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Tales from the Road: How Morrison Utility Services Manages Complex, Multi-task Field Work

  
  
  
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In this ongoing “Tales from the Road” series, we will feature smart people who have taken on mobile workforce challenges, the stories about how they conquered them and the lessons they learned along the way.

Andy Carter works in the very traditional utilities industry. But his approach to field operations and enterprise technology is anything but traditional.

Carter is the business process improvement director for Morrison Utility Services, a UK-based supplier of infrastructure repair. They provide maintenance services to electricity, gas, water and telecoms companies, mostly on highways. And Carter had a heck of a business process improvement task in front of him.



How Tech is Solving an Old Human Problem: Scarcity of Time

  
  
  
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There’s a new common thread weaving together the technology solutions for our most pressing and universal human problem today – scarcity of time and resources.

PODCAST: The Implications of M2M for Field Service Management

  
  
  
How will Machine to Machine (M2M) affect field service management

In 2011, IBM’s Watson computer system challenged two human competitors on the game show Jeopardy! and walked away — or at least, departed — with $1 million in prize money. In the mythical battle of man versus machine, it was a great day for machines.

Machines have a lot to offer besides answers to trivia questions, especially when they can communicate with one another and supply a steady stream of information to us humans. Machine to machine (M2M) communication is one of the fastest growing segments in technology, with the market expected to grow to $86 billion by 2017. Global M2M connections could reach 250 million by the end of the year as the Internet of Things expands to include more devices and yield more possibilities. But all this potential is just that — potential — until you harness it.

In this episode of TOAcast, we’ll discuss how M2M can impact your field service management strategy, what industries are ripe to incorporate M2M and some of the factors that are driving adoption.



Strawberry Field Service Management Forever

  
  
  
How are rock bands and mobile workforces similar? They both require precise timing.

Whenever an ensemble of musicians makes great music together, you can be pretty sure that song and sound you love didn’t happen by accident. Whatever your definition of great music is – classical, ska-punk, bebop jazz, garage rock or anything else – a lot of time and expertise went into its creation.

What Field Service Teams Can Learn From Brick and Mortar Retailers

  
  
  
Retailers can improve the customer experience with simple suggestions or reminders

While in college, I worked as a cashier at a local garden center. During the busy season, I would furiously scan, type and swipe, getting customers through the line and out the door as fast as humanly possible. But no matter how quickly I completed the transaction, my manager encouraged me to always ask one simple question: “Did you find everything you were looking for today?”

Book Review (and Raffle!): Forrester’s ‘The Mobile Mind Shift’ Challenges Businesses to Change in The Mobile World

  
  
  
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This past weekend, I had four tickets to a concert (Arctic Monkeys, it was awesome), but two of my friends canceled. I found a buyer for the tickets, but I still had to somehow get the tickets to them, and they were electronic – and it was the day before the concert and I wasn’t near a computer.

Luckily, Live Nation understands that this kind of thing happens all the time, so “ticket transfer” is an option in their mobile app. All I had to do was type in the person’s name and email address, select the number of tickets I wanted to transfer, and VOILA! The tickets were transferred. My concert experience wasn’t spent trying to find someone in a crowd of thousands, and Live Nation didn’t have to waste resources in a call center to do this transaction.

This mobile moment is an example of the challenges and opportunities organizations have today in dealing with connected customers like me and their crazy-high expectations in the new mobile world. Most organizations see that there has been a change in customer (or employee) behavior, but still aren’t sure what to do about it.



PODCAST: What Can Augmented Reality Do For Field Service?

  
  
  
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In 2008’s Iron Man, Tony Stark gets information about his surroundings through his eyes, which display information superimposed on the visual field. Six years later, scientists have already produced contact lenses that provide a much-simplified version of this concept, with a little help from augmented reality.

Introducing TOAcast - The Field Service Management Podcast Channel

  
  
  
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At TOA, we’re pretty much always interested in talking about field service technology and what’s on the horizon for the industry as a whole. It’s our business to know what the field service universe is talking about, and we believe we can learn from people who are out in the field every day, experiencing firsthand what it’s all about.

What Field Service Pros Should Know About the Amazon Fire Phone

  
  
  
Jeff Bezos at the Amazon Fire launch

At a small gathering in Seattle today, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos officially unveiled the highly anticipated (and much expected) Amazon Fire Phone, Amazon’s first smartphone.

What is Field Service Management Done Right?

  
  
  
What is Field Service Management?

When I first started work at TOA Technologies, friends and family asked me a few questions about field service management. The most pressing being, “Uh, what is field service management?”

An excellent question, because it took me some time myself to grasp some of the basics. Now I know exactly what field service management is and, more important, what it is when it’s done right.

“Right” is the operative word here, seeing as TOA strongly believes in the necessity of dispatching “the right person, to the right place, with the right tools and parts, at the right time.” A mobile employee achieves all this righteousness through a field service management software solution offering a toolbox of cutting edge technology. This technology must continually adjust with a company’s changing business requirements. Whether a company or a consumer needs an elevator inspected, an ATM repaired, a sofa delivered, a bulldozer serviced or smart meter installed, all these tasks must be done right the first time.



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