If you’ve ever had a problem with your car’s windshield, chances are that someone from Safelite AutoGlass repaired or replaced it. The Ohio-based company fixes more windshields than any other company in the U.S. Safelite technicians use VMware AirWatch-managed Samsung Android phones that enable them to go mobile and paperless. At the recent Connect Atlanta conference, Skye Hagberg of Safelite spoke with us about how the company uses AirWatch and the path for mobile technology at his company.
Hagberg is an Information Technology Service Desk Specialist II. “That’s my title on paper, but day to day I’m the AirWatch administrator,” said Hagberg. He manages 6,000 phones that field technicians use for tasks ranging from scheduling to taking inspection photos to processing customers’ credit cards.
Safelite AutoGlass makes a point of traveling to where their customers need service completed, and the widespread use of mobile phones has eased those logistics. Instead of handing out stacks of paper work orders as the technicians start their days, Safelite is able to adjust schedules on the fly, increasing productivity and making sure that techs are able to go where they are most needed. The technicians also use their phones to make the whole glass repair and replacement process paperless, from mapping customers’ locations to processing their payments and capturing signatures.
Safelite AutoGlass uses AirWatch to manage those phones, and Hagberg says the experience couldn’t be easier. He pushes out software updates automatically at night so the techs are always ready to go with the latest versions of their custom apps. “A lot of the value of AirWatch is the hidden value. The user experience is one of my primary focuses. The tech doesn’t have to worry about managing a phone. It just works. And the time we save – that’s ultimately where we get a lot of the value.”
From Workspace ONE to Augmented Reality: What’s Next?
Next up for Safelite is VMware Workspace ONE, the solution for single sign-on to any app on any device at any time. The Workspace ONE app could provide a single portal for access to company apps such as HR applications, educational videos or scheduling and timecards. Since Connect Atlanta, the company has begun the process of setting up a dedicated environment. “Workspace ONE is very exciting,” said Hagberg. “We had heard about it, but to be able to sit down at Connect Atlanta and talk to experts and hear about all the cool things it can do as a platform was really helpful.”
After watching the keynote address where AirWatch’s Blake Brannon demonstrated augmented reality glasses for work, Hagberg said that auto glass repair and replacement is just the kind of manual work where a technician could benefit from having both hands free while specific information about the job streams to a pair of AR glasses. This kind of technology could also help technicians learn about how to repair hundreds of models of modern auto glass that have embedded sensors to detect light levels, rain and road hazards.
“I really do see Safelite getting into that,” said Hagberg. “We’re exploring some options right now in that area. We see a lot of value, especially for our younger technicians who aren’t as experienced as the ones who have been doing it for 6, 7, 8 years. Live video and augmented reality come to mind. There’s a lot of really cool things I think we can do.”
“With Workspace ONE, the sky’s the limit. I’ve learned at the Connect Atlanta conference that this is a really powerful platform. It’s very possible that we will see a lot more value in it than we’re getting out of it in the near future.”
—Skye Hagberg, Safelite AutoGlass