In the past, field service management has been one of the most inefficient and costly business operations for most companies. Field services comprise any operations done outside the office premises. This includes goods delivery, sales, device service and maintenance, inspections, customer service, etc. As you are probably already aware, these operations, while essential, are also prone to many inefficiencies and errors. Devices can unexpectedly break down, hampering vital operations or causing distress to the customers, networks can go down, servers can crash, etc.
Furthermore, communicating with the people in the field can be a hassle too. These and many other problems of such kind can reflect poorly on your business and take a toll on your company’s internal productivity and customer perception. But luckily, now you have a cost-effective way of making your field service management smoother and much more efficient— Internet of Things or IoT.
For the uninitiated, IoT is a network of interconnected, net-enabled devices that share data in real-time. These devices often have basic AI to make smaller decisions on their own. At the same time, the data collected by these devices is streamed back to the owners in real-time. As a result, business owners can keep an eye on their devices at all times. Furthermore, with the help of AI-integrated software, they can analyze device data and use it to improve their operations, goods, and services.
Due to the cost of IoT devices becoming more reasonable, companies from various industries are using IoT to enhance their businesses. From smart buildings and cars to big industries, IoT is embraced by all.
For field service management, IoT brings many new opportunities to the table. It can help companies improve their field operations, manage their field officers and technicians efficiently, and offer better services to their customers. And in this blog post, we will learn about the various benefits of using IoT for field service management, key ways in which field technicians and businesses can use IoT, and how you can build IoT-based field service management software for your business.
- IoT-based field service management solutions can help businesses become more efficient and productive.
- Businesses can automate their back-office work, like data entry, and make sure their human resources are being used for critical tasks that require their cognitive capabilities.
- High-end IoT implementation can prevent complete infrastructure failures. With the help of AI and IoT, devices can diagnose themselves and report back to the relevant technicians if something is out of place.
- To develop IoT field service software, you need an experienced technology partner who has the skills and tools to guide you through the entire process.
Benefits of Using IoT in Field Service Management
There are many benefits of employing IoT technology to manage your field services and technicians. Some of them have been listed below:
1. IoT Enables Convenience
At the heart of IoT is data gathering and acting upon the gathered data. Both of these things are automated by IoT. Up until a couple of years ago, technicians had to go to faraway device installations, like windmills, and get data themselves. But with the help of sensors and IoT-enabled devices, that is no longer a requirement. All the data is sent to the back office automatically. AI-based automation also makes it possible for devices and installations to self-monitor their conditions and raise an alert if they predict a breakdown.
With the help of IoT field service management software, you can remotely monitor and manage your IoT devices. Furthermore, minor issues can be solved remotely, thus preventing technicians from going to the sites for every little problem.
By studying the data generated by your devices, you can also assign and allocate them more optimally.
Also, IoT lets you integrate your field service tasks with your back office, which gives you a complete picture of your entire operation. You have more control over your remote installations and your technicians.
2. IoT Increases Productivity
With automation comes improved productivity. Since your technicians and back-office staff won’t be responsible for data entry and other mundane and straightforward tasks, you can assign them to more critical tasks. This will improve your overall productivity and make your organization more efficient.
IoT devices can diagnose themselves and figure out the problem. This saves the technician the time and effort of making his own diagnosis and allows him to get straight to resolving the issue.
With real-time technician and device data, you can optimally assign your resources to get the best results out of them. Smart resource allocation is the foundation of a productive business. And IoT-enabled field service management software solutions will help you achieve high productivity numbers across the organization.
3. IoT Increases Safety and Enables Proactive Maintenance
Companies with faraway installations depend heavily on their state-of-the-art IoT implementations, especially for safety reasons. For instance, if a company has a hundred windmills, instead of having a huge team of technicians and engineers on the site, constantly running checks and inspections, IoT implementation is a cheaper and much more effective bet.
Industrial-grade IoT sensors can easily detect fires, increased air pressure, humidity, and other things. They can then initiate a safety protocol if required based on their readings. These protocols usually include sounding the alarm, informing the proper authorities, and dispatching your technicians to the site. Without an IoT-based field service management software, it would take longer for such disasters to be detected and fixed.
Data analysis algorithms study regular device inspection data and can predict failures and device breakdowns based on certain parameters. Then, they can send an alert to relevant technicians, informing them of the exact nature of the failure. The technicians can then resolve the issue proactively. Without IoT, there would be no way to predict system failures, and as a result, the operations would stop while the maintenance was being done. Or worse, it could have triggered a disaster, thus hurting the business even more.
4. IoT Improves Customer Experience
With the help of IoT-based field service management software applications, you can detect if a customer device is heading for failure. Then, based on this observation, you can deploy a technician to the customer’s house and offer maintenance. It will prevent the device from a breakdown and improve the client’s perception of your company.
