IoT: Customer Experience Leading the Way

I certainly have a biased perspective, having spent the past 27 years of my career working as a contact center industry analyst, but I believe that the Internet of Things (IoT) will find much of its early success improving the customer experience.

I had the opportunity to hear a joint presentation by Dimension Data and Bosch at the Genesys G-Force event in Miami, Fla., in October 2016, and one of the comments made by Joerg Fischer, a technical vice president for Bosch, has stuck with me. Bosch plans for all products it ships to be Internet-enabled by 2020, he said during the session.

On stage, the presenters talked about a washing machine sending out a message that it is in need of repair. That's a nice example of the proactive customer care possibilities of IoT, but another example Bosch shared during a breakout session showed the broader implications of combining IoT and customer experience. In one of my Enterprise Connect sessions last week, Kentis Gopalla, senior director of product management and market strategy at Genesys, shared that case study -- Bosch Connected Parking.

Bosch Connected Parking

Bosch Connected Parking offers car park operators new business opportunities and ideas for increasing the value and scope of services for participants. Parking solutions include:

  • Active Parking Lot Management lets the lot operator know the location of empty spots. Installed floor sensors detect the availability of parking spaces and report these to the IoT cloud. From there, the vehicle searching for parking receives information and is guided directly to the vacant parking space. In addition, the Bosch Connect Parking app also performs statistical evaluation of the parking lot occupancy -- no more multiple cars driving around a lot that is already full!
  • Community-Based Parking brings a similar concept to street parking. Real-time information is sent to the cloud, updating an application that citizens can use to find vacant parking.
  • Automated Valet Parking brings IoT-enabled parking to its logical and technical zenith. Integrated into the side of a vehicle, ultrasound sensors scan the surrounding area and identify suitable parking spaces. System electronics then compute the most favorable steering maneuvers and automatically guide the vehicle in and out of the parking space.

What customer experience is attributable to these IoT parking solutions? The IoT-enabled app helps eliminate the frustration that often accompanies finding a space. Beyond finding spots, customers can use the mobile app to pay for parking and reach out via text or voice if they require help.

One could say Bosch Connected Parking is the "Uberization" of parking: a smartphone-enabled way to find and pay for the required asset, as well as receive customer care if required. Just like Uber took the frustration out of getting a taxi or the hassle of renting a car, Connected Parking takes the frustration out of parking.

With its parking solutions, Bosch goes beyond mere customer care and contributes to the realization of the smart city concept: intelligently connected cities featuring enhanced quality of life and environmental conditions for everyone.

IoT and customer care are ultimately about improving self-service. Customers increasingly want to self-serve, and IoT will increase the ability of providers to deliver improved, personalized self-service. I know we will have an even broader array of IoT case studies to share with the Enterprise Connect 2018 audience!

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