ASTRI and CITIC Telecom CPC Transform Customer Experience with AR-based Operations and Maintenance Solution

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The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute Company Limited (ASTRI) and CITIC Telecom International CPC Limited (CITIC Telecom CPC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CITIC Telecom International Holdings Limited, have introduced a jointly developed Augmented Reality (AR) solution designed to transform field engineers’ operations and maintenance processes. Branded DataHOUSE AR Remote Hand Service (AR Remote Hand), the solution leverages wearable Augmented Reality (AR) technology and brings CITIC Telecom CPC’s field engineers and its customers to a new era, enabling them to slash the time and cost of troubleshooting and maintenance for achieving better results.

The AR Remote Hand Service employs AR glasses to stream real-time intelligence, troubleshooting logs, graphics and encrypted data from back-end systems to on-site engineers and maintenance staff, boosting field productivity by up to 50%. By wearing the glasses, field engineers do not have to stop their work to communicate with back-end support teams via a laptop or phone, nor to refer to a paper manual. The AR Remote Hand provides field engineers with a heads-up display for remote visualisation in real time as they install, maintain or troubleshoot equipment, thus speeding up the whole process.

AR Remote Hand enables field engineers across multiple locations to overcome the challenges of multiple languages and skillsets in multi-technology environments; as well as to manage installation and maintenance issues more efficiently and cost effectively, resulting in improved customer satisfaction. This ability to work effectively from remote locations is also helping CITIC Telecom CPC’s customers and staff stay safe in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure safe operations and maintain service infrastructure availability by the global remote service support teams, CITIC Telecom CPC is using DataHOUSE AR Remote Hand Service in its China Data Center operations to assure regional customers’ business operations continuity.

“Our strategic collaboration with CITIC Telecom CPC has demonstrated the success in leveraging next generation technology in real-life applications that benefit our people and society, in this case smart industrial applications and field service management solutions for Hong Kong enterprises,” said Mr. Hugh Chow, CEO of ASTRI. “We are delighted that our applied research has proven effective in enhancing CITIC Telecom CPC’s customer experience, improving operational efficiency and boosting business resilience, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. ASTRI, as a bridge of innovation and technology, will continue to strive to create economic value and societal impact via technology transfer and commercialisation in building a smarter and safer Hong Kong.”

“We are delighted to see the results of our strategic partnership with ASTRI in the launch of AR Remote Hand Service,” said Mr. Esmond Li, CEO of CITIC Telecom CPC. “The partnership has provided us with a solution that significantly strengthens our managed services offerings, greatly enhances the customer experience and is revolutionising the industry’s operations and maintenance capabilities. DataHOUSE AR Remote Hand is an innovative remote maintenance service adopted in data centre scenarios, which leverages AR intelligent operations and maintenance technologies. This is only the first step and we will not stop here. Through collaborating more innovative thinking, we expect to enhance the service to cope with more scenarios and bring more value and better customer experience to enterprises.”

In their collaboration, ASTRI focused on developing the software platform and customisation, while CITIC Telecom CPC provided related information and opinions based on its experience with business cases in various scenarios and applications. This ensured the solution could effectively address enterprise customers’ needs across a range of industries. The result is a solution that offers a wide array of benefits in service provisioning and remote location visualisation and communication capabilities:

  • Intuitive AR-Guided Installation, Troubleshooting and Maintenance: With AR Remote Hand, field engineers recognise any device with a designated QR code and access real-time intelligence, graphics, and encrypted data from back-end systems streamed on-site. Field staff can access virtual step-by-step guides or even 3D manuals via AR glasses, without the need to interrupt work to check information on a laptop or in a manual.
  • Historical Records Analysis: Using a pre-set routine (e.g. gestures), on-site engineers can review a device’s historical record (e.g. customers’ network traffic or cloud CPU history), to speed up data analysis and troubleshooting, while cutting downtime and cost.
  • Seamless Communication and Collaboration with Back-end Support: Field engineers previously communicated with back-end support via email or phone, making it difficult to describe a troubleshooting situation. Removing distance and language barriers, back-end engineers now view real-time images streamed via AR glasses through an AR operations console, improving operational speed and quality. Its powerful video conferencing feature also offers engineers instant support and fosters off-site collaboration between global operations and maintenance teams. In addition, back-end engineers can give field engineers clear instructions via 3D AR labelling.

In exceptional circumstances, such as the current pandemic, it’s difficult for enterprises’ IT staff to travel to data centres and manage their equipment. Equipped with the latest AR glasses development, CITIC Telecom CPC’s DataHOUSE AR Remote Hand serves as customers’ remote hands. It not only shows the status of on-site equipment as customers watch in real time from offices or other locations, but also lets customers to provide live instructions to CITIC Telecom CPC’s on-site engineers as they troubleshoot equipment issues without physically being in the data centre.

“At CITIC Telecom CPC, we are constantly innovating to improve the customer experience,” said Mr. Daniel Kwong, Chief Information and Innovation Officer of CITIC Telecom CPC. “We plan to extend the AR Remote Hand service for further customer use and will enlarge the list of equipment support. Adding AI applications for the AR glasses will be the next milestone as we work to deliver even more intelligent diagnoses. For example, when a field engineer sees the status of the target-fixing equipment through the AR glasses, they will be shown a number of possible causes for the problem, with each cause ranked with a percentage according to how likely it is to be the source of the problem.”

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