THE INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT) – A NEW CHANNEL FOR UC AND CONTACT CENTERS

IoT – The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining more and more presence in IT structures in many different services and segments, across the globe. Millions of connected devices, wearable tech, security systems, monitors, gauges and diverse technologies are all feeding their information to…. where exactly? SOFTEL have taken a look at the future of IoT – and studied where the lines cross for Unified Communications and Contact Centers. The results are that IoT is a lot closer to customer interactions than you might think…

Connection

Even though IoT Devices number in their millions, they all have one this in common; they are connected. And, being connected means they are accessible. The very same types of information which flow along the backbone of a Contact Center, flows across the network from IoT devices. How to connect to them is actually the easy part – what to do with the information from those devices is slightly more complex. And this is where Unified Communications for Contact Center operations excel…

Information

SOFTEL considered the very low-levels of information which can be presented – and what they actually represent. Whether it is wearable tech, utilities, security, logistics, health or retail – or any other service – the information is, quite clearly, forms of interaction which will need to be stored, transformed and acted upon – and this is even more noticeable in location-based, biometric, telemetric and personal devices. Extending the interaction and operational capabilities of Contact Center to encompass IoT operations for this sub-set of devices is a logical step. The fact that Unified Communications derive from what are essentially streams of information from various customer communications sources – it makes sense to re-use the tools available and extend their capabilities, to include IoT information. But how..? Here’s a few pointers;

Validation

Not all IoT devices are suitable for Contact Centers – but quite a surprising number are, given the right orientation – and validation. The more obvious areas are Smartphones, Personal Health Monitors and Biometric/Telemetric Security devices. Each of these presents a clear operational use in Contact Centers; from providing services, to location, to status, to presence and in monitoring and responding. But there are areas which are less obvious, which can present even more information on which to base customer interactions; Retail presence, spending habits, purchase propensities, loyalty and attrition. Extending customer profiles to include not only what is being recorded – but also what is implied through longer-term monitoring – means being able to validate customer value, beyond simple purchasing behavior. But gaining validation of new streams of information is only half of the picture – knowing how to apply Business Rules to those new sources is an art in itself!

Business Rules, Content and Knowledge Management

The complexity of the rules which govern the way in which an enterprise acts, re-acts, interacts and becomes pro-active with customer interaction information presents a problem, with the emergence of IoT data streams. And the inclusion of so much more information will, undoubtedly, have a knock-on effect to that complexity. However, this is by far the biggest benefit of IoT for a business. Being better informed means being able to make better business decisions. Knowing more about your customer will lead to a better understanding of their needs. And knowing more means being able to provide better services – and more streamlined operations.

On a basic level, Business Rules are developed pretty much line-by-line; “If this happens, do this”…and so on. The inclusion of a sub-set of new conditions, where more information exists is simply an extension of those rules. From a planning perspective, it really is just a case of knowing what you want to do with the new information streams – and placing those new Rules into your current model. To do that, an underlying area of Information Management needs to exist; this is the dynamic aspect of Business Rules. For example, if a Business Rule states “…look up X and do Y with it…” – Content Management is the X – and Knowledge Management is the Y. And a lot more of those X’s and Y’s are appearing, with the emergence of IoT data…

IoT Solutions in the Contact Center – The Next Chapter….

Bringing each aspect of connected IoT Devices, Information, Validation, Data Streams, Interactions, Business Rules and Operations may seem like a daunting task. The sheer scale is enough to make a person think twice! But there is one aspect that SOFTEL recognize, which can very quickly bring things into perspective – Contact Center Solution Providers have been doing exactly that for many, many years. From the early days of Voice Routing in Call Centers, through the addition and emergence of IVR, sms, email, multimedia, social media and video Channels, Contact Center Service Companies are already experts. The addition of a new Channel in IoT brings with it no more – and no less – complexity than applying a new data source, for inclusion in day-to-day Contact Center Operations… with huge benefits.

The Next Chapter has already begun and Unified Communications in Contact Centers are poised to take on the IoT challenge.

Download the SOFTEL IoT/IoE Brochure and start your journey into the Next Chapter, today;

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