Black & Veatch calls on AI to automate field service

The $3.5 billion construction company is using artificial intelligence software to generate work orders, detect anomalies and predict machine failure on the fly, says CIO Barbie Bigelow.

Black & Veatch calls on AI to automate field service
kohb / Getty Images

For companies that rely on field service technicians, an efficient mobile work experience is essential. And these days the software your technicians use in the field better be intelligent as well.

Count Black and Veatch among a rising tide of companies transforming their field tech’s work experience, as the construction firm is leaning into artificial intelligence to automate tasks for field service technicians who support its construction of cell towers, fiber broadband networks and other critical infrastructure that telecommunications carriers require.

The initiative is part of a corporate push to empower workers with technologies that afford them the convenience they have become accustomed to as consumers, says Barbie Bigelow, former CIO of the $3.5 billion company, whose 11,000 employees also provide engineering, procurement and consulting services for water, oil and gas companies.

"We want our professionals to have a great experience at work,” says Bigelow, who left the company earlier this month. “Sometimes their experience outside of work, as consumers, is better than when they're performing tasks, collaborating and analyzing on the job."

B&V field service technicians travel to remote locations to perform and carefully document inspections, installations, maintenance or repairs on telecommunications and industrial equipment. The company’s injection of automation and artificial intelligence into its techs’ mobile work processes is helping them perform that work more efficiently.

To continue reading this article register now

7 secrets of successful remote IT teams