Guest Post: 4 Ways Technology Can Boost Your Customer Service Experience

In a mobile-oriented society where consumers thrive on social media and have come to expect instant communication, technology has become an increasingly important key to delivering effective customer service. Companies are using technology to meet customer demands for omnichannel support and access to online knowledge bases with a goal of differentiating their brands through customer service. Eighty-eight percent of companies feel they’ve made good or excellent progress toward delivering modern customer experience. Telephone support, online service and mobile service are some areas where companies are increasing their technology investments. Here’s a look at some technology tools you can use to improve your customer service experience and boost customer satisfaction.

Cloud Contact Centers

Today’s foundation for delivering effective omnichannel support is the cloud contact center. Cloud contact center solutions such as 8×8, Altitude and Aspect provide a single platform companies can use to centralize online, chat, phone and email support. This type of central platform enables your support team to deliver a seamlessly-integrated experience to customers even when a ticket moves from one channel or agent to another. Cloud centers also make it easier to deploy remote representatives, giving you more agility and cutting your expenses for on-premise support.

Self-service Tools

The most important customer service option you can provide to increase efficiency and customer satisfaction are tools for self-service like online knowledge bases answering frequently-asked questions. Seventy-five percent of consumers see self-service as an effective way to address customer service issues, and 67 percent prefer self-service to speaking to a company representative, a Nuance survey found. Only 40 percent of consumers contact customer support to resolve their issue after consulting an online knowledge database, meaning you can reduce your service volume by more than half by providing self-service options.

Live Chat

For service issues that don’t lend themselves to self-service, live chat is one of the best contact channels you can offer. Live chat delivers the highest satisfaction rate of all service channels, with 73 percent of customers coming away satisfied from live chat experience, compared to 61 percent for email and 44 percent for phone. Chatbot tools such as Pandorabots can also help you streamline your customer service workload by automatically handling many of your support tickets and improving the efficiency of ticker routing to human representatives. 1-800-FLOWERS found that deploying a chatbot to place orders on Facebook and direct other inquires to human representatives, used in conjunction with voice-command tools such as Alexa and Watson, boosted revenue in addition to increasing efficiency.

Phone Tools

While automated tools such as knowledge bases and chatbots can help you reduce your service workload, it’s also important to have live phone support for tickets that require a human response. Being unable to reach a live person is one of the most frustrating customer service experiences, and failing to provide this option will greatly reduce your customer satisfaction levels. To optimize the efficiency of your phone support, you can use an 800 number in conjunction with a menu system that automatically routes calls to the appropriate department. Structuring your menu options based on your customers’ most frequently-asked questions can greatly improve the efficiency of your phone service. To identify your customers’ most common concerns, monitor your site search bar and online knowledge database’s most frequent search terms and design menu options that correspond to these topics.

About the Author

Roy Rasmussen, coauthor of Publishing for Publicity, is a freelance writer who helps select clients write quality content to reach business and technology audiences. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies and bestselling authors. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing, and career planning.

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Jacada Announces Private Equity Investment

Jacada Ltd. (OTCQB: JCDAF), a global provider of customer experience technology designed to simplify the interaction between businesses and their customers, announces that Israel Growth Partners (IGP), a Private Equity investment. Jacada’s visual IVR is a key asset to their capabilities has other digital transformation solutions aiming to reduce the cost to serve customers while driving a seamless customer journey. The visual IVR transforms the typical “press 1 for….” Press 2 for…” type of IVR and instead uses a touch interface. Companies looking toward digital transformation of the customer experience are using the visual IVR as a cornerstone of their digital transformation. This investment should be helpful in Jacada’s future growth.

Jacada Visual IVR@Drnatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Digital Customer Experience Transformation in Customer-facing Application

Constellationr.com

 

 

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Guest Post: 1202 Social Media Alone is Not Enough. Your Small Business Needs a “Big” Website

Social Media has truly been a game changer in how businesses connect with their customers. What used to be a cumbersome and expensive activity has been made very easy, but at the same time it has also become a constant battle for customer attention.

Social media has also helped the customers. It is much easier for them to connect with businesses. No longer do they have to rely on the traditional 1-800 number, enduring long hold times. They can simply post a question and then the business can answer them (within the same day hopefully). On the flip side, angry customers can post their scathing reviews for the world to see. Over all social media has really become a necessity for business if they want to stay valid in this world. And many businesses have been milking social media for all its worth, some even going as far as using it as a substitute for having a professional website. While social media is necessary for achieving success, especially for small businesses it can in no way substitute a business website. In order to truly milk social media, you have to pair it with a website.

