2011 Best In Field Service

— November 09, 2011

Home Sweet Home

A home security provider finds a way to deliver enhanced – and life-saving – service to its customers.

In January 2010, Provo, Utah-based Vivint, Inc., a residential alarm provider for home security and emergency response, rolled out Go!Control, an all-in-one security and home management system.

Vivint wanted to be able to offer customers a number of new features and benefits. First and foremost, Vivint felt that its customers needed an updateable control panel that could incorporate regular advances in technology. What’s more, the company was eager to increase customers’ energy savings and improve its home automation technology, such as video, residential access control, and sprinkler control.

The company also sought to enhance the protection and value that employees and customers wanted and improve the ease of installation and service provided by the product. “We have always wanted to be enticing to customers,” explains Scott Taylor, director of field services. “When looking at possible features for the new product, we wanted to get as many people involved as possible. ”

Go!Control was developed by 2GIG Technologies and manufactured by Linear LLC. Network providers are T-Mobile and AT&T, and service and dispatch support is provided by ClickSoftware.

So far, Go!Control has been a hit with customers. In 2010, door-to-door sales rep average sales increased 18%, and Vivint saw an annual “new to the industry” customer growth rate (customers who never had home security) of 40%.

“I have been at Vivint for 10 years,” notes Taylor. “Until Go!Control, I have never actively had my friends and family begging for a ‘Friends & Family’ account. Home security is important, but add door locks, cameras, lighting control, and energy savings, and it’s a whole new ball game.”

Customers are reporting good results, too. Many  post their excitement of having mobile phone access to their alarms and devices online.

Once the product was live, however, there was the significant uptick in work orders and service requirements. In fact, there was an initial work order increase of 25% that strained the company’s resources.

Taylor notes that the deployment has led to substantial generation of additional revenue — as much as $32.48 million.

Perhaps the most sobering benefit, though, was reported by two customers from Joplin, Mo., who survived the devastating tornado that ripped through the city in May 2011 and killed more than 150 people. The Go!Control tornado alarm sounded a full 5 minutes earlier than the city’s tornado sirens, and both customers insist that the extra time was instrumental in saving their lives.

Mobility and Justice for All

An independent judiciary finds digital pens are a secure way to ensure quick and reliable data entry.

U.S. Courts is an independent, national judiciary. U.S. Courts’ Western District of Texas (Eddy, Texas) needed to find a mobile solution that would speed up the processing and sharing of data that was documented on paper by court officers, who frequently collected case information outside of the court (such as in correctional facilities), while also continuing the simplicity, standard practice, and safety of using paper forms in the field.

The court wanted a low error rate, minimal training, zero disruptions to the existing mobile process, and unobtrusive use.

It opted for digital pen technology, using Capturx Forms from Excel software and Capturx for SharePoint Server software, both from Adapx; Bluetooth-enabled Anoto Digital Pens and paper; BlackBerry handhelds; and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server.

Why did it select Adapx and Anoto as the primary vendors? “During the selection process, we were very careful to make sure that, once we committed to a particular vendor, they would be around to provide us with the support we needed,” explains Phil Reyna, former chief of pretrial services (retired). “We knew from the start that using this technology was a gamble, but I felt that Adapx, in conjunction with the Anoto digital pen technology, would be with us for the long haul.”

The time required to process one offender has decreased from 3-4 hours to less than one hour. Once information is collected, it can be made immediately available to all collaborating agencies via a common access to the server and PACTS (Pretrial Services Automated Cases Tracking System).

How have users reacted? “Most, if not all, of the end users were and continue to be excited about this type of technology,” says Reyna.

Assistance Delivered Anywhere
With a robust mobile platform, American Airlines aims to ensure its passengers never deal with lost luggage again.

For airlines, delays due to weather and gate changes can affect passengers’ ability to meet connecting flights. Airlines want to expedite passengers and baggage. However, paper systems are only as current as the documents' printing time.

American Airlines, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, sought to enhance service to arriving passengers, improve bag check-in (especially oversize bags), and expedite service to guests waiting in line.

To this end, it created YADA (Your Assistance Delivered Anywhere), which includes Motorola MC75 and ES400 mobile devices; DataMax-O’Neil OC2 and OC3 printers; NetMotion Mobility XE 6.2 (recently upgraded to 8.6); SOTI MobiControl; Oracle 10g; Stratix; and Infosys.

YADA is now live in 12 cities, with 8,500 employees using the solution. While the application was fairly simple, some long-time roving agents who were familiar only with paper needed training. “AA has a very senior workforce, so adaptation was difficult in the beginning,” admits Jeff Johnson, senior product manager. Employees slowly adopted the technology, especially as they began to see how well the customers reacted. “Now they would revolt if we took it away,” Johnson adds.

American can now provide real-time access via a mobile device, so that agents can greet passengers by name (rather than impersonally calling out the connecting flight), direct them to the proper gates to meet their connections, and tell them when the flights are scheduled to depart. If an incoming flight is delayed and a passenger might miss a connection, an agent can scan the ticket, access all of the pertinent passenger information, change the ticket to the new itinerary, and print out the boarding pass, without the passenger having to go to a ticket counter.

When passengers arrive at the gate with oversize luggage, agents can check the bags at the gate, print out a new bag tag, and divert the item to the cargo hold.

And at peak travel times or other times when there are long lines at the ticket counters, roving agents or management personnel can use YADA to process passengers in line.

The reaction so far? “Customers absolutely love it,” replies Johnson. “Our frequent fliers have learned that these employees can expedite their check-in process, so they seek them out. The reaction from customers when we pull them out of a line is priceless.”


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