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April 25, 2019

Field Tech Services Get an ML Boost

Staff report

One area where AI technology is having an immediate impact is the field services sector where the dispatching of a technician who fails to resolve a problem on the first visit hits service providers in the pocket book.

One way of reducing what the technical services industry calls unnecessary “truck rolls” and parts consumption is a “remote triage” framework unveiled this week by ServiceMax, a provider of cloud-based technical service software.

The tool is based on machine learning platform developed by partner Aquant that among other things incorporates the expertise of experienced technicians. The AI platform uses machine learning to understand a client’s unique vocabulary for delivering technical services. The goal is to maximize use of company resources and while boosting what the field service industry calls “first-time fix rates.”

The combination is intended to reduce the number of wasted and costly service calls—a kind of “measure-twice, cut-once” approach to efficiently delivering technical services.

The triage framework is used to come up with the best solution to incoming service requests, ranking them by level of complexity, predicted time of completion and other cost-savings metrics. Learning from patterns, the system then generates specific recommendations based on previous service requests.

The remote triage tool analyzes structured and unstructured data such as the hard-earned experience of hands-on technicians collected on the ServiceMax cloud platform. The resulting recommendations are delivered in the form of step-by-step procedures for pinpointing failures and coming up with a solution that works the first time.

All this is designed to reduce the number of wasted service calls, according to ServiceMax, which is based on Pleasanton, Calif.

As “proactive” support technologies based on machine learning find their way into the technical services segment, industry studies reveal they can help reduce fruitless service calls by as much as 71 percent.

Hence, field services specialists like ServiceMax are partnering with analytics platform vendors such as Aquant to reduce the number of blown service calls by diagnosing problems before a field technician is dispatched.

“Truck rolls are one of the costliest actions in a service organization,” said Amit Jain, senior vice president of product at ServiceMax. “Our partnership with Aquant raises the bar on how field service applications can take advantage of AI and machine learning technologies to solve specific problems in the service execution process.”

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