It has been predicted that an incredible 6 billion people will have a smartphone by 2020. In our pocket, we possess a supercomputer, millions of times more powerful than all of NASA’s combined computing capability during the Apollo space missions.
Add to that the new era of connectivity; Forbes projects that connected devices will soon outnumber people by the ratio of 6:1. There are watches, smart cars, TVs, washing machines, thermostats, refrigerators – in fact almost everything – that can be connected machine to machine.
The world runs on connections. Business connections, social connections, personal connections. We are connecting with people in more ways than ever before. The advent of M2M technology is changing the way we interact with each other in the new millennial mobile-first world, says Simon Skellon, vice president UK, Mitel.
The emergence of 4G LTE enables this global level of connectivity. The follow on spectrum – the long touted 5G – actually devotes slices of network spectrum to vertical segments for IoT / M2M purposes. In fact, 5G technology is predicted to be 66 times faster than 4G, so wireless speed will no longer be an issue.
But what does this mean for businesses and the customer experience they provide?
All this technology, combined with the adoption of the cloud, means we have the framework for a new, ubiquitous world of communication.
Today consumers expect more than just one route to market – without knowing it, they are looking to have a Omni-channel experience. They expect to get service and support for a variety of mediums –phone, web-chat, video chat, email, text, social media and online forums, to name a few.
What’s more, consumers expect the flexibility to switch modes of communication and expect companies to stay up-to-speed on those interactions. This is particularly the case when it comes to Millennials who approach the majority of interactions from a mobile-first stance and expect a seamless experience.
For businesses, it’s about how to manage this expectation and create a new reality. We use multiple devices when we want to and need to. And we use them how we want. We expect control and we expect the businesses and organisations that serve us to allow us that control and service in the way we want.
It means companies have to be geared up to meet the new demand. They have to anticipate the needs of the ‘next generation’.
This ‘next generation’ of customer experience is being enabled by the Internet of Things. Gartner have predicted that by 2020 there will be over 20 billion devices connected to the Internet of Things. This will fundamentally change the way in which we interact with just about everything. For example,
- Imagine the customer service representative who anticipates your issue and after seeing that you restarted your wearable four times, you are sent a software update;
- How about if a maintenance issue for your car is routed to the right contact at your preferred repair shop, before you even know the issue exists;
- Or even your personal health tracker, updating your health file at your doctor’s office through a connected CRM, with your personal vitals.
These are real-world solutions for automated self-service solutions and they are making changes to our lives already. Other practical examples can already be seen in the hospitality industry. The hospitality trade has adopted the Internet of Things, as well as new and evolving M2M technologies to transform the way they do business and to change the experience of the consumer.
One example of this is how hotels are using mobile devices as a door key to access rooms, eliminating the need for a physical key or key card. Similarly, some hotels are developing mobile apps to improve customer service across a hotel environment. Rather than seeing the information on your television screen when you enter a room, or receiving a wakeup call to your hotel phone, you can now receive all of this directly to your phone, allowing for a more targeted and personal experience for the consumer.
A consumer can register what they are interested in hearing more about with the front desk and for the duration of their stay they will receive information directly to their mobile on these areas. For example, if I let them know I am interested in food and drink, the hotel will alert me on my smartphone when happy hour is on and when there are discounts available at the restaurant.
It’s a real-time update that comes directly to me, no matter where I am. Examples like this, where targeted messaging is playing a role in increasing the customer experience, show how different areas of businesses are coming together to benefit the consumer. Thanks to M2M technologies businesses are able to deliver their services to the consumer in new ways.
The Internet of Things is making interactions with consumers, and the overall customer experience, more seamless and efficient. Alongside this opportunity comes great responsibility. Companies now need to be prepared to work with these developments and changing technologies and anticipate the changing needs and wants of their consumers.
The author of this blog is Simon Skellon, vice president UK, Mitel
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