Can Field Service handle new iPhones? – Using Asset Properties

Sorry for cheeky title 😊

New iPhones are launched and the whole world is going gaga about them. In the other news and equally exciting, Field Service’s 2020 Release Wave 2 is arriving with new features every couple weeks. The latest feature is the introduction of Asset Properties in Field Service. I thought to give it a try by modelling the properties of a new iPhone model.

The Setup

Asset record for this article (no prizes for guessing) is iPhone 12. We’ll work on maintaining the following properties of these assets:

  • Processor
  • Battery support
  • Screen size
  • Capacity
  • 5G support
  • Optical zoom range
  • LiDAR Scanner

The Play

Asset Properties is a new feature in Dynamics 365 Field Service which helps in maintaining the current properties of assets and also keep a record of changing values of those properties. All the asset properties can be optionally linked to ‘templates’ which can be associated with assets. Each class of asset usually has the same set of properties, think of air conditioners, power generators, vehicles etc. In our example, we will set up a template for ‘iPhones’ and define the above properties with the template. We will then apply the template to an ‘asset called ‘iPhone 12 mini’ and maintain specific properties against it.

First things first, go to Field Service (default app) and then go to Settings. There is a new menu item on the left called ‘Property Definitions’. Click on that and click New to set up a new property:

As you may notice, Properties have a specific data type – the following four types are supported:

  • String
  • Number
  • Date
  • Boolean

Let’s similarly add other properties:

Once done, you should have a list of Properties set up like below:

On the left-hand menu, next click on ‘Templates for Properties’. We are now going to associate these properties to a template. You may find a default record in the list:

In the real world, I’d probably create a new record but for now, let’s rename this template to ‘iPhones’

A template consists of the following:

  1. Properties – which we will associate shortly
  2. Categories – a link to Asset Categories (optional), and
  3. Assets – Assets that are linked to the template. This link can be established both from template or asset screens

Let’s start associating properties by clicking New on Properties sub-grid:

Next associate a category with the template:

Once done, next create a new asset called ‘iPhone 12 mini’ and associate with this template (Asset sub-grid). Open the asset record:

Go to the Properties tab. There are two sub-grids on the screen which actually shows record from the same entity – Property Log. The first sub-grid shows only the current values of Asset properties, while the bottom sub-grid shows all (current and historical) values of the asset properties. Let’s see this in action by clicking on New in ‘Current Property Values’ sub-grid. This will open a Quick Create form which will only show those Properties which are part of the template this asset is related to:

Add all the properties with appropriate values:

Oh! we made a mistake. LiDAR is actually not supported in iPhone 12 mini. Let’s click on New in ‘Current Property Values’, select the same property and this time select ‘False:

Now when you go back to the screen, you’ll notice the top grid only has the latest values of the property (LiDAR is false) while the bottom grid shows both current and historical property values.

In the real-life, this feature is useful for many reasons:

  • to keep track of historical and current property values eg mileage of vehicles, operating temperature etc.
  • to maintain historical and current asset property values arriving from IoT sensors
  • to have further flows triggered based on a specific ‘current value’ of an asset property etc.

Well, that’s it. Thanks for reading. I’d also advise to read through the article on Asset Properties on Microsoft Docs and be aware of following caveats:

  • Currently, only 4 data types are supported for Properties
  • ‘Delta’ field on Asset Properties only work for Numbers

Thanks for reading!

I’d love to hear you thoughts 😊

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