Drones, the Super Bowl, and Service by Machines

By February 7, 2017 News, Perspective No Comments

The American tradition of watching the Super Bowl is even more spectacular when the game is good (sorry Falcons fans and the throngs of fans that dislike the Patriots). This is one of the last bastions of shared experiences we have in pop culture – where DVRs, cord cutting, and a general cynicism that leads “spoiler alerts” in every Twitter feed!

But this past Sunday night, most of us (based on Nielsen rating of 48.8 or 48.8% of US households watched) got to share in the fun and / or agony of defeat, together. But beyond the spectacle of the game and the comeback, we also got to share in a variety of other pop culture traditions (i.e., commercials, Half-time show). And again, as I’ve said before my posts try to avoid social commentary but instead look at the customer service and service impacts of the things around me.

The halftime show this year was very much so a meeting of technology and entertainment. If like me, you had to do a double-take when you saw the sky behind Lady Gaga light up with the American flag thinking “wow that’s cool CGI”. But I later Googled to find out those were drones!

Drones and the IoT Go Beyond the Cool

The evolution of drones (definition – any unmanned aircraft or ship that is guided remotely) in the commercial and enterprise worlds are beginning to take shape. No longer are these just cool mini-flying helicopters, they now provide the light of a fireworks shows used for entertainment, video surveillance tools for inspections and security, and a new logistics delivery channel for the supply chain. The latter two areas, I think, provide the future promise for the value of the drone – a service being delivered by a machine as opposed to a human.

The Amazon drones dropping off my 2-day shipment at my condo in Boston may not have become reality just yet, but machines are delivering a high quality of security surveillance services now. Connected machines which can capture data and can be operated remotely is nothing new but the applicability in business is becoming far-reaching. Drones are just one in a line of use cases. We’re still in early days for drones being used in everyday service delivery, and I don’t expect that to change any time soon – there are still organizations which are in the process of making the leap from paper-based processes to mobile tools which enable knowledge capture, data sharing, and resource tracking. The future promise of drones might be immense, but there is a lot of work to do to get it past the spectacular and cool to attain the business value some organizations are targeting.

Another connected technology and movement that is very relevant right now is the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is changing the way we think about the world around us and the role that machines should play in service. Connected machines and products have changed the amount and type of data we can gather in real-time. But what is really important for business, is not the amount of data we are able to gather but the fact that we can have data access in real-time and can make decisions based on the now and not on a report cultivated three weeks ago. And this access to data also enables service leaders to proactively stage resources in advance of failures or contact customers to engage in a different type of conversation – one that occurs before there is a break or equipment failure. Without the connection between customer or operational value being created, the IoT like drones would just be a cool thing and not a valuable technology advancement. We have a current project available for your participation in regard to the IoT journey of service organizations. You can participate in a short survey here and share how your organization is ensuring that IoT isn’t just a cool technology but part of the infrastructure which is driving service in 2017.

Other Predictions for 2017 (this year will be more than just Drones)

I expect that there will be tangible service advancements this year, well beyond those seen by drones and maybe even more than the IoT. A few of my predictions are below.

– Technicians will be asked to deliver more than resolution, and will become partners with customers.
– The walls between sales, marketing, and service will begin to fade away to allow for customized service offerings and better communication of value.
– Engaged service workers will provide heightened a service experience for the end customer.

These are just a few of my predictions for the coming year. To hear more of my predictions and better still the initiatives from two service leaders from HPE and Sterilmed, please listen to our recent 2017 Preview Webcast.

The Super Bowl highlighted the future of technology which will have an impact on service as well as entertainment. But I believe the future isn’t too far off for more tangible service advancements, many of which will be aided by technology.

Aly Pinder Jr
Director of Member Research & Communities
The Service Council
ap@servicecouncil.com or @pinderjr

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