We’re truly living in a technological era. Nearly every single industry — from sophisticated data centers to gritty manufacturing plants — has turned to advanced tech in an attempt to streamline their workflow and improve efficiency. With about 79% of consumers shopping online, even the traditional local retail store has had to reckon with this new technological age. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have been at the forefront of these technologies: by allowing an intelligent computer program or robot to take over, the imperfections of human error can be eliminated and work can exponentially expand. The fresh-faced startup Zinier is interested in bringing this automation to industrial businesses by targeting field service management (FSM) systems.
What Is FSM?
Any job that requires the management of service technicians and the regulation of all the tasks associated with their jobs must have a quality FSM system to properly function. This is an incredibly complex and resource-intensive task, simply due to the sheer number of variables involved and the fact that each one needs to be monitored and tracked by humans.
Because businesses have reported a 90% increase in the customers they’ve won due to FSM systems, they represent a major market interested in anything that can improve upon their performance. In fact, the implementation of highly effective FSM systems can go beyond simply improving efficiency; the customer experience is also intricately involved.
Consider the last time you needed a service technician to come out to your home: whether you were facing an insect infestation or were having troubles with your plumbing, the speed in which your tech can get in and out — without being incompetent, of course — influences your opinion of the company. For example, if they were fumbling with a tablet for an hour before even beginning work, you’d inherently think twice about ever contacting the same business again. It’s been proven that 70% of buying experiences are based on customer experience; in this way, FSM systems — especially those powered by a highly intelligent AI — can boost your company’s efficiency and provide a more positive customer experience.
See A Need, Fill A Need
This is precisely why Zinier has focused on fields dependant on FSM systems, specifically the telecom and gas industries. Just recently, they’ve been able to raise $22 million in support of their mission; the series B round of funding was led by Accel, and saw participation from Qualcomm Ventures, Nokia-backed venture capital (VC) firm NGP Capital, Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, and France’s Newfund.
“Considering the massive amount of infrastructure under the purview of field service teams, automated field service has the potential to truly transform a wide range of industries,” noted Zinier cofounder and CEO Arka Dhar.
Zinier is committed to optimizing field service operations and maximizing equipment uptime by pulling the wide amount of data available to field service organizations through an AI program: not only can it analyze historical data to predict where a fault may lie before the technician is despatched (thereby allowing the tech to bring any spare parts required and eliminating the need for a return visit), but Zinier can be used to preempt a potential failure by triggering a maintenance order ahead of schedule. If you’re able to fix things before they break, your customer loyalty will soar.
Even better, Zinier’s platform allows companies to keep their existing FSM software; despite the fact that 61% of fieldwork laptops and tablets will be in need of repair after five years, the AI platform should still be able to fulfill any role the business requires (provided they aren’t actually broken, naturally). This versatility could redefine the success of companies that rely on FSM systems — and also explains why so many big name business came together to fund it.
“We were impressed with Zinier’s novel approach to proactive field maintenance, using IoT to increase productivity through automation and intelligence,” stated Varsha Tagare, Qualcomm senior director and managing director of Qualcomm Ventures in India. “Their end-to-end field service automation solution will help companies work smarter and faster while also enabling a more efficient deployment of 5G services worldwide.”
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