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May 8, 2024 | 30 Mins Read

ABB’s Use of AR and AI to Modernize Field Service and Transform CX

May 8, 2024 | 30 Mins Read

ABB’s Use of AR and AI to Modernize Field Service and Transform CX


Episode 264

Join host Sarah Nicastro in an unscripted podcast conversation with Stuart Thompson, President of Electrification service division at ABB, as they discuss how ABB is using augmented reality and artificial intelligence to revolutionize field service and enhance the customer experience. Discover how ABB adapted to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, improved their AR and AI tools based on feedback, and their vision for the future of field service.

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Watch the podcast video here:

[00:00:06] Sarah: Welcome to the unscripted podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Nicastro. Today we are going to get an inside look at how a BB is using augmented reality and artificial intelligence to modernise field service and transform the customer experience. I'm excited to welcome to the podcast today, Stuart Thompson, who is the president for the Electrification service division at a BB Stewart, Welcome to the future of Field Service podcast.

[00:00:36] Stuart: Hey, Sarah. Nice to be here. Thank you.

[00:00:38] Sarah: Thanks for coming. So before we get into our topic for today, can you just tell everyone a little bit more about yourself? Your role? A BB? Anything you want to share?

[00:00:48] Stuart: Sure. Well, uh, you know, I'm AAA family man with, uh, with four kids, but, uh, at the same time, I lead electrification service for a BB. Uh, I've worked across four major, uh, global companies in the electrification industry. Um, probably the largest three were Alstom in France and the UK, uh, with GE. I was here in Australia, uh, China for quite a while and in the US. And for the last five years, I've been with a BB, um, electrification service. Uh, it's a a global organisation. we have nearly 3000 field engineers spread across 50 countries. Uh, we look after all kinds of electrification infrastructure from residential up to power plant. Um, from a customer segment standpoint, um, utilities and oil and gas are the largest customer group that we look after. We have the infrastructure also around mining, um, other critical infrastructures, data centres, and food and beverages growing quite quickly for us from a service perspective, Um, for a BB, uh, we're a large engineering firm. Uh, that looks after, you know, four key areas of business in electrification and automation. Uh, it's divided into four business areas of robotics. We're we're well known for robotics. Uh, we're known in the process automation industries in what we call motion, which is motors and drives primarily. And electrification is about half of a BB, uh, which is where we reside and and look after.

[00:02:28] Sarah: Hey. Excellent. You mentioned being a family man. Um, and that made me think I should share, uh, in case it becomes relevant that because of our time difference, it is evening here, which means my Children are home. So if any listeners hear any, um, you know, little boy energy in the background. I apologise in advance. Um so great, Stuart. So we're going to talk about, um, some of the ways that a BB is leveraging modern technology to really evolve service delivery, continue to modernise the customer, experience those sorts of things. But before we talk about how you're doing that, can you just sort of set the stage with a little bit of why you are doing that? So the factors that have led you to the point of, you know, the the journey that you're on today?

[00:03:21] Stuart: Yeah, Well, um, for us, everything really starts with the customer and the need around our customers in the field. Uh, I think we all experience that, uh, with digitization. There's a growing demand of instant support and faster support and, um, being closer to their sites and their assets, and in many cases, physically, that that's almost impossible. Um, so that that was one aspect. But the second aspect was I think many firms around the world are finding a labour shortage and and skills shortage, particularly in the electrical industry. With all this modernization of, um, electrification around the world, the growth in electrical industry versus oil and gas and others is significant, Um, especially as companies are trying to, uh, drive a more sustainable outcome. So you're seeing big movements in electrification. You're seeing extra demands in EV charging and other things around infrastructure, renewables, growth. So all of that is driving pressure on the industry and the growth in, um, you know, human power and capability to go and work in these areas. So customers are demanding more from us, but industry providing less and less workforce capability to go and serve that. So we had to look for alternatives A to help our workforce progress and grow, um, but also meet the needs and the expectations of customers. So they were the main two drivers, I would say that have helped us evolve and deploy our investments where we feel can achieve those results for us and our customers going for

[00:05:09] Sarah: Yeah, you know, it's an interesting, um, sort of dynamic of you have increased demand, but along with that, it's like you said, also increased expectations. You know, it's faster. It's more knowledge. It's, you know, all of these things, right? All while companies are struggling with, um, you know, finding talent but also the the redefining of what those roles look like, right. And in today's landscape. And, um, so, you know, fortunately, the technology is is, um you know, uh, sophisticated. Um, enough today to really play play a role here, but that's not to minimise. Um, the effort that comes in with, you know, changing the business processes accordingly, and and the offerings and then managing change and all of those things as well, which I'm sure we'll get into some of that. So you've sort of set the stage for, um What? Some of the the key variables are in where you are today. Can you tell us a little bit about you know, how you are turning to technologies like augmented reality and artificial intelligence to, you know, transform how you deliver a service?

