Saturday, 24 April 2010

Augmented Reality

I suspect I am in danger of becoming an Android bore. To keep some balance lets look at an application that is also available for the iPhone, if you are that way iNclined.

Layars lets you view the world through your camera phone and overlay geographically linked data on it. So you might use it to find the nearest pub, restaurant or place of interest. More excitingly you could use it when visiting a historic site with facts and historic views being displayed in context, so you could see the troops massed on a battlefield that today is just a hillside.

Even more excitingly, because don't forget this is, sadly, a blog about IT Service Management, imagine an engineer turning up on site and being able to view overlay wiring diagrams and the identity of PCs and printers on the floor. Perhaps they could even use Latitude to identify where their contact person is. Better still, imagine how much easier it could make life in a server room you've never been to before. By the way, if any of you at this stage have a vision of Geordi La Forge in mind at this stage go away and get a life.

I used to get really annoyed with a client's supplier because they couldn't grasp that whilst their service management system was available to them even when the client's systems failed the poor client was running blind. Hence it was no use at all to send out a standard SMS message saying that it was being dealt with as incident number xxxxxxxxx because none of us could access Remedy or Notes. Imagine if instead they could have linked the client into a lite version of Remedy, and been able to integrate their internal chat streams into an edited version that the client could access via mobile devices. This isn't exactly rocket science. The technology for all this is already in place.

Over the years I've been involved with some interesting clients. A number have been supporting users  that are truly remote. I mean really remote: submarines, oil production platforms, supertankers, Alaska, ditches in Ulster and even Bracknell. To do that effectively you have to really enable the users. You simply can't send out a man in a van to xxxxxxxxxxxxstan  or some other location that I would have to shoot myself if I revealed*  Imagine how we could use new technology to do that. A user points the camera on their mobile at the back of their PC and can see instantly which cable should be plugged into which port. We send step by step diagnostic instructions to a user's phone so they know exactly what we need them to do.Our client side service manager can access the incident record even whilst all their systems are down

This is the future of service management, but we can implement it today.


*More worrying was the time I relieved myself in a ditch in Herefordshire whilst walking the Labrador  and was asked very politely by a if I wouldn't mind moving a few feet further along before continuing since I was making his training exercise rather too realistic.

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