Tech for Field Services: How 3D Can Enable a Remote Workforce

Field services agents can resolve service calls and parts replacement tasks faster with 3D and AR technology.
By Matt Gorniak
February 16, 2022

Many industries rely on field services agents to efficiently identify and address any issues with equipment. Without reliable field services, minor issues could develop into more serious ones, and the risk of costly downtime increases dramatically.

To properly mitigate any issues before they have the chance to worsen, field services agents need the right solutions. One technological innovation that can greatly assist field services agents and remote workforces is 3D visualization.

With the help of high-quality 3D visuals of equipment and individual parts, agents will have the ability to diagnose issues and repair or replace faulty parts quickly. In turn, businesses can benefit from streamlined field services operations that keep facilities up and running the way they should.

The following are some of the specific ways in which today's 3D technology can empower field services reps.

Fully visualize all equipment with explorable images

Using a combination of 3D visualizations and product customization solutions, field services agents can gain more in-depth insight into each piece of equipment in a facility.

Traditional parts ordering systems are more limiting. They don't provide the level of interactivity needed to optimize the efficiency of service.

With ordinary ordering systems, agents must look through extensive lists of products to find the right replacement to order. They will also need to manually identify the part that requires repair or replacement.

However, with a customizer equipped with high-fidelity 3D visualizations of every system and part, agents can more easily service equipment. 3D visualization capabilities can provide agents with fully interactive 3D images that accurately represent equipment down to the smallest details.

Agents would be able to use a customizer to rotate and zoom in on these visuals. They may also benefit from explosive views. These views separate visuals into layers so agents can look at the interior and exterior of each piece of equipment.

This makes accurately diagnosing problems easier than ever.

Also, if there are any updates to equipment over time, it's easy to visualize them and integrate them into a 3D visualization solution. This will ensure digital inventory consistently matches its physical counterpart.

Increased productivity at all levels

The incorporation of high-quality equipment and part visuals can also make it easier for leaders at all levels to agree on the right diagnosis and part replacement.

For instance, a field services agent may have identified a particular issue and decided on the proper replacement part with the help of detailed 3D images. Reps can then share the visuals and the desired replacement with clients, managers and others. This more effectively shows them what needs to be done.

Project management teams would be able to confirm the tech's decisions more quickly without the need for detailed text or verbal explanations. As a result, equipment and facilities will benefit from more efficient service.

See how specifications would impact functionality

Interactive 3D visualizations of equipment could assist with product selection by showing how specifications would affect equipment performance. Using animated visuals, techs can see the inner workings of equipment and determine whether selected specifications produce the desired results.

If parts or specs are incompatible with an existing configuration, a product customizer could also omit or gray out parts that aren't the right fit. This would help guide agents in the right direction when deciding on the appropriate replacement part or machinery.

In addition, a product customizer could show how much each part would cost with a configure price quote (CPQ) feature that updates in real time. This can be invaluable for techs working on a tight budget, as they can balance cost-effectiveness and best practices.

As a result, with 3D visuals and an optimized customizer, field services staff will no longer need to sift through long lists of products to find the right one based on their diagnosis. At the same time, these solutions reduce the risk of making the wrong choice and ensure techs select the most appropriate product on their first visit.

Ensure equipment properly fits with augmented reality

3D visuals in a customization and product ordering solution can help with diagnosis and part ordering. Augmented reality (AR) goes further by confirming if a replacement is the perfect fit.

Online specifications may help traditional processes to an extent, but AR will help further confirm whether a new part or piece of equipment will be the right choice. Through a product customizer with 3D capabilities and a tablet or smartphone, field services agents would be able to view machinery or individual parts in physical space with an AR visualization.

The AR solution would fix a fully explorable and to-scale 3D representation of the part or equipment in the real world. Agents could then walk around and look at it more closely.

Based on how it appears in this projection, reps can get a better feel for how the equipment will fit. If the projection appears too small or bulky, the agent can simply go back into the customizer. Then they can select a different product or make certain modifications to an existing design.

Thanks to this AR innovation, reps won't need to worry about making mistakes and ordering the wrong product. They can get orders right the first time.

In the process, facilities and systems will benefit from faster and more effective repairs and part replacements. Ultimately, 3D and AR service tools keep systems functioning optimally.

Get the most from field services with 3D and AR

Through the use of 3D and AR capabilities, field services teams will be able to eliminate any guesswork and perform more efficiently. Accurate 3D representations of parts and equipment will allow for more accurate diagnoses and orders. This mitigates the need for techs to pay multiple visits and increases their productivity.

The right solution will easily connect to existing field services apps. This means techs don't need to learn an entirely new program to benefit from the power of 3D visualization.

Ultimately, field services teams and the businesses they service will benefit from the use of 3D and AR. If they aren't implementing these solutions already, they likely will find them worth the investment.

by Matt Gorniak
Matt Gorniak is CEO of Threekit, which enables companies to enhance, manage, and distribute 3D, 2D, and augmented reality product visuals for scale and transformation. He leads the company by building effective go-to-market strategies, teams and partnerships. Prior to Threekit, he served as Chief Revenue Officer and is the co-founder of G2, a leading marketplace for business software reviews that has raised over $100 million. He also held global sales leadership positions at Steelbrick and BigMachines, cloud Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) platforms that were acquired by Salesforce and Oracle, respectively. 

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