[00:06:36] Stuart: Yeah, well, let me let me maybe go back a few years to a a time where, um covid was impacting a lot of the world, right? And we run a a global network of field service engineers. And one of the immediate challenges we had were getting people home as borders, closed flights, reduced et cetera, Uh, the first thing was the safety of our employees and getting them back home. But then the same challenge was happening for our customers that they need a global support. Some of these are multinational firms with facilities in the US, China and Europe, and they needed that support on a daily basis. Today we have about 100 engineers in the sky at any moment flying. Um, a lot of the work is domestically done, but we have international experts that travel in for very specialised application. And some of that challenge is keeping that know-how and knowledge, but also having a good work life balance for those field engineers. So they do get to spend time with their families at home. But we can also take that knowledge and scale that knowledge around the world. So during the times of covid, um, we had to a protect our people and get them home. Um, but they continue that service level to customers, and we've been working on augmented reality for a period of time. Uh, particularly in Europe, we've been doing design work. We've been doing factory acceptance tests of devices and products, uh, for customers which couldn't fly in internationally. Well, you had time constraints around visas and flight times and and travel. Um, so we've been doing it in a in a, um, in a in a safe sort of manufacturing environment. But not in the in the field. And we had a very large customer with a big commissioning project taking place in China. And obviously, that was one of the last countries people wanted to travel to during covid. Um, but also within China, there were a lot of restrictions as well. Um, so we took what was, uh, uh a a safe environment. And we deployed that to the field, and we went out to numerous vendors to find wearable devices and that that were applicable for field engineers to to wear that didn't get in the way, freed up their hands and their visual capabilities, but could also provide them with support and real time data and information at the site. Um, because there's a lot of pressure on that field engineer that the customer's demanding action. Um, and there's a lot of variabilities, but to have a team around you and supporting you while you're on that site, uh, was super important. Um, so we couldn't bring a lot of people in. We could ship assets and equipment. And so we were able to ship that in this case to China, and the Chinese engineers were already trained in basic electrical infrastructure and systems. However, they might not have had the deep domain expertise on the particular piece of equipment they were working on. And when they went in, we could then through, um, wearable devices, we could project onto the equipment and we could have engineers sitting in the US, in this case guiding them verbally and visually on the priorities and what to do and what not to do. Um, and they were able to communicate in English and that then the tools were translating into Chinese for the field engineers. So we weren't getting things also lost in interpretation and language. So we've been working on this for several years, but the acceleration that did for so many things even like the tools we're using today, um, it really gave us opportunity in the field. So we took that opportunity from the field and said, OK, could we use this more? And we ended up with another case with a mine down in Chile within a month after that exercise, and we were able to deploy it there. But this time it was between Germany and and, uh, Santiago that were doing that work. So we found a lot of functionality. People were open to using it because they had no other choice at that point in time. And we usually find in times of crisis like this, technology can move extremely quickly and people become much more open and adapt to using it. And customers become more friendly to the to the choice of the application. Because there was there was no other choice at that point. And as your infrastructure's down and not operating and you're losing millions of dollars a day in the chilly mine case, um, it was it was just absolutely essential to get it running but taken in by the customer and then even deployed by the customer later on with their own people, uh, to connect into us so that that was sort of around the evolution of it, where it came about. And then we've been evolving that over time because you get a lot of feed. I've got hundreds of engineers trying these tools and systems what they like, what they don't like. And like you said, the culture of change, there's there's less urgency for it now. Um, but some people have drifted back to traditional models, but there are a lot of advantages for us to use these tools and provide support in the field. Yeah,

