Technology is changing at a whirlwind speed. What is a rage today can turn out to be a technology fad tomorrow. It is important to be responsive to change as new technological innovations are underlining success. Business leaders are trying best to keep pace with frantic speed of technology innovation. It goes without saying that changes in technology are defining disruption in each and every industry. Technology is defining the next phase — for your company, competitors, and industry. While each and every aspect of product development is going through change, maintenance and support activities should not be an afterthought.
Emerging technologies should be a key part of every company’s corporate strategy and software product support & maintenance services. Poor maintenance strategies can substantially hamper user experience.
Customer expectations about product support add crucial dimension product maintenance. In most cases the package of support services that must be offered—implicitly or explicitly—changes significantly from one market segment to another. While many companies break down markets in terms of product features and performance, few segment markets on the basis of customers’ support expectations. The result is that some support areas are over serviced while others are neglected.
How Emerging Technologies are changing Product Support & Maintenance
AI and Virtual Agents
Chatbots have created a massive buzz in different industry verticals as well as consumer applications. While this technology has generated a massive interest among technical experts, it is still in nascent stage and needs to deliver the promise in enterprise solutions. AI-powered Chatbot can help address critical challenges associated with supporting products with natural language understanding. Chatbot provides end users different ways of interacting with support services rather than just interacting with desk. This will also allow a support organization to scale new product domains, without having to scale its workforce proportionally.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
AR/VR technologies have attained a level of maturity needed for tech support scenarios. A field service agent can be trained on complex procedures with an AR-based app. Customer could be guided along to a specific AR-enabled procedure to identify and fix a problem himself after interacting with a virtual agent. The increasingly sophisticated nature of AR/VR capabilities will further scale support expertise beyond geographical, time, and even organizational boundaries
This technology trend can harness a holistic and wide ecosystem of knowledge sharing, in which a problem can be solved by someone who can provide expertise, and gets rewarded for offering those as a service.
Support for Intelligent Devices
It is an era of the connected world with devices being supported with sensors and monitoring capabilities to gauge information. With sensor-based data, technology support and product engineers will reply more heavily on predictive analytics, and proactively conduct repair or replacement tasks. To facilitate intelligent support, enterprises and large organizations will push for more standardization of data format, data collection platforms, as well as APIs for providing such data and analytics as service.
When it comes to ubiquity, cloud is the new standard. Cloud provides ubiquitous computing to support the future of innovation. The content generated by AI, AR or VR will help support applications can be managed and delivered through the cloud. In fact, cloud solutions will provide support in providing seamless product maintenance and support services, as well as scalability in tech support as well.
Artificial intelligence is transforming each and every industry imaginable. It refers to an intricate level of systems that change behaviors based on collection of data, analysis of use and more. As an integral part of AI, machine learning, solely focuses on the development of computer programs and algorithm that can learn, understand, communicate, plan, and act when merged with data. Contrary to popular belief, AI is focused on greatly augmenting human capabilities. It is not about replacing humans. Machines can accomplish tasks in faster, and humans can accomplish more together than separately.
Machine learning comes with tremendous potential not just for the creation of meaningful products and services, but also product maintenance and support services. AI, Machine learning and NLP are bringing an era of intelligence and automation that will reimagine processes, customer and employee experience, improved quality, eliminate errors, and ultimately change how business is done.
So why are so many reluctant to take suitable action? This approach eliminates the need for human customer service representatives to deal with common customer service issues such as refunds, finding lost items and changing passwords. Once tasks are handled through artificial intelligence, customer service agents can focus their time to more specialized and challenging tasks.
Extended reality is the term encompassing augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality, representing an entire gamut between simple, digital overlays and fully immersive digital experiences. Extended reality will help unlock a whole new world of opportunities with other technologies like AI and IoT. This requires seamless collaboration between hardware and software. Just imagine technicians repairing complicated products or machinery with schematics overlaying the real-world object. In such scenario, trainers can use the power of XR to create realistic simulations that mimic the real world.
XR can make a range of unsafe or specialized industrial activities easier to train for, from wind farm repair and oil rig firefighting to shop floor process optimization.
Emerging technologies can play a crucial role in not just deploying product support & maintenance and services, but also provide maintenance and support services powered by the latest technological advances. Product support and maintenance is not all about after sales or support. It transcends beyond just features and functionality and encompasses everything right from after-sales—to maintenance training, reliability engineering, and much more. As the market continues to mature and customers become more sophisticated, it is important to make technology an intrinsic part of product support and maintenance.