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Are You Ready for Connected Devices?

Products, goods, and services: Do you have anything in those categories that can be connected to the internet? That send signals? That provide information? If so, read on. If not… well, you should still read on, because this will likely impact you soon. There’s no sigh of relief here.

Let’s talk about what the future of connected devices entails. For some, the “future” is already in place today. As an example, there are healthcare wearables and pharmaceuticals with intelligence embedded in them, providing signals on how someone is doing or how they are processing medicine.

For retail locations, connected devices can show how a customer would wear a particular piece of clothing simply by determining their geolocation in the store and loading the image on their mobile device. If the store doesn’t have the right size, an automated message can share details on when it will arrive, with a “just click here” button to purchase. Also, for retail, there are linkages between what is in your “cart” and what you purchased “in the store,” where it removes the item from your “cart.” Yes, some of you may have experienced stores offering this type of service, but it isn’t widespread—yet. But I digress…

Where else is this showing up?

  • Car manufacturers that have components alerting either the owner, manufacturer, or both regarding issues the car is having.
  • Home devices that let you know when it is time to order dog food (or other items).
  • Smart refrigerators that provide a shopping list.
  • Smart rooms that detect a non-standard movement and alert staff (mainly for healthcare today).

So, where is this technology heading?

Non-Human Customers

Many of these items provide a convenience today. In the next five years, some predict that customers may not be “human.” I know, you’re shaking your head again, but it is already happening. Remember that example about the dog food? A device is basically asking your permission to place an order for you.

Healthcare Wearables

More devices will have chips that provide sensors. An example of this could be knee replacements. Two people in the same hospital on the same day are getting a knee replaced. The knee comes from the same manufacturer. How the two people wear them can be very different. For example, if one person is sedentary and the other is a runner, the devices will have different wear on them. The sensor can alert the manufacturer, the patient, and the surgeon if there is a need for replacement.

Smart Appliances

Smart appliances, like refrigerators, can provide a grocery list. The list can automatically be sent to either your favorite store, or to your grocery supplier. If it’s sent to the store, the store can fill your order and alert you when it is ready for pick up (you should have the ability to negotiate if that time doesn’t suit you). If it’s sent to the supplier, groceries will magically show up on your doorstep (with, of course, an alert that you have a package).

Smart Cars

More manufacturers will embrace the simplicity of allowing for connected vehicles, and consumers will enjoy this convenience, as well. Think about it this way: If your vehicle has a sensor that needs replacing, the dealership and manufacturer can be alerted. If there are many of these alerts, or they seem to happen in certain conditions (weather, mileage, etc.), the supply chain will be alerted ahead of an issue happening. Parts can be ordered, customers alerted, and the backlogs will be less onerous.

Much of what is discussed here will just “happen.” We’ll all decide if those conveniences are worth the price paid or whether we prefer to keep the “old way” of doing things. These new technologies will allow for less human intervention, hopefully fewer errors, and, in some cases, an improved quality of life.

Continue reading the other posts in this blog series:

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About the author:
As the Senior Director of Customer Experience Strategy for ConvergeOne, Kathy Sobus leads a team with extensive experience in the contact center business and drives strategic alliances and partnerships with various vendors and providers. She is an expert in the area of customer experience and helps clients enhance their contact centers to more effectively respond to their customers’ ever-changing needs.