This special interest group covers mobile technologies and approaches that are helping utilities do business today. 


Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality Field Service Moves a Step Closer to Widespread Implementation

image credit: Photo 280440487 | Apple Ar Vr © Ifeelstock |
Paul Korzeniowski's picture
B2B Content producer, Self-employed

Paul is a seasoned (basically old) freelance B2B content producer. Through the years, he has written more than 10,000 items (blogs, news stories, white papers, case studies, press releases and...

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  • Aug 28, 2023

Mobile field technicians often face difficulties when doing their jobs. These individuals are placed in harsh environments, work with complex equipment, and often need help servicing and trouble shooting the gear. The possibility of outfitting them with more accessible, simpler tools is gradually becoming more realistic. Apple, a market trendsetter, introduced its Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) solution, which is expected to spark needed industry innovation.

Utilities rely on complex equipment, like transformers, to deliver energy to customers. Their large, dispersed networks use a variety of complex devices stationed in different locations to generate, deliver, and monitor energy delivery.

Field Service Challenges Utilities

Energy companies depend on solutions, like field service management software, to help their field technicians service and fix these devices when needed. These systems feature tools, resources, and advice that streamline complex maintenance and troubleshooting business processes. 

The work has often been time consuming and inefficient. The terrain is usually difficult to access. The devices are large and complicated. The supporting materials have been hard to understand and many times non-intuitive.

AR/VR solutions promise to make the work simpler and technicians more effective by delivering richer content. These interactive systems provide clearer pictures of service processes and offer different ways to help technicians do their job. For instance, they can connect a mobile tech with an expert in the office who guides them as they work.

Apple Set to Boost Market Acceptance

However to date, the technology has been slow to take hold. The systems have not been easy to deploy or use. Apple, the company that transformed the smartphone industry, recently entered the AR/VR market. The initial feedback about its Vision Pro product has been positive. The solution does a good job of creating rich immersive experiences and features simplified application development.

But there are caveats. The Vision Pro is in an early stage of development.  Hands-on use has been very limited, and bulk shipments are expected in early 2024. The device’s $3,500 price tag will limit purchases. In addition, most energy companies have little to no experience with AR/VR solutions. They will need help from vendors and third parties to gain the expertise needed to exploit these systems.

Energy companies have had trouble maintaining their remote equipment. AR has the potential to streamline technician workflows. New systems from Apple may be the start of more sophisticated solutions that will jump start the market.


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Paul Korzeniowski's picture
Thank Paul for the Post!
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