The Internet of Things (IoT) is being touted as becoming ubiquitous and the panacea for all known ills. There is a romantic vision that cheap sensors will be attached to everything and all our lives will be made easier because service providers will act on the information generated by all the things to prevent failures and resolve any outstanding issues. Unfortunately, such a utopia will not happen anytime soon.
Sure, the introduction of sensors to anything that might need to let something else know how it is performing is relatively straight forward. Then the questions come. What information should the thing provide? Is that information secure? How often should the thing transmit information? And so on. Assuming these questions are answered, there is then the hurdle of protocols. IoT is still very young and as such there is no standard protocol across the industry. Many IoT protocols are currently proprietary which can turn out very expensive and limiting as a company can get locked in to one supplier.
Now let’s fast forward a few years to when the IoT industry has figured better what information it needs and, crucially, industry standard protocols are in place. Similar to the evolution of WebRTC where it crept in to companies’ psyche and solved a multitude of problems they never realised they had, so too will IoT become a fully paid up member of IT space! Endless sensors will transmit huge volumes of valuable secure information to conscientious companies who plan to do great things with that data.
So, what happens then? Live agents in contact centers will be needed to deal with the many requirements and exception conditions that IoT won’t be able to manage, such as urgent assistance to a patient whose heart monitor is failing or arranging a boiler service to prevent a potential failure that has been detected. AI and virtual agents will carry the burden of IoT actions and responses, there will be many such occasions where triggers are missed and problems not identified. All such failed instances will be best handled by a human agent who can apologise appropriately, manage customer frustrations and find a solution, thereby saving customer loyalty and company reputations.
The live call center agent is dead? No, long will he live!