September 10, 2020 – Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) has announced a collaboration with Microsoft for its Mercedes-Benz Virtual Remote Support solution, which the company states will help to redefine its automotive maintenance process and the way that its service technicians work, leading to an enhanced customer experience and greater efficiencies in communication and employee safety.
Mercedes-Benz Virtual Remote Support is a mixed reality automotive maintenance system powered by Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 device and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist platform. The solution allows onsite dealership technicians to work handsfree sharing real-time views and sounds of the vehicle while talking with Mercedes-Benz technical specialists. The remote MB specialists can provide valuable insight and technological guidance to help complete complex maintenance issues in a faster time, without having to leave their office.
“This is a massive shift in the way we do business – helping us to serve our customers more quickly – and is especially timely with the new realities of COVID-19 and our desire to keep employees safe,” said Christian Treiber, Vice President of Customer Services at MBUSA. “Today’s vehicles feature more than 100 million lines of software code. Through our partnership with Microsoft, we have a new paradigm for technology support and communication that helps our dealers and technicians master the complexity of these vehicles while eliminating travel time and onsite visits. It’s like having an expert on your shoulder.”
According to the company, the Mercedes-Benz Virtual Remote Support will help to:
- Enhance the customer experience by providing faster service turnaround;
- Decrease the time it takes to resolve maintenance questions, thereby increasing the productivity and efficiency of dealer technicians;
- Reduce the environmental impact of service-related travel; and,
- In times of COVID-19, it creates a remote work environment without eliminating the important collaboration between remote and onsite technical experts.
“I’m thrilled by the transformation made possible by our partnership with Mercedes-Benz USA. By leveraging HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, Mercedes-Benz USA has seen rapid time to value, moving from proof of concept to broad deployment in a matter of months,” said Alysa Taylor, Corporate Vice President, Business Applications and Global Industry Marketing, Microsoft. “Microsoft is honored to be part of Mercedes-Benz USA’s disruption of the automotive industry and change the way they provide services for their customers.”
Whether simply inspecting a vehicle to make decisions about body repair or to solve more complex situations that require a collaborative diagnostic plan, with Mercedes-Benz Virtual Remote Support, an onsite technician puts on a HoloLens 2 headset and has immediate, real time support from Mercedes-Benz technical specialists anywhere in the US. By leveraging Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Remote Assist platform, remote specialists can see exactly what a technician is seeing at the dealership. The mixed reality environment provided by the HoloLens 2 allows for an immersive experience where both parties can view intricate 3D images and holograms, see where changes need to be made, annotate the visual information, add documents, insert arrows, circles and more in order to highlight areas on which to focus.
The company officially launched the Mercedes-Benz Virtual Remote Support solution across its entire US network of 383 dealerships in August 2020, following a successful pilot program. The pilot program, which was conducted between January and March 2020, included 13 Mercedes-Benz dealerships across Mercedes-Benz USA’s footprint.
“We save so much time not having to go back and forth, uploading information, asking questions, waiting for a response.” said Matias Scolnik, shop foreman at Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables, one of the dealerships that piloted the technology. “To get cars back to the owners—diagnosed, fixed, washed and ready to roll—in a fraction of the time, this has a huge impact on our ability to provide excellent customer service.”
MBUSA added that it views the service as the foundation for future opportunities by which to coach and train its technicians.
Image credit: Mercedes-Benz USA