Trends 2016: Interoperability will be the key

13 Jan 2016
In 2016, there is a clear trend towards digital transformation among government, industry, and the services sector. Therefore, the key requirement is interoperability. Earlier technology infrastructure looked to create silos that limited interaction and collaboration opportunities. Here are some key trends that would help build up a strong support structure for the ongoing digital transformation in the nation.
  1. More networks lean on fabric: The increasing volume of data and bandwidth utilization from the burgeoning number of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and “smart,” connected devices such as healthcare devices, home security systems and appliances, vending machines, check-out stands, etc. will drive traditional networks to the breaking point.

    Mesh topologies and fabric-based technologies will become increasingly attractive as the answer for cost-effective solutions that can accommodate the capacity needed and flexibility required for the constant changes in network traffic. Decades of client server architectures are coming to an end.
  2. Customer contact centers become more flexible and connected: Omni-channel access/pre-routing will gather momentum, as smartphones become the interface of choice for customers. This means much more efficient handling of customer inquiries, leading to greater satisfaction, lower costs for balancing and distributing incoming customer communications over multiple locations, and easing IT operations for the business.

    The percentage of people connecting to an enterprise will continue to be increasingly digitally dominated from browsers and mobile applications, which will drive specialized ways of serving those customers from the customer experience (CX) perspective.

    This dynamic will also drive customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing-oriented projects for the more innovative companies.
  3. Enterprise-grade WebRTC gains momentum: Enterprise-grade WebRTC conferencing from desktop and mobile browsers will speed the ability for participants to join common virtual areas without launching separate applications.
  4. Automotive telecommunications will become a fast-growing customer contact centre channel: With sensors and telematics systems becoming more common in automobiles today, information on vehicle usage and driver behaviour is more readily-available, providing an opportunity for manufacturers, dealers and OEMs to forge closer relationships with customers, increase loyalty to their brand and increase margins.

    Specifically, sensor-based reporting on car maintenance and usage enables more convenient, proactive services for car owners, alerting them to upcoming maintenance, repairs or safety issues.
    Sensors and telematics also provide opportunities for tie-ins with insurers, such as safe driver discounts, not to mention access to a myriad of other services.
  5. Further proliferation of wearable technology will drive customer satisfaction: Over the next four years, sales of wearables worldwide are predicted to increase almost eight-fold from last year. The explosion will make the most important device we carry – our smartphone – even more significant by expanding its role as our personal hub by serving as a proxy for our wearable tech.
    But a less talked about, must-watch dynamic is the evolution of wearables in the workplace, beyond the contact center.

    As headset and communications technologies continue to evolve, new wearable technologies hone in on special applications for workers who need hands-free access to information and communications capabilities. Connected Government will become the new normal.
  6. Messaging apps will not replace email: Email is a communication tool that by now is simply part of doing business worldwide. Unlike messaging apps, email has structure. There are subject lines, the ability to reply to one or many, the ability to categorize, create folders, and the list goes on.

    The basic structure is, for the most part, consistent between email providers. Furthermore, a Gmail user can email an Exchange user and so on. While messaging apps are trendy and fun to use socially, they are the newborns of the written communications world with no organization skills yet and a lot of growing up to do.
  7. Customer relationships rule for vendor differentiation, as support increasingly relies on self-service and self-healing systems: The value-add of contracted support is becoming less visible as leading-edge vendors put more remediation and proactivity into tools and systems.

    As a result, vendors need to develop strategies and underlying system intelligence to improve customer experience with offers that help increase adoption and full value realization.

    Vendors will need to intentionally work to maintain the human factors of the service event to overcome the depersonalization that may result from increasingly technical solutions by implementing things such as relationship-based routing and service deliverables combined with high-satisfaction channels, most notably, video.

This article appeared in Voice & Data , January 13, 2016