How AR is Benefitting Field Services

Among the most valuable tools needed for field service companies to succeed in today's landscape is augmented reality (AR).

Augmented Reality

The pandemic completely altered the business world as we knew it, forcing organizations across all industries to quickly adapt to an entirely new way of operating. Companies were not prepared for the world to shut down and, as a result, had to digitally transform seemingly overnight. Now, nearly a year and a half later, organizations have evolved in this new normal, adopting fully digital operations and figuring out how to execute at the same standard in a remote world.

One such industry that experienced a drastic change in 2020 is field services. By relying on the right technology, field service companies are figuring out how to plan and control what they can while pivoting quickly to adapt to the things they can’t. Among the most valuable tools needed for field service companies to succeed in this landscape is augmented reality (AR).

Migrating to Remote Field Service Operations

Remote collaboration. Visual assistance. Contactless service. We are now all too familiar with these terms. Software solutions that provide remote visual assistance capabilities have been the most sought-after in the COVID era. One of the best and most widely adopted examples of AR in field service comes in the form of remote visual assistance software.

In short, remote assistance software is a cloud-based solution that provides a hands-on approach to problem-solving regardless of location. Enabled by AR, remote visual assistance technology creates a virtual environment where two parties unite on a real-time video call to overcome an issue as if they were working together in person, standing side by side.

By harnessing the power of AR features like merged reality and 3D annotation, remote visual assistance software creates a collaborative virtual environment where an expert can “reach out and touch” a piece of equipment that needs to be fixed or serviced. Let’s say, for example, the office printer isn’t printing. As a customer, you know the ink cartridges and paper trays are full, but the printer is still not responding.

With remote visual assistance technology, a remote expert can show you what fixes are required, whether replacing a cartridge, clearing a paper jam or tightening a nut or bolt. The expert’s hands are directly in the customer’s field of view, showing them precisely how to solve the problem.

Overcoming the Technician Talent Shortage

Remote visual assistance software enables companies offering field service support to optimize the time and effectiveness of their technicians. Like many industries, the field service is currently battling a significant talent shortage. In fact, according to 2020 research from the Service Council, nearly 57% of field service organizations are struggling to find enough talented technicians.

Senior technicians near retirement and looking to reduce their travel or fieldwork don’t have to leave the industry altogether. Instead, they can rely on remote visual assistance technology to deliver their expertise from a preferred location. A company’s field service organizations can extend the life of their valuable industry experts with remote visual assistance software by allowing them to work every day from a home or office rather than requiring them to travel on-site.

For field service technicians who aren’t preparing for retirement, remote visual assistance software provides the opportunity for these professionals to reimagine their roles. As organizations continue to utilize new technology, the amount of on-site support needed will likely continue to decrease. As a result, technicians will be able to focus more on customers – learning their needs, gaining their loyalty and boosting their satisfaction. With remote visual assistance software at work, field service technicians can transform their roles, adding more value and improving customer satisfaction.

Finally, remote visual assistance software is also an incredible tool to recruit a younger generation of technicians. It’s no surprise, younger technicians are more digitally savvy than previous generations and understand the value these tools bring to their positions. By offering remote visual assistance software, companies with a field service organization have a leg up in attracting new talent.

One thing is for sure: the field service industry isn’t going back to the old way of doing business. As more companies figure out how to transition to digital operations, remote visual assistance software will be essential for a successful transformation. While there will always be some expectation and value for in-person services, remote assistance technology will become the service delivery model of choice for customers and field service technicians alike.


Gary is a serial entrepreneur with four successful software and services exits: three private sales and one IPO. He has spent his career at the boundary of what is possible and what is practical. He has held technical and executive positions with leading technology companies in Boston, Silicon Valley, and Alabama. Not only is Gary a winner of the Smithsonian Innovation Award and the EDPA Lifetime Achievement Award for Innovation, he also serves on the Boards of TechBirmingham, the McWane Science Center and Urban Avenues. He holds a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon and was a visiting fellow at UC Berkeley. Gary and his wife Cathy have two children. He is an avid runner.