From Digital Transformation to Digital Twins, Innovation is Changing Field Service for Good


While IoT technology itself offers a variety of benefits, its swift growth can largely be attributed to how well IoT technology can be paired with other innovative devices and applications. One of the more notable pairings that is quickly gaining steam is the use of augmented reality (AR) technology alongside IoT.

While the use of IoT and AR together is a relatively new trend, many industries are finding the duo quite useful. For example, the pairing works so well, for AR applications can use the myriad kinds of data generated by IoT devices and components to help employees be more effective and productive. One industry where this unison is already making headway is in the field services sector.

Working with complex data behind equipment and services in the field can be challenging, but good service management systems make sense of that complexity by optimizing multiple areas such as scheduling, dispatch, parts and knowledge management, monitoring, and forecasting. This is why the duo of IoT and AR can truly make a difference for field services.

For example, AR technology can be used in more complex fields, such as the oil and energy sector, in addition to the HVAC industry. Not only can experts use AR glasses to help with troubleshooting, but the technology can also be used to help scientists locate drilling sites and remotely monitor pump and motor operations.

However, the true potential for AR and IoT in field services lies in the use of digital twins. A digital twin is a virtual replica of a real-world object that is run in a simulation environment to test its performance and efficacy.

In relation to digital twins, AR can provide employees with the same level of visibility as in-person testing. Users can design robot stations, and then the user can jump directly into it via AR. The user can view the robot’s motion, manipulate the robots, and collaborate with remote colleagues all via AR, without risk of injury or damage to equipment. Other VR/AR applications include design review and issue detection and logging, safety assessment in robotic stations, and card-boarding digital mockups.

Recently, CareAR, a Xerox company and service experience management (SXM) market leader, announced the availability of CareAR Experience Builder, a new visual augmented reality and AI based design tool that enables anyone to create self-guided instructional experiences at scale.

With a no-code, drag-and-drop interface, organizations can now rapidly design and deploy intelligent and immersive self-guided instructional experiences for field technicians, employees, or customers viewed on standard mobile devices or wearables. Everyone is instantly empowered anytime with expertise and “know-how” to perform heightened functions and independently complete tickets and tasks faster.

“It’s truly exciting to witness the tangible results that our customers substantially reported while easily creating and consuming self-guided instructional experiences utilizing CareAR Instruct and Experience Builder.” said Sam Waicberg, co-founder and president of CareAR. “The service experience is ripe for transformation. Service workers and customers deal with massive amounts of static paper and pdf-based content. The flexibility to generate new or modify existing instructional flows in a matter of minutes, and automatically make those updates available is nothing short of revolutionary.”

Through a digital and visual design, instructional experiences are extremely intuitive, and incorporate 2D content such as video along with CareAR’s patented 3D augmented reality, digital twin visualization, and AI computer vision for visual verification of steps or task completion, ensuring high levels of productivity, accuracy, and consistency.

Furthermore, self-service instructional experiences can seamlessly be added to level-up any service management workflow, product offering or asset ranging across industries and B2B or B2C use cases, from maintenance, inspection, and repair to manuals, unboxing, set-up guides, tutorials, and frequent how-to’s.

“Building immersive experiences in CareAR’s Experience Builder enables our operatives to have real-time access to the most accurate information, responding to incidents with the expertise needed to resolve issues right the first time. The results are improved safety and compliance, faster and more cost-effective resolutions, and improved customer experiences – which we can continuously refine and improve,” said Ralph Powell, Business Development Director, Sapphire Utility Services.

“We are continuously seeking new ways of thinking and working collaboratively with our partners as a catalyst for change. If we can rethink the systems and technologies underpinning some of our processes, then we remove costs and improve outputs for our customers.”

Both CareAR Instruct and Experience Builder offer an interactive and memorable service experience that better connects customers and employees, while optimizing the way enterprises operate. Employees become more engaged when learning and employing a new technology, and customers receive improved service and support that is efficient and effective.

“Augmented Reality use cases are rapidly expanding due to value being realized in worker enablement and immersive engagement,” said Eric Abbruzzese, Research Director at ABI Research. “A solution like the CareAR SXM platform helps organizations realize that value at scale, with key capabilities like no-code step-by-step guidance creation through Experience Builder quickening time to value.”

Finally, CareAR’s Experience Builder can also help boost employees skills through training, or help subsidize a lack of experience through real-time analytics and other generated data. This comes at just the right time, as the current talent shortage is a challenge as 40 percent of companies say that they lose specialized knowledge and expertise faster than they can gain it.

“For many of our customers, it’s not practical or cost-effective to come to the data center for IT management and maintenance tasks,” said Thomas Cannady, Cyxtera’s Vice President of Network Services. “Our Remote Hands with Visual Assist support – which leverages CareAR Instruct and Experience Builder – allows our customers to participate in live sessions with our technicians, seeing what they see through smart glasses in real-time or through a self-guided instructional experience. CareAR helps us to empower our customers to get more involved and to get more resolved, in their support experience via intelligent and interactive content.”

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Erik Linask
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