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7 Ways Artificial Intelligence is Transforming Field Services Management

image credit: stock photo: Artificial Intelligent
Kimberley Herrala's picture
Director of Industry Strategy KloudGin

Kimberley’s 20+ year background helping customers with digital transformation includes providing product management and consulting services to public/private utilities (electric, gas, water,...

  • Member since 2020
  • 5 items added with 4,714 views
  • May 5, 2020 11:16 am GMT
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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the way businesses run by helping to streamline tasks and organize personnel and resources in real time. In field service management specifically, Artificial Intelligence is transforming the way businesses operate by improving communication in the field, optimizing scheduling and routing, and much more. Overall, it is helping businesses increase productivity and enhance customer service.

At our company we are using AI to enhance our field services management software and our clients are seeing the impact on their operations. While AI has become an integral part of every business sector, it is particularly significant for the field service business. In field services,employees handle multiple and various tasks. Employees are regularly coordinating their activities with other staff, switching work between papers and computer, and trying to complete multiple tasks together. This can put a strain on the employees and reduce the overall quality of the task being performed. Many tasks, particularly repetitive ones can be performed by AI, lowering the workload on employees, increasing worker safety, and helping operations run more smoothly. AI allows businesses to automate, instantly connect, and predict activities when managing their resources and personnel.

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Here are 7 ways AI will transform Field Service Management:

Simplifying Tasks

Program automation will continue to advance as AI will simplify employee tasks lowering their workload and allowing personnel to focus on more important tasks. AI will help field service staff by making it easier for scheduling and dispatching. This advancement will further help simplify the work of field executives as well as back-end staff in field service businesses.

Enhancing Efficiency

Manual work can involve errors but there is no scope of error when it comes to AI driven programs. In the field service business, the complexity of the work and the coordination required allows for more human errors to occur. With the use of AI, businesses can improve efficiency by reducing the scope of human error and helping staff perform their tasks more easily and effectively. AI will also help staff better document customer requirements and communicate these requirements to the field executives. By reducing errors, businesses will enhance their customer service, ensuring continued customer satisfaction.

Revolutionizing Customer Service

Maintaining the quality of customer service is an ongoing challenge for many businesses. Conversational AI solutions like chatbots are gaining traction as many businesses attempt to maintain a consistent level of customer service quality. Advanced versions of conversational AI solutions will continue to emerge, helping enhance customer assistance while lowering the overall cost for businesses.

Field Service Mobility

Field Service Mobility, which enables better coordination between the back-end staff and field agents, will continue to play a vital role in helping businesses seamlessly execute tasks. This AI program allows the back-end support staff to connect in real time with field technicians. The instant connectivity allows for more coordination, fewer errors and better customer service outcomes.

Intelligent Field Services through Machine Learning

Businesses will transform their field service and customer experience by leveraging modern Big Data for advanced real time scheduling. It has never been easier to create work orders, perform case management, optimize scheduling and dispatch or manage inventory. But the real transformation comes from using intelligence-based learning to predict and recommend actions in field service management. Businesses will increasingly leverage machine learning to assimilate data from their daily operations and interactions in order to optimize future actions and outcomes.

Predictive and Preventive Maintenance

As AI more accurately predicts future actions and recommends tasks, businesses can better prepare for future needs, estimate expenses and operate more efficiently.

Increasing Productivity

All the advancements mentioned above will lead to increased productivity levels as processes will be streamlined and efficiencies maximized.

 

 

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Thank Kimberley for the Post!
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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on May 5, 2020

Thanks for sharing, Kimberley. Do you find that some of the less technologically inclined employees struggle in any way to adopt to these AI-based advantages, or are they able to be integrated intuitively and seamlessly for them as well?

Kimberley Herrala's picture
Kimberley Herrala on May 5, 2020

Many of the customers I have heard from recently are just starting to researching AI and the ways it can benefit their organizations.  Many didn't realize how many ways it can be applied to the various processes they perform today such as scheduling.   It can even be used to support questions people have regarding software processes.  For example, we have embedded an AI bot into our application to help users with minimal training or simply don't use the application every day.  It allows users to ask basic questions such as how do I create a work order and it will walk them through the process step by step.  There are many applications for AI and I think tech companies are just scratching the surface. It will be interesting to see how this progresses over the years to come.

William Dixon's picture
William Dixon on May 6, 2020

Thanks for the interesting article, KImberley. The "Predictive and Preventive Maintenance" point is an example of a very real opportunity. Many of us in the energy industry have observed the cost and disruption of unexpected electric utility system failures. With the judicious application of IOT, backed up by AI, challenges ranging from a pending failure of a transformer on a utility pole to creating better demand response software can more easily be addressed.

Paul Korzeniowski's picture
Paul Korzeniowski on May 8, 2020

No doubt that predective maintenance's potential is great. Allied Research expects worldwide revenue to increase from $2.8 billion in 2018 to $23.0 billion in 2026, a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 30.2%. 

The challenge for utilities is that their equipment is specialized. AI works when software vendors collect large volumes of information, so they can tune their models. That process will take time and $$$ but should eventually streamline business processes and reduce costs. 

Susan Brissette's picture
Susan Brissette on May 7, 2020

Nice article Kimberly; it presents in a non technical way some of the use cases for AI and Machine Learning. I'm especially interested in the human performance/ error reduction considerations. You say "Manual work can involve errors but there is no scope of error when it comes to AI driven programs. In the field service business, the complexity of the work and the coordination required allows for more human errors to occur." I agree that automation can reduce errors of a certain kind which is great for worker safety. I'm trying to better understand what other types of errors, particular to the introduction of AI and Machine Learning, we might need to be attuned to as implementation of different use cases and penetration of this technology increases. Would love your thoughts and would even be keen to collaborate on an exploration of the topic. 
Thanks for the well written article... I've shared it with my network on LinkedIn!

 

Sandhya Karnati's picture
Sandhya Karnati on May 13, 2020

Very well written article, Kim. Just curious to learn, what in your perspective would be the role of AI in field service management in this current COVID situation? And what organizational problems does it solve specifically? Would love to hear out some thoughts :)

Kimberley Herrala's picture
Kimberley Herrala on May 14, 2020

Great question Sandy. There are several public GIS maps being provided regarding COVID19 which can be incorporated into a AI based scheduling tools for Field Service Management applications.  For example ESRI has made publically available applications and dashboards such as the John Hopkins dashboard which is now considered the global standard for tracking and visualizaing COVID 19 spread.  This type of information gives a visual representation of COVID 19 hotspots which can be ovelayed with a field service management GIS work order map to know when non critical work should be postponed until a safer time to perform such work.  Utilities can find a list of these resources here: https://coronavirus-disasterresponse.hub.arcgis.com/.   But the key is to find Field Service Management solutions that can leverage AI and are nimble enough to quickly incorporate this life saving kind of data. 

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