Global food processing and packaging business TNA Solutions has overcome the challenge of pandemic-curtailed international travel by using Microsoft HoloLens 2 as part of a mixed reality solution to remotely serve customers regardless of their location.
Unable to fly teams of technicians around the world, TNA has instead invested in a fleet of HoloLens 2 head-mounted mixed reality computers to maintain service quality by allowing experts to virtually attend customer locations and provide remote technical support and advice.
TNA is also deploying an Azure-based Internet of Things (IoT) network leveraging machine learning and Azure edge computing to build preventative maintenance capability into its solutions to maximise customer productivity by driving down equipment downtime. This complements its Azure-based customer portal through which TNA plans to provide aftersales support to customers.
Customers will be able to log on securely to the portal to see all documentation related to their TNA systems, make a service request – which automatically generates a ticket for the field service team, or schedule a meeting via Teams.
TNA is piloting the IoT preventative maintenance solution with a customer in Brisbane, and has six international clients that will also test the platform ahead of a formal launch of the service.
Integrated digital ecosystem
TNA is mid-way through a multi-year digital transformation, building a single global integrated platform linking its 30 international offices using Dynamics 365 and Office 365. It deployed Office 365 and Dynamics 365 Talent first, followed closely by Dynamics 365 Finance, Sales, Field Service and Remote Assist.
Pravin Singh, Chief Business Transformation Officer has led the transformation program and also heads TNA’s new digital services unit which will champion the use of IoT, machine learning, AI and mixed reality to develop new classes of customer solutions and service.
According to Singh, HoloLens 2 is a “complete game changer” in terms of field service and remote assist; “One scenario is obviously COVID. Our technicians can’t contract to site, because of certain restrictions in countries, and because of that, we have to do this remotely. “We may have one technician in the field that could be in that country where we’re doing the install, but he may not have the complete knowledge of that equipment.
This will accelerate the speed at which equipment is installed, and rein in costs associated with flying technicians around the world.
Singh said that as part of the preventative maintenance service TNA plans to offer customers a HoloLens 2 enabled with Remote Assist, so that TNA experts can guide customer technicians through any required actions.
Connected field services
Dynamics 365 Field Service and Remote Assist combine to create a powerful connected field services capability for TNA. Instead of manually filling out equipment log books, service technicians now use tablets to input data directly to Dynamics 365 ensuring TNA has instant access to a complete service history of all its equipment regardless of location.
The streamlined integration across the Dynamics 365 platform ensures that once a service technician inputs data about a customer’s system, any relevant updates to the equipment financing or warranty terms are handled automatically by the Dynamics 365 Finance solution.
With a predominantly Microsoft-cloud based digital ecosystem, TNA benefits from a single global integrated platform to run the business, and is able to leverage all of Microsoft’s security capability including Intune and Advanced Threat Protection. It also plans to upgrade to an E5 Microsoft 365 licence which brings additional security features.
Lee Hickin, chief technology officer, Microsoft Australia said; “TNA is setting the bar very high for a new class of customer service.
“Add in the combination of a modern business applications platform, machine learning and IoT to build a pioneering preventative maintenance service for customers, with the option of a HoloLens 2 to connect them directly to expert technicians in head office and you have a truly ground breaking solution for the industry.”
Founded in Sydney in 1982 TNA Solutions makes food processing and packaging equipment, and is able to supply turnkey solutions to food manufacturers worldwide. It employs 500 people, operates 30 offices around the world, and has sold 14,000 solutions to customers in 120 countries.
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