[00:12:10] Sarah: so it's interesting. So you were sort of tiptoeing into it Covid happened and gave you the opportunity to dive in. Um, and it is interesting what you say. Um, because it it echoes some of what other people have said. But I read this article, Um, not too too long ago, and I'm not gonna remember where it came from or what exactly the the headline was that hooked me in. But essentially, you know, what they were saying is, um, the impact that covid had on companies in terms of them, you know, really recognising what they're capable of in leveraging these tools and in changing, um as quickly as they need to or being more agile. Or you know, all of the things that that companies had to do when things settle back down. Companies have gone in one of two directions. They have either let that fuel them and make them more passionate about what they're capable of. And they're innovating faster than ever before because it proved that they could do more than they thought was possible. Or they have fallen back into the warm embrace of complacency and then very happy that things went back to, you know, not having that urgency. And so, you know, some of the points you brought up, you know, without those restrictions and without the necessity of it, I've heard a lot of companies say, you know, yeah, we were using augmented reality. But, you know, our technicians just don't really want to do it anymore. Um, or our customers were open to different measures when it was the only option. But now they just really want someone on site. So I'm just curious how you've navigated those things. I think they're very real, um, challenges to expect. But also I think the companies that just concede and say, Oh, yeah, it's just too hard for them or our customers just don't want it, um, are going to fall behind the companies that push harder to keep on the journey. If that makes sense, And so I'm just curious. You know, how you've sort of helped keep things moving along, even if it isn't at the run pace. It had to be during covid.

[00:14:44] Stuart: Yeah, so an interesting point. So, behind the scenes, I would say, um, a a few years ago, our R and D spending in service activity, uh, was about half where it is today. And we're working on things that we'll deploy to the field in 2 to 3 years time. What? We got a lot of feedback on in the field during the crisis, Let's say, were certain features or functions that field engineers didn't like about it, you know, it was too cumbersome. Uh, you know, there was too much information. Oh, I couldn't get internet connection. You know, things were customers didn't had a cybersecurity risk on their site. So we've taken all of that feedback, and then we've doubled our R and D expenditure. We've now created entire lines of R and D expenditure in this place, um, in developing with third parties to make sure that the wearables are wearable and not something too cumbersome to start with. We've also looked at practical tools that help the engineer, Probably more from a safety perspective, because every engineer wants to be safe. All right, um and so we looked at those kind of aspects that help, um, drive adoption and, um, let's say easing the engineers into things like augmented reality. So I'll I'll comment a bit more on that in a minute. But we we've doubled down, right? Um, and and one of it is the front end tool. The others are the backend tools and the data. A lot of our data in Legacy services are on devices that were built 1020 30 years ago that field engineers are working on, and all that data is sitting on paper or if I show my age, microfiche or or other things in in datas and warehouses and things. So we're digitising a lot of that data and information today to make it more usable and usable friendly. So a field engineer could call up a drawing that typically sat in a factory archive somewhere, but it's readily available, and they can call it up. So the and functionality in the augmented reality is, uh, is realised if you like, and it wasn't back then um so there's a There's a back end of cleaning all the data and the information up to make it more usable at the front end. But there's also the aspect of, um, barriers to entry to the market and people wanting to use it and trying basic things. Most companies accept the safety aspect, right? And so wearable devices are the most basic kind. Um, could be like a watch that they're wearing, and it's detecting voltage. So as the person moves towards it, I Is it safe? Is it switched off? No, it's not. And I'd say a lot of electrical incidents are in place where people haven't done the right thing in switching things off and checking and double checking. So having it sort of like as a a safety reminder, like you're sensing in your car when you reverse it and the building you wearing it. And some of the most experienced people still forget to do stuff, and it will vibrate, and they're like, Oh, wow, it saved my life. So then they're more open to let's try something else and let's add something else. So you're not just trying to change the way I do my work. You're trying to make it better for me. So there's a personal factor in there and for customers as well. They don't want a safety issue or risk on their side, so they tend to adopt it. So last month we launched an augmented reality tool that actually shows you your arc incident level as you're walking towards the equipment and a little thing pops up on the goggle or on the glasses and it shows the person, Hey, you should have this safety equipment on before you get to the device and it's just a reminder it's held them. It's not changing what they do, but it be instead of the way they work. It supports them in their work, so we've done developments in that space. But, Sarah, we've we've gone that that double down. But a lot of it is in the background, developing the right products that we can then test in the field with the engineers and then deploy on cybersecurity. Um, we've also worked on, um, tools and systems just to create separation from from site localization of data and information. Um, so we've listened. We've taken the feedback, and then we've invested the money to find that, uh, softest route I would say to adoption.

[00:19:32] Sarah: Yeah, that makes sense. And I mean, there's a couple of points you made that I think are important. And the biggest is that you listened, right? I think that's something, too, that you know, the first generation of something that you, you know, put in place in the middle of a pandemic where it's absolutely critical to being able to conduct business might not be the perfect iteration, right? So being open to the fact of OK, so what do you like? What don't you like what works, what doesn't work and then continuing to evolve that The other thing, though, is you know, you mentioned at one point like, um the you know, I have to imagine there's certain pockets that have far more acceptance than others. For instance, I'm thinking of those international experts that, you know, if you're now able to give them the option to not be on that aeroplane all the time, because they can do this this way, right? That has to add tremendous value to them. And so I think another thing for companies is, you know, maybe try to not get stuck on the pockets of resistance. And instead look for the use cases or the applications within the business where you are getting positive. Traction focus there first, while the other pieces of it sort of come along and mature. You know, I think that's the other thing. Sometimes you know, at the first inclination of challenge or resistance. You know, it's just well, this isn't working, you know, and and maybe just, um, looking at it a bit differently.

[00:21:10] Stuart: Yeah, I think if you think about your field engineering, work it, it's hard work, right. There's a lot of travel. There's a lot of heavy equipment that you're lifting and out in the field. But some of the best field engineers we've got are nearing retirement, right, and so travel becomes more difficult. But the knowledge is there, and for them to be able to impart and share that knowledge with 20 people in a day instead of one when they're travelling to a site is much more attractive, right? And as the tools have become more intuitive that you can just talk instead of typing, You know, if I look at a 64 year old field engineer. They're usually not the best computer literate type is necessarily depending on their background. Um, but for them just to have conversation and talk like we are and the computer or the device in the background taking care of everything else, um, it becomes a lot more natural for them and helps them out. But from a customer's viewpoint as well, I can have, Um Well, we we have different levels of service support. I can have a level four technical, uh, expert from the factory online with you in minutes. Or if you wait a week, I can have them at your site. So they're taking it on. And depending on their sense of urgency, Yeah, they'd love to have the person at the site, but if they're losing a million dollars an hour with oil barrels, not rolling off the production line, very happy to have someone online and guiding them as well. And the other aspect here too. Sarah is, um, the companies themselves helping themselves so us giving them tools so they don't even need to wait for the ab engineer to get there. That, in the case of, um of the the chile mine that they they had technicians that knew that their site and knew their equipment. They could provide them with guided support and get themselves back up. And, yes, we could then schedule in a week or two, the ADB expert to be there. But we also knew a lot more before we got to the site so we could come more prepared. We could have the right equipment there. We weren't going into the unknown we were entering and becoming much more. Um, so as we gave those examples and we share those types of stories with other customers, they become more open. Um, but again, we have to be scalable. Um, some people don't want any data leaving a site. They worried, especially our data centre customers. They're extremely conservative. Even though they provide all this capability, them themselves are conservative. So we had to address that the wearability because back in 2019, these devices were like gaming devices. You know something? A kid would sit in a bedroom with, um, like my eldest son and, you know, and and play on computer games. They were too big, too cumbersome. But now We've got devices that are friendly. They're wearable. They're industrialised. They have features on them with a button instead of, you know, little tiny buttons to to operate. So some vendors have got some really good versatile products to go and work with. And we've had to adapt around them. Yeah.

[00:24:35] Sarah: Can you expand a bit on the artificial intelligence piece and how that weaves into this conversation?

[00:24:43] Stuart: Yeah. Um, so for me there there's really two types of artificial intelligence, and I think artificial intelligence today, uh, is getting a AAA mixed wrap in the market and in communications. Um, there was an article in Wall Street Journal that I commented on a couple of weeks ago, um, around artificial intelligence and how much energy it's consuming in Data centre, right? There's a lot of potential, you know, consumption of power that's going on. But at the same time, it can be a huge productivity material, uh, device for customers and for companies, uh, in the field. Um, so for us, there's there's two types of artificial intelligence. There's generative A I and, um, you know, there's, uh, around data and statistical a right using huge amounts of data to make decisions where we're using artificial intelligence on the generative side is helping pull together reports and information from the field for a customer again. That is in a, uh, a good format for the customer. And we can store the data and the information once we've done a site visit so the wearable device could be taking images or video of what's actually happened. Um, the report can be written the A. I can help write that report. The field engineer ticks some certain items. The A. I also looks into the user manuals and the application that we're applying it to and can also act as a safety device or as a quality inspection. So it's reminding the field engineer Oh, did you check this? Did you check that because you didn't check it off in your in your inspection report? Um, so it follows them up as well, and then it writes the report for the customer based on what the field engineer puts in it checks if they've left something out and then it stores and logs the data and information, whether it's the photos, the videos, the technical, uh, recording information that we do uh, the performance of the asset that we've been working on and then logs that information into the service database. So both we and the customer can pull that information up in the future. Um, but the A I can take care of that and help facilitate that. We looked at it for our fleet of field engineers alone and for field engineers. We were saving between 2 to 3 hours a week of report writing and systems. So just for us alone, that was $30 million a year, right?

[00:27:23] Sarah: And then it's probably something they hated doing. Or at least most people you know. It's like the number one complaint is the paperwork

[00:27:32] Stuart: When you're reporting when you travel, Um, the last thing you want to do when you leave the site at eight o'clock at night is you want to get home with your family or get back to the hotel and rest. And it became also an aspect of work life balance for people, right? So I could either monetize that in, um, savings for the company, or I could give that time back to the field engineer to do something else or training or you know, even even having downtime and and time off instead of working overtime, right? So it it gave us options around productivity. The other area around a I, um, is around self-service and support for the customer. So some of us have seen those annoying, you know, phone support systems, and, you know, uh, chat bots and stuff, but the the technology is getting much better. Um, and the amount of times our field engineers get called out for the most basic thing, and and we're charging the customers hundreds of dollars an hour. We drive all that way and just find it simple switch or something like that. So we're using a I now to do a self guided support for the customer, but then also enable the customer to upgrade that support to things like augmented reality, an online support person, a call out or a service rate to come to the site. So the A I manages that in the background it helps guide them. The third area we're using it through is for optimisation, so we have field engineers that are very well trained across the globe. You might have one in America and one in Europe and one in Asia, all working on the same types of equipment. Um, we have standard operating processes, but maybe the the person in Europe's found a different way of doing something on the person in the US is using a better tool. The A. I can sit in the background and monitor that from, uh, the augmented reality and then help us try to optimise and give us feedback and say, Hey, this may be a better way of doing it and we can optimise our processes going through so it makes the environment interactive, but it also has a learning aspect. Do it in the background, and it's not just the machine that's learning. It's the processes that we use. The last area of A I is around predictability around assets. So as we do the service on the on the asset, it's starting to predict when the next service needs to be done, because when we design a product and put it to the field, it's it's in a what I would consider a laboratory type environment. But if it's in a humid environment or a dry climate or environment, low temperature, high temperature, the behaviour of those assets varies quite a bit. So we're able to help model that with the different service. And we can that the greasing of the years needs to be done more in one environment versus another. And over multiple years we're creating models and algorithms to then go back to customers and provide them service recommendations and based on real data and not on theoretical data. So a I for us has been busy since, uh, 2014. We've been working on it, but we're applying it in many different areas across services.

[00:31:03] Sarah: Yeah, you know it. It's really useful to hear those specific, um, examples because I think, you know, you mentioned the article you contributed to and the energy consumption, uh, within the data centres that you know a I is is causing. I think there's also a mental energy expenditure that is happening because of all of the buzz that it's getting. And I think you know, there's this challenge of separating out what's buzz from what is a good business case? And I think companies sometimes get really caught up in OK, well, it's in all of these headlines or it's everywhere so we need to be doing all of it when in reality, you know, you have to really look at you know, some of those specific points you, me, you mentioned, um, you know, are just surfaced by really examining the processes and thinking about, you know, not Can we get rid of all of our technicians with a I But what can we offload from their plates? That is, you know, monotonous. That is, You know, um, duplicative, et cetera, et cetera. And, you know, leverage the technology to really free them up to, um, like you said, have more time, have better work, life balance, have less stress, you know, whatever the the things are, Um, and then in turn, the benefit that brings the business. But I think there's a lot of distraction. Um, that is coming with with all of the buzz as well that people need to be conscious of.

[00:32:43] Stuart: Yeah, I think, um, a I is used in a very broad term. Um, a lot of people, um, tack a I on to everything that they talk about, whether it is real or not. And I also feel that with a I, um, it's a little bit of the unknown at the moment, so people are apprehensive. They're scared. What is this going to do? But the way that we've approached it, like you said, is look at things that are our pain points, things that we have trouble resolving or fulfilling. And we do these engagement surveys with our field engineers every year there. There's two things we do for our field engineers. Every year we have an engagement survey, so we hear from them around. What's their challenge at site and what's going on? I couldn't hire three more people this year. I. I don't have enough capacity. How do we get more capacity? So that's a common one, and the the one is the safety stand downs we do every January. We bring all our field that we train them. But that training's changed now that training has gone into different directions to help them understand that, Yeah, you can talk to it instead of typing to it, and we did the same with electric vehicles. You can drive the or drive the standard combustion engine and you can see what's going on, and we can apply these, you know, greener options in some areas, Um, but because they are viable now, but we we can't apply it in every area for sure. But we have to be practical and pragmatic about it. And I think with a I, um it's a a conscious investment, and I think data and managing our data and information has been a, uh I would say within the industry has been a poor thing. A lot of things were on paper and, you know, handwrit and stuff. And now we're collecting that to make better decisions and provide better outcomes for customers at the end of the day. So we have to embrace it.

[00:34:43] Sarah: And to your point about all that background work that you're doing with the data piece, you know, that isn't the the sexy part that gets the headlines. But you can't do any of those bits without doing that work right. And I and I think that's another misconception. Companies think that somehow it's magic or somehow they can skip that, and you're absolutely right. I don't You know, I don't think there's, um you know, many companies that have their data, you know, cleaned and structured in a way that they could just, you know, get to it, right? There's this arduous process of, um, you know, getting things, uh, put together in a way that allows you to do, you know, the things that you're doing. So that's another kind of real side to it that doesn't get discussed enough. Yeah,

[00:35:37] Stuart: there's a huge amount of money spent on doing that and maintaining that and having it in a usable format. And we've seen companies like Google and Amazon just live off data and data management and leverage it extremely hard. Traditional industrial firms didn't manage it very well, and, uh, we we are not perfect. Do not get me wrong. We are spending a lot of time and a lot of money, but a lot of these people are. The true heroes are putting this data in the right format because when you're in the field, to be able to access that information very quickly and have that before you walk in is very powerful for both the individual at the site, but all so to the customer that we can talk because no longer can you just have a field engineer sitting there 24 7 out of sight working at the same site. We don't have enough people to do all of that for the growth in the industry, but to empower them and enable them, they have the confidence. They know what they're getting into. They can be prepared for it. And the customer sees that value. So that investment is a long term investment for us. Yeah,

[00:36:47] Sarah: absolutely. So, um, I'm curious. You know what you envision when you think about where this will be in 3 to 5 years. So all of the work you have done, you are doing, you know, you mentioned that you are are working now to develop, uh, you know, the tools that will be in place in 2 to 3 years, et cetera. So, you know, what do you envision in 3 to 5 years when it comes to how a BB will be leveraging these tools and potentially others?

