By integrating its Copilot AI assistant into its field services platform, Microsoft is introducing generative AI to frontline field employees. This will streamline processes while also giving managers access to information on what technicians are doing on the job.
The first users of Copilot, which was first released in March and is already available on Microsoft 365 enterprise platforms, were desk-bound workers who needed AI to create content for PowerPoint presentations. (It differs from the identical service offered by Github.) With the addition of Copilot, the Dynamics 365 service utilized by field employees in facilities, manufacturing, and healthcare, including cable technicians and electricians, will now include Copilot.
Copilot will automatically pre-populate information, such as how many times the same customer has contacted Copilot for help, when service requests are received via Outlook. Before distributing the work order to field personnel, supervisors might review it. By the fall of this year, those work orders will also provide recommendations for certain workers based on their availability, travel distance, and skill set.
In order for managers to be aware of the state of a project and to assist in job prioritization, technicians can update their work status, i.e., if they have arrived at a place and begun resolving the issue and what specifically the problems are. They can also access information about job locations with fewer taps. Copilot will then assist in drafting service summaries for managers.
Customers will be able to see more information about the whereabouts of their technicians, and field personnel will do less busy work. However, as demonstrated by concerns from Google employees about suspected espionage through new calendar capabilities, high-tech technologies that make employee activities more visible can also drive closer scrutiny of individuals.
Additionally, Microsoft added 3D spatial annotations to Teams video chatting on mobile, allowing technicians to highlight problems like a broken screw by enclosing it in the video call. This eliminates the need for workers to repeatedly describe what they are seeing. The annotation will shift as the camera does. It appears to be comparable to the HoloLens 2 Teams video call’s remote assistance functionality.
Bringing generative AI to the field allows front-line staff members like technicians to work more quickly and intelligently, according to Lili Cheng, corporate vice president, Business Applications and Platform at Microsoft.
According to Cheng, who speaks to The Verge, “many field workers frequently rely on pen and paper, with most tools fragmented, so it takes a long time to complete jobs.” “We wanted to make their workflows more efficient.”
Current Dynamics 365 users already have access to Copilot. When evaluating the product, Microsoft collaborated with customers from all around the world, including Hitachi Solutions, the 9altitudes Group, and TechLabs London.