Delivering Service Excellence through Internet of Things

. Zervicio Team . 11th September 2016 . 

"Internet of Things" - as the British entrepreneur Kevin Ashton coined the term in 1999 while working at Auto-ID Labs, IoT is making a big difference in offering connectivity of devices, systems, and services going beyond machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and a variety of protocols, domains, and applications.

Setting Customer Service Standards

The Internet of Things is opening up a whole frontier of new ways for people and machines to communicate, and is a new feeling in the way people relate to the things around them. Along with the growth in number of potential IP addresses by the new coding systems being developed, industry veterans are predicting that the increased capability of IPv6 will make it possible for IoT to connect close to  26 billion devices by 2020.

The Internet of Things has started changing the traditional ways of service management and customer experiences by automating responses and service requests directly from the devices and gadgets.

Internet of Things will contribute to adding Tens of Trillions of Dollars to the economy over next 15 years. When we think of Internet of Things, we more and more think of Smart Gadgets and Equipments around us connecting to their own communication needs like placing a request to service engineers for an upcoming service, functionality feedback from peer product ranges, auto generating service tickets and automatic ordering of spare parts and most importantly consolidating decision making for product recalls or customer satisfaction level.

In the near future we will also see a range of new internet-driven payment systems using smart devices in a cashless society. In service industries, fare management systems are already in the current pipeline. Big data-based services are using the data generated by connected objects to enhance their products. Data collected has been helping service providers target their products more specifically. With the development of smarter devices, we will see that we need to connect our tools and devices to each other and to ourselves via global and local digital networks. Gadgets will be equipped to make decisions themselves based on input from other gadgets.

Few of the classical and traditional areas IoT can help quite large number of touch points with customers and end-users. Predictive Maintenance, User Experience, Worker's field time, smarter inventory management and remote inspections - to name a few.

Predictive Maintenance

IoT go along very well with predictive maintenance. If your equipment is fitted with IoT sensors, it can alert your field service technicians when a piece of your equipment is about to break down. Upon generation of this alert, a service call can be requested, a replacement part ordered, and the service call scheduled for a date after the part arrives in the inventory. And thanks to IoT, each of these steps can be automated.

User Experience

Customer experience and customer service are key for field service businesses nowadays. How many times have you had a worker come to your house or place of business that stated they were from a certain company, but they had no way of verifying their identity? Well, one company has found a way to use IoT to fix this problem. Connecticut Water emails the customer with the technician’s name and photo prior to the service appointment. So the customer feels assured that this service employee is from the agreed company. This saves the technician from having to prove who they are when arriving at the appointment and allows them to immediately get to work.

Manage Workers’ Field Time  

Even though mobile workforce management and IoT make field service engineers’ lives a bit easier and help them be more productive, sometimes the technicians don’t want to follow the automatically planned service schedule that is generated for them. They may think they know a city better than the automated system.

Smarter Inventory Management

When you drive into automated mall parking garages, you’re greeted with a sign that shows you how many available parking spaces there are on a given floor. Above each parking space in the garage there’s a sensor that flashes red or green—red for taken, green for available—and the system automatically updates whenever cars move into or out of a parking space.

Now imagine this sort of system in your inventory warehouse. IoT can give you a similar kind of functionality. If parts in the warehouse are connected to IoT sensors, you can see exactly how many parts you have in-stock, and receive an alert when parts need to be restocked. This helps you keep your inventory at the levels you need, and also helps dispatchers know when to schedule a service call to achieve a higher first-time fix rate, since technicians will be able to take available parts with them to the call instead of heading out to a call when the part is not in stock.

Remote Inspections

Since IoT allows for self-diagnostics and sensors that send reports back to engineers, having to send technicians out to inspect equipment manually is not always necessary anymore. Technicians can log on and see how a machine is performing remotely.

Jasper Technologies was acquired by the industry major CISCO during the first quarter of this year 2016. Jasper Technologies has developed technologies that helps other companies stay connected to their machinery, gives the example of an oil pipeline that uses IBM’s IoT Foundation to send data over from sensors to determine whether a machine is malfunctioning or not. Perhaps the sensor is supposed to report once a week, but starts to report every day. Thanks to having an IoT setup in place, field service technicians would be alerted that there’s a problem and could remotely restart the machine.