A Scots company has developed a unique remote assistance service which is hoped to revolutionise the UK’s home repairs market – and play a key role in the fight to reduce the spread of Covid.
Edinburgh-based Fixzy Assist allows repair squads and engineers to view problems and carry out the required fixes direct from a householder’s phone or tablet screen – without having to visit the property.
By using a combination of in-built tools through Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology, a home emergency can be instantly identified and so eliminate the time-wasting practice of undertaking an initial assessment call-out, visiting the trades store and returning later to effect the repair – a move which will drastically cut vehicle journeys.
Fixzy Assist CEO Paul Greaves invested in excess of £1 million over three-years to develop the service, which also has the added advantage of reducing the spread risk of Covid as home visits are no longer required.
Paul has tested the technology with his sister business, Firstcall Trade Services, and has seen the company’s first time fix rate rise from 36% to 84%, while vehicle journeys have been cut by more than 40%.
With more than 30 years of experience in maintenance and repair, Paul predicts the service will be a game changer for the likes of the rented housing, residential letting, facilities management and insurance sectors.
Paul said: “The Fixzy Assist remote assistance service will forever alter the way we carry out home repairs and emergencies, connecting customers to experts on any device, anytime and anywhere.
“In an instant we will be able to remove the biggest bug-bear that people experience in a home emergency – having to wait for a tradesman to arrive to fix the problem.
“We’ve created a platform that is predominantly customer and user-friendly, but also saves time and ultimately money for companies within the maintenance and repair sector.
“We are currently undergoing a trial period with a number of housing associations where the initial response has been overwhelmingly successful.”
Paul added that the service can also play a huge part in allowing businesses to continue to operate – and operate safely – during the latest Omicron and work-from-home Covid challenges.
He said: “By dramatically reducing the need to visit someone’s home, and reducing unnecessary extra visits to supplier stores, Fixzy Assist can help to eliminate human contact and prevent the spread of Covid.
“And while it is easy for offices to respond to the new work from home rule, Fixzy Assist now allows trades companies and other contractors to also allow their staff to work from home as jobs can be handled remotely whereas before that wasn’t always possible. That could make the difference between someone keeping or losing their job.
“And as we’ve seen from the recent storms, it can also play a major role in allowing more damage repairs and estimates to be covered or completed if they can be done remotely.”
The service works by a tradesperson sending a connection request via text or email to customers’ mobile phone to start a live video session to fix, for example, a boiler failure or broadband connection issue.
The customer can use their phone to show the fault to the technician, who in turn can guide customers using a pen or hand overlay (via Augmented Reality) on how to resolve the issue. The technician can then visually check the problem has been resolved or provide further assistance.
If the repair can’t be fixed immediately, the required work and necessary parts can be assessed and ordered at this stage – meaning the tradesman need only make one visit to complete the repair.
As the first company of its type in the UK, Fixzy Assist is also working to develop the service’s application across a range of other sectors. Detailed negotiations are already being advanced to partner up with other trade organisations and businesses.
The Fixzy Assist product was exhibited at the recent Housing 2021, the Chartered Institute of Housing’s annual conference, where the response from interested parties was ‘unimaginable’.
Fixzy Assist is offering a live consultation and demonstration of the product, and interested clients can also enjoy a free 14 day trial to test the product and the tools in which it provides.