These kinds of mobile applications can account for workers’ immediate contexts such as time, location and traveling vector, and can match that with surrounding business context pulled down from the cloud. This may include the equipment or inventory they’re carrying, the level of importance of the customers they’re going to meet, activities of colleagues in the area, and so on. Knowing all that, the assistant can tell the worker, automatically and in no uncertain terms: “Your next meeting is with a VIP customer who wasn’t too happy with the last service call. But there is one item you don’t have with you that would be essential to making this visit perfect. Your colleague Joan is nearby and has that item; she doesn't need it for her tasks today. It would only add 10 minutes to your route to get to her current location. Would you like to do that?”
And when the employee shows up with exactly what is needed to fulfill the job, every time, that builds equity and trust with customers over time.
Much is being made in big tech about mobile personal assistants for consumers: Apple is engineering Siri to better anticipate user needs, Google is pouring significant investment into Google Now, and Yahoo acquired Intelligent Labs to put itself in the mix as well.
What hasn't been discussed as much is the potential for these same mobile assistants to change the game for field service personnel, i.e., those whose job involves interacting with customers and doing business at customers' homes and workplaces.
Howard Latham of Xora, a ClickSoftware company, offers five big ways that field service personnel can gain instant credibility (and brand equity for their firms) in the eyes of customers through the use of cloud-based, mobile personal assistants on their smartphones.