5. IoT Improves Revenues
Companies that opt for field services management software solutions experience enhanced productivity, automated inspection and fault detection, and better customer services. And by extension, improvement in their revenues. IoT lets companies automate processes that don’t need human intervention, assign their resources, human and otherwise, and prevent system failures to ensure continued operations. All these things help companies turn their businesses into finely tuned machines and earn a lot more money.
Top Applications of IoT in Field Service Management
1. Real-Time Data Monitoring
IoT implementation enables companies to gather data from their devices in real-time. This means they get the full picture of their devices’ health. Usually, an IoT sensor is attached to a device that communicates to a hub device. A hub device can be thought of as a router. It is connected to all the IoT devices in its proximity.
Furthermore, the hub itself is connected to the internet. Business owners and technicians can remotely access this hub and get details about the connected devices. With this data, technicians know what’s going on with their devices and can detect any unusual behavior with relative ease.
2. Data Analysis
Most IoT-based field service management software has an AI layer. Its job is to analyze the data being streamed back by the devices. After going through countless data sets, these AIs can detect trends, suggest process improvements, and even predict future device breakdowns and failures.
3. Predictive Maintenance
IoT and AI make it possible for business owners to perform maintenance work on their devices before breaking down. It is possible only by the conjunction of AI and IoT. While IoT gathers the data, AI analyzes it and, based on previous breakdowns, deduces if the current data set is headed in that direction as well. Predictive maintenance helps businesses in avoiding disasters and complete business operation shutdowns.
4. Remote Asset Management
As we discussed earlier, IoT devices are usually connected to a hub device. This hub device is connected to the internet either by a wired or a wireless connection. Users access the IP of this hub and then, using software that sits on the hub, manage the connected IoT devices. The software on the hub can be considered an extension of a field service software solution. Either the two of them can be connected, sharing data and commands. Or the user can access both of them separately depending on his requirements. Thanks to these software solutions, users can manage their assets remotely, like turning them on and off or doing a factory reset. It helps make the field service process much more streamlined.
5. Tracking with GPS
With the help of GPS (Global Positioning System) technology, you can make your field service processes much smoother. GPS allows you to track your goods, technicians, assets, etc. GPS devices periodically send out location blips to the nearest cell towers from where the device’s location is sent back to the user. Business owners can track deliveries and their technicians in real-time. GPS tracking is essential for fleet management as well. It helps fleet managers check road conditions, distance to the drop-off point, etc. Field service managers can track their technicians and ensure that the servicing is proceeding as expected.
6. Resource Management
A field service management application can help you manage not only your IoT implementation but also your technicians. With the data gathering and minor fault resolution taken care of, your technicians can be deployed to more critical tasks. Field service management solutions allow you to assign your technicians to tasks that match their skill sets and dexterity. This way, your most skilled technicians are utilized according to their potential. You can also track your technicians while they are out in the field and ensure they are safe. It is not uncommon for technicians that work in hazardous or far-off areas to find themselves in trouble. In such cases, your field service management software can save their lives. Finally, you can also see how efficiently they are working and the quality of their work. All of that data can be maintained with your field service management software.
How to Develop IoT-Based Field Service Maintenance Software?
If you are looking to develop a field service maintenance software solution for your business, then the first thing you need to do is figure out your needs.
What is your goal?
Clearly defining your needs and goals will help you in software development and give you the parameters by which you’ll judge the success of your solution.
Also, take a look at your current infrastructure and determine if you want legacy software running on your private server or a cloud IoT solution. The answer to this question will depend on your needs, budget, and current infrastructure.
Once you have your goal, you need to make a software development plan. Think of all the features and functionalities you want to add to your software solution. This list doesn’t have to be the final one. But it will help you to have at least a small list of all the features you need when you contact a software developer and IoT expert.
The next step is coming up with a budget and hiring an IoT software developer. Keep in mind that you want to hire a developer who understands the market and can help you with the software side and the hardware side. IoT implementation is just as much about the IoT devices as the software backend. You need an IoT expert who has a lot of industry experience.
Regular updates and maintenance work are required once you have developed your field management software.
With the help of IoT, businesses can make their field service operations more streamlined and efficient. IoT and AI-based field service management software solutions are being used by companies big and small. They are experiencing better employee management, improved customer experience, and heightened productivity and revenues.
If you want to develop an IoT-based field management software solution, then Matellio can help you. We have highly skilled and experienced IoT engineers and consultants that can guide you through your IoT implementation process. Our client-centric approach and agile development methodology allow us to do justice to your vision and develop the software solution that you want. To learn more about our IoT software development services, you can fill out our Contact us form and book a free consultation.
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