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Clean Transport

Ford Dealers Can Now Call In Top Experts In A Snap

While auto manufacturers and dealers do their best to make sure technicians know how to work on every vehicle that the brand sells, they can’t possibly bring every technician up to the knowledge and skill level of the company’s top engineers and experts. And the company can’t put these top experts and engineers at every dealer either, right?

I thought that, too, but Ford proved us all wrong. But, unlike many of the times I’m proven wrong, I’m happy about it this time. How can Ford’s top experts be at every shop doing repairs on Ford’s vehicles? Through magic, of course, but only in the way that Arthur C. Clarke would define it. Technology is now advanced enough to do what only magicians of the past could claim to do: put the experts in every dealer, instantly, right when they’re needed.

People do things like this with Zoom meetings all the time, but when you’re doing something as complex as working on a vehicle, it’s hard for the other person to see what you’re doing and to guide you through the process of figuring out what the problem is and fixing it. So, Ford decided to start using a new technology to give another person a first-person view of what the technician sees.

Their SWIS headsets aren’t made in Switzerland as far as I know. SWIS stands for “See What I See.” The camera is located close to where the technician’s own eyes are, and gives both visual and sound communication between the technician who got in over his head with an unusual problem and the expert who’s trying to guide them through it. This allows the expert to see what’s actually happening and provide step-by-step guidance not only in solving problems, but in figuring out what’s going on in the first place.

“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.

These headsets are getting put to a lot of work, too. 1200 of the headsets have been activated so far, and technicians have asked for help with them 350 times in the last 90 days. By the end of November, all US Ford dealers will have their own headsets, and will be able to get the help they need a lot faster.

Another thing the headsets will be useful for in the future will be for remote service calls, in a company’s garage or in an individual’s driveway. Mobile service technicians can not only get help from Ford Corporate, but also get guidance from other, more experienced and trained technicians at their home dealer. On top of that, new technicians in training, both mobile and in dealers, will be able to use the headsets to do some of their training in the future, working remotely with instructors from training centers in other states to develop skills without having to go stay in a hotel.

Bottom line here: Ford EV technicians are going to keep getting more efficient thanks to this kind of remote assistance technology.

Featured image by Ford.

 
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Written By

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to explore the Southwest US with her partner, kids, and animals. Follow her on Twitter for her latest articles and other random things: https://twitter.com/JenniferSensiba

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