Augmented Reality in Field Service

Use industrial AR to improve service effectiveness and accelerate skill development—while elevating customer satisfaction and reducing costs.


Field service providers are under pressure to deliver an optimal service experience, and their customers expect one. But a widening skills gap and increasing product complexity can create efficiency challenges. AR is giving technicians the information they need at their fingertips, transforming paper-based materials into in-context digital instructions, and enabling knowledge sharing.

What are the challenges in field service?

Increased complexity and skills gap

Products and processes are more complex than ever before, challenging technicians to interpret complicated, paper-based instructions to complete a repair or maintenance correctly and efficiently. Paired with the widening skills gap in manufacturing, both new hires and experts alike are struggling to meet service-level agreements (SLAs) and provide the best possible service experience.

Meeting customer SLAs

Meeting customer SLAs requires technicians to solve problems quickly the first time—but that can be a difficult task without the right tools. Repeat service visits can lengthen downtime, impact SLAs, increase truck rolls, and reduce efficiency overall. Failure to meet strict SLAs can result in costly penalties for the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), so it’s more important than ever in today’s competitive market to keep customers happy—or they will look elsewhere for a quality service experience.

High customer demand

While manufacturers face increasing complexity and a growing skills gap, customers are also demanding more from the service experience. As digital solutions make their way into every aspect of our lives, customers expect to see those same innovations in service. To meet these demands and keep up with their competitors, field service organizations must explore technology that improves service efficiency and quality.

How is augmented reality transforming field service?

Augmented reality is transforming field service by equipping technicians with 3D work instructions in the context of their physical environment, enabling remote assistance from anywhere, transforming training and onboarding, and improving inspections with AI. By using AR for field service, organizations can significantly reduce service costs and improve customer satisfaction.

3D work instructions

3D work instructions delivered through the user’s tablet, mobile device, or headset are improving service efficiency and quality. Rather than flipping through a paper-based manual—which can be easily misplaced or quickly outdated—technicians get real-time visual guidance and instruction in the context of the physical equipment so they can complete the repair easily and accurately, no matter how complex it is.

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Connect with remote experts

Should a technician arrive on site and have questions about a specific service procedure, AR enables real-time remote assistance. Field technicians can connect with an expert from anywhere and leverage AR technology to collaborate and problem solve on a shared view of the equipment. With remote assistance, technicians can complete the repair confidently and SMEs can return to their tasks quickly.

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Training and onboarding

Classroom learning can provide effective training and onboarding, but it lacks the opportunity for hands-on experience. While in the field, service technicians must rely on their own knowledge and any other tools provided. AR provides an effective way to train and upskill employees with in-context instructions and can also be used as a job aid while in the field.

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AI-enhanced service inspections

Using AI in field service inspections ensures that the service or repair was completed correctly and that critical components were replaced properly. Afterward, a final report is generated automatically as proof of service completion.

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How does augmented reality benefit field service?

In addition to empowering the workforce, organizations implementing augmented reality in field service achieve several business benefits from accelerating service visits or eliminating them altogether. And most importantly, AR helps to ensure happier customers.

In addition to empowering the workforce, organizations implementing augmented reality in field service achieve several business benefits from accelerating service visits or eliminating them altogether. And most importantly, AR helps to ensure happier customers.

Increase uptime

Field technicians can complete repairs faster and more accurately with AR instructions, increasing machine uptime and improving long-term customer satisfaction.

Reduce travel and truck rolls

By helping field technicians to complete repairs correctly, AR can reduce the need for repeated service visits. Customers can also leverage AR remote assistance for self-service, eliminating the need for a truck roll altogether.

Improve first-time fix rate

Rather than relying on paper-based manuals to complete complex service, field technicians benefit from AR’s in-context instructions and visual guidance to finish repairs correctly the first time. Reducing truck rolls also saves travel costs.

Eliminate SLA penalties

Accelerating service speed and improving service quality has a major impact on customer satisfaction and trust. AR in field service helps technicians avoid SLA penalties and maintain hard-earned customer relationships.

Increase access to experts

Even while in the field, technicians can access an expert (or multiple experts) for real-time guidance and collaboration.

Case studies

Howden
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Rockwell
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Howden

Howden Creates Mixed Reality Solutions to Enhance Customer Experience

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Henkel

Henkel facilitates seamless knowledge transfer across their manufacturing production teams using Vuforia Chalk

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Toyota Motor Corp

Toyota enables improved communication across teams with Vuforia's remote assistance tool

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BID Group

BID Group streamlines service operations and improves customer experiences with Vuforia Chalk

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Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation keeps customer’s production schedule moving during critical time using Vuforia Chalk

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Peterbilt

Peterbilt’s technicians are empowered to improve service quality and efficiency with augmented reality.

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Augmented reality field service products

Vuforia Studio is a flexible, user-friendly AR authoring solution that can use existing product data to build 3D AR experiences.

Vuforia Expert Capture enables service providers to capture knowledge, scale work instructions, and complete AI-enhanced inspections.

Vuforia Chalk enables AR remote assistance for real-time problem solving and collaboration with experts.

Improve field service productivity with connected technologies  

Augmented reality provides field technicians with the in-context work instructions they need to get the job done—but there are even more opportunities for improvement when it’s combined with other technologies. By leveraging AR with IoT and service management solutions, organizations can enable remote diagnostics, ensure service parts are on hand, and provide real-time information overlaid on machines. Discover how combining PTC technologies can help improve your field service productivity.

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Upskill service technicians with AR training

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To ensure service technicians are trained and up to date on complex product portfolios, many organizations have begun supplementing traditional training with new innovative methods of onboarding and upskilling employees.

This video explores how an industrial leader, Atlas Copco, supplemented traditional training with augmented 3D visualizations of equipment and exploded depictions of components to provide technicians with a deeper understanding of their machines. By leveraging AR, their technicians were trained faster, retained more, and got personalized hands-on training without an instructor present.

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