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Imagine remotely monitoring the temperature of a motor that’s whirring away in your customer’s building, and then predicting their service issues using artificial intelligence. Think about putting your engineering experts right there with your field technicians—wherever they are in the world.

This used to be the stuff of science fiction. Then, it was the preserve of the world’s largest and most visionary manufacturers.

In the last couple of weeks, however, all that’s changed.

Recent Microsoft announcements about new IoT technologies have brought connected field service within the reach of all manufacturers—regardless of size and in-house IT resources.

Every manufacturer can start remotely monitoring products

That means you can start connecting, configuring, and remotely monitoring your products—and performing predictive maintenance—with no need to develop your own software. And that’s great news for your customers and your business.

Grundfos, for example, uses Microsoft Azure IoT solution accelerators and Microsoft Dynamics 365 to monitor and communicate with its smart water pumps that predict, prevent and react to water issues, helping its customers provide safe drinking water, improve sanitation, and increase crop yields.

Every manufacturer can get smart about service

AI (artificial intelligence) is another technology that’s rapidly moved from science fiction to fact-of-life. It’s also an essential part of connected field service—and customer service in general—orchestrating virtual agents, surfacing insights into customer service data, and helping human agents take the best course of action.

And with the new Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI for Customer Service app, these AI-powered capabilities just joined the mainstream too.

Every manufacturer can put their experts everywhere

What if your subject matter experts could visit customer sites from the comfort of their desks? Well, now they can.

Chevron is already using Microsoft remote assistance and virtual reality technology to put its experts where they need to be—on the floors of oil refineries and lubricant plants. This technology is revolutionizing the experience of the company’s front-line workers, improving the company’s performance, and accelerating global collaboration. The combination of AI, mixed reality, and remote assistance will help power connected field service, and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist will help to accelerate mixed reality adoption.

Want a new level of awareness? Meet Digital Twins

Digital Twin technology is another exciting development for manufacturers, and Microsoft just publicly previewed Azure Digital Twins at Microsoft Ignite.

Azure Digital Twins is tightly integrated with Dynamics 365 for Field Service, and lets organizations create digital replicas of physical spaces and infrastructure—virtually modeling people, places, and devices, as well as the relationships and interactions that bind them together. It lets you apply the latest spatial intelligence capabilities to everything from your product lifecycle management data to information from your sensors and IoT devices.

The result is a whole new level of context and awareness. Imagine—before your field technician responds to a service call, they can view a 3D model of the affected machine and its environment, overlaid with the real-time data on the issue, and even the unit’s operating history.

Take the first step with Connected Field Service

Right now, every manufacturer is somewhere along the journey toward a Platform as a Service (PaaS) model; connecting field services is the natural first step.

The data you’ll capture from your remotely monitored products, contact center activity, and smart field service interactions is exactly the data you’ll need to develop new PaaS solutions—while reinventing your existing products to better suit customer needs.

Learn more in our Connected Field Service for Manufacturing e-book here.