Salesforce on Wednesday announced a series of new AI-powered tools designed for mobile workers.
The enhancements to Field Service Lightning -- a platform that enables workers to respond to customer service calls and engage with customers on site -- cover three areas: image recognition, equipment management and analytics.
The first new feature, Einstein Vision for Field Service, uses deep learning to help field service agents. Companies can use pre-trained image classifiers or train their own classifiers to handle various, specialized image recognition use cases. For instance, a field technician may respond to a call about a broken appliance, only to arrive on scene and find a third-party part he's not familiar with. With Field Service Lightning, he can now take a picture of the part and ask Einstein to identify it within his company's database. The service can identify it and automate follow-up actions, such as ordering replacement parts.
Next, the new Equipment and Inventory Management service leverages scheduling automation to ensure work crews, equipment and trucks are deployed efficiently. For example, a cable company dispatcher could use it to determine which technician is closest to a customer and has the right cable splitters to get the customer's cable television set up.
Lastly, the new Field Service Analytics feature offers a pre-built analytics dashboard for Field Service, enabling managers to easily evaluate their workers' productivity. It's customizable but also comes with out-of-the-box metrics such as "mean time to repair" or "average travel time."
Field Service Lightning was launched last year as part of Salesforce's Service Cloud, which has existed for around a decade.
"The platform allows us to stay at the forefront of every technological shift we've seen in customer engagement over the last decade," Mark Bloom, senior director of Strategy and Operations for Service Cloud, told ZDNet.
That's included the shift to mobile, the growth of social networks and tools like video chat. About a year ago, Salesforce noted that "a number of organizations were delivering field service but without a connected solution," Bloom said. While it was an evident problem for organizations like equipment manufacturers, Bloom said Salesforce has been pleased to see the service take off within a range of industries, including the financial and health sectors.
"All organizations have demands for mobile solutions, for collaboration with their own employees and engagement with customers," he said.