Can Google Glass Find a Home in Field Service Organizations?

Sep 25, 2017

Today’s field service tech faces numerous challenges out on the front line. Can the new enterprise edition of Google Glass help?

Field service technicians are pushed to fix/install/maintain equipment as quickly and expertly as possible. Time is money. Customers are demanding. Resources can be scarce.

As a result, field service is identified as one of the highest potential areas of application when it comes to wearables.  Today, there are smart watch apps available that can provide quick notifications at a glance – or even handle isolated actions like clocking into and out of a job.

Smart glasses, on the other hand, remain a work very much in progress.  Back up a step and think about the value they could provide to an isolated field worker trying to handle an intricate repair job.  If directions are needed, juggling job and instruction specs – or job and cell phone trying to reach assistance – can quickly sabotage or needlessly prolong a job. Smart glasses could deliver instructions and information while the tech continues to use both hands to complete the job.

Then think about adding augmented reality to the smart glasses experience. One example would have the smart glasses display a map with arrows and directions in front of a worker’s face as he or she walks through a customer site and approaches the service location.  Once arrived, further instructions and diagrams could be projected by the glasses onto the equipment to be repaired. No more juggling.

Another AR example would incorporate 3-D visualization technology to display and rotate images of equipment parts.

This all sounds good – and the introduction of the first Google Glass product raised hope that these capabilities could quickly become a reality. Unfortunately, initial smart glasses technology was designed for the consumer rather than the enterprise. Expectations lapped technology, and the Google team went back to work, reportedly on an enterprise edition.

This summer, that “new chapter” was unveiled, with Google touting use cases in factories and health care.  Can this new wearable also add value in the field service realm? There are software solution providers poised to find out.

One of these visionary providers is WorkforceAlpha, based in Dallas/Fort Worth. This small outfit has developed worker-centric apps for smartphones and is now looking forward to delivering its platform through Google Glass Enterprise Edition.  WorkforceAlpha believes that the resulting solution will not only help the technician work more efficiently with fewer mistakes; It will also generate a tremendous amount of valuable productivity data to be analyzed and then incorporated to enhance future work processes.  In other words, WorkforceAlpha recognizes the potential and views smart glasses as an ideal last-mile tool for enabling continuous improvement out on the front line.  We look forward to watching this market develop.

Jeanine Sterling


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