Industrial wearables such as the RealWear HMT-1 and Navigator™ 500 are increasingly being used to help remote teams communicate more effectively. A leading use case for this is remote assistance — the process of a field-based employee (anything from maintenance technicians to EMTs) calling in the help of an expert that is located somewhere else, be that at a different location within the same facility, or on the other side of the world.
The value of devices such as RealWear lie in allowing video calls to happen in real-time, with remote experts able to see what technicians are seeing (via the built-in camera) and walk them through a resolution step by step. In addition, documentation relevant to the resolution can be accessed hands-free and viewed on the heads-up display.
The coordination challenge of remote assistance
RealWear’s use for remote assistance saw high growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, with Zoom and Microsoft Teams being the most commonly used apps to enable this. The video calling functionality of these apps provides what is needed, but a problem has arisen: the process of requesting remote assistance and reaching a remote expert can be difficult and unreliable.
The process of finding and connecting to an expert can be cumbersome and lead to dead ends: if the expert is not known by name or not available to answer a call, the field worker is left without a way to get help. In many cases the cumbersome process of creating a new meeting is enough for a technician to give up on remote assistance and delay resolving their issue.
- Image: A worker using a RealWear device (Source: RealWear)
Increasing the utilization of MS Teams or Zoom on RealWear
Our customers have voiced their frustrations with this hurdle, with some pointing out that it has a direct impact on the adoption and utilization of the remote assistance apps on RealWear. The negative outcome for the company here is twofold: firstly, they will not see satisfactory ROI on their hardware and software investments, and secondly, the best possible process (using remote assistance) is not being implemented.
This is why we designed a simpler way for RealWear users to reach remote experts through the JourneyApps Remote Assist Phonebook app for RealWear. The app integrates with Zoom and/or MS Teams to drastically simplify the process of connecting to a remote expert, reducing the time to do so by up to 80% – it only takes a few seconds to reach the right contact. The aim is to increase RealWear utilization and the frequency at which remote assistance resolves issues in the field.
The video below shows a comparison of using MS Teams on its own, and with the Remote Assist Phonebook:
Using this app in conjunction with remote collaboration software such as Teams or Zoom has benefits for different people within the organization:
The Benefit For RealWear Users
Field workers using RealWear devices on the ground feel the most immediate impact: they can connect to a remote expert much easier and much quicker. Where previously it may have taken multiple manual attempts to find and connect to the right person with MS Teams or Zoom, by automatically and instantly notifying multiple contacts who may be able to assist, technicians get connected to the right people in the fastest possible time.
This reduction in the time it takes to talk to experts helps drive adoption and utilization among technicians of RealWear devices for remote assistance.
The Benefit For Remote Experts
The experts on the other end of the line experience several benefits:
- Peace of mind that they will be notified whenever support is needed, as they receive notifications through multiple channels.
- They can connect from any device, meaning they do not have to be sitting in front of their computer to offer support.
- They will be notified when a support request has been answered and that support is no longer required in that instance. This will allow them to immediately return to their work and rest assured that the technician is getting the help that they need.
The Benefit For Those Managing RealWear Deployments
Those executives and managers overseeing the investment in, and deployment of, RealWear devices within their organization also have much to gain:
- Higher RealWear adoption and utilization leads to better ROI.
- Their user base should grow, meaning that they will be provided with more insightful analytics on their maintenance processes. This data can then be used to make more informed strategic and operational decisions.
- Their users can continue using systems that they already know (such as Teams or Zoom) and additional investment into other remote collaboration software is not required.
Remote collaboration between technicians and experts using devices such as RealWear and apps such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom is a growing phenomenon. A hurdle that some companies have encountered is the difficulty for technicians to reach an expert easily and quickly. This issue has threatened the adoption and utilization of these devices and apps, but the JourneyApps Remote Assist Phonebook app solves this challenge by drastically simplifying the process of getting connected to an expert.