Billions of connected devices help us shape our daily lives. However, when smartphones and other connected loT devices break, it becomes uncomfortable – yet our lives, to a large extent, depend on these devices working. The good news: Smart connected devices will be even smarter in the future and will take care of themselves without us having to worry about them.
Before we delve into the topic, let’s take a quick look at a few macro figures for the device market. Gartner expects almost 14 billion consumer IoT devices to be in use worldwide by 2020. This includes wearable gadgets such as smart watches, virtual lenses and fitness trackers, smart home devices for intelligent home control and monitoring, as well as multi-talented devices such as Amazon Echo. In addition, there will be 6 billion smartphones in use over the same period. So we are talking about some 20 billion connected devices, with whose help we control our lives and keep track of our daily work.
If Something Goes Wrong, Quite a Lot Can Go Wrong
From the findings of our own research study, we learned how dependent people actually are on the availability and functionality of smartphones and wearable gadgets. For example, 74% of Americans keep their smartphone handy. One in five would rather give up their best friend than their smartphone, and 84% of Millennials sleep with their smartphone. Incidentally, Millennials and Gen Z consider technology to be as part of their identity; they are the first generation to grow up with constant connectivity. Failure is definitely not an option.
From today’s perspective, customer service must be quick and effective. Most customers expect a solution to their problem within 24 hours and their questions should be answered as soon as possible. Sounds moderate, yet customer care organizations responsible for a consistent customer care experience on global level know that the implementation of these requirements is anything but trivial. The increasing networking with more and more devices will lead to an exponential increase in customer requirements: questions need to be answered even faster; problems need to be solved even more effectively.
A New Dimension of Customer Experience: Ambient!
This sounds dramatic, but is quickly put into perspective when we take a look at how the customer experience with connected devices is changing. Apple’s Siri and Google Now are the forerunners of a new generation of devices with a focus on intelligent interaction with their users. This opens up new opportunities for customer care. Connected devices are suddenly no longer stupid hardware crates. On the contrary, they have the potential to manage themselves independently. From self-diagnosis to self-healing, we will soon see new use cases, which we at B2X already successfully implement with our SMARTAPP self-help app for smartphone users.
Gartner speaks of "conversational systems" and "digital mesh", meaning an intelligent network of interconnected devices which monitor and control one another. While we as users today use a touch screen or have the need to call Siri in order to use apps and services, in the future our devices will think ahead and offer us something that Gartner terms "Ambient Digital Experiences".
Devices Know More Than Users Could Ever Know
Since connected devices can process information more quickly and efficiently than the average user, at the end of the day we will all benefit from this intelligence. IoT devices will manage themselves independently and, if required, automatically request help. Our SMARTAPP, which we already mentioned, diagnoses smartphones for problems in real time and connects users with a support expert at the contact center, should further assistance be required.
In the next step, connected devices provide this connection themselves, just like a self-healing approach for themselves. The fear of losing connection to our digital world if a problem occurs would be irrelevant. As users, we would not even notice if something were to go wrong, because »conversational systems« in the »digital mesh« can quickly detect emerging problems and solve them independently.
Summary: The digital transformation enables mobile brands to innovate the customer experience like never before. Smartphones and IoT devices are becoming smarter and process information more efficiently than the average user. At the end of the day, we will all benefit from this intelligence since connected devices will manage themselves independently and automatically request help if needed. Are you ready for the digital customer care transformation? Please write to us – we would love to hear from you!
Ranjeet Walunj is the Chief Technology Officer at B2X.