With the meteoric rise of Internet access and usage over the past few decades, it has become quite rare, in some types of field service work, to ever go without a network connection on location. In fact, according to a 2011 study by the Census Bureau, 71.7% of households reported having Internet access that year. Most business locations have accessible wireless, as well. And for locations that don’t, we can often access the Internet through a cell tower connection with our phones and other devices.Despite the prevalence of network accessibility, there will inevitably be times you can’t get online while in the field or on a job site. When at a job location, it’s crucial that a lack of Internet doesn’t cripple your ability to do your job.
Some industries are more likely to lack consistent Internet access than others – if you’re doing a lot of outside field work, for instance, you’ll likely be out of an Internet connection more frequently than someone servicing office buildings.
No matter what the industry, though, you never know when you could lose network access, and there are a few reasons you will want tools that can operate offline.
If your technicians need to collect valuable customer and job data on site, you’ll want that ability whether or not they’re online. Chances are your techs are entering information regarding equipment used, work completed, faulty units, and any other information needed to manage that job. You don’t want a lack of Internet access to cause a loss of data. Resorting to pen and paper could cause your techs to miss some vital information. Once back at the office, you’ll want the ability to sync that data to your network.
Most modern jobs require Internet access for efficiency – many company databases, cloud services, email and internal networks require Internet to access. Therefore, if workers are offline, this results in work stoppage. You don’t want your field service techs to have the same limitations. They should be able to perform their job just as effectively, with or without Internet connectivity.
Finally, your business always needs to be prepared for the “what-if” scenarios. What-if a tree hit the power lines and knocked out the wireless connection? Technicians’ on site resolving the problem should still be able to complete the job. What-if the business you’re servicing forgot to pay their Internet bill and it was shut off? Tech’s still need to be able to complete their work. What-if the homeowner who’s A/C you’re fixing is watching Netflix and consuming the bandwidth? Again, tech’s still need to be able to complete the job. As any seasoned field service technician will tell you, there’s no way to predict all the random things life will throw at you while on the job. With the right tools in place, you can make a lack of Internet a random event you don’t need to sweat.