Field support personnel looking to perform corrective or or preventive maintenance on machinery or equipment have always had a wide variety of technical resources available to them. Unfortunately, bulk of these resources – from user manuals and other technical publication to archived procedural techniques – were typically only available if the tech was still in their own home office. The benefit of AR-assisted field services is that it can provide all of this information “on the fly” while the tech is located at the client site.
AR-assisted technologies for field service
In general, AR field services technology allows the service tech to detect, recognize and render an piece of equipment into a virtual replica. Further modeling can then produce other virtual objects that can be introduced and manipulated in various ways on and within the virtual rendering of the machine The 3D rendering is accessed through several types of displays such as desktops and laptops, tablets and smartphones and, most immersively, through head-mounted goggles.
With the last option, the technician can freely manipulate objects and see the result of his actions. Interaction with the virtual rendering can involve anything from simple taps on a touchscreen through hand gestures to eye motion in the head-mounted displays. Furthermore, AR-assisted field services systems can be integrated into video conferencing systems and other online collaborative tools to allow access by remote users – newer technicians needing help with a particularly difficult problem can call in for help and experienced techs can actually see the problem rather than just have it described to them.
Benefits of AR technology in field service
- Rapid and consistent access by all field service technicians to current records, instructions or policies – and their updates as soon as they become available.
- Improved response time in the field as delays in due to lack of familiarity with antiquated products or new procedures are minimized or eliminated.
- Errors in field service are also reduced as technicians can use AR-assisted technology to check their corrective measures against archived standards.
Industries where AR-assisted field service is used
Filed service maintenance companies operate in a diverse number of industries from automotive & heavy equipment, electronics & telecommunications, energy & resource, defense & aerospace, as well as financial services & logistics, power & automation. In short, any company who services computer & peripherals, manufacturing equipment or heavy machinery will benefit form the implementation of AR-assisted field services into their preventive and corrective maintenance processes.
Two example scenarios
- Electronic servicing companies perform periodic maintenance on such thing as radar station power boards and aircraft avionics
- AR-assisted field services systems are especially valuable to emergency response crews who can avail themselves of a wide variety of information at critical times.