How Is Connected Field Service Using the IoT?

Written by: Emily Himes

Read Time: 4 min

How is connected field service enhanced using the IoT?

By leveraging the IoT, connected devices can record real-time performance data to unlock the insights needed to eliminate blind dispatches and increase first-time fix rates – allowing for lower service costs and boosted productivity. Connected field service operations can shed light on equipment performance and uptime, customer satisfaction, and opportunities to improve ROI. IoT-enabled connected field service helps technicians to spend less time making on-premise visits and more time digging into root causes.

Why is connected field service important?

Your technicians are on the frontlines of your service organization, but do they have the training, tools, and data they need to succeed? Without sufficient resources, field service technicians might need multiple dispatches to solve a problem. The costs to customers in downtime during that process can be significant—as can the erosion of customer satisfaction. Connected field service can empower your technicians with productivity solutions that help manage and control incidents, optimize call planning and on-site reactivity, and improve first-time fix rates. By harnessing the power of smart connected products, you can increase field service productivity and reduce time on-site by up to 83%.

What are the benefits of connected field service?

Reduced downtime

When service teams can understand exactly how equipment is performing in the field in real time, they can address issues before customers experience significant downtime. This is done by predicting and preventing potential problems, and once problems do occur, equipping service technicians with the proper equipment and insights to accelerate the service process to a swift, positive outcome.

Remote monitoring

Remote condition monitoring automatically tells service teams when installed equipment is not operating to specification or needs attention. Remote monitoring can even send early warnings so that service teams can be proactive. In addition to preventing future failure, predictive and proactive approaches can enable service teams to deliver service at a time that is least disruptive to the customer (such as servicing equipment when a production line is not in use, or off-peak hours.) By combining IoT and AR technologies to connect and communicate with equipment at remote locations, field service teams can accumulate real-time data, combine it with other necessary specifications, and analyze it to automatically develop actionable insights. Remote monitoring can bring about proven benefits for the entire organization, including:

  • Reduced asset downtime
  • Better asset monitoring efficiency
  • Root cause analysis
  • Improved first-time fix rates
  • Lower service costs

Gain actionable, real-world insights into product performance

Connected field service offers proven benefits that reach far beyond the manufacturing environment. The data collected in connected field service operations can provide value to sales, engineering, and R&D teams by informing them on how products are working and being used on a regular basis. If customers are collectively using products and equipment in ways that were not anticipated, design and engineering teams can harness these insights to make improvements to future releases or innovate solutions that better reflect and support the real-world usage of their equipment in the field.

Increased team productivity

With connected field service operations, you can empower your most valuable asset – frontline workers – with the tools they need to maximize productivity. Streamlined service procedures, fueled by remote condition monitoring and predictive maintenance, free up time and effort that might have been spent on return service visits or manual equipment diagnostics. So not only are customers satisfied with more comprehensive support, and less downtime, but your service can also support a larger customer base without needing to increase staffing levels.

Predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance is a transformative use case for IoT technology that can bring on major advantages. This is achieved by continuously analyzing the condition of connected assets and—reducing the likelihood of unplanned downtime or machine failure. Using real-time collected data, predictive maintenance applies algorithms that accurately predict when a future malfunction might occur, paving the way for:

  • Up to 30% reduction in downtime by detecting issues and resolving them proactively
  • Lower costs due to reduced truck rolls and higher first-time fix rates
  • Heightened productivity due to fewer disruptions and less equipment downtime

Predictive maintenance allows for up to 83% faster service resolutions and 75% less time on-site.


Improved first-time fix rate

Many organizations seek to improve their first-time fix rates, but they often lack the issue diagnostics they need to truly resolve service issues before they require a costly truck roll or result in downtime. By getting advance notice of customer issues before they escalate, service technicians can use real-time data to fix them correctly the first time. A high first-time fix rate can keep service costs low by reducing truck rolls and boosting customer satisfaction. After all, if an issue is not resolved on the first service visit, a technician will have to visit 1.6 additional times on average.

How market leaders are using connected field service and IoT

Bell and Howell achieved a first-time fix rate of 92% by replacing a “drive-diagnose-repair" cycle with faster, more efficient remote diagnostics. This adjustment allowed the organization to shift from on-premise to remote service delivery, which now accounts for over 70% of all service calls in one segment of the business. Now, Bell and Howell is capable of a nearly immediate service response – meaning technicians are spending less time on-site and less money on truck rolls. And for their customers, a nearly immediate service response means unplanned downtime is being slashed. It’s a win-win for Bell and Howell, who is delivering service more efficiently, combined with soaring customer satisfaction.

How to implement IoT in field service

Service revenue and profitability depend on maximizing customer uptime while minimizing technician dispatches. So, how can you achieve a top-of-line first-time fix rate? First, it’s important to implement a robust change management or rollout strategy. While IoT technology can unlock major strides in service optimization, it needs people to effectively incorporate it into day-to-day activities. Integrating service optimization solutions properly and executing a change management strategy can set organizations up for lasting field service success.

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Tags: Industrial Connectivity Thingworx Industrial Equipment Industrial Internet of Things

About the Author

Emily Himes Emily is a Content Marketing Specialist on PTC’s Commercial Marketing team based in Boston, MA. Her writing supports a variety of PTC’s product and service offerings.