In Digital Field Service Management, IoT enables seamless links between field service personnel, assets, equipment, operation management, and customer engagement. With connected devices and sensors, businesses can transform their field operation in web 3.0. IoT improves predictive maintenance, technician productivity, operational efficiency, field user safety, remote service, etc. This blog touches upon all the potential IoT devices in the Field Service domain.
Imagine a field job is to inspect an area, where operating phones is not easy, say underwater. Or just think of sending a quick alert to the field tech. A simple app running on the smartwatch of the field tech is a perfect fit for such scenarios. For capturing simple inputs, the field users can use voice, touchscreen, etc. to feed data through the smartwatch. Field techs can have one job device on their wrist and another one (a smartphone or tablet) for more complex inputs.
Drones are the most common form of emerging IoT devices. Drones can complete detailed inspections of 5-6 miles of distribution poles by capturing both thermal and visual imagery. They can be equipped with HD cameras, LiDAR, and thermal sensors for image accuracy and for detecting issues like gas leaks or high heat.
Smart Battery Management Systems help monitor the health of lithium-ion batteries. Each battery pack is fitted with an electronic IoT sensor that measures the voltage, current, and temperature of the battery and sends the data to the cloud. They help with Preventative Analysis— to avoid a fire and explosions and with Predictive Analysis to increase the life of the battery.
360 Thermographic Camera
A thermal imaging camera can detect, monitor, and record temperatures throughout the day. They can send the thermal images to a server that analyzes the image to detect abnormal equipment functions and notifies the utility or operator when such an abnormality is detected. The field application can monitor the status of all connected cameras and sensors and decide on the equipment’s health and safety.
A Smart Button can be installed on any equipment and connected to the cloud. During an inspection, the field tech can just press the button to help generate a repair work order.
The field users’ trucks can be tracked for their real-time location, which can help identify vehicles nearby an emergent work and also helps provide accurate location information to the back office. This can also help track the actual time spent on the road and at job sites.
Vehicle Health Monitoring
IoT sensors connected to the OBD-II port can obtain information on vehicle maintenance and driving parameters. This helps in proactive vehicle maintenance and can give an early warning. This is especially useful for special vehicles used in mining, construction, and other fieldwork.
Smart shoes can help field personnel walk in low light/dark areas with help of ultrasonic sensors to detect obstacles. The Accelerometer attached to the shoes can also allow the user to calculate daily activities like step count, calorie burn, etc.
An exoskeleton is an external frame that can support the human body to take up the additional load. It can enhance a person’s physical capacities by using a system of electric motors. The frame gives the human limbs extra movement, strength, and endurance. It helps improve the health and safety of the workforce and improves their productivity. Exoskeletons are very useful in manufacturing and logistics environments as they help protect employees from injury due to heavy loads. They also enable older employees to remain in the workplace for a longer period of time.
Sensor-enabled Robotic Gloves
A sensory electronic glove makes robotic hands work with a human-like sense of touch and dexterity. The sensors allow a smart robotic hand to touch and feel the texture of delicate items like food, fruits, etc. without squashing them. Field users working on inspecting delicate items can use such gloves.
Hololens offers a comfortable and immersive virtual reality experience. It can work as a remote monitoring tool for IoT devices and their data. It can help field users to view the schematics of an asset, undergo training, visualize steps to perform a repair, and many more by using the data from the IoT sensors around it.
Smart and connected devices are not the future, they are fast becoming a reality. With the advent of cloud technologies and efficient sensors, a lot of useful data is getting captured in real-time. The need of the hour is to adapt to the new ecosystem of IoT and modernize the legacy work management systems.