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Manufacturer Finds a Purpose for Video Collaboration

This time just about a year ago, I had a sit-down with Polycom's Michael Frendo, executive vice president of worldwide engineering, in which he named a fast pace to pervasiveness, the push for embedded video, and content sharing as three of the five trends to watch in video collaboration. I thought back to that conversation, and that trends trio in particular, as I read news of a video collaboration use case that came out of Verizon Enterprise Solutions a couple of weeks back.

The story hit those three sweet spots. Frendo had noted how the coupling of user-friendly, video-capable endpoints and browsers with LTE and other broadband services would accelerate the pace of video collaboration. He talked about the increasing expectation within enterprises that video be integrated into workflows in support of click-to-video sessions. And he highlighted the growing emphasis enterprises are placing on the ability to share content during collaborative sessions. Check... check... check.


Learn about the latest video technology trends and technologies at Enterprise Connect 2016, coming March 7 to 10, in Orlando, Fla.

Diebold, a global provider of self-service technology for a variety of industries, is equipping field service technicians with the ability to launch video collaboration sessions and share content with experts back in the corporate support center. To do so, it's using Librestream Technologies' Onsight video collaboration platform over Verizon's 4G LTE wireless network. The techs use Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphones.

Time to Competency
This initiative stemmed from Diebold's desire to shrink the time it takes for technicians to establish competencies in repairing electro-mechanical products, like your bank's ATMs, in the field, according to Bill Fletcher, the company's vice president of Global Remote Delivery Services. At Diebold, first-line technicians don't use tools for their work, which includes tasks like adding paper, fixing paper jams, or removing torn money. Second-line technicians do use tools, and are experts in repairing hardware, replacing parts, and managing software.

Training first-line technicians so that they're up and running and fully productive on second-line techniques could take anywhere from six months to two years, and involve lots of hands-on training. This training could only be achieved in the field since replicating real-life electro-mechanical issues isn't easily done in a lab, Fletcher said. Diebold faced a double whammy in that in-the-field training of first-line technicians tied up the company's more expert support resources, too, since they had to go out on those jobs as well.

Some technicians had already dabbled with video collaboration, often using FaceTime-enabled Apple devices. But Diebold needed a more robust and secure process, Fletcher said. "We're looking inside ATMs -- that's our product, our IP [intellectual property], we didn't want anybody to have the ability to be able to tap into those, so security was a real high characteristic of what we wanted."

The enterprise-grade Librestream Onsight video collaboration platform met those requirements, and now about 400 Diebold field service technicians are able to launch video collaboration sessions with remote support teams. As needed, a remote expert can take control of the camera on the field service technician's smartphone, panning in and zooming out so he can see what's going on with the machine and all of its many moving parts. The remote expert can draw on-screen as well, and share documentation that the field technician can use in making the repair, Fletcher said.

"These machines are extremely complex, so having the ability to have an expert at the end of your fingertips and having that expert have the ability to see what you're seeing is of great help with what we call our 'fix-it-first time' and the way we attack our service," Fletcher said.

Fast Fixes
By fix-it-first, or FFT, Fletcher refers to the mandate technicians have to provide a fix for a machine the first time out. "You don't want to have to go back and get more information, more parts, better training, or for any other reason," he said, adding that Diebold tracks its FFT rate pretty closely across all the equipment.

Using video collaboration from the field has enabled Diebold to maintain its FFT rate at upwards of 80% while shrinking the time to gain competency down to about one month, Fletcher said. At this point, Diebold has about 15% of its tech workforce using video collaboration. It hasn't yet figured out how to roll the technology out to other regions, but that's on the drawing board, he added.

With the Internet of Things looming large, the need for subject matter experts who not only know how to analyze the data but also how to fix the sensors is going to become critical for manufacturers like Diebold, added Micheal Kotelec, global practice leader for the manufacturing vertical at Verizon. Tying up those technicians in long training cycles isn't going to cut it, and the ability to support video from remote locations is, "from a manufacturing point of view, a new horizon of more and efficient collaboration, which translates to better customer satisfaction, and that translates to better business results."

If you're interested in learning more about video collaboration and other video trends and technologies, be sure to join us at Enterprise Connect 2016, coming March 7 to 10 in Orlando, Fla. Check out our Video track sessions here, and register now using the code NOJITTER and receive $200 off the current conference price.

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