Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and field service companies have been digitally transforming how they solve problems predictively, prescriptively, and automatically over the last decade. The evolution has been driven in part by more connected products with more sophisticated mechanisms.
Moving from reactive to proactive, the most advanced connected solutions invoke extended reality (XR) including augmented, virtual, and mixed reality software experiences that work on mobile devices and wearables, to shorten resolution times, reduce costs, and make customers happier.
Aly Pinder, program director, IDC's Service Innovation and Connected Products research said in summarizing a report published in 2021, "This transformation demands an accelerated investment in tools and capabilities that can provide the field service team with real-time insights and knowledge to support customers. Innovative technology vendors will be needed to take manufacturers from largely homegrown solutions to more advanced scalable tools."
Given the unique nature of increasingly sophisticated machinery (in factory settings), smart home appliances (in consumer settings), more sensitive and sensor-based equipment on the power grid, in smart cities, hospitals and more, one of the greatest challenges for those who sell and rent or own often expensive products is to foolproof the service experience, for technicians, OT & IT teams, and the end users who rely on these products to “just work.”
Last week, one of the fastest growing AR and AI based field service solution companies, CareAR, which is part of Xerox, revealed a new low-code/no-code “drag and drop” software platform that empowers developers to create their own service journeys, blending product manuals, technical information, digital twin capabilities, visual interactive AR and more which the company has been building with the help of their customers and partners, including Service Max, which has been leveraging CareAR IP in their offerings.
CareAR Experience Builder is a new visual augmented reality (AR) and AI based design tool that enables anyone to create self-guided instructional experiences at scale.
CareAR’s developers have been working across many industry sectors, including manufacturing. Through the often difficult process of having to build “digital interactive manuals” they have built not only software tools for themselves, but a developer platform that last week the company unveiled as one that radically simplifies creation of those manuals with a no-code, drag-and-drop interface.
“Our developers are excited to bring tools to other developers, who now have access to a platform which makes it easy to build highly customized, self-guided journeys in days – not weeks or years,” said Sam Waicberg, Founder and President of CareAR. “As a software innovation company, we have some of the most talented developers with deep experience in building experience, and they are very excited to now be able to bring the developer community fresh and powerful tools they can use dramatically improve how products are rolled out, set up, monitored, managed, and maintained, making those products and their businesses more competitive. The proven ROI is so remarkable that those developers become instant heroes in a digitally transformative metaverse.”
Waicberg added that, “while we have been delivering better experiences over the last few years, what is different today is how we are making it possible for manufactures of advanced factory equipment to design and maintain their own manuals, as the experts. This saves time and money, in the immediate and long term.”
Through a digital and visual design, instructional experiences are extremely intuitive, and incorporate 2D content, such as video, along with CareAR’s patented 3D AR, digital twin visualization, and AI computer vision for visual verification of steps or task completion, ensuring high levels of productivity, accuracy, and consistency.
“It’s truly exciting to witness the tangible results that our customers substantially reported while easily creating and consuming self-guided instructional experiences utilizing CareAR Instruct and Experience Builder,” Waicberg continued. “The service experience is ripe for transformation. Service workers and customers deal with massive amounts of static paper and pdf-based content. The flexibility to generate new or modify existing instructional flows in a matter of minutes, and automatically make those updates available is nothing short of revolutionary.”
Self-service instructional experiences can seamlessly be added to level-up any service management workflow, product offering or asset ranging across industries and B2B or B2C use cases, from maintenance, inspection, and repair to manuals, unboxing, set-up guides, tutorials, and frequent how-to’s.
“Building immersive experiences in CareAR’s Experience Builder enables our operatives to have real-time access to the most accurate information, responding to incidents with the expertise needed to resolve issues right the first time. The results are improved safety and compliance, faster and more cost-effective resolutions, and improved customer experiences – which we can continuously refine and improve,” said Ralph Powell, Business Development Director, Sapphire Utility Services. “We are continuously seeking new ways of thinking and working collaboratively with our partners as a catalyst for change. If we can rethink the systems and technologies underpinning some of our processes, then we remove costs and improve outputs for our customers.”
Both CareAR Instruct and Experience Builder offer an interactive and memorable service experience that better connects customers and employees, while optimizing the way enterprises operate. Employees become more engaged when learning and employing a new technology, and customers receive improved service and support that is efficient and effective.
“Augmented Reality use cases are rapidly expanding due to value being realized in worker enablement and immersive engagement,” said Eric Abbruzzese, Research Director at ABI Research. “A solution like the CareAR SXM platform helps organizations realize that value at scale, with key capabilities like no-code step-by-step guidance creation through Experience Builder quickening time to value.”
The company’s announcement said CareAR’s Experience Builder can also help boost employees’ skills through training or help subsidize a lack of experience through real-time analytics and other generated data. This comes at just the right time, as the current talent shortage is a challenge as 40 percent of companies say that they lose specialized knowledge and expertise faster than they can gain it.
“For many of our customers, it’s not practical or cost-effective to come to the data center for IT management and maintenance tasks,” said Thomas Cannady, Cyxtera’s Vice President of Network Services. “Our Remote Hands with Visual Assist support – which leverages CareAR Instruct and Experience Builder – allows our customers to participate in live sessions with our technicians, seeing what they see through smart glasses in real-time or through a self-guided instructional experience. CareAR helps us to empower our customers to get more involved and to get more resolved, in their support experience via intelligent and interactive content.”
Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.
Edited by Erik Linask