5 Useful Field Service Gadgets from CES 2018

CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro sits down with Lyft Co-Founder and President John Zimmer

These award winning, innovative technologies will keep field service technicians safe and more productive!

Every year, the Consumer Technology Association holds the Consumer Electronics Show, which is one of the biggest technology trade shows in the country. For 50 years, thousands of the world’s most innovative technology companies have exhibited new products each year. This year, CES products leveraged many advanced technologies, such as IoT, Artificial Intelligence, and voice recognition. Some products were for leisure or everyday use, while others were made for work environments, one of which includes field service. Below are some of the top products from this year’s show great for keeping field service and mobile employees safe and productive like none other.

Vuzik Blade Augmented Reality Glasses

Amazon Alexa and Vuzik developed these voice activated sunglasses which functions similarly to a personal computer. Empowered by Artificial Intelligence, mobile employees can ask this gadget for directions to customer sites, plus weather and traffic patterns to predict more accurate ETA windows for every job. The Blade is Vuzik’s first smart glasses model that has advanced wave guide optics for hand-free operation. This way, mobile employees can avoid texting and driving when asking for directions. When completing a job, the 8 MP camera allows a technician to capture high quality photos to support work orders if needed. Using an Android OS, the Blade works with WiFi and Bluetooth Interfaces and has a full color display that’s great for indoor and outdoor use.

Vuzik augmented reality glasses. Credit: Vuzik

Raven Car Accessory

Driving can be a dangerous game, especially in winter, which is why service technicians must especially drive safe. Placed over the dashboard or windshield, the Raven serves as a camera and security system in one. The Raven uses IoT for 24/7 monitoring, GPS, diagnostics and even feedback on driving skills. By monitoring road conditions, service technicians can better predict an ETA to customer sites. The camera also can help keep track of the car’s whereabouts with the wave of a hand. The Raven will start shipping in March 2018, with a monthly fee and a WiFi hotspot and cloud storage.

Raven car accessory serves as a dashboard and GPS in a car

Peak Design Everyday Backpack

Mobile employees such as construction workers and plumbers carry a lot of equipment and tools while traveling, and must conveniently store it all. Though soft to touch, the Peak Design Everyday Backpack fabric is strong and snag resistant, which will take technicians on many trips for many years. The metal latch secures well and the rivet lets the straps swivel. The inside design has a large cavity and many dividers that hold many items, such as a laptop sleeve with a mini pocket for a notebook and pen. Unlike some other bags, these dividers are bendable, which eliminates the need to buy more dividers.

Cat 641 Rugged Phone

People who work in “rugged” environments use rugged Apple and Android phones and protective accessories to prevent device damage. The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show featured the Cat 641 phone, which features a long battery life and the ability to take photos underwater. Manufactured by Caterpillar Inc., Cat phones are well known for thermal imaging and waterproof design. The 641 model Cat 641 Rugged Phone People who work in “rugged” environments use rugged Apple and Android phones and protective accessories to prevent device damage. The Consumer Electronics Show this year showcased the Cat 641 phone, which features a long battery life and the ability to take photos underwater. Manufactured by Caterpillar Inc., Cat phones are well known for thermal imaging and waterproof design. The 641 model features a thick design that has a 6-foot drop rate. Users can use the phone in two meter deep waters, for up to an hour. The screen will not deter when a user has wet hands or wears gloves while typing. Finally, this model features a major 5,000mAh battery, which allows technicians to share phone charging abilities while working together. Users may even set a limit to ensure the phone won’t use up battery life after a set time.

iOttie Wireless Chargers

Field service technicians who use Smartphones or tablets to record work orders, send invoices and obtain payment need long battery life. The iOttie Wireless Chargers do not need a plug and outlet, unlike average chargers. In spring and summer 2018, iOttie is releasing several new charging pads and stands. For example, the iON Wireless Charging Pad has fast charging technology, uses less heat, and comes with an additional power port to support one more phone. The iOttie Fast Charging Stand uses high quality magnetic technology for fast charging, as well as a built in fan to reduce heat. Each device is compatible with different devices and versions, which will help determine the best product for each user.

Improve Field Service Efficiency With Technology

Mobile work could be seen as physically straining and potentially unsafe since workers travel for the majority of their shifts. But technology has helped tremendously over the years. As the years go on, “connected” and “smart” devices are becoming a necessity to field service success. Field service management should consistently evaluate how the latest technologies may benefit their workforce. And the Consumer Electronics Show yearly showcases thousands of products both before and after launch, which helps in planning ahead.

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