Why do you need a big website along an efficient social media presence?

Recently Facebook added the sell feature on to pages, in short turning business pages into small business online stores. This feature again raised a slew of questions that why do we need a website anymore? You can even have a proper e-store running on a Facebook page. This question is especially asked by small businesses or start-ups who have limited budgets. Why should they put a strain on what are often shoe-string budgets to make a website, when they get almost the same level of functionality from a social media presence alone?

The market is not what it was 15 years ago

15 years back you could do without a website till you got to a level of financial success. However the market dynamics have considerably changed since then. Internet penetration in first world countries is especially at levels we had never nearly considered. And the speed at which the online world is expanding puts it a level where we can say that the virtual online world is one that exists in parallel of real one. It is that vast.

So if your business does not have a concrete presence in the online world then you do not appear as a credible business. Before we go anywhere, we Google it. If I only get Facebook page results, that makes your business look like an amateur set-up and makes it lose its credibility. Just like it is expected for a store to have a billboard, consumers expect businesses to have their own websites, just for the sake of contact details and address if not anything else.

Many years ago it used to be a shop front that served as the first impression of the establishment. Now it is the website that makes for the first impression. You need a good website to ensure you grab people’s interest and convert that interest into a sale.

A website is effectively your businesses own branch on the virtual world

You can put up your products up for sale on Facebook, but that is just like putting your products on some other store’s shelves. You cannot influence the environment of the store to shape customer experience. Your products are the mercy of someone else. You cannot control customer shopping experience on Facebook. Facebook even changes the themes when and as they wish. But a website is somewhere you are in full control and give the customer a shopping experience you feel would be the best way to market yourself. For example some e-stores do not opt for a traditional slider and go the “Tinder” way that is the customers view one product at a time.

Also a basic feature that having your own website gives you is recommending customers their next possible purchase, based on their present viewing history. This is something that you lose your products on social media.

Social media has also restrictions on photo sizes that you can upload. This may be a drawback as intricate details may be lost when you compress file size.

Also many people might not want to buy from Facebook, so not having a website means lost sales. And a website along with a brick and mortar store is the perfect combo. Your brick and mortar store gives the customers who want to “feel and buy” what they want and online customers get the feasibility of buying from wherever at whatever time they want.

A website is a business you control and shape

Unlike Facebook you are in complete control. How your business works in completely on you. Just like Facebook gives you a free “shelf” to display your products, businesses with successful e-commerce website have gone on to sell “shelves” on their websites. A website has a huge potential for revenue making and is only limited by your imagination. A small business gains by investing in a website as they gain the option of multiple income streams from one smart investment!

One last thing to mention is that it is very important you choose a professional company to do the development for you. This is because you might require after-sales services, and freelancers are not that reliable.

 

About the Author

Rachael Everly is an undergraduate student who loves to write on the topics related business, finance, technology and education. Follow @RachaelEverly for further updates

 

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Guest Post: The Relationship Between Cloud ERP and Big Data

There have been quite a few articles written on adopting cloud-based ERP, and whether the technology will be along the lines of its counterparts. Businesses are becoming more aware of the computer industry and the software is improving with each release. Cloud technology is becoming crucial in developing new capabilities to attract customers.

 

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) within the cloud is the engine utilizing data produced on the plant floor to power manufacturers. Cloud ERP gives manufacturers more precise and real-time data. Also, it is delivering programmable logic controllers, barcode readers, visual management systems, and wearable technology that can assimilate with the ERP system.

 

Big data is popular amongst business intelligence and analytics applications. Big data technology is evolving and it is changing application systems that have long supported them; it has given challenges and great opportunities. Acquiring business value is not only a challenge but it puts the business’ goals into context. 18-20% of the world’s GDP is contributed by manufacturing. Data is well on its way to becoming the new way to be efficient, since manufacturers worldwide are using it gain an edge on the competition. They are looking for products to better themselves and their consumers while discovering services that can be innovative and add to their image. 50% of reduction from manufacturing in product development holds real value. The largest source, arguably, of data in manufacturing is from ERP. Cloud adaptation is being forced at this point, which is the location where data is evaluated and processed using state of the art analytical engines that can slice and splice data into conventional and unconventional sources. ERP is now the connection of the cloud and Big Data.

 

Cloud ERP showcases enhanced flexibility, customization, lowered cost of ownership, and better integration with emerging technologies. You may also see a lowered number of times you call your IT department. The developments indicate that ERP on the cloud is not a situation of when manufacturing will become part of the trend, but what it will choose to deliver via the cloud before ERP immerses itself in the cloud completely.

