Saturday, 31 March 2018

What’s new in Field Service in Dynamics 365 Spring 18 Release - Microsoft Dynamics 365 Update 9.0.2

The Spring ‘18 release of the Field Service application includes resource scheduling and optimization improvements, GDPR and accessibility enhancements, and a new user experience with the application built on the Unified Interface framework.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service is available for Private Preview to select members of the Dynamics 365 for Field Service Insiders program starting in April 2018.

Main features and enhancements in Field Service for Dynamics 365 Spring 18 Release:

Field Service app
  • Built on the Unified Interface framework - With the Spring ’18 release, the field service app is built on the Unified Interface framework for improved user experience. The app delivers a consistent, uniform user interface, and follows responsive design principles for optimal viewing on any screen size or device.
  • Common Controls Framework (CCF) - User interface controls use a Common Controls Framework (CCF) for consistency with other Dynamics 365 business applications. Controls follow consistent, familiar patterns on every surface in the application, making it easier for field service users to onboard and be productive.
  • Associate 3D content with customer asset records - Arm your technicians with 3D content to help them complete repairs. 3D models or sequences can be uploaded (directly to Dynamics 365 or hosted externally), and then associated with customer asset records for use by technicians within the mobile app. Supported 3D file formats are glTF, FBX, GLB, and OBJ.

Universal Resource Scheduling (URS) solution
  • Schedule board list view - Interact with the schedule board using a list view to see data in a more meaningful way. For example, use the list view to work with bookable resources on the schedule board, or search for resource availability in hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly schedule board views.

Resource Scheduling Optimization (RSO) solution
  • Extensible scope - The Resource Scheduling Optimization solution uses scope to define the input for resources, resource requirements, and resource bookings, as well as the timeframes used for optimization. With extensible scope, the solution leverages entity views in Dynamics 365 to provide an easy and flexible way to define what gets optimized.
  • Run as a simulation - The admin can run a schedule on demand as a simulation, which results in resource bookings that are simulations without affecting actual bookings. This capability helps an administrator better understand the effects of adjusting optimization scope, constraints, objectives, and other parameters, to determine what optimization configuration best matches business goals and objectives.
  • Enforce skill level - Resource requirements can include not only a skill, but also the level (or rating) of the skill required to do the work. By considering the skill (or resource characteristic) rating level required, the solution is able to find resources that better match required skills and proficiency.

Connected Field Service (IoT) solution
  • Built on the Unified Interface framework - With the Spring ’18 release, the Connected Field Service solution is built on the Unified Interface framework for improved user experience. The app delivers a consistent, uniform user interface, and follows responsive design principles for optimal viewing on any screen size or device.
  • Synchronization of device conditions and properties with device twins - Connected Field Service includes a representation of customer assets and devices that can be registered within Azure IoT Hub to enable messages to flow through Azure IoT Hub to create alerts. 
In the Spring ‘18 release, in addition to receiving messages that require action, Connected Field Service uses the Azure IoT device twin capability. The device twin, which is kept in sync with physical devices, is a JSON document that holds metadata and configuration data, as well as a virtual cloud representation of physical devices.
Connected Field Service communicates with device twins to allow devices to report operating conditions such as device state, heartbeat for connectivity speed, and machine vibration. Field service operations managers gain visibility into device conditions and properties on a graphical dashboard. For example, the capacity of a tank can be monitored through IoT Hub and represented on the dashboard. When capacity reaches a threshold, an alert is sent to designated users for follow-up action. 
  • Synchronization of device tags with device twins - Device twin tags allow grouping of devices to make them easier to search and find. Tags for device twins are created in Connected Field Service, and then converted into JSON that is understood by a device. 
Tags make it easy to group by device usage, identification, or other properties. For example, customer assets needing a similar repair can be grouped using a tag.
  • Configuration of device properties and commands through device categories - When IoT devices are registered, connected, and configured in Azure IoT hub, Connected Field Service is able to retrieve properties and configurations from device twins.
With the Spring ‘18 release, field service managers and technicians can define device properties individually or in bulk. For example, field service managers can add measurements, such as temperature or vibration, which are common to devices in a category, and then update properties, configure thresholds, or send commands.
Field service managers or technicians can also use pre-defined commands to control a piece of equipment, such as when to restart or shut down.

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