Mobile service technician 4.0

FIMECC S-STEP program has developed augmented reality based concepts of data and knowledge sharing solutions for mobile service technicians. The concepts introduce both new maintenance practises and new interaction tools to provide fluent access to data and knowledge relevant for the task at hand. The solutions will increase work satisfaction of service technicians, improve the productivity of maintenance work and increase customer satisfaction.

Industrial internet and novel interaction technologies have potential to renew radically field service work. Today service technicians may spend only a few hours each day on value-added work while most of the time is used waiting, searching for information and reporting. Both Internet of Things (IoT) information and human tacit knowledge can be made available to service technicians with augmented reality (AR) solutions, thus supporting their work. Successful solutions are based on thorough understanding of the maintenance work and knowledge sharing needs. AR solutions that provide situationally relevant information with appropriate modalities will ease many maintenance tasks such as planning and preparation for maintenance visits, training, getting to know the context, getting hands-on instructions, getting support from remote colleagues, gathering knowledge, reporting and giving feedback. In the future, all required information will be available for the maintenance worker at any time, reporting will be automatic and the work will be more technology-mediated and knowledge intensive.

Our solutions utilize recent advances in AR and multimodal technologies on lightweight yet powerful mobile and wearable devices. 3D tracking technologies, sensors and depth cameras allow implementation of multimodal AR even in challenging industrial environments. The technician will be able to proactively identify defects and order spare parts before arriving at a site by remotely reviewing e.g. real-time data on machine performance. Moreover the technician will have easy access to contextual information of the site such as upgrades in maintenance target or information about the complex environment where the maintenance target is located. This makes it possible for the service technician to be better prepared for the maintenance visit. Once on-site, the technician will be assisted in making repairs by augmented-reality based instructions and can receive remote guidance from experts off-site. The reporting and the gathering of the tacit knowledge will be done automatically during the maintenance work.

The new solutions will significantly improve the productivity and joy of work of service technicians in the field. Have a look at the video below to see the future of mobile service technician’s work!

In global service business access to knowledge is increasingly important for service quality and productivity. Novel interaction and data analysis tools offer solutions to gather and to provide easy access to situationally relevant knowledge. This will result in radical improvements in service quality, work satisfaction, productivity and risk reduction.

The foreseen change in maintenance work will generate benefits for maintenance workers, service provider companies and customers. Most benefits to maintenance workers derive from the availability of information and automated secondary tasks. Therefore, the maintenance persons can work faster, without errors and frustration. Main benefits for the service provider company are faster and more efficient maintenance as well as better service quality. The service provider company will also benefit from the ownership of the all the knowledge that is related to the maintenance. Customers will gain most benefits from fast, efficient and predictable maintenance.

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