Product Development

Watson for Field Service is Transforming the Electronics Industry

An electronics manufacturer’s ability to provide cost-effective post-sales support helps it to stand out from the competition.  Service delays, repeat service visits and lengthy repair times lead to negative client satisfaction and high service costs. To address this issue, IBM’s Watson for Field Service is helping electronics companies manage and monitor their support costs, as well as forecast future costs.

Electronics devices are becoming increasingly complex. They have more embedded sensors, generate more data and are often interconnected via an IoT platform. At the same time, the device life cycle is increasing, as are the variety of component configurations.

Electronics companies spend a great deal of money annually on field service education and employee retention.  It can take years for a technician to become proficient at fixing complex, integrated equipment. That becomes more of a challenge for companies amid employee turnover and as older, experienced technicians approach retirement age.

The role of a service technician can be stressful.  To diagnose and resolve an issue quickly, the technician needs not only experience but the ability to retrieve information quickly and to seek backup assistance from technical support experts. Service technicians are often measured on:  repair time, first time fix rate, parts used to repair and overall client satisfaction. There is continual pressure to do more, with less, and faster.

IBM Watson for Field Service

IBM Watson for Field ServiceIBM Watson for Field Service addresses these industry challenges by providing cognitive insights that will augment technician expertise and promote service efficiencies.  IBM Watson for Field Service can access information from multiple sources, and analyze structured and unstructured data to accelerate and improve diagnosis and repair. Watson will provide the technician with suggested repair actions with a degree of confidence indicated, and also recommend parts, tools and preventative maintenance support.

With Watson for Field Service, service will improve.

It is very important to note that Watson for Field Service is continually learning.  Watson monitors:

  • Which clients or devices are generating the most service calls
  • Which devices and components are failing most often
  • Which technicians or clients are consuming the most parts and labor

By analyzing this data, IBM Watson for Field Service can predict future operational costs and help avoid some of those costs. IBM Watson for Field service will:

  • Improve first time fix rate
  • Reduce on-site time
  • Reduce parts usage
  • Improve client satisfaction

Electronics companies are using Watson for Field Service to transform their operations in support of superior post-sales support.  We need to understand the pain point the service provider is experiencing: Is it service call volume or duration? Is it quality of service? Or do they have a parts inventory issue, high carrying cost or distribution issue? Watson for Field Service will help them address these issues.

Visit to learn more about solutions that are bringing intelligence to automated self-service.

For more information, please contact Ken Pace or David Bradford.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of  IBM.

Subject Matter Expert, IBM Global Electronics Center of Competence

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