How will the Salesforce Thunder IOT cloud impact field service?

The internet of things promised new links from devices to the web. It has started to deliver at enterprise levels with cloud software models like the Salesforce IOT Thunder Cloud. Connecting those things to business, IOT can provide value in data efficiency, safety, and customer satisfaction. But how does IOT impact field service employees and service management teams?

As IOT becomes more widespread we may see an impact to the labor force in service related industries. Devices that can “phone home” present a competitive advantage over those that do not, and as the devices change, the role of the field service professional will also continue to change. Likewise, dispatch and management teams may elevate performance requirements for the employees in the field.

How will the Salesforce Thunder IOT cloud impact field serviceDecades ago, an appliance ad campaign featured a repair person who was seldom called. He was proud of his company uniform, but he rarely needed to visit the homes owning the appliances made by his superior quality brand. Recently the campaign had a reboot. It featured an athletic actor who coincidentally had sci-fi credit cache’. He actually moved in choreographed motions like the appliances he was describing while he was inside the consumer homes. Our machines now have such quality and we have so many brand choices that we can insist on very high standards with our devices and the people who service them.  And we can begin to insist that like all people, those devices are connected.

This past September at Dreamforce I watched Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris announce the Thunder IOT cloud and the strategic partnership with Microsoft using Azure. Energized by the presentation, I considered the impact this will have on field service. For example:

  • What will be the R.O.I. of devices completing service scheduling and dispatch instead of people?
  • Will human data entry quality change as professionals face field devices as informed co-workers?
  • What will be the best security models to protect device health from the eyes of a competitor?

To begin understanding the impacts and implications, I built a lab environment with a Raspberry Pi 2 and the Adafruit Windows 10 for IOT build. In the months ahead I will connect the device to Azure and the Salesforce Service cloud and run use cases for service related companies who are considering IOT.

Join me as I share my findings on this exciting new program. I will include my progress and lessons learned on this blog. Feel free to comment and provide use cases that you envision for IOT.

Photo credit: The Globe and Mail