Guest post by Hervé Lesage, Global Marketing, Xerox Communication Services

One of the coolest technologies making its way into mainstream enterprise tool kits is Augmented Reality, better known as AR.

Many manufacturers have service teams or agents who would benefit from the innovative digital delivery of AR as a means to share information in the field. The need for reliable information in service is broad and nonnegotiable, but forget unwieldy 800-page instruction manuals, binders and large paper maps. Welcome to visualizing data and instructions in real time, like this example reported in “Harvard Business Review”.

“At KPN, a European telecommunications service provider, field engineers conducting remote or on-site repairs use AR smart glasses to see a product’s service-history data, diagnostics, and location-based information dashboards. These AR displays help them make better decisions about how to resolve issues, producing an 11% reduction in overall costs for service teams, a 17% decrease in work-error rates, and higher repair quality.”

Not only does AR make seasoned technicians more efficient, it also helps less qualified or less experienced personnel get work done with fewer delays and direction. (In fact, younger personnel may prefer information in this way). AR might also keep some information safer than printed formats.

An AR Pilot Delivers Impressive Results

Service KPIs not only measure customer satisfaction, but also service efficiency. If you find a tool that improves that metric, you’re going to investigate, and we did. At Xerox, we piloted AR for one of our operating companies. The service team benefited from fewer on-site visits, while remote resolution rates increased by 76%. When an on-site visit was required, the fix-first-time rate increased by 76%. All this led to a customer satisfaction increase of 95%. Who wouldn’t want to see improvements like these?

  • Alleviate technical skills gaps
  • Reduce costs and repair times
  • Improve fix-first-time rates
  • Enhance customer satisfaction

How AR Helps Field Technicians

Greater product complexity increases demand for technical skills at a time when they’re already in short supply, as baby-boomer engineers and technicians retire without backfill. Customer expectations have also ratcheted up. The norm has become on-demand, 24/7 availability and nearly instant fixes when equipment is out of service. When equipment is down, employee downtime is a consequence – for your employees and possibly your customer’s employees, too.

So, how can industrial brands close the hiring gap to meet customer expectations regarding service? Outsourcing and managed services go a long way towards a solution, and AR is further changing the service dynamic. It helps field personnel by:

  • On-demand access to specific content to train ahead of a visit or use on site
  • Avoiding the need for a service call through improved customer self-help
  • Drastically reducing the time a service visit takes

To take advantage of these benefits, information needs to be structured for mobile delivery, rather than locked in a PDF. Optimizing how content is structured and managed is essential for companies to take advantage of digital delivery and tools like AR.

The upside is that restructuring content reduces creation and management costs in three ways:

  1. Adoption of structured content as information and documents of all kinds (text, graphics, photos, audios, videos) developed in mark-up languages such as DITA XML or S1000D XML
  2. Centralization of content in a single repository instead of multiple silos to maximize re-use
  3. Standardized templates to automate publishing and achieve a common look and feel for all output, whether digital or print

Imagining an AR Future

Xerox combines experience in managing product information with Xerox PARC research on image recognition to create solutions that help customers and service engineers with product information to drive customer satisfaction and business efficiency. Someday that managed print service visit may include a technician with a set of AR goggles. Imagine that!

Learn how Xerox can help you reimagine information delivery through Xerox Product Information Management Services.