How mobile technology is driving the future of field service operations

The field operations landscape is undergoing a period of rapid transformation. The sector is seeing a disruption in the form of emerging technologies, increased customer demand, and a move away from the use of paper.

By leveraging mobility technology, you are able to meet – and even exceed the service expectations of your customers.

These are the three key trends driving change in today’s field operations industry:

Increased expectations

Today’s customers demand more than ever, in terms of performance and convenience.

With a reliance on mobile technology and eCommerce, customers have goods and services available at their fingertips, and online feedback platforms (such as Trustpilot) give them to power to hold organisations to account when it comes to customer service.

  • eCommerce retail sales are expected to reach $4.48 trillion globally by 2021, with B2B eCommerce sales even higher
  • 70% of respondents cited eCommerce as the reason they need to speed up  field operations
  • Online reviews are essential for online businesses:
    • 90% of consumers will read reviews online before they visit a business
    • 88% of consumers trust online reviews n the same level as personal recommendations
    • 86% of consumers would hesitate to make a purchase if a business has negative online reviews.

The replacement of paper with mobile technology

Not only does the use of mobile technology remove waste paper, but it also improves accuracy and speed when collecting data out in the field.

  • 62% of respondents are already expanding the use of technology enterprise-wide, with 97% expecting to catch up by 2023
  • However, 74% of organisations still rely on paper-based systems to complete for more than 20% of their field operations
  • Almost 40% of of respondents expect to be less reliant on paperwork by 2023
  • The use of mobile technology in field operations is expected to grow rapidly between 2018 and 2023, with:
    • 45% increase in the use of handheld mobile computers (with built-in barcode scanners)
    • 53% increase in the use of mobile printers
    • 54% increase in the use of rugged tablets

Faster networks and emerging technologies

Nothing is disrupting field operations more than the adoption of transformative emerging technologies across the sector.

  • 70% of respondents viewed 4G/5G as one of the top factors driving  investment in field operations
  • Transformative field operations technologies are quickly being adopted across the industry, with:
    • 67% using sensors, radio frequency identification (RFID) and intelligent labels
    • 57% using Blockchain
    • 52% using augmented or virtual reality
  • Decision-makers are increasingly viewing technologies as ‘disruptive’, including:
    • 29% say AR/VR is disrupting the sector
    • 28% say Blockchain is disrupting the sector
    • 28% say sensors, RFID and intelligent labels are disrupting the sector

Vision Study: The future of field operations

Download Zebra Technologies’ vision study for insights into the newest trends and challenges in the future of field operations.

The study was commissioned to survey leading organisations worldwide about how they are using mobile technology. The survey looks at organisations in five categories of field service operations:

  • Field service
  • Fleet management
  • Field sales
  • Direct store delivery
  • Merchandise courier services

Learn how field service organisations use both the mobile technology designed for business use; and the emerging technologies that allow them to respond to market and technological trends.


Zebra solutions for field operations

We work with Zebra Technologies to deliver ruggedised devices and mobility solutions, tailored to the field operations and logistics sector. Zebra offers enterprise-grade devices with rugged features, powerful inbuilt scanning capabilities and intelligent connectivity, but with the ease-of-use of the consumer Android OS. Learn more about Zebra devices for the field operations environment.


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