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June 14, 2016 | By

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s the Internet of Things!

You may not believe me, but I think about the IoT quite a bit in my work life.    While customer experience and remote support are my bread and butter the IoT is poised to significantly change the space I live and breathe every day.    It’s a really interesting concept and one we can’t ignore.  Having been around for only a short amount of time, its popularity has skyrocketed almost at record pace.   But I judge how quickly a technology is catching on by adoption and more specifically, how quickly my father learns about stuff.

This year my parents are remodeling their kitchen for the first time in 30 years.  Since it’s a big refresh, they want it to be top of the line with all the bells and whistles.  So they are getting new lighting, new appliances, new thermostats, etc.  And of course, they are all internet connected.  So my parents, who are not the most technologically savvy people, now have a connected kitchen.  Realizing how truly awesome this is, they now want all of their stuff connected.  Their cars, watches, appliances, living room, all of it.  But then this inherently poses a problem for me.  As my dad is installing these new appliances and buying new apple watches, and the like, he is wondering why stuff is not working together.  To troubleshoot these issues, he calls me.  In his words, “this is why we sent you to college, right?”  But he makes an interesting point.

In 2018, we will have over 9 billion connected “things” in the world – all needing support.  What is going to happen when there are questions about setup, or something breaks, or you need service?  People want these new items, but might not know how to use them, how they interact, or how to fix them when they break.  And as the world evolves and more devices and products are released, companies need to understand what their “Support of Things” strategy is. This isn’t relegated to those companies offering IoT product or services either – it’s true for nearly all companies.

The Non-Technology Company: You’re probably asking yourself – why would I need a SoT strategy?  I’m not putting a connected product in market.  Well you do.  Thanks to the BYOD movement and the consumerization of IT, employees are bringing all sorts of technology into the office.  And they expect it all to work and be supported.  If you are in the IT department or support department, it will only be a matter of time until these requests hit your desk.

Product Companies:  If you are a product company that has a new or existing connected device, it goes without saying that you need to support it.  Due to the changing landscape of technology and people, customers’ expectations have risen and if you can’t meet them, well they’ll find someone who can.  76% of customers have stopped doing business with a company following a bad customer experience.  If you think your customers will not leave you, think again.  If you think that support is a burden that you can worry about later, think again.  It is easier than ever to switch products and one of the top drivers for switching is poor customer experience.  That includes experience with the product, the connected app, and customer support.

MSP or a BPO:  The customer support market is a multiple billion-dollar industry and with the projections of how big the market for IOT will be, that support market is going to grow even more.  You have the opportunity to grab this bull by the horns and do things like, build the connected apps, provide support for various products, or create VIP services to connect a home, or an office, or even just a room.  The possibilities are endless and profitable.

So whether you are a product company supporting your customers, an IT department supporting your employees, or me supporting my dad – a solid SoT strategy is going to be critical to future success in this new world.  Whether you want it to or not, the IoT is coming so start planning now.

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