A Use Case for Digital Field Service With the Microsoft HoloLens

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The Microsoft HoloLens platform was introduced in the Spring of 2016 as an Augmented Reality (AR) solution to provide a new set of digital capabilities for organizations to consume and visualize products. Since that time several examples have been published by Microsoft to demonstrate real world scenarios. For this article, I will be walking through a use case of how the Microsoft HoloLens provides a solution for remote field service technicians utilizing the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service platform.

Platforms

  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service – business process platform
  • Microsoft HoloLens
  • Microsoft Skype
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service App for Microsoft HoloLens

The interesting item to note is that all the process and technology elements in this article are based on readily available technology that you can purchase today from Microsoft to either test and validate a use case at your organization or deploy into production use today!

Use Case Was Framed From an Actual Client Request

The client specifically requested the following:

  • The need exists to service and support a machine at a customer location
  • The equipment is in a geographic location that has a high cost of travel
  • Expertise of the equipment is limited in the remote area, however, stronger knowledge is located at a corporate location
  • Local service staff is available immediately for support
  • 4G LTE or Wi-Fi capability is available at the remote location/plant
  • Both team members will need to access the Dynamics 365 Field Service application to review and capture work order details
  • The ability for each team members to communicate via Skype to enable remote visibility from the corporate location

The following list details the platforms we are using today—current capabilities of the Microsoft solutions. We will walk through all the steps of how this use case is resolved and acted upon, all with existing technology that your organization can consume today.

  1. Microsoft HoloLens – Developer or Enterprise edition
  2. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service
  3. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service – HoloLens Application
    • On the HoloLens we visited the Windows Store and downloaded the Field Service mobile application.
      hololens use case
    • From the Microsoft Store, install the Mobile solution on the HoloLens, which will be used for access to field service data.
  4. Microsoft Skype for Windows 10 (both for Desktop/Notebook computers and Microsoft HoloLens)
    hololens use case

Process Scenario for our HoloLens Field Service Solution

Within the service organization of the manufacturing company, a field service booking is set for a technician and they are assigned to a work order. The technician is dispatched to the customer site and updates their progress via a mobile device running the Dynamics 365 Field Service app (in this example, an Apple iPhone 7 Plus). When the tech arrives on site, their status is updated again using their mobile device or notebook computer.

hololens use case

As they are to begin service of the machine, the physical environment of the system requires that your interactions are hands on. Because of this interaction and the fact that there are multiple documents you will need to review, the Microsoft HoloLens provides you the immediately flexibility to use your physical environment to “park” applications in various spots around you as well as use the Dynamics 365 Field Service mobile app for managing the details of your work order.

The technician can then turn on HoloLens and connects to local Wi-Fi or mobile hotspot—using the same network capability that is built into Windows 10—making it a user friendly experience to find a Wi-Fi network and connect. Based on the equipment/machine in question at the customer site, the technician can access the company extranet (via Dynamics 365 Portals) to show the proper documentation via the Microsoft Edge browser. Below is an example image of what the service technician will see via their HoloLens.

hololens use case
You can see the Skype person you are speaking to—and the person speaking to you can see what you are looking at—real time. In addition, you can draw arrows and lines to highlight important aspects of your work.

By placing all the windows onto local surfaces (of the physical environment) for reference, the technician can quickly view documentation and continue work. Examples include:

  • Reviewing documentation via Microsoft Edge—scroll, pan, zoom—using gestures
  • Updating the field service work order – input of text via speech to text with Cortana
  • Recording a video clip using the recording capability of the HoloLens and attaching to the work order
  • Snap a picture using the photo capability of HoloLens and attaching to the work order

A Skype call is made from the remote location to the home office so that both the service technician and service lead can share real time visuals to view issues with the customer’s equipment. When the work tasks are completed, the service technician can complete the work order via the HoloLens user interface.

HoloLens Use Case
You can open the Dynamics 365 Field Service Work Order to review details about the work at hand while speaking to the person on the Skype call.

To summarize, the capabilities we have walked through are using all off the shelf capability of the Microsoft platforms today. Please contact us if you would like to learn more and experience the Microsoft HoloLens with Dynamics 365 for Field Service. We can provide an overview of the end to end process as well as create a proof of concept (POC) for you to work with your service operations team.

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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