Wearables for Work: How to Start Using Wearable Technology for Field Service Management

As technology’s fastest-growing field, wearables are now implemented in many businesses. But what does this mean for your field service organization?

In this interactive research document about the growth of wearable technology in the enterprise sphere, Salesforce.com reveals major wearable trends for enterprise and ideas for how businesses can take advantage of wearable functionality.

Although wearables are typically associated with consumer use, we studied this research to discover how field service businesses can take advantage of this technology.

Businesses Who Invest in Wearables Are Seeing Strong Results

According to the report, in the next two years, the enterprise is expected to use wearable technology 300% more than today. Why is this field so fast-growing? Because companies that have already invested in wearables are witnessing extreme success, primarily in business performance.

Whether that success is due to greater efficiency or increased productivity, this improvement in performance has led to 86% of companies stating they’ll invest more money on wearable technology in the next year.

Clearly, businesses that have taken the plunge and invested in wearables are seeing strong results and find wearables strategic to their future success.

Real Business Use Cases for Wearables in Field Service

One of the easiest ways to step into the wearable world is by implementing an optional Bring-Your-Own-Wearable (BYOW) policy. Out of the 500 business surveyed by Salesforce.com, 54% currently support a BYOW policy and 40% are planning to support it in the future. With BYOW, you’re not responsible for making a huge investment in wearables upfront, but you’re giving your employees the freedom to use the wearable devices they’ve chosen for themselves. Read more about the Pros and Cons of BYOD here.

One of those wearable devices could be a smart watch. Smart watches alleviate technicians’ daily duties. Using voice commands, they can access records, diagrams and messages without using their hands. The distraction and hassle of taking out a smartphone is gone. Smart watches can also give step-by-step directions, take photos and videos, and maintain communication with service managers and other technicians.

Types of Wearables

Field service businesses are not a one-size fits all sort of industry. Here are several types of wearables that may benefit your business.

  • Smart Watches: Apple Watch, Android Wear and Galaxy Gear

    Paired to a smartphone, smart watches allow the user to message, use GPS, create lists, view weather, review data, and of course, tell time. Businesses use smart watches to cut down on the amount of disruptions mobile phones and tablets cause during the work day.

  • Smart Glasses: Google Glass, Vuzix, Meta glasses, and Oculus Rift

    Google Glass is one of many smart glasses on the market. While no longer available to the public, Google has been working to enhance the original prototype. The original Glass came built on to a headset and displayed messages, alerts and images on a projected screen in front of the user’s field of vision. For field service, this meant being immediately notified of your upcoming repair if you were at another jobsite or even step-by-step instructions displayed hands-free in front of your face.

    Meta glasses and Oculus Rift are smart glasses aimed to show virtual reality. These devices are used for 3D video games and looking at true scale holograms.

  • Activity Trackers: Fitbit and Nike+ Fuelband

    Activity trackers are wristbands that track heart rates, length of workouts, and sleep patterns. While not directly correlated with field service operational improvements, businesses may see an improvement in job satisfaction and field service technician efficiency by implementing Activity Trackers as part of an employee wellness program.

Wearable Apps for Field Service

Some B2B adopters are hesitant to implement wearables because of the misconception that there’s a “lack of wearable business apps.” While smartphones currently have more apps to choose from, the number of wearable apps continues to grow. Here are a few examples of wearable apps field service organizations can use to get ahead:

    1. Flashlight:

    A flashlight is a necessity for all technicians. This app, and many others like it, lights up the screen to full capacity. A wearable flashlight app can help technicians see behind dark wires without occupying their hands.

    2. INRIX:

    Like most GPS maps, this app shows multiple routes to get to your destination. INRIX is unique because it draws its real-time traffic information from billions of data points including: GPS devices in vehicles, road sensor information, traffic camera, traffic reporters, and app users. Routing and trip time information are also available.

    3. Messages:

    Apple Watch and other smart watches have built-in messaging apps. These are great for making requests, sending reminders and answering questions. They eliminate unnecessary workforce emails and allow workers to connect in real-time.

    4. Evernote:

    Allows you to take notes, form checklists, record audio, and view lists. Technicians can easily utilize the checklist feature when they are completing a task at a job site. And since Evernote runs through the cloud, you can access synced information in your Evernote account from any device.

    5. Salesforce Wear:

    Looking for a specific feature in an app but can’t find exactly what you want? Salesforce Wear is the answer to your problems. This app allows service businesses access to app development resources and sample code, encouraging businesses to quickly design and build their own wearable apps.


Conclusion – The Future of Wearables for Field Service

Although it is impossible to predict the future of wearable technology, it is clear they will become even more common in the workforce. As devices become better at multitasking, lower in cost, and feature a larger choice in apps, more businesses will utilize their potential. Our advice to break into the wearable world? Start with a BYOW policy.

A Buyer’s Guide to Mobile Field Service Software: 9 Tips for Choosing a Mobile Solution that’s Right for You

In the market for a cross-platform or cloud-based mobile app for your field service organization? Learn important tips, guiding questions, and to-dos in our free, educational whitepaper: “A Buyer’s Guide to Mobile Field Service Software.”

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