Field service is a necessity for many businesses, especially broadband installation. Yet, it also is costly. Recently a clutch of technology firms came together to see if they could improve the process when it comes to field service automation through better connected service vehicles. The results were significant.
The solution, highlighted in the first posting of this two-part series last week, brought together Alcatel-Lucent, Apptricity, VisionStream, Netcomm Wireless, ThingMagic and Vidyo (News - Alert) earlier this year to test out what the latest technology could do for the connected service vehicle in a two-month test that ended in February, 2015. It was conducted in New Zealand with wholesale network provider, Chorus.
The solution detailed by Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) in the application note, Innovation 2020 – The Connected Service Technician, consisted of Alcatel-Lucent’s Motive Field Tech Console to provision, run tests and troubleshoot circuits with the tap of a button on a tablet in the field; the Motive Unified Device Manager for centralized control; Apptricity Field Services to make service vehicles intelligent; Vidyo videoconferencing to connect field service technicians; and Velocix (News - Alert) Content Delivery Network (CDN) to push tutorials, documentation and updates to field service technicians.
The most significant result of the trial was the time that can be saved utilizing Motive’s FTC (News - Alert). Typically new fiber broadband installation takes 4 hours, with between 35 and 58 percent of that coming from provisioning or test steps. The same steps performed using the FTC require 5 minutes in total at the most, according to the Alcatel-Lucent white paper.
Chorus handled nearly 42,000 such installations in 2014, meaning that conservatively the Motive FTC could have saved the company roughly 58,000 man-hours last year.
The test also showed that from 30 percent to 40 percent of the warehouse manager’s time could be saved via Apptricity Field Services to enable inventory automation and tracking, and $77 ($102 New Zealand dollars) per update per vehicle can be avoided utilizing Motive Unified Device Manager.
Further, training documentation was simpler to find using Velocix Content Management System, and truck rolls could be avoided and time saved by using Apptricity Field Services to show field situations to remote supervisors who can then make real-time decisions and communicate solutions using Vidyo videoconferencing.
“The positive results were both quantitative and qualitative,” noted the Alcatel-Lucent paper. “The enabling platforms could provide similar benefits to any enterprise that has a fleet of field service vehicles manned by technicians performing installation and service of complex products or systems, and may be extended even further.”
Edited by Peter Bernstein