in our free, educational whitepaper: “A Buyer’s Guide to Mobile Field Service Software.”
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