Apr 28 2015

Wearables, the Internet of Things and 3D Printing Could Revolutionize Field Services

By optimizing workflows and cutting inefficiency costs, smartglasses and other emerging technologies are proving their worth in the field.

Once the golden child of field operations, mobile now has a rival — or three.

In a post on CIO Dashboard — one of BizTech’s 50 Must-Read IT BlogsChris Curran and Robert McCutcheon of PwC say the Internet of Things, wearable technology and 3D printing capabilities are coming together to “close the gap between information and action” in ways mobile devices alone might not.

The trio enables remote analysis of real-time sensor data, seamless on-site support and collaboration, and on-demand printing of temporary replacement parts.

Curran and McCutcheon believe that wearables’ in-field applications could transform smartglasses from an impractical accessory to a business necessity.

In forward-thinking enterprises, a potent mix of technologies (augmented reality, 3D visualizations, and video conferencing) is piped through smartglasses to give field service workers critical information and facilitate valuable interactions, hands-free. Schematics are overlaid onto the machines that workers are servicing, right before their eyes. Workers in remote locations can see what field service workers see to lend a helping hand. And, straight out of a scene from Minority Report, field service engineers scroll through data downloaded via the cloud using hand gestures.

According to one IT research and analysis firm, smartglasses offer such an effective solution to workflow roadblocks that companies whose technicians use the technology could save $1 billion annually in increased productivity.

Considering that estimate, it’s probably just a matter of time before wearables permeate the entire enterprise, and field service workers will be leading the charge.

Askold Romanov/ThinkStock

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