The Era of Connected Field Services with Microsoft Dynamics 365


With businesses using connected devices to provide agile services and solutions to their customers, they are also looking for ERP and CRM solutions to procure information from these connected devices to provide a 360-degree view of daily operations. Now that employees can carry connected devices and report activities from the field, real-time data becomes a common business asset.

It is expected that there will be 75 billion connected devices in the world by 2025. With these devices consistently streaming in data, manufacturers can analyze product performance data in real-time. Manufacturers can offer predictive maintenance services or pay-per-use pricing tiers that proactively address complications, offer replacement parts to customers, and adjust future design iterations.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 includes capabilities to help businesses that perform field service leverage the IoT. According to InfoWorld, Connected Field Service allows smart products to report service issues or other problems themselves. This particular CRM feature offered by Microsoft Dynamics 365 means the smart products purchased by consumers can play a part in their own maintenance and businesses gain direct insight into customer application of goods.

Connected Field Services-

Field service change with technology changes. Paper-based, on-site systems have given way to field service management software and cloud-linked solutions. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality,unmanned systems, and more will continue to reshape business models and customer experience touchpoints within field service and manufacturing. These revolutionary technologies can help manufacturers generate greater revenue and improve the overall customer experience.

Connected field services which are changing the phase of manufacturing industry includes-

Wearables and haptics :

  •  Glasses and contact lenses – A field technician can see customer data and warranty information or manuals etc.
  •  Voice and gesture control.
  •  Health Monitors – These wearables could monitor breathing, heart rates, and much more for technicians working in hazardous environments.
  •  Haptics – Best fit for service industry based on science of applying tactile sensation to human interaction with computers.

Robotics and Automation:

  •     supplementing human technicians with robot technicians

Unmanned Devices and Drone Technology :

  •  Self-driving cars (According to a study by the University of Texas at Austin researchers, shared self-driving vehicles use 12% less fuel than average cars.)
  •  Drones (The New York Times proved the likely rise of drones in manufacturing and field service work with multiple industry leaders endorsing drone technology in field service due to towers, huge industrial complexes and other hard-to-survey areas )
  •  Aerial mapping and Thermal imaging devices.

Augmented and Virtual reality :

  •  3D elements for technician trainings to improve productivity (Deloitte’s research with the Manufacturing Institute shows a need for 3.5M manufacturing jobs by 2025. Based on skills gap issues, 2M of these jobs will likely go unfilled because manufacturers often cannot find qualified candidates with the skills to fill them.)
  •  Virtual headsets and dashboards for automotives (Ford Motor Company is working with Oculus Rift on a virtual reality headset based around the shell of a car)

MS Dynamics Technologies for IoT

With IoT, the opportunities are endless for Dynamics 365 and Field Service to work together. Such opportunities range from devices that help emergency services in search-and-rescue operations to energy companies using predictive technology and smart alerts to help identify problems as early as possible, thus enabling prevention. Machine-to-machine communication has been used in the field service industry for years, but, IoT has now expanded these capabilities beyond just the one-to-one level of communication.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service

With IoT and Dynamics 365, machines and equipment can send status updates, also providing location information, and other condition-based, servicing data. This will enable customers and businesses to locate machinery and figure out how to get to it with the best resolutions; correct replacement parts, and the right technicians to resolve issues . For example is when an alert is triggered when a sensor exceeds its temperature threshold. From the information collected into Dynamics 365, the sensor is able to decide the next steps whether it can be fixed remotely or requires manual intervention. If intervention is needed, the device will use Dynamics 365 to allocate the most suitable worker for the job. The ‘smart’ alert would be able to advise what tools are needed for the job, the skills required, the estimated time required to fix, and how urgent the request actually is. When necessary, it can even automatically advise all users of the temporary outage and provide an expected resolution time.

Azure IoT Suite –

The Azure IoT is designed to connect devices directly to Microsoft integrated solutions. The Azure IoT is able to collect data from these devices and consolidate the information where it can be compiled and analyzed. Any device can be connected through Azure IoT, which can include smartphones, tablets, and other proprietary mobile systems. Many companies today use sensors and other mobile devices to gather information, which can range from customer service information to equipment data. Once the data has been collected, MS Dynamics CRM can take the information and analyze it.

Data Analysis through MS Dynamics CRM-

Predictive maintenance, remote monitoring, and better security can all be achieved through Azure IoT. But the tool that organizations are likely to use most is Azure Machine Learning. Azure Machine Learning takes the consolidated information that is gathered through Azure IoT and then analyzes it. Insight gained from this analysis can be used in a variety of ways, such as monitoring customer satisfaction or determining when maintenance may be required on equipment.

Azure IoT Security-

In addition to better data, Azure IoT can also improve upon security. By tracking and connecting to IoT devices, Azure IoT can make it easier for these devices to be managed. Once devices are logged, the changes that they make to the network and the traffic that they push through the network can be monitored. Azure IoT puts all of this information under the control of the network administrator, so they can make informed decisions regarding the health of their infrastructure.

Proactive Access and Response makes it more efficient as Internet of Things devices often gather data at a speed that is far beyond what the organization could otherwise achieve.

Equipment sensors and field agents will be able to give real-time reporting and maintenance information to the company’s system, thereby providing them with the data that they need to make proactive decisions. The faster the response, the better customer service a company can provide. Though it may be an incredibly impressive feature, the new IoT tools are only one of many improvements that Microsoft has made. Microsoft has remained committed to improving upon both the engagement and data analysis of its CRM solution. If you want to make the most out of MS Dynamics CRM, then contact Advanz101

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