TOMRA Food released TOMRA Visual Assist, a new augmented reality tool that enables remote experts to provide specialist support to a customer or a TOMRA Field Service Engineer on-site – just as if they were standing in front of the machine. It enables TOMRA to solve a broader range of problems of varying degrees of complexity remotely. The result is more uptime and better machine performance for the customers. It also reduces the need for in-person visits.
"Fast response time is critical for our customers, who deal mostly in perishable goods," explains Andreas Reddemann, VP and Head of Global Service at TOMRA Food, Aftermarket & Service. "Machine downtime for them may result in a deterioration in the quality of their product. During the harvesting season, they receive a constant flow of material and have to process high volumes, so uptime is vital. That's why, at TOMRA Food, we have an ongoing focus on responding as fast as possible and in a way that is practical for them. When you have such a diverse geographic spread of customers as we have, it is not always possible to have the right Field Service Engineer immediately on site. TOMRA Visual Assist addresses this gap between being advised of an issue and being able to be there to support physically."
TOMRA Visual Assist is easy to use and requires no equipment other than a mobile phone with a camera. When the customer requests support through a message, email, or phone call, the TOMRA Field Service Engineer sends an invitation to initiate the session. When the app opens, it seamlessly links through to a call with the TOMRA expert best suited to help them with the specific challenge they are facing. When connected, they communicate through voice and video. The Field Service Engineer can direct the customer to point the camera of their mobile phone to show what they need to see. With TOMRA Visual Assist, they can also share with the customer documents and annotate images to explain and clarify directions. TOMRA's choice of technology also enables the use of advanced tools such as Smart Glasses, which provide an augmented reality remote intervention that leaves the customer technician or Field Service Engineer on-site with their hands free to operate with maximum safety.
"TOMRA Visual Assist enables a greater level of clarity in the communication and information transfer between the person on-site and the expert providing guidance remotely. It acts as the local eyes of the remote TOMRA expert," says Andreas Reddeman. "With this tool, the customer's technician gets the support they need to resolve the issue immediately, bringing the machine back in operation. If a repair requires replacing a part, TOMRA's expert can easily identify it and ensure the right spare is sent, increasing the first-time fix rate."
TOMRA Visual Assist also connects TOMRA's experts on specific applications or technical issues with the Field Service Engineer on site. This enables the Field Service Engineers to quickly resolve a broad range of issues with the expert's additional support.
"With TOMRA Visual Assist, our most skilled and experienced staff can spread their knowledge more broadly than they ever could if they had to travel to every site," says Andreas Reddemann. "For example, once a Field Service Engineer has completed maintenance on a machine, they can connect to our technical expert who knows the customer's application and the mapping profiles of their product. This will help the on-site Field Service Engineer ensure the appropriate grading profile of that specific product."
TOMRA Assist also includes three other types of support: TOMRA Assist 24/7 (telephone and email support); proactive support through the real-time monitoring features of the recently launched TOMRA Insight cloud-based service and TOMRA Remote Assist, which enables TOMRA service engineers to log into the customer's machine remotely.
TOMRA Assist is part of TOMRA Food's extensive offering of digital services that cover the full customer journey: service support with TOMRA Care, training with TOMRA Academy, remote assistance with TOMRA Assist, testing and demonstrations through TOMRA Explore, education through TOMRA Talks, and connected services through TOMRA Insight.