Connected Customer Service: Let the Internet of Things Standards War Begin

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Beta or VHS? GSM or CDMA? Apple or Android?

The battle for competing tech standards goes back centuries. Just ask Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla who famously and by some reports unscrupulously competed to have their standard for an electric power distribution selected during the early days of commercial and residential wiring. At stake were investment dollars, patent royalties and egos.

Now that it looks like the Internet of Things (IoT) is finally starting to gain real traction, a standard scrum looks to be forming.

This week Google announced Brillo, an internet of things operating system that will standardize the connectivity of smart devises to create the fully connected home.Tesla

Brillo will run on and connect multiple low-power devices, networking anything from an oven to a garage door opener while connecting them to existing Google technologies and communication devices. Brillo (running on Google’s standard Weave) is designed to be a simple system that allows for easy connection between devices and would give Google a head start in ecosystem.

However, as you might expect Apple has their own plans. Apple’s HomeKit (set to be available later this year), is a common language that smart devices from any manufacturer can understand and support. HomeKit also deploys Siri, Apple’s voice assistance, letting you control smart devices with just your voice.

We’ve been talking about the impact IoT will have on customer service for some time. Now that things are really starting to heat up, the connectivity between contact center technologies and CRM platforms is all the more critical. Gartner predicts that CRM will be at the heart of IoT communications in coming years as organizations look to create more intelligent and targeted interactions across channels and in this case across appliances. Varying predictions have anywhere from 26 to 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020.

Customers will no longer be faced with product fails as devices like cars, printers and microwave ovens will let them or the manufacturer know when an issue is about to happen, before it happens. Then an alternator will be scheduled to be replaced or a faulty bulb will be delivered before we even experience a problem thanks to the ability of these devices to communicate to us and to the people who built them.

The battle for IoT standardization is just getting started and we may one day soon have to decide between an Apple or an Android bread maker. Until then, at stake in the IoT market are investment dollars, patent royalties and egos. Some things never change.