Sometimes technicians at Ford service centers require assistance or a second opinion in order to complete a vehicle repair in the best possible way, and until recently these assistance requests were handled by the technical assistance team at the Ford Technical Assistance Center (TAC) in Dearborn. This team consists of only about 150 people and they receive over 5,000 calls a week, many of which require them to send a field agent out to see the problem and provide support in person. This process slows down repairs and keeps customers off the road longer, but soon that will become much less of a problem.
Ford dealerships across the country are getting a new state-of-the-art remote viewing technology called See What I See, or SWIS. SWIS is a two-way, hands-free electronic headset, and it lets dealership technicians communicate with technical assistance team members with both sound and visuals.
This remote assistance software allows the technical assistance team to see what the dealership tech is looking at in real time. It also includes a type of augmented reality technology, allowing the TAC team members to show the dealership tech modified or enhanced images on their headset, giving the tech useful information about the repair.
“The remote technology is designed to assist the technicians as they’re working on vehicles – with the goal of increasing efficiency and decreasing down time for customers,” says David Green, Ford General Service Equipment Program Specialist. “This technology modernizes and simplifies our operations, benefiting everyone involved.”
“We had one case where a technician reported the vehicle would not recognize the low tire pressure sensors,” Green continues. “When the tech contacted the Hotline using SWIS, they quickly found out they were using the wrong tool when the tech held it up in front of the camera. Once the right tool was used, everything was programmed just the way it should.”
There are currently about 1200 SWIS headsets that are activate and being used in Ford dealerships around the country. If all goes according to plan, every US-based Ford dealership will have access to this remote assistance technology by November of 2022, and will eventually be able to use the headsets for a wider scope of specialized uses, like H-VAC concerns or getting approval before replacing a windshield.
“SWIS definitely helps get our customers back on the road more quickly. We’ve had some wiring situations that we were able to fix in a few hours versus a few days using See What I See and that’s really valuable,” says Susan Padro, Service Manager at Mullinax Ford in Apopka Florida.