Fear Not the Robots

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on May 10, 2018, and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

Scientists have predicted dire consequences for decades due to our growing reliance on technology. As a result, robots are a worry for many, who say robots will replace people in many professions. However, we recommend looking at how robots transform many industries today – including field service – and considering what we can expect in the future.

Robots are everywhere

Some robots we don’t see every day because they’re on factory floors and inside tunnels. Those are generally the robots we think of when we hear the term robot: they have moving parts, such as limb-like structures and swiveling heads. But others are behind the scenes, helping us through checkout lanes in grocery stores, guiding us through airport check-in, and spitting out $20 bills from ATMs.

Crucial Roles that Field Service Robots Play

Field service operations have enjoyed robot-like precision in handling back-office tasks such as scheduling, dispatching, setting workflows, optimizing routes, and tracking the whereabouts of technicians. Robotic precision in the back-office has also enabled technicians to perform their jobs quickly and efficiently: registering time and materials, checking inventory, and customer approval.

What are the other ways field service is “robiticizing” their operations? Drones are increasingly deployed to check the status of hazardous situations, and their high view eliminates the need for trucks and ladders. Robots traverse rugged terrain to deliver job-site equipment or to perform search and rescue missions. Robot-like vehicles are driving pilings for structural foundations. The list goes on, and the list of robotic capabilities will grow.

Embrace Robots

Let robots do your dirty and dangerous work in the field, such as identifying gas leaks and carrying heavy steel beams and girders to steep hillsides. Let them fetch soil samples on hazardous waste sites to protect employees from exposure. Then, with their bird’s-eye view, let them gather data for you. Let technicians peer through devices like AR glasses and be guided by the seemingly infinite intelligence within these devices to enable them to complete their complex tasks the first time and every time.

Just as robot-like devices such as the Roomba (a handy little robotic vacuum cleaner) don’t replace us – instead, they help us keep our floors tidy – robots will make technicians’ work safer, more efficient, and more precise.

Tightening the Screws of your Operation

An investment in robotics by field service organizations is an all-around win:

  1. Technicians appreciate the ease of carrying out dangerous tasks, leading to more job satisfaction and less turnover.
  2. Back-office staff will perform more efficiently, with fewer errors, causing less stress and frustration.
  3. Customers appreciate the technology that ensures their equipment and systems run flawlessly.
  4. Executives know it improves productivity and increases margins.

Robots are sure to appear in public spaces in more complex shapes. Over the next two decades, we’ll undoubtedly see more robots that mimic how humans walk and pick up objects. There will also be more behind-the-scenes robotic brains in ATMs, kiosks, and other structures. Instead of fear, we must remember that robots are sophisticated machines to help us perform better.

Get Robot-Ready with FMP360

Robots can dramatically improve the safety and effectiveness of field service operations. Therefore, we have roboticized the digitalization of field service to ensure our customers are ready for the future. For example, suppose your human engineers work with spreadsheets and paper forms. In that case, we demonstrate how our robotic approach to a digital field service operation can prepare your organization for the future. 

Schedule a demo today. We’ll customize the demo to mimic the dynamics of your unique organization.

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