Face it, our industry is fast heading for a cliff with the increase in demand for skilled labor, the higher level of technical skills required, and the fact that a lot of the best older service techs are either retiring or finding other work because their knees are giving out. This shortage has not only put a strain on most contracting businesses, it has forced contractors to engage in a never-ending bidding war to go after the techs who are available.
With this occurring situation as a backdrop, I came across a new technology at ASHREA this year that I have been following that looks like it may offer a large part of the solution. The technology I'm referring to, is called telepresence eyewear. This is a fancy name for industrial grade safety glasses with a camera and audio communications built in. The company I talked with at ASHREA was called XOEye (www.xoeye.com/
) out of Nashville, TN.
With telepresence eyewear, a remote person can see and hear the same thing as the person on a job site, while communicating in real-time with the person. Better yet, not only does it give you a real-time video feed, it can record everything for future review.
Now this may sound like the 'jet-pack' we all thought we'd be using by now when we were kids, but this is completely affordable and deployable today. This technology has the potential to have more of an impact on our industry than any other thing I've seen in the last five years–that is, if we as an industry implement it right.