Exploring the Internet of Things: IoT in UC&C
How does IoT connect with the UC world?
One of the most inspiring terms for the enterprise right now, is the concept of the “Internet of Things”, a world where countless devices are connected, and collaborating through a singular internet connection. Towards the beginning of the IoT revolution, there’s a good chance that you associated this technology with wearable technologies, smartphones, and tablets, but there’s more to the connected world than you might think.
IoT could be the solution that allows companies to determine how often employees are using their desk phone hardware, or what headset features get the most use. With the internet of things, you can access data in real-time, tracking, manipulating, and analysing important information on the go. If you can converge communication technology, with the versatility and scalability of the Cloud, then you could use IoT to get the competitive edge in your industry. After all, there’s a reason why the IoT market is expected to reach a value of $8.9 trillion by 2020.
IoT and the Possibilities of Real Time Communication
Imagine a world where you would know instantly when a technician arrived on a work site, so you could send out messages to check how he or she is doing or provide them with updated information about a problem. The Internet of Things creates a trackable, connected ecosystem of devices, constantly open to receive notifications, alerts, and useful data.
While there are plenty of advantages to the opportunity of real-time communication, one of the most commonly cited solutions links back to the concept of instant notifications for emergency situations. For instance, in the healthcare sector, Mitel are already helping innovative companies to offer their patients a more proactive care experience with the use of connected devices, endpoints, and other sensors.
Imagine, for instance, that you were a doctor looking after a patient with dementia. You have other patients to care for, so you can’t watch over that one individual all day, but with IoT sensors, and a wearable device, you could get a notification sent directly to your smartphone or desktop that informs you when the patient leaves their bed, or when they move past geographical markers around the hospital. This could instantly reduce the risk of accidents in a healthcare setting.
In an environment where technicians need to travel to client homes to complete repairs, an IoT device could connect with a Cloud network and send information back to the manufacturer headquarters, so that they can give an agent the tools and support they need to safely fix or troubleshoot a problem.
Connecting IoT to Unified Communications
As the world of Unified Communications becomes more complex, one of the biggest issues that end-users have, is with ease of adoption. Customers want to be able to control everything from their computer screens, to their whiteboards, meeting room facilities, and conference information from a single interface. An IoT solution could make something like this more possible, by creating a workspace for communications and collaboration.
For instance, the Cisco “Spark Room” kit automatically brings together critical resources in a meeting room, from a display where people can share graphs and documents, to connected end points that ensure easy video meetings over the Cloud. All the while, the nature of the IoT framework means that your business is constantly collecting useful information from the connections you make. According to statistics, there will be around 75.4 billion connected devices by 2025, that adds up to a lot of useful information for evolving companies.
The IoT environment could even help the contact centre to become more efficient and proactive. If your contact centre solution is connected to an IoT framework, then it can keep an eye out for problems with the devices that your customers buy from you. This means that alerts can be sent directly to your support team when something’s about to go wrong – before your client even has the chance to call you.
For instance, imagine selling a refrigerator that could sense its thermostat is about to break. That refrigerator could send a support ticket to the manufacturer, which asks an agent to call a customer and arrange a routine maintenance visit. In other words, you can fix issues before they ever arise – if that’s not the key to a happier customer, we don’t know what is.
The Potential of IoT is Growing
Products all the way from industrial sensors, to connected product manufacturing machines and contact centre analytics devices are already on the market. Increasingly, the IoT environment is making the business world a more efficient and productive place. Soon, the internet of things could fundamentally change the way that we communicate with colleagues, customers, and even our machines.
IoT could even be the key to stronger self-service capabilities. For instance, in the example with the refrigerator above, if it was easy for your customer to simply replace the thermostat themselves, your service team could simply send out a new part. In a few years, you could even offer solutions like Cisco Spark VR to walk your customer through the process of virtually changing their own parts.