Intelligent Service Toolkit
Original Publication Date: 2008-Feb-21
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2008-Feb-21
Remote support has long been a feature of the IT industry, for both software and hardware. Current manifestations of remote support involve a telephone audio and/or data link to the device being serviced that allows a remote technician to provide some level of advice and supervision as repair is attempted. As IT hardware becomes increasingly complex, the need for a richer, more supportive interaction between the person attempting the service action and the remote support technician is desirable. To ensure that the actions are correctly executed, the option of remote support needs to be expanded in several ways. To facilitate better exchange of information and monitoring of actions, a live 2-way video conference link is needed. In order to deliver information at the time it is needed, a display screen under control of the remote service technician would be packaged together with a web camera to provide rich, 2-way interaction. Additionally, an "intelligent tool holder" would be integrated into the design. The intelligent tool holder would be used to direct the service person's attention to the proper tool that is needed by lighting up an indicator near the tool. These three features--the 2-way web camera, the display under remote control of the service technician, and the intelligent tool holder would enable a much more supportive interaction with remote support. Taken together, the features would define the Intelligent Service Toolkit.
Intelligent Service Toolkit
It is anticipated that packaging of the Intelligent Service Toolkit could vary widely, but the central idea of the disclosure would remain the same. Through telepresence, the level
of interaction between the person performing the service action and the remote service technician would be greatly enhanced. As the person performing the service progressed through a complicated service action, the remote service technician could, in effect, be looking over their shoulder. At critical times, the remote service technician could call the person performing the service back to the web conference, directing them to important pieces of information (for example, video clips showing the proper way to use a tool or replace a component) or otherwise verifying that the task being performed is fully understood. The intelligent tool holder would further reinforce the proper sequence of actions by explicitly showing the proper tool needed for each step.
Several form factors are possible for the Intelligent Service Toolkit, among them being:
Laptop PC connected to an intelligent tool holder
Portable tool kit (similar to professional mechanics tool kit) with integrated PC Small cart integrating intelligent tool holder and PC functionality
The laptop form factor would provide a familiar and intuitive manifestation that would include a large screen along with a webcam. The webcam would be able to rotate 180 degrees to provide the remote service technician a view of the work area. The intelligent tool holder would attach to the PC. Possible communication protocol for the intelligent service toolkit could include but would not be limited to:
-Wired or wireless ethernet
Content shown on the display of any manifestation of the toolkit would be controlled by the remote service technician and provide "information at hand" in context of the service action being performed. When needed, a subset of information could be made directly selectable by the person performing the service action. Guided learning/transfer of training would occur when...