 

In this moment, ERP in the cloud has proven itself to be a key player in manufacturing. Many companies will do their best to obtain flexibility, enhance customization, lower their costs and drive the integration of emerging technologies. The cloud will be a central figure in its success. As manufacturers gain confidence and experience the benefits, modules that go far above the functions of basic ERP will submerge in the cloud. Mobility and data growth are adding to the need, which would take ERP into the cloud, to create an improvement in efficiency and intelligence leveraged regardless of time and locality. This change coming will be historic. The ERP landscape is being reshaped as this is being written.

erp

 

(Image Source: FanRP)

 

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Saurab Prabhakar is a SEO & Outreach Intern at The Marketing Zen Group. He writes creative content on behalf of the ERP systems specialists at TGO Consulting, and enjoys his work. You’ll find him instructing Group Fitness classes and enjoying great food. You can connect with Saurab on LinkedIn.

 

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Guest Post: How Digital Technology Is Transforming Customer Data Collection

Digital business is increasing the potential monetary value of data, but most companies aren’t leveraging this valuable resource. Smart devices, mobile technology and social media are increasing the volume and variety of customer data available at an accelerated rate, turning data brokering into a multibillion dollar business while simultaneously making data more affordable than ever. General information about consumers is now available for about $0.50 per 1,000 people, estimates the Financial Times. Read on for the trends that are transforming data collection and the tools that smart companies are using to turn data into profit.

Internet of Things

One of the biggest technology trends is the increasing presence of smart electronic devices, a trend known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Earlier stages of the Internet were centered around personal computers and then mobile phones, and now the Internet of Things includes all sorts of smart devices, from smart houses to smart TVs to smart cars, watches and clothes.

All these devices collect data that is centered around the consumers who use these devices. This enables businesses to organize their market research and advertising efforts around the totality of data as well as individual uses, a trend known as marketing personalization. The Internet of Things means that the data collected can conceivably be used to personalize ads they see in their car, at work and while shopping.

Location-Based Data

The Internet of Things forms a digital mesh that enables consumers and their data to be pinpointed by location. Smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note5 are GPS-enabled, allowing marketers to collect data on their location and deliver personalized messages that appeal to customers at specific locations.

One of the emerging applications of this is beacon marketing, which identifies when customers are entering stores to deliver customized coupons, discounts and other special offers. For instance, Hillshire Brands saw a 36 percent increase in brand awareness and a 20 percent increase in purchase intent by using beacon technology.

Context-Sensitive Data

Data collection is becoming more context-sensitive. For instance, a webpage that displays well on a desktop screen needs to adjust to be viewable on a smaller mobile device screen. This means that the site needs to collect context-sensitive data about the viewer’s device and screen size.

Another context-sensitive use of data is retargeted advertising, when information gathered on one device follows users as they use other devices. For instance, Yahoo recently added a feature to its Gemini ad marketplace that enables advertisers to send retargeted ads to customers on websites, apps and Yahoo interest categories based on their browsing behavior.

Social Media Data

One of the most important data collection sources is social media. CMS Wire reports that 90 percent of the data available today was collected over the past two years and 80 percent of it came from social media use.

Social sites are seeking to capitalize on this, with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google and YouTube all introducing buy button features last year. In 2016, social media brand engagement and buying will drive data collection, predicts Brandwatch.

 

About the Author

Roy Rasmussen, coauthor of Publishing for Publicity, is a freelance copywriter who helps small businesses get more customers and make more sales. His specialty is helping experts reach their target market with a focused sales message. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing, and career planning.

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Capital One Announces Launch of DevExchange / Offers New APIs

Starting something new is exhilarating, daring and, at times, even daunting. People who create know this. Having an idea isn’t the hardest part. Getting that idea off the ground is – building adoption, clarifying value, then scaling that idea to realize its full impact in the world.
And it’s no different for companies. Capital One knows about creating new things. They founded this on the belief that information, technology and great people could combine to bring new, highly customized financial products directly to consumers. It was daunting, and exhilarating. But less than 3 decades and more than 45 million great customers later – you could say they have proven that original concept.
So what’s next? They are starting something new again by becoming one of the first banks to open their platform to external developers and partners. They are launching Capital One DevExchange.
Capital One DevExchangeEvery experienced developer will tell you that before they invest their time in a platform, they need to know that the basics are covered. Foundational things like:

  • APIs that matter, are easy to integrate and are standards-based.
  • A portal where they can explore all the capabilities – from documentation, sample code and reference apps, to high-quality support and access to the entire community.
  • A place where they can easily test their concepts, have robust test data analytics and get instant access to prove their ideas.
  • A place where feedback matters and there is an opportunity to explore ideas with like-minded people.
  • Lastly and most importantly, a program that operates with transparency and a commitment to long-term sustainability.

Building a sustainable, vibrant developer community is hard work. It isn’t just about APIs, SDKs or toolkits. It’s about working together to solve problems. Engaging community members wherever they are. Defining a long-term strategy that benefits all. Creating real revenue and business value to flow to everyone. Promoting those successes. And doing the hard work every day of supporting, servicing, communicating with, adjusting when necessary, and expanding the ecosystem around the community.

They are creating such a place. A place where ideas become tangible. A place to access technology that is essential to people’s everyday lives – money, finances, and identity. A place they call Capital One DevExchange.

It’s time that banking and financial services catch up to the rest of our digital-enabled lives. They still believe that information, technology and great people are the magical combination needed to drive innovation. But they also know that great people – including great developers, engineers, and product visionaries – are everywhere. And they want to work with you.The challenge isn’t just to convince people to devote their engineering and development resources to working with them. It’s also to make sure you have a voice in this community.

Maybe the world is changing? Nice to see people being considered as a key component!

@drnatalie petouhoff

Covering Digital Transformation

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Capgemini Collaborates with Celaton on Artificial Intelligence in the Cloud

What’s the Partnership Between Capgemini And Celaton Mean to Your Company? Capgemini, consulting, technology and outsourcing services, has announced a new global collaboration with Celaton, a specialist Artificial Intelligence (AI) company, to license and use its inSTREAM, cognitive learning technology. The 3 year contract, signed between Capgemini and Celaton, will extend Capgemini’s already strong automation capabilities, help to drive further efficiencies and add Artificial Intelligence to Capgemini’s Business Services solution portfolio.

What Does Celaton’s inSTREAM Software Do? It streamlines the handling of unstructured unpredictable (and structured) content such as correspondence, claims, complaints and invoices that organizations receive by email, social media, fax and paper. This minimizes the need for human intervention and ensures that only accurate, relevant and structured data enters business systems. Unique to inSTREAM is its ability to learn through the natural consequence of processing information and collaborating with people. Capgemini’s extensive knowledge and experience in business process services will also enable Celaton to accelerate and improve inSTREAM’s capabilities.

What Will The Partnership Provide For Clients? The cooperation will enable Capgemini to increase efficiency, shorten turnaround times and enhance quality in areas where incoming documents and queries need to be processed, improving overall customer satisfaction. At a time when more and more customers expect the use of AI and modern automation tools, the alliance will help Capgemini’s Business Services advance their market leading use of automation and AI for its core business. Earlier this year, Capgemini introduced an Autonomic Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering founded on best of breed technologies to deliver intelligent automation solutions on-demand for enterprises. The Autonomic PaaS aims to improve the predictability of organizations’ operations across their infrastructure, applications and business processes. The Celaton agreement is a further commitment from Capgemini to develop advanced client solutions using intelligent automation, cognitive and AI technologies.

Is This Offered in a SaaS or Cloud Mode? The addition of Celaton inSTREAM expands Capgemini’s Business Services’ extensive Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) portfolio with an artificial intelligence-based processing solution for incoming unstructured content –which is driven by its global automation Centers of Excellence. It is an important element in ensuring the delivery of maximum value to its customers.

Notes From The Executives: Lee Beardmore, VP and Capgemini’s Business Services Chief Technology Officer said, “There is significant industry debate on how cognitive computing and artificial intelligence will impact the BPO market. We are taking our delivery from debate to global implementation and are proud to partner with Celaton as a leading vendor in the business process AI space. Building on the introduction of Capgemini’s Autonomic Platform-as-a-Service, Celaton’s technology extends the penetration of cognitive computing into our delivery of business process services.”

Andrew Anderson, CEO of Celaton said, “I am delighted that Celaton and Capgemini have committed to this global partnership. The transformational impact of AI has been proven with many organizations and yet this emerging technology is often greeted with scepticism. Capgemini’s global reach and credibility will have an impact on the perception and adoption of AI and I’m very excited that Capgemini’s customers will soon be able to realize its significant benefits.”

My POV: AI is very important to the emerging capabilities of company’s to add cognitive computing into the delivery of business processes of discerning unstructured content. And with social and digital content abounding, there is no storage of unstructured content. And there is unlimited potