Geolocation and Field Service: It's Not Just for Stalking Facebook Friends

Posted by Avigail Shabtai

Mon, Dec 10, 2012

Geolocation and Field Service: It's Not Just for Stalking Facebook FriendsOnce only available for government, science and space utilization, geolocation has now become mainstream for anyone who has an internet enabled device. Geolocation can be a fun novelty for Facebook and other social media users, and geolocation can also be a very handy tool to locate a lost phone or find someone who might be in trouble.

Geolocation works through internet enabled devices that have GPS (Global Positioning System) enabled. The GPS sends a signal via a satellite network that identifies the location of the device. The accuracy is quite impressive, coming within just a few meters of the devices. Mobile apps such as Google and others allow you to see a recent satellite image of the location of the device. Smartphones and tablet computers typically have a GPS chip installed that can be turned off or on depending on the user's preference. If the chip is turned off, no location information will be transmitted.

Now geolocation has entered the business world and can be particularly helpful in the logistics and transportation industries for finding trucks or tracking valuable merchandise. The field service industry can also benefit greatly from the use of geolocation solutions.

Some of the areas where geolocation can be used for the field service industry include:

  • Track and monitor field service tech location - once the tech logs into the software, a notification can be sent regarding the location and availability of the tech so dispatch and managers can plan out the schedule accordingly.

  • Note appointment delays - with geolocation capabilities, dispatchers can use software that calculates the time it will take for the field service tech to arrive at the scheduled work site. If the geolocation travel time calculates a delay, the dispatcher can notify the customer, which will help the customer's service experience.

  • Manage productivity - when your business is looking for ways to complete more jobs per day, geolocation can help by examining the routes that techs take to get to work sites as well as help in managing the amount of break time that is utilized throughout the day.

  • Anticipate traffic issues - drivers can be notified in real time of issues where there could be traffic delays or weather hazards. There are capabilities to offer alternate routes which will help your techs to get to the work site on time.

  • Encourage teamwork - geolocation can advise techs and dispatchers of the location of other techs in the area who might be able to assist with a more difficult job or offer tools or spare parts if needed for the job.

  • Customer communication - having the ability to notify customers when service techs are minutes away will give a head's up and help with the overall customer experience.

Some people might be concerned about all of the technology that tracks locations and whereabouts throughout the day. The good news is this technology is strictly optional and is up to the business on how best to use geolocation for normal work day use. The overall benefits of geolocation can make a significant improvement for businesses to increase productivity and to better service their customers.

Tags: Field Service Optimization, Field service management software, Workforce Management Tips