smart glasses

Getting smart… Why the future of field service may lie in smart glasses (part three)

May 21 • Features, Future of FIeld Service • 2980 Views • No Comments on Getting smart… Why the future of field service may lie in smart glasses (part three)

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A lot of technology can improve the way we work in field service but none can change the way we operate so fundamentally as the introduction of smart glasses. That is the opinion of Kyle Semani, CEO of Pristine IO and in this series of articles we’ve talked exclusively to Semani at length on why he sees smart glasses revolutionising the field service industries.

In the first part of this series we looked at the why despite Google removing their Glass Xplorer program in field service at least the future of Glass and other competitor products is very much alive and well. In part two we Semani outlined some very significant savings that can be made through the correct application of smart glasses in field service. Now in the final feature of this series we look at some of the challenges faced by smart glasses and how they can be overcome… 

As anyone who managed to get their hands on a Beta edition of Glass will testify excitement soon turned to frustration as you realised that even with moderate use the battery life just wasn’t enough to last you more than a few hours, five or six if you were lucky. Surely this is an issue that must be rectified if Smart Glasses are to have a place in field service?

“Our system today gets two to three times the battery life that you’d get if you were using a consumer product straight out of the box.”

Well for Samani – it’s just not that big an issue. “Our system today gets two to three times the battery life that you’d get if you were using a consumer product straight out of the box.” He begins when probed on this issue, pretty much shooting down the criticism there and then.

“That’s mainly down to optimisations being made at the operating system level as well as our own app doing a number of different things to help out.” He clarifies. However, he doesn’t stop there.

He continues to point out that even without such optimisation fears around battery life really aren’t that valid anyway.

“In terms of practical use” he continues “well we aggregate our customer data and the average call length is between eight and twelve minutes, very few of our calls exceed that time-line and the reality is that nobody needs to watch video for that long.

They may call back twenty minutes later but it’s pretty rare that someone needs to call for fortyfive minutes straight. It’s just not very useful and that just doesn’t happen. So battery life isn’t by and large proven to be an issue.”

He has a point, a very good one at that.

Something that many of us are guilty of is trying to align wearable devices with existing mobile computing options such as tablets, smart phones and so on.

However, the simple fact is that the use case is very different. We need to think of what the smart glasses would, and would not, be used for. If we do this then the reality is that as Samani asserts battery life really needn’t become a significant issue.

“I don’t think that smart watches and smart glasses are that comparable. Yes there both wearables but the use cases for both are really far apart.”

“I don’t think that smart watches and smart glasses are that comparable. Yes there both wearables but the use cases for both are really far apart.”

Even in those rare outlier cases where a field engineer does need to stream video excessively Samani has a solution. “ In the off chance that you do need to exceed multiple hours of video streaming in any given day, on our platform you can charge the device whilst you where it.” He concludes “We supply our customers with a battery pack if they need it and with that they could go for 10 hours of consecutive video streaming.” He explains

Actually the biggest issue Samani and his team are challenged with is how complex such a device is to use. “The biggest push-back we get is ‘will my field service techs be able to use it effectively?’

For them it’s a legitimate concern, they haven’t used smart glasses in the wild.”He states.

“What I say in that conversation is we have definitively proven, with our customers, that this works and our platform is incredibly easy to use.”

In fairness he certainly isn’t exaggerating when he says it’s easy to use.

Describing the user experience Samani explains “Literally all you need to do is put on the glasses and say ‘OK Glass request support.’”

“After that everything else becomes automated. And the person wearing the glass can focus on the job at hand whether they are turning a wrench, opening a panel, soldering wires… it doesn’t really matter what that person is doing the system becomes completley automated and is incredibly easy to use.”

So with all of the potential gains and very assured responses to potential pitfalls it seems Samani really is the right man , in the right place at the right time and Pristine’s already healthy initial growth is surely set to continue. The only question remains when will we start to see further widespread adoption of smart glasses?

“I think in 2016 it’ll become a reasonably discussed topic, people will accept this is happening people are already doing it and it’ll really start to grow from there.” Samani says.

“You look at IoT in the field service world or workforce management, these are technologies widely discussed in the field service industry and it’s pretty commonly expected that if your not already doing it, you’re going to do it in the next few years. I think in 2016 that type of conversation will happen around smart glasses.”

“I think in 2016 it’ll become a reasonably discussed topic, people will accept this is happening people are already doing it and it’ll really start to grow from there.”

It is interesting that for Samani, the conversation is focussed very much on Smart Glasses not the wider conversation around wearables. In fact he (quite rightly) sees a significant gap between the application of Smart Watches and Smart Glasses. “I don’t think that smart watches and smart glasses are that comparable. Yes here both wearables but the use cases for both are really far apart. For me watches are for consumers and glasses are for enterprise.” He asserts

“Our belief is that glasses will be the ones that really deliver the value for enterprise. Watches can’t really impact how your tech works too much, glasses could change the way we structure our workforce entirely.”

Again with such ambitious rhetoric accuations could be aimed at Samani of over egging the custard. However, whilst he certainly has a tangible excitement to his tone as mentioned above, it is also countered by a measured authroity. He truly believes that smart glasses will change the way we work and he is systematically building his case piece by piece.

“When the data becomes more robust and proven we will publicise it and expect a lot more people to follow suit.” He concludes “There will be definetly some variability in differing industries, who adopts first and why – the more expensive the problem the more likely a company will be to adopt our solution sooner, but we are witnessing a lot of interest and we expect to see a big change in how global field service teams, and even regional ones, deliver customer service in the not so distant future”

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