[00:37:24] Stuart: Yeah, I think in in in 3 to 5 years, the, um, it'll be a real interactive process with the field engineer. The field engineer will be at site, uh, with a whole network of people behind them. Um, in the factories in the offices, um, providing them support. Um, I think in 3 to 5 years, a lot of the field service work, um, will be divided between an interactive approach with the customer doing work and us doing work as well. The most basic work will be done by the customer, and we'll empower and enable them to do that. Um, and we will be able to provide that higher level of support. I expect that things like breakdown call outs and that will be reduced dramatically. I expect longer term service agreements and contracts to be the norm. Um, and people will buy, uh, various levels of service support. Um, and they will be using, you know, handheld devices to call people in and do it from an A BB perspective. I think we are pushing towards predictability. Um, a lot more around predictability people using the term predictability for years now. Um, but I would say 90% of companies are either time based maintenance, support or or breakdown type support. Um, going forward and true benefits of this will come with data and information about the assets on the site. And so I think we'll be more proactively going to customers with real examples and information to support it to say, Hey, your equipment can keep running. We don't need to have a service intervention for another 2 to 3 years. Now, um, keep it going. Um, And then we will then be providing you support when it is needed or in reverse. Uh, we only had a shutdown two months ago, but we're already seeing issues, and we can be more so a much more proactive and interactive approach with customers, uh, going forward. I think, for the field engineer themselves, um, there'll be a lot more wearable devices that they will wear. You know, we've seen, um, you know, even in, uh, police forces people wearing body cams and stuff like that, I think for field engineers, similar type things will be available. Um, but again, I think people will be a lot more open to these devices as they become, uh, supporting them and and supporting their environment to make them better. I think things will be a lot more verbal and communicated verbally and then documented, uh, in in database systems. So we're excited about it. I think, um uh, we're hiring a a real good young generation of engineers we're trying to take, uh, the knowledge and the know how of those truly experienced engineers into account as well and trying to keep the balance in their in the life cycle of a field engineer, uh, into into support as well. So, um, the technology is wonderful. Um, it's how do we apply it? How do we make it easy and again, you're still gonna have some parts of the industry that will be very traditional, But we will learn from those that aren't. And I think probably the last thing is sustainability is going to become a much stronger push. You know, between the the leading cases around the Paris Climate agreement, the European directives, the Inflation Reduction Act in the US is driving huge investment. I think companies are gonna look for their service support to have a lower carbon footprint. But service is also gonna be called in to help transition sites and upgrade facilities so that they have that greener footprint and in five years time, that is gonna be a huge driver rather than just keeping operations running. How do you keep it running longer? How do you greeny that operations? How do you integrate new things into that operations going forward. And all of that's gonna give you more data and more information that can then help the field engineer or help the company deploy things

[00:41:52] Sarah: better. Yeah, absolutely. It is exciting. Um, my last question, Stuart is Do you have any words of wisdom for anyone listening that, you know, maybe has had their fits and starts? Or has, you know, been struggling to determine where and how some of these more advanced capabilities fit into their business? Any words of wisdom on you know how to look at it, how to get started? Um, mindset approach. You know anything there?

[00:42:26] Stuart: OK, so first thing is, it's It's a long journey, right? It's not something you and it will be up and running. Um, second thing is, find your early adopters. Um, there are companies out there that are willing to try things and do things, and it's usually based on their pain points. So those that are struggling for support or those that don't have enough of their own resources to do the work are probably more open. Talk to the person on the site and get their buy in It's not just the C suite, and sometimes the C suite have their objectives. Um, but it it goes against the the the site manager or the person at the site, and you need to help bridge that relationship going forward. So it it is long term. Find your early adopters, look at customer pain points and start implementing their to those early adopters, um, and then start that journey going forward. But as you also mentioned Sarah, it's not just about the front end tool if you don't have the tools to feed the front end tool, so you need to do both right. There's no point in putting in a halo lens at the front. If you've got no data in the background, um, it becomes a toy, um, so build it and then focus it in a particular area in a particular industry, a particular customer base and a particular problem and then build. From there. Our focus point started from covid right and and we had a problem. We moved on. We listened, we took it, and then we moved forward from there. So I think, um, yeah, it's, uh, it's an interesting journey. Um, there's a lot of different opportunities out there. There's still very traditional customers that we want to look after. Um, but a lot of young talent that we have coming in are super interested in these technologies, and it helps us attract people to the industry as well trying out these new

[00:44:22] Sarah: things. Yeah. No, it is interesting. Sort of this in between, you know, people that are more traditional, more resistant people that are, um, you know, talent and customers who are more innovative, who want to try these different things. And I think, you know, there will be this period of time where you need to serve both, uh, parties and keep working toward you know, where things are heading. Um, and so really appreciate you coming and and sharing all of your insights, Uh, enjoyed the conversation. And it's been wonderful information. So thank you, Stuart.

[00:44:59] Stuart: Yeah. Thank you for having me, Sarah. It's been great.

[00:45:02] Sarah: You can find more by visiting the home of unscripted at future of Field The podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more at, as always. Thank you for listening.