Five predictions for 2020, by Paul Whitelam, SVP, Global Marketing, ClickSoftware

With the end of 2019 fast approaching, now is a good time for organisations UK-wide to focus on the technology trends they can leverage to enhance customer satisfaction while meeting their own business objectives for the year ahead.

From sustainability advantages, increasingly digital workplaces and innovation that promises more streamlined processes, organisations across every sector must adapt and implement new and improved operational and technological standards to guarantee success in 2020.

Paul Whitelam, SVP, Global Marketing, ClickSoftware, reveals what he sees 2020’s innovations being, which will each serve organisations’ customer experience strategies in the new year.

1. Voice capabilities

Consumers have embraced voice assistants but field services users will increase their adoption of voice interfaces to boost efficiency and meet safety requirements.

As we are all aware, using a mobile phone, or other similar handheld device, whilst driving is a criminal offence in the UK. Those drivers who are using mobile devices and need to reach their dispatcher or send an update to a customer can use speech-to-text or voice controls to conform with these laws.

Voice capabilities can also empower multitasking, collaboration, and other efficiencies such as note taking, calling headquarters, activating a case, accessing repair history, or searching a database — all without stepping away from the task at hand. Field service organisations willing to get ahead by investing in these voice activated tools now, will win big in the long run.

2. A significant uptick in real-world artificial intelligence (AI) case studies

The market is finally catching up and field service organisations are reaching new levels of AI implementation. As 2020 approaches, production deployments will validate AI’s role in predictive maintenance, the future of work, and other uncharted territories within field service management. These will illustrate where AI will be most practical and valuable.

We find ourselves in a world where smart uniforms, drone deliveries, and robotic automation are becoming a reality. Sometimes the most difficult part is to determine where this new tech should be utilised. Fortunately, as knowledge around AI and this new technology increases, so does our success rate, and field service organisations will specifically look to such examples to improve their own practices.

Field service organisations need to be ready for the next big innovation. As soon as drones and other advanced technology hit critical mass, organisations must be prepared to implement and invest. When drones are deemed successful in preventing vegetation overgrowth near electric wires, and smart uniforms can offer biometrics that protect drivers on long travels – field service organisations will want to be prepared to adopt this technology and to gain a competitive edge.

3. Sustainability advantages

In 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 lofty goals for creating a better world by 2030 — everything from the end of poverty to fights against inequality. As we enter 2020, among the several goals field service management can help drive is number 13 — combating climate change.

The advanced technologies powering field services — mobility tools, demand forecasting, predictive analytics, and AI — can also address climate change by reducing emissions due to more efficient routes, a reduction in miles driven and less fuel consumption. These advancements in work planning and scheduling have far reaching benefits including community safety.

Field service teams will also review their transportation methods, introducing hybrid fleets that will decrease daily emissions. While working to protect the environment, these initiatives will ultimately benefit the business itself including improved customer experience, increased business growth, and reduced costs.

4. Frontline workers adjusting to the digital workplace

As 2020 approaches, it’s important to ready frontline workers for the technology that promises to disrupt their daily routines. Field service organisations are beginning to witness real results from technology innovation that didn’t seem possible a few years back, with significant impact on workers’ roles.

Within the field service industry, the roles of the mobile worker and dispatcher will drastically change as mobile capabilities and automation increase, but others are also impacted including the field manager, the call centre agent and the planner. All have to adopt new ways of working and update their skills. The relationship with the customer is also impacted, but only with the proper technology can field service organisations be more transparent, providing better service and a new means of communication.

5. Greater demand for c-like capabilities within the utility Industry

Utility companies have access to vast amounts of new data — from IoT sensors to traditional account information, but this information often lies within on-premise solutions and not the cloud – a growing trend among all other industries. This initiative calls for a massive upgrade that utility organisations are increasingly keen to undertake and as 2019 comes to an end, we will see a greater demand for capabilities that only the cloud can provide.