The Potential for Internet of Things (IoT) in Customer Service
Recent Frost & Sullivan research identifies the Internet of Things (IoT) as one of the most important Mega Trends for today’s organizations to consider.
IoT is a blend of sensor-fitted equipment and devices and local networks of various standards and technologies that transmit and receive data between them and their users over secure Internet networks. Products such as accessories, (like wearables), apparel, appliances, equipment, facilities and homes, infrastructure, machinery, medical devices, and vehicles are being connected to businesses and consumers through IoT. These IoT-enabled devices are often programmed to alert users to anomalies which could indicate problems that require immediate attention. Users reach into data repositories to uncover causes and obtain insights and opportunities, track trends, predict, respond to likely outcomes, and test “what if” scenarios. Users include individuals, IT and line of business departments, operators, and customer sales, service, and support desks.
Like most technologies, IoT has been built on a foundation of other tools and applications. There have been connected devices for many years, but these have typically been single purpose and have used proprietary technology, such as alarm systems. Meanwhile, remote computer and wireless device support have become commonplace.
Machine to machine (M2M) applications, which predate IoT, also links devices and users, typically over closed networks. In contrast, IoT is an open connectivity framework that permits data to flow to a wider range of applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems. As “traditional” closed-loop M2M continues to thrive for specialized, critical, and, or security-sensitive applications, IoT can be considered a new generation of M2M.
IoT continues to expand as businesses see more relevant use cases. That growth poses opportunities, but also challenges, for customer service organizations; how well they respond will help determine the ultimate success of IoT.
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