As the concept of a remote workforce becomes more of a reality around the globe, there are still many jobs that require an employee’s physical presence. For instance, manufacturing and service organizations rely heavily on frontline workers and technicians that populate the factory and the field.
The first-hand experience that many of these employees have is vital, but it can take years to accumulate the level of institutional knowledge and seniority that distinguishes an employee as a valuable subject matter expert. It’s important for industrial organizations to retain these employees as they age out of the frontline workforce, but to also make their knowledge and expertise accessible for stakeholders that can benefit from a certain level of hands-on procedural guidance.
With augmented reality providing the underlying technology, today’s remote assistance solutions are helping industrial organizations accomplish both feats simultaneously. Applications like Vuforia Chalk enable remote employees to see exactly what frontline workers, service technicians, and even customers are seeing through a shared video feed, with the ability to make real-time sticky annotations on top of the live video as if they were standing right there.
As existing subject matter experts increasingly consider retirement and the concept of remote work becomes more of a reality, remote assistance solutions will gain traction as a tool that boosts job satisfaction. Here's a look at some of the ways AR remote assistance can improve the employee experience.
The visual nature of AR remote assistance makes it immensely easier – and now safer – for procedural experts to scale their knowledge to a global audience without physically being there. With the outbreak of Coronavirus currently disrupting operations and production in China, and other economies potentially at risk, collaborative remote working solutions are revealing their value in entirely new ways. Enabling more flexible work arrangements can help industrial companies lessen the economic impact of global crises and keep employees who travel frequently out of harm’s way.
In service situations, AR lets the technician be present without having to travel on-site. This opens the door to self-service opportunities for customers that require advanced, guided troubleshooting. And when a truck roll does occur, service providers can use AR teleconferencing to connect their first line of defense with a remote subject matter expert who can speed resolution time without the delays associated with travel. As a result, technicians can cycle through service backlogs faster while avoiding burn out and industrial organizations can retain a greater number of their high value employees.
On the flipside are the frontline workers and service technicians who are still gaining first-hand experience in the field. This segment of employees values (and in some cases, requires) hands-on support from more experienced colleagues, but they may not always have access to a subject matter expert who can physically walk them through a procedure or task. Instead, they must wait until that person is present or refer to printed service information or work instructions, which are oftentimes inaccurate, outdated, and/or difficult to interpret.
AR remote assistance eases collaboration and on-the-job learning by making accessibility to on-demand subject matter experts more widely available. Industrial companies are improving overall metrics like first-time-fix-rates and mean-time-to-repair with applications like Vuforia Chalk, but remote assistance can also improve knowledge retention as well. The learning-by-doing approach that AR-powered training provides engages multiple learning systems in the brain, while contextualized microlearning opportunities help speed time-to-expertise.
Lastly, future frontline employees will be digital natives that are used to hands-on learning experiences coming from a variety of brief delivery formats and technologies. Companies that anticipate this shift between employee demographics and align their HR and technology investments with modern remote workforce trends will be able to differentiate themselves and attract more talent in a time when skills are in very high demand.
Discover how Vuforia Chalk enables immediate remote assistance in our Industrial AR Buyer’s Guide.