The future of IoT for Field Service Organizations (FSO) is now. FSOs have been early adopters of IoT technologies to quickly troubleshoot onsite issues across a range of industries. While most FSOs have been using some form of IoT for years, the technology changes so rapidly – which further evolves internal and customer needs – that it is critical to stay ahead of new advancements and fine-tune your approach to IoT to remain competitive in the market.
Whether it is a matter of updating current IoT deployments or implementing a brand new one, FSOs can better understand the IoT landscape by conducting routine internal assessments and continuing their IoT education.
Conduct an internal assessment – Knowing your organization’s goals and identifying where it is in terms of IoT-readiness will help determine what the appropriate next steps are. Here are some key questions to ask:
What are your goals? What made sense just a couple of years ago may be obsolete today. It is important to look at the most up-to-date landscape of your organization and the industry in which it operates and decide what it is you are trying to achieve. From there, it is easier to roadmap the ways IoT can help achieve those goals.
How advanced are your IoT capabilities? If there is an issue in the field, is a technician automatically dispatched? Are your current systems capable of troubleshooting the issue first before scheduling a technician? Or can your system take steps to correct the issue on its own? Whether your organization is classified as basic, advanced, or expert will determine your next IoT steps.
What are your KPIs? Understanding the metrics you will use to determine success is also critical. The most common, of course, for FSOs are revenue, profits, drive time, service time, and client satisfaction. But because field service spans across any number of industries, it is important to customize KPIs to reflect the unique nature of your business.
Continue your IoT education – Tech best practices are written in sand, not stone. As new technology emerges, what you can do today looks nothing like yesterday. Here are some things you should think about to keep your knowledge up-to-date:
Transition to LTE – Depending on your carrier, you may have to transition from 2G/3G to a low-power LTE technology very soon. Eventually all carriers will phase out 2G/3G, so it is important to know when you will have to make the transition and determine a timeline that supports your business initiatives.
Data analytics – Perhaps one of the most helpful features of IoT in any industry is data-driven insight. Data IoT sensors collect can uncover trends that otherwise would have remained invisible. With that newfound information, unprecedented capabilities and new revenue streams can be launched.
Device capabilities – Devices used by FSOs – and those used to automate processes – are growing more advanced by the day. Make sure you are continuously updating your knowledge of the latest devices and seeing how they could fit into current and future IoT deployments (we will talk more about this topic in the next installment).
FSOs must keep an eye on how their businesses uses IoT and understand the expanding capabilities that power their applications to keep them ahead of the curve instead of chasing it.