Many manufacturing and service companies are having difficulty hiring new people and passing on the skills and know-how of veterans to the next generation. Ricoh Japan Corp., which handles the sales and service of multifunction devices and printers manufactured by parent company Ricoh Co., Ltd., is one such company.
Smart glasses – Part of the transition to digital maintenance technology
“We’ve also had issues with hiring new people and aging veterans, and as a partial solution, we started using remote support a few years ago, using digital technology to allow military veterans to support the youngest. From May 2021, we started rolling out smart glasses,” explains Shimmyouzu who is involved in the remote assistance project.
There are approximately 4,600 Customer Engineers (CEs) working in 431 service offices nationwide, visiting customers regularly (or when called upon) to service multi-function machines. Relatively inexperienced CEs now take the Vuzix M400 smart glasses with them. If the CE can handle the problem on its own, there’s no need for smart glasses. However, for more difficult problems and errors new to the CE, such as the output smearing for an unknown reason, the Vuzix M400 smart glasses connect to the service desk via a mobile router, and the CE uses the camera and the microphone to collaborate on the problem with a remote expert. The most senior engineer in the office suggests possible causes and solutions based on imagery and explanation, and uses audio and video to tell the CE what to do.
This approach allows experienced veterans to share their knowledge with inexperienced CEs, training them while simultaneously reducing the
time required to resolve the customer’s problem. According to Ricoh Japan’s Suzuno, a former CE himself, “It’s like they’re standing right behind me, telling me how to handle it, like some kind of tool to improve CE abilities. It would be possible to get similar assistance with a smart phone, but with smart glasses, both of your hands are free. »
Safety instructions for on-site use
Vuzix, specializing in the manufacture of smart glasses. Founded in 1997, it has been an industry leader for 25 years. The Vuzix M400 is the company’s main design, equipped with a large OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) display, 12.8-megapixel autofocus camera, internal speakers, a microphone, 3 gyro sensors, an acceleration sensor, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth audio. It runs on Android operating system. Apps include third-party augmented reality and remote assistance software, plus a dedicated Zoom subscription (paid).
“When we were evaluating various smart glasses, we looked at camera and screen resolution, of course, but also how well they worked with major remote assistance software. The Vuzix M400 smart glasses let you watch your working with both eyes, lifting the screen, and the Bluetooth headphones keep the advice of the remote office veteran from being heard in the client’s office.We liked these features and the fact that he has already done his proofs abroad. The sleek design was another plus,” said Suzuno, a member of the selection team.
However, customer permission must be obtained before the camera and microphone can be used. Tokai, involved in the management of on-site operations, explains that the firm has “drafted privacy and security guidelines. We make sure our CEs follow them and get clearance from clients in advance. » Customer ratings have been excellent so far, supported by the company’s position. “Many customers appreciate that we use advanced tools, which contributes to a better corporate image. And since the smart glasses are very obvious, there’s no worry that anyone will think we’re taking pictures on the sly. adds Tokai.
Resolve difficult issues faster for better quality of service
Shimmyozu believes that the adoption of smart glasses is important from the perspective of the global Sustainable Development Goals.
heart of business management, such as the training of inexperienced CEs, the possibility for even elderly or disabled engineers to provide remote assistance, innovative technologies and the reduction of CO2 emissions by adding virtual assistance. Company management is driving the adoption of digital technology with operations, aiming for a digital transformation of maintenance technology. As Shimmyozu points out, “We only have a few dozen M400 smart glasses at present, but we plan to equip every young CE with them and further improve the quality of service.
The program is already starting to take effect, with on-site service times reduced by hours in some cases. Since veteran engineers are no longer
need to accompany less experienced ECs, it is possible to reduce the number of people making on-site visits – a key differentiator when minimizing COVID contagion is crucial. Vuzix smart glasses address a number of issues facing businesses today, including training young employees and sharing the knowledge and skills of active-duty veterans.
For more information: www.vuzix.com
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