Specialist Contact Centers for the IoT Era – The Rise of IoT Intervention in Unified Communications

The emergence of IoT/IoE, mass data streams and Big Data Analytics (BDA) is changing the face of operations within many associated, peripheral and supporting companies. Where “information is king”, millions of consumer and industrial IoT/IoE tech devices are filling the ether with terabytes of monitoring data, from teraflops of operational technology. The vast majority of that information and data flow is real-time, with automated calculations and algorithms, returning even more information to the device or the wearer. Throughout this technical evolution, one aspect is becoming ever-clearer; the need for “IoT Intervention” – when the data tells us that something is not right…

The consumer wearable tech explosion is underpinning a new wave of health self-regulation, heart-rate and activity monitoring, leading to healthier eating and healthier living. And those devices are getting smarter, every day: we are already on the cusp of eHealth and wellbeing self-diagnostic devices becoming a standard feature. But where are the health advisors? Who steps in to provide the personal support and guidance needed when a device has done its job?

The industrial IoT/IoE device market is sky-rocketing, with connected monitoring devices in everything from cars and smartphones to security locks, parking meters, water, weather and power stations… But where are the support staff? Who reacts to security alarms or in-progress vehicle thefts, once a device has done its job?

For the moment, it may well be “good enough” to create an automated response – or a new business rule – or an automated set of actions as an “add-on” Omnichannel Service. And it might be the best approach – for now. But what about in 2-3 years, when IoT matures? And what about in 5 years – when 5G/6G mobile data streams, IoT and BDA becomes standardized? Who will support this support?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes..?

The smarter the tech becomes, the more unique the information being provided – and the new tech waves will bring with them hundreds of new scenarios, every day. Conditions, assimilations, circumstances, dynamic models, diagnosis and criteria which simply could not be pre-empted nor responded to, with a simple set of Business Rules. And that smart tech needs smart people – not smart responses.

SOFTEL have been in the Unified Communications business for over 20 years. From the days of “IF…THEN…ELSE” rules being applied to IVR responses, through to the Omnichannel presence required of today’s Unified Communications solutions for Contact Centers. In that time, each new wave of tech has brought with it a whole new set of rules; sms, email, web chat, social media, smartphone integrations and everything in between. Until now, a standard model for Omnichannel interactions has been the way – re-active or pro-active operations (sometimes even pre-emptive) – all based on a pre-defined set of rules for business. IoT will change that model significantly – and permanently. It will no longer be sufficient to assume a set of rules or a standard response and deliver those to each Omnichannel – IoT is simply too diverse.

The need for a “real person” intervention will not decrease, as IoT takes hold – it will increase. And it will not be enough to train staff in standard responses, because there will be too many “standards”. SOFTEL recognize that the introduction of IoT data streams means more decisions – and actions – will be required of specially-trained staff within specialized Contact Centers. eHealth is just one aspect of what will continue to be an ever-more complex collection of devices, technology, data and information, which will inevitably require a level of “IoT Intervention“.

Putting this into context, let’s consider a few scenarios from the here and now – and from the future in IoT;

A. Today, if a warning indicator light appears on your vehicle’s dashboard, it generally means something is wrong. And, generally (but not always!), people would see that as an indication that it’s time to top-up the oil – which is something they can do. Or, it may be more serious and they need to take the vehicle in for a check-up – to a real person, in a garage. The vehicle owner is informed and reacts, accordingly. If a new exhaust is required, then it will be the mechanic who will determine that – and inform the vehicle owner.

B. Tomorrow, if a warning indicator appears on wearable tech, it generally means something is wrong. And, generally (but not always!), people could see that as an indication that it’s time to rehydrate – which is something they could do. Or, it may be more serious and they need to take themselves for a check-up – to a real person, in a health practice. The wearable tech consumer is informed and reacts, accordingly. If their condition is serious, then it will be a healthcare professional who will deliver the diagnosis – and inform their patient.

As IoT evolves, it may be perfectly acceptable for the vehicle owner in Scenario A to be informed that their exhaust needs replacing, by the on-board tech. But would you want your watch to tell you that you have early signs of cancer? Perhaps, then, it becomes clearer how “IoT Intervention” will be a necessity, for many facets of the human interactions which will be required, to support the emergence of IoT in our everyday lives. Not just another Channel to be added – but something much, much more complex – and more significant than a simple Query/Answer Service. “How do we interact with that IoT?”, “Who needs to be involved?” and “When should we apply intervention?” are just some of the questions which are the tip of the IoT tech response iceberg.

SOFTEL have looked to their past and learnt – and used that experience to see into the future of IoT.  And, more than ever, we can see that Specialist Contact Centers will be pivotal to ensuring that IoT technologies operate and function not only through appropriated automation – but also with real, human intervention. It is closer than you think – and SOFTEL are poised to build the solutions that will underpin that new wave, today. Are you ready?