Working remotely and managing technicians or service personnel in the field can be quite a challenge. But fortunately, modern technology is removing many traditional barriers. So-called “remote assistance technology” is particularly promising. It creates a host of new opportunities to use, for example, augmented or merged reality to work more effectively together from a distance and to get difficult, often highly specialized jobs done.
The announcement of Facebook’s metaverse even seems to pave the way to a world where remote collaboration with AR and MR and fully digital personas are an integral part of everyday reality. In this blog, you will read more about remote assistance and we will discuss some concrete examples of this principle.
1. Improved machine maintenance effectiveness thanks to mixed reality
Production companies are highly dependent on the optimal operation of their machines for their operational processes. Especially with large machines that need to be operational 24/7, maintenance is not an easy job. But remote assistance offers a helping hand. With IoT sensors, it is now possible to generate raw machine data.
You can unlock that data with a tool like the Azure IoT Hub and then visualize it in the form of mixed reality. With a special HoLolens, operators can then see exactly what is happening in the machine. They can see how much power is flowing, how many products go through the machine and whether certain parts are subject to (serious) wear and tear. And all that without having to open the machine!
2. Working side by side remotely
With remote assistance, a technician can support a colleague, who is working on the engine of a speedboat or truck in another location, for example, remotely through an interactive assistance session. The remote expert easily shares instructional videos, manuals, or documents within a merged reality environment.
Augmented or merged reality also offer him the chance to watch and provide advice to his colleague. This real-time collaboration prevents downtime, uses resources more efficiently, and reduces service delivery costs. It is also a practical way for young and starting engineers to learn from their more experienced counterparts.
3. Faster onboarding
Onboarding new employees can be a time-consuming and cost-intensive process. Remote assistance often offers a solution in this area as well. For example, new employees can start calling earlier and perform tasks independently, knowing that all the help they need from more experienced staff is just a mouse click away.
4. A ‘first time fix’ is more likely due to remote preliminary examination
Installers, mechanics and technical companies strive for the highest possible percentage of ‘first time fixes’. This means that a fault or problem is solved immediately at the first appointment. This saves the service provider extra work, travel time and money and leaves the client feeling satisfied. Remote assistance helps here by immediately establishing the correct diagnosis for a technical problem or defect.
For example, suppose something is wrong with a boiler or router. An expert can identify the problem remotely and figure out how to fix it. Thanks to this remote inspection, you can be sure that you are sending the right technician and inventory to the job and fixing the problem on the first visit. Read here how IFS customer Alfa Laval supports their technicians through remote assistance.
5. Self-service through remote assistance
Some technical problems are actually not that complex. It’s a shame to free up a technician if a customer can solve the problem himself in a few minutes with a little guidance. With remote assistance, a technician can guide the customer and solve the problem remotely via a merged reality environment. By simply clicking on a link, the customer shares what he sees and the technician can fix the problem step by step.
6. Medical prescription checks with AR glasses
Remote assistance and augmented reality are also proving their worth in healthcare. For example, there are already AR glasses that you can use as instructional or medication glasses. Does the doctor or care worker put on the glasses? Then instructions appear on screen that tell you how to, for example, replace a stoma, perform surgery or care for a wound. The glasses can also function as a medication check by scanning medication and using this information to remotely check whether a patient is receiving the correct medication and doses.
7. Personification of customer service
We all know it: distant customer service where it seems like the person on the other end of the line doesn’t understand you. With AR technology and AR headsets, it is possible to place a customer service representative virtually in the room without having to get out of your chair. The result: you are better able to explain the specific problem you are facing, while the customer service representative can immediately see what you mean.
8. Improved quality control
Good quality control is essential for any business. Delivering bad products does not help the company’s profits or reputation. Remote assistance based on augmented reality gives specialists the opportunity to watch over all phases of the production process, without being present on the work floor. This enables you to identify problems earlier and make timely adjustments based on specific and professional advice.
9. Education and training
In terms of education and training, remote assistance, augmented reality and merged reality are also a winning combination. This is especially true in the modern digital age, where lifelong learning is the norm. Think, for example, of a student, novice medic or production worker being coached in real-time by a teacher or experienced professional. Instructions and recommendations appear on the screen of an AR or MR wearable. This way, the student or employee also doesn’t feel like the coach is constantly monitoring their every move.
10. Visualize construction projects
The construction industry is another beneficiary of remote assistance and AR. With a comprehensive and consistent view of various components and fittings, you create construction drawings and digital visualizations that are more beautiful and insightful than traditional 3D drawings. Also during the construction process, architects and designers can stay constantly informed about the progress of the construction work, without being constantly present at the construction site themselves.
Want to know more?
Remote assistance, augmented reality and merged reality guarantee a diverse spectrum of fascinating and innovative solutions. Did you get inspired by the examples mentioned above? If so, Eqeep would be happy to help you further. We are a Gold certified partner of IFS and a specialist in the field of (Field) Service Management. Want to know more? Feel free to contact us at any time.