Bringing voice recognition to facilities management
As an innovation research partner, Digital Scientists successfully designed and built a tablet-based, voice-activated inventory management app and ordering interface in less than three months.
HD Supply, a A Fortune 500 company, approached us with their challenge of wrestling with the need to stay competitive or risk elimination by online retail giant Amazon, determined it must transition from solely a distributor / supplier to an integrated service provider capturing customer’s needs and identifying opportunities for growth.
Currently there is not an integrated system in place that allows property managers a way to identify and manage assets, inventory and / or tasks assigned to maintenance personnel. The client realized there was an opportunity to create one platform with the ability to predict inventory replenishments and part malfunction, search for and buy parts on the spot, and collect facility data along with integrating their e-commerce and distribution systems. This could be a game-changer.
What we did
Working with our client, we went through a detailed exercise of predicting what the job of a property maintenance manager would look like five to 10 years from now. Instead of focusing on the transaction of buying supplies, they zoomed out.
They envisioned property maintenance managers using augmented reality to diagnose maintenance problems in a unit, image recognition to identify specific parts, and voice recognition to be able to place orders.
Through this process, we worked to identify the first-phase solutions that could be developed and launched with relative ease and speed. Because technicians themselves had limited access to technology, the best way to start was to make the store room smart. So we worked with the company to create a beta test of an app that would run on an iPad located in the store rooms.
- Innovation for Hire
- Customer Journey Mapping
- Mobile App Development
- React Native
- Native App for iOS Devices
- Native App for Android Devices
- Snowboy Hotword Detection
- Responsive Desktop & Mobile App
- Dashboard Interface
- Hotword Detection
- Contextual Voice Command
Voice-activated inventory management app and ordering interface.
Common supply room actions are listed prominently on the Dashboard. Voice appliance responds to touch or voice commands after the hotword “Hey FM.”
To activate, technicians say the hotword, followed by a command. Requests are displayed below on the command bar at the bottom of the screen. Contextual voice help is always available, just ask “Hey FM: What can I do?”
Search results for a given requests are displayed. Techs can scroll to select an item, or say “Next,” to display the next set of paginated results.
Search, browse & buy with just your voice.
Details are shown for a given item such as pricing, inventory levels and store room order history. See what is in local storeroom inventory or buy without even a click.
Our client was able to open the lines of communication, alerting customers that innovation and efficiencies are on the way. In just over 90 days we built a functional prototype that showed our client’s customers they were serious about innovation and adding value.
Benefits to our approach:
- A more efficient inventory management system
- Increased customer and guest satisfaction scores
- Better inventory planning
- Detailed customer data around where and what inventory items are needed
While other companies start in the wrong place and build an app without talking to customers first, our client understood that the focus was on the customer and started the process toward new technology and innovation.