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Leveraging Remote Monitoring and Mobility to Create a Smarter Service Presence
This market insight examines the next step in the evolution of mobile field service management (FSM) capabilities. Current FSM customer feedback, key market trends, and technological developments have converged to enable a more proactive and preventive field service ecosystem. Examples of integrated FSM and M2M solutions and their benefits, along with potential purchase considerations are included in this primary analysis of an evolving field service model.
-By leveraging mobile technology, field service management (FSM) vendors have evolved their software offerings from desktop-bound, reactive products into real-time, anywhere-access solutions. Now the next step in this market’s technological evolution has begun, integrating FSM with M2M (machine-to-machine) remote monitoring to enable a uniquely proactive and predictive field service model.
-Traditionally, field service workers have been heavily dependent on their clients identifying that a service issue exists and then calling in to report the problem. M2M integration adds sensors and remote monitoring to take the place of the client’s eyes and ears, identifying issues before a serious equipment problem occurs and escalates.
-At this time, the quickest avenue to creating a high-quality FSM+M2M capability is for field service management vendors to partner directly with already established M2M experts to provide a combined offer to customers. Astea International and ServicePower are two vendors that have taken this approach, partnering with Axeda Systems Inc. and Bosch Software Innovations, respectively.
-A major benefit of this proactive, connected service model is a more satisfied customer, due to fewer equipment breakdowns and faster trouble resolution. For the field service organization, benefits also include reduced labor costs due to quicker time-to-first-fix and the possibility of increased revenues via additional service contract options.
-Before any purchase decision is made, field service organizations are advised to give careful thought to a number of possible implementation issues. Major considerations would include incremental hardware requirements, the quality of communications security, and an optimal data analytics capability.
-The hard-dollar benefits of the FSM+M2M service model need to be more clearly quantified and then more effectively promoted by vendors. At this time, only a limited number of FSM vendors offer the option of integrating remote machine-to-machine monitoring into their solutions, and they should not be squandering their current competitive advantage with ineffective marketing.
Mobile Field Service Management: A Growing Market
The North American field service management (FSM) market continues to evolve as technology becomes more powerful and customer expectations become more demanding. During the past decade, mobilization has been a key trend, transforming the previously desktop-bound FSM offering into a real-time solution that tracks and locates field workers, optimizes dispatch, captures and transmits data to and from a worker’s mobile device, integrates with back-end systems, and automates work processes.
This is a growing market. Responses to the 2014 Frost & Sullivan Mobile Enterprise Applications survey indicate that over half of today’s businesses have implemented mobile field service management solutions to at least some degree.1 Frost & Sullivan currently forecasts the North American mobile workforce management market (a larger solution category that encompasses mobile FSM) to reach $ billion in annual revenues by 2018.2
Frost & Sullivan revenue projections for mobile FSM are based on a number of current and anticipated adoption drivers, including the hard-dollar business impacts being experienced by current users and the resulting high levels of satisfaction that surface year after year. Other drivers include the growing popularity of prepackaged, hosted solutions, the wide availability of affordable tablets, and the marketing support of large, high-profile distribution channel partners, such as the Tier 1 wireless carriers.
The revenue forecast and its estimated 2013-2018 CAGR of % is also predicated on the belief that this market’s nascent predictive analytics capabilities will grow in sophistication. Up until recently, predictive analytics focused upon calculating individual field worker travel, arrival, and completion times. Now, however, cutting-edge mobile FSM vendors are harnessing the power of remote M2M monitoring and analytics to change the very nature of the field service ecosystem.
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