Skip to Content

Improve your customer experiences with the latest service insights.

Service Article

The Future of Field Service Is All About These 4 Technologies

A mobile worker stands next to solar panels, shielding his eyes while looking toward the sun and a bright future.
Discover how leading companies are using the latest tools to thrive in the face of a skilled labor shortage. [Kitreel / Adobe Stock]

If you want to know what’s next in field service, keep an eye on augmented reality, the internet of things, mobile solutions, and generative AI.

In some industries, people are afraid they’ll lose their jobs to technology. But when it comes to the future of field service, the opposite is true: there are too many jobs — and not enough experts to fill them.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that U.S. job openings in installation, maintenance, and repair occupations will grow by about 582,100 each year between now and 2032. Meanwhile, applications from young people seeking work as skilled tradespeople dropped almost 50% from 2020 to 2022.

That’s where technology comes in. Let’s take a few minutes to review the industry trends that are changing field service as we know it — and discover how leading companies are using the latest tools to improve efficiency, attract a new generation of workers, and thrive in the face of a skilled labor shortage.

Table of contents

Improve field service efficiency with AI

Learn what high-performing field service teams are doing with AI and automation to boost productivity.

The 4 technologies shaping the future of field service

Every day another talented mobile worker retires, and what leaves with them is the wealth of information they’ve accumulated after years in the field. You can’t just take a USB port and download what they know, so what can be done?

The answer lies in four rapidly evolving technologies: augmented reality, the internet of things, smart mobile solutions, and generative AI. Here are some early thoughts on how these innovations are poised to transform field service as we know it. (Back to top)

1. Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) overlays digital information onto the real world, providing technicians with enhanced insights and guidance — and it’s making a huge impact that will shape the future of field service. 

For example, Apple’s ARKit is already bringing the power of augmented reality to the Salesforce Field Service Mobile App. With the ARKit, field technicians can easily create detailed 3D renderings of large areas, measure spaces, and map objects using simple image capture. 

As the cost of AR technology continues to drop  — and as the technology itself becomes more powerful — mobile workers will see relevant information, schematics, and step-by-step instructions directly within their field of view. This level of guidance will simplify troubleshooting, reduce downtime, improve first-time fix rates, and make the workplace a safer place. 

AR will also make it easier to collaborate remotely. That means less experienced technicians can seek guidance from experts anywhere in the world, improve their skills through interactive overlays and guidance, and keep their learning continual and the learning curve minimal. (Back to top)

2. The internet of things

After a slow and fitful start, the internet of things (IoT) has emerged as a major player in the future of field service. In the current landscape, IoT devices are widely used to gather performance data from machinery and equipment, allowing field service professionals to perform effective asset service management — and proactively address issues before they escalate.

IoT sensors combined with predictive AI can help you monitor equipment health, predict potential failures, and streamline maintenance schedules. The result? A reduction in unplanned downtime and routine maintenance so field service teams can reduce operating costs.

Looking ahead, IoT will incorporate more advanced sensors and edge computing capabilities, delivering deeper insights into equipment performance for even greater efficiency in the field. Generative AI will be built into IoT to offer advice and suggested actions to mobile workers. 

By integrating these tools before your competitors, you can showcase your company’s commitment to innovation — attracting a new generation of workers who want to work with the next wave of technologies. Plus, proactive service enhanced by IoT is a competitive moat that differentiates you from your competition. (Back to top)

3. Mobile solutions

Mobile solutions have become integral to field service, providing technicians with anytime access to critical information, job assignments, and communication tools in the moment. For example, the Salesforce Field Service iOS widget gives field service technicians a quick view of key account information such as upcoming appointments, work order details, and worksite directions directly on the Home Screen on their iPhone, saving them clicks and valuable time.

In the months to come, the ongoing integration of AI-driven chatbots into mobile platforms will streamline communication, providing instant information and support to technicians in the field. Meanwhile, data input and retrieval will be possible through voice technologies that will bring even more speed, safety, and accuracy to the field service profession. (Back to top)

4. Generative AI

Let’s review where AI is today in field service. Predictive AI is an invaluable tool that analyzes historical data to identify patterns and trends, allowing field service professionals to proactively predict equipment failures and plan maintenance. This not only reduces downtime but also extends the lifespan of assets. Meanwhile, AI-driven route optimization ensures that technicians reach their destinations efficiently so they can minimize travel time and keep costs low.

Enter generative AI, which adds a creative element to the equation. Generative AI takes all of the data and decisions from existing systems and suggests ideas for repairs or installations, or even ideas for new products for development.

As we look ahead, field service AI is poised to become more sophisticated, incorporating machine learning algorithms that continually improve accuracy and efficiency while capturing mobile workers’ knowledge to improve future processes. The ability to process vast amounts of data in very little time will empower field service professionals to make faster decisions for a better customer experience and greater customer satisfaction. (Back to top)

Looking ahead: The future of field service is just getting underway

As the future of field service continues to unfold, today’s advances are only the beginning. The four technologies we’ve discussed are still in their infancy. In the months and years to come, AR will become more intuitive, IoT will offer deeper insights, mobile solutions will connect more people in more ways, and generative AI will help you make smarter decisions, faster.

For field service professionals, that means a future where maintenance is predictive rather than reactive, communication is seamless, and little time is wasted. More companies will discover the power of field service to generate revenue, lower costs, suggest new products and services, and greatly improve the customer experience.   

These are incredibly exciting developments. But like all innovations, they require a commitment to embracing and adapting to technological change. We’re already seeing that early adopters of these emerging technologies understand the value of innovation to reimagine what’s next. In other words, the future of field service belongs to the agile — and the agile will reap the rewards. (Back to top)

How to calculate your ROI

How much could you save by using field service management software to increase worker productivity or improve first-time fix rates? This interactive tool will help you quantify your potential ROI in just a few minutes.

Michael Maoz Senior Vice President of Innovation Strategy

Michael Maoz is Senior Vice President of Innovation Strategy at Salesforce. He joined Salesforce from Gartner, Inc., where he was a founder of the CRM practice and held positions as Research Vice President, Distinguished Analyst, and Gartner Fellow. Michael is also a Board Member at Rutgers Center for Innovation Education, and an advisor to Just Capital. Michael has lived and worked on three continents. He focuses his time outside of work on family, friends, learning world cultures, hiking, cycling, volunteering and reading.

More by Michael

Get the latest articles in your inbox.