Auto Service World
Feature   November 1, 2013   by Tom Venetis, Editor

The Coming Wireless Service Bay

This year’s AAPEX/SEMA show in Las Vegas showcased how much wireless connectivity is going to be part of tomorrow’s service bays. A range of technology providers, from Delphi to OTC, showcased technologies designed for technicians...


This year’s AAPEX/SEMA show in Las Vegas showcased how much wireless connectivity is going to be part of tomorrow’s service bays. A range of technology providers, from Delphi to OTC, showcased technologies designed for technicians to connect to the latest repair information without having to leave the service bay.

Each showed how new tools can not only pull the needed diagnostic codes and information from the vehicle, but take that information and connect seamlessly to the ‘Cloud’ to pull down repair information, vehicle updates and ‘real world’ service tips. The service technician will never have to leave the bay or the side of the vehicle and go to a distant laptop or desktop to get that information. They won’t even have to access different databases as the scan tools and systems will now access all of the information from, say, Mitchell 1 to Identifix simultaneously. It will summarize the information and present the most likely fix while pulling out needed wiring diagrams or re-flash codes.

It does not stop there. The move is to seamlessly link diagnostic and repair information to shop software so work estimates can be created and parts queued up for ordering. These work estimates can then be printed by the service writer and shown to a waiting customer or emailed to their smart phone or office in order to get that person’s approval. Others demonstrated solutions that allow a technician’s smart phone or wireless tablet device to become a diagnostic tool.

We often speak about the need for shops to invest in new equipment in order to stay up-to-date on vehicle repair. Too often we focus on large service equipment, tire changers and faster lifts, new refrigerant machines or fluid changers. Sometimes we talk about the need to keep up with new scan tools and maintaining subscriptions to online repair information databases.

All of them are important. What shops must start focusing on is making sure they have the wireless connectivity needed for these new wireless scan tools and equipment to work. There are still a surprising number of service shops that have no wireless service or simply see it as a means of giving customers a way of accessing their email and YouTube while they wait for the work to be done. Wireless is not something they think about for the service bays.

Wireless tools and continuous connectivity are going to be crucial to not only work on today’s complex vehicles, but to retain customer loyalty, as many expect businesses to be using the latest technology.

If time is lost as technicians run about looking for a free desktop or laptop, or to come to the service writer’s desk to find wiring diagrams, customers will likely take their vehicle somewhere else.