Whether it's complicated car repairs or the maintenance of complex machines, sometimes only specialists can help. For support at very close range, they no longer have to be on site - remote access software, augmented reality and artificial intelligence make it possible.
In industry, machines are becoming increasingly complex. This has an impact on their design, maintenance and repair. It is not at all uncommon for problems to arise that only a highly specialized team of experts from the manufacturer can solve. This is usually not on site, but in today's globalized world probably in another country. The journey costs time and money. Is not sustainable, keyword: CO2 emissions. And sometimes not even possible. Keyword: Corona.
But thanks to software like that of the global technology company TeamViewer it is no longer absolutely necessary to have experts on site in many cases. That's because the solutions from the Swabian town of Göppingen offer access not only to laptops and cell phones, but also to complex systems such as industrial machines and robots.
This makes it possible for specialists to help with repairs directly and in real time. All from a distance, without having to stand next to the machine and the technician they are helping with his work. From a distance, they look over his shoulder and tell him step by step what needs to be done.
The advantages: Fewer application errors, greater efficiency, lower costs, higher customer satisfaction, fast response times. It also makes ecological sense: If experts don't have to travel to the machines for repairs, fewer CO2 emissions are the result.
In industry, TeamViewer is used along the entire value chain. Also in combination with technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things), AI (artificial intelligence) and AR (augmented reality).
The logistics industry could be considered the heart of the industry, because just as the heart supplies the body with vital blood, it delivers all the goods needed for smooth production. Often according to the just-in-time (JIT) or just-in-sequence (JIS) principle: that is, exactly when (JIT) or in exactly the sequence (JIS) in which these goods are needed for production. If there is a hitch in logistics, this promptly affects assembly lines, for example in the automotive industry. Errors in order processing make time-consuming subsequent deliveries necessary, and in the worst case, there is a standstill on the assembly line.
To avoid such a domino effect as far as possible, absolute accuracy combined with high speed are the be-all and end-all in logistics. But mistakes can happen in order picking that works with paper order lists or updates the inventory management system by hand.
Schenker Deutschland AG, for example, relies on a digital TeamViewer solution. The logistics service provider supplies the automotive industry from its location in Hanover.
In simplified terms, it works like this: The order pickers wear data glasses (smart glasses) onto which the relevant data for an order is played from their company's SAP system. The employees have the necessary information right in front of their eyes, their hands free, and are navigated to the ordered goods in the warehouse.
The employees scan the goods with the RFID wristband they wear on their wrist. With RFID technology - RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification - data is transmitted via radio. The software compares the barcode with the order, ensuring that the logistics service provider sends exactly what the automotive company ordered on its way. A label with supplier and batch number is printed automatically, and the merchandise management system is updated.
The result: 100 percent accuracy in order processing, according to Schenker Deutschland AG.
When it comes to repairing complex industrial machinery, it is now common for specialists to provide support via video telephony. But this can sometimes sound like this: "A little further to the right" - "No, not that far, back again". Which is tedious and inefficient. "It's also risky when troubleshooting, because one wrong move can have costly consequences," says Dr. Hendrik Witt, Chief Product Officer at TeamViewer.
Thanks to augmented reality (AR), there are now smarter options. AR in action - drivers of modern cars are familiar with this from head-up displays, where navigation arrows, for example, are projected onto the windshield as if painted on the asphalt.
This works similarly with a TeamViewer solution with integrated AR, which can be used for interactive video calls between the technician on site and the support engineer. Both have one and the same image in front of their eyes, as the technician points his smartphone or data glasses at the machine and his camera image is shared.
The engineer now goes step by step to assist the technician. He can also play graphics or videos on the smartphone, or mark important parts if, for example, a very specific screw has to be turned in the tangle of screws on a machine.
Automotive workshops use this option just as much as some high-tech tankers on the high seas.
It is possible to record the repair using the smartphone or smart glasses and use them as training material for maintenance personnel. Logging the activities in the data glasses can also be useful for tracking whether sufficient quality assurance has taken place in the event of subsequent defects.
Detecting the first signs of a malfunction as early as possible and taking countermeasures is the goal of predictive maintenance. Digital technologies make it possible: machines are equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT technology, i.e. networked.
In addition, sensors constantly and automatically collect data about the machine's condition, such as temperature. The AI analyzes this data and, in the event of deviations from the normal state, can sound the alarm. An employee is notified via the IoT system, who remotely diagnoses the machine and initiates the next steps.
"As machines and plants become smarter and more connected, companies need to make sure that the technical capabilities for rapid repair and maintenance keep pace with this development," says Hendrik Witt. "The most modern production is of no use if it is at a standstill for a long time because of a fault, because diagnosis and repair take too long."
TeamViewer CEO Oliver Steil discusses the future of mobility during a Fireside Chat at IAA Mobility 2021...
...with Toto Wolff, managing director and team principal of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team (Wednesday, Sept. 8, 9:15 a.m.). The talk will also be livestreamed at iaa.de/virtual.
Hendrik Witt, CPO of TeamViewer, will report on the importance of a connected workforce for greater business efficiency in his keynote address, "Augmented Intelligence for a World that Works Better" (Thursday, September 9, 9:30 a.m.).