Field services are a critical part of many industries – from healthcare and insurance to utilities and fleet. These field service organizations (FSO) are relying on the Internet of Things (IoT) to ensure optimum efficiency. That said, there are challenges that many organizations face that prevent them from implementing the right IoT-powered field service deployment that will simplify processes and yield appropriate ROI.
There are four areas FSOs should be considering when launching or expanding IoT applications for field service management:
Conduct an internal assessment – As elementary as it may sound, the first step is to take an honest look at the organization, identify goals, determine the feasibility of accomplishing those goals and selecting the optimal pathways to doing so. IoT is a powerful business tool, but it is not cookie-cutter – success requires a deployment that makes sense for the unique business requirements of your field service operation.
Continue your IoT education – What we knew about IoT a few years ago is not quite ancient history, but there are more capabilities today than ever – and there is no sign of a technological slowdown taking place anytime soon. So, it is critical to continually update your knowledge of the IoT ecosystem and apply it to any future deployments. This is especially critical when making updates or scaling IoT implementations.
Understand the IoT device landscape – The expanded capabilities of IoT for FSOs have been helped by the introduction of new devices available for use in the field. Whether a cell phone, rugged tablet, or wearable; identifying the device that makes the most sense is key to fulfilling the promise IoT can offer. In fact, wearables are making a high impact, allowing for much easier data collection and transfer.
Choose the right partner – Most organizations do not have the financial or human resources to build the top to bottom infrastructure necessary to launch, maintain, and update an IoT deployment. In all likelihood, you will need to work with partners to not only make your IoT project a reality, but to make it a success. Whether you need help with a few areas or an entire ecosystem including connectivity, software, hardware, monitoring, service, and capabilities to be scalable; do your due diligence by asking potential partners the hard questions:
Are there a variety of mobile devices available? Which operating systems are supported? Are there ruggedized options?
Are there multi-carrier options available for geographically dispersed deployments?
Do you offer deployment support services for plug-and-play shipment and logistics’ management?
What services are available for network and device security?
Do you offer sustainment and support services (i.e. break/fix, RMA management, etc.) to maintain the health of the deployment?
In the coming weeks, we will look at each of these areas in more detail and offer a clearer path for FSO IoT success.