Video calling has exploded in recent years. In December 2019, video conferencing platform Zoom already had an impressive 10 million daily users. Months later, due to the pandemic and government-mandated lockdown orders, that figure had risen to 200 million daily users and a rise of 535% in daily internet traffic.
Despite the opportunity afforded by remote work, the limitations of technology designed primarily for meetings can hold businesses back. Sectors that relied heavily on physical inspections were particularly hard hit by the coronavirus crisis. In the UK, the government had to pass additional emergency legislation for the construction industry to make up for lost time.
It would be impossible and impractical to eliminate all onsite activity. But there are ways that businesses can better insulate themselves against unexpected shocks in the future, whilst saving time and money. New business apps are tackling the disadvantages of video calling to help companies overcome the limitations of technology.
In this article, we’ll explore the ways that remote visual assistance apps like Fixzy Assist are scaling up operations for companies which regularly have to conduct on-site inspections.
The disadvantages of video calling for technical tasks: A lack of design
Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams enabled companies to host meetings, helping them to operate remotely to a degree during the pandemic. Even though modern laptops come with cameras and microphones already built in, updates and improvements to the tools have centred around maintaining bandwidth, not providing groundbreaking technology. There is little reason to expect that to change any time soon.
Smartphone apps can technically allow businesses to chat directly to their customers. But only 7% of marketers use Whatsapp for business — a surprisingly low number considering that the messaging service was the most popular on the globe in 2021. When businesses do use smartphone apps to connect with end users, it’s usually to remind them of upcoming promotions and to boost sales, not undertake technical tasks.
But there are other reasons why traditional video calling software is not the ideal solution for scaling up operations via a business app.
Fighting ‘Zoom Fatigue’: Stay off camera and on topic
So what’s the solution? How would a remote visual assistance app be any better than the tools already on the market?
For a start, remote visual assistance apps don’t require you to show your face to the expert offering advice. Users can stay off camera and on topic, positioning their device to focus on the issue that needs resolving rather than maintaining a performative dialogue with a stranger.
But there are other ways that specially designed remote assistance tools empower technical businesses to do more virtually.
Using technical tools in a specially designed business app
The best technical tools incorporate additional features and resources to make guidance easy to follow. To ensure that the correct action is taken by an end-user, an expert can add virtual items to a camera display. Examples include:
AR (Augmented Reality) overlays: Experts can superimpose their own hands over the display.
Hand tools: The most common hand tools such as screwdrivers, pliers and wrenches can be added over the top of a video feed.
By leveraging AR, advice can be specific and visual, reducing the potential for hazardous mistakes due to miscommunication. Even more excitingly, modern remote visual assistance business apps can capture highly sophisticated data that used to depend on a physical visit.
Measure for measure: Getting a feel for the space
Smartphones can capture accurate spatial data, but only if they run programmes (or apps) that make use of the camera in the right way. As such, specially designed remote apps can help produce qualitative information that is crucial to the housing and property management industries.
Fixzy Assist, in particular, can generate the following:
3D CAD drawings: Fully immersive digital twins of physical spaces that companies can store via their public cloud services.
AR measurement tools: A tape measure with none of the hassle, dimensions for objects can be measured with pinpoint accuracy.
There are even ways to go beyond spatial awareness and identify objects by using remote visual assistance tools.
Automated content recognition
Computers are becoming better at recognising items in the physical world. However, like the other functions listed in this article, it takes specifically designed software to unlock the technology’s full potential. Video apps, perhaps unsurprisingly, don’t come with this feature. But it’s easy to see how content recognition can help validate insurance claims rapidly, or analyse the level of damage to a property.
Combining all the features listed above into a single platform dramatically reduces the need to send expert personnel to physical locations. Using a remote visual assistance app minimises cost whilst maximising efficiency for businesses in ways which were impossible even a few years ago.
Assessing the disadvantages of video calling
Over the past year and a half, video conferencing apps have become more common and functional. But it’s unlikely that future updates on popular platforms like Zoom, Teams and Hangouts will provide the kind of tools necessary to support highly technical work.
However, there are a greater number of tools that businesses can leverage to make their processes more efficient and save money. By partnering with an advanced remote visual assistance app like Fixzy, sectors that recently depended on in-person expertise can better resource their staff.
Sectors that were hard hit by the pandemic should invest in the tools that enable them to make the most of the remote opportunity.
Do more for your customers and tenants with the best remote business app
Fixzy Assist is a remote video guidance solution powered by computer vision AI, AR and deep learning. We help scale business operations with our powerful suite of interactive tools, accessible from end-users’ smartphones.
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