No travel? No problem?

May 19, 2020
Your service technician will “be there” shortly.

We recently shared a news release about HMS enabling virtual service technicians

HMS Networks' Jason Sprayberry

where travel is restricted due to the coronavirus. (Read it here.) As this trend of remote working only seems to be gaining more traction, we connected with Jason Sprayberry, HMS director of strategy and business development—IIoT, to learn more. Take a look…

Smart Industry: How do you define a virtual service tech?

Jason: A person who is able to troubleshoot, diagnose, monitor, program and otherwise manage a machine or device—without actually being there. 

Smart Industry: What limitations are there? 

Jason: Only physical limitations…for example, unplugging a cable or wiggling a connection.

Smart Industry: Is this development created by the COVID crisis or was this evolving over time? 

Jason: HMS Ewon has been around for more than15 years. We have almost 250,000 registered users globally. This program has been historically used for saving travel costs associated with sending a tech to a customer site. Now it is an essential tool for all of us who need to support our business related to remote assets, but are no longer able to travel during the pandemic.

Smart Industry: Who can most benefit from a program like this? 

Jason: Anyone with a remote machine/device and a programming or communications port. Machine-builders and device manufacturers are big beneficiaries, as they are able to provide real-time service through a virtual connection to the asset, often to fulfill warranty-contract requirements more cost effectively than putting an engineer on a plane to the customer site. Many businesses are leveraging machine connectivity to create new service-tech-as-a-service models, to enable new recurring-revenue streams as well. Most of our customers tell us that they pay for the device in the first avoided service trip. End users benefit in increased machine availability and just-in-time personal touch, which leads to overall customer satisfaction (a key metric for most manufacturers). Besides simply providing a virtual connection to a device, our solutions also enable real-time monitoring, dashboards and alerts to provide early warning indicators for problems before they happen. This predictive approach enables manufacturers to create proactive services for ultimate machine uptime.

Smart Industry: How does this change staffing/manpower needs? 

Jason: It enables us to keep resources safe and productive, where they matter most. Travel to remote sites is not only expensive, it creates a huge opportunity cost of that valuable resource being in the office most efficiently servicing dozens of other customers or tasks. Plus, who doesn’t love more time with their family? The cost of burnout for valuable personnel who are weary of the road-warrior lifestyle is quite high.

Smart Industry: Describe some high-risk areas where this would be particularly useful? 

Jason: During this pandemic, HMS solutions allow engineers and service techs to work from a safe place. During this global lockdown, virtually everyone is at risk just by leaving their home and circulating in public places. However during business-as-usual, there are always risk and safety concerns when working on industrial equipment. Working on equipment virtually is always safer than in person.

Smart Industry: What most excites you about this approach? 

Jason: We all wonder how we can make the world a better place. The wonder of modern IoT technologies is enabling the world to remain productive during the lockdown, something that was not possible even 20 years ago. More importantly, a key promise of IoT is making the world a safer place. At HMS we can take some pride in knowing that our solutions are keeping people (our most precious resource) out of harm’s way. 

Explore the myriad ways work is changing in these challenge times during Base Camp Digital. Find the upcoming and on-demand roster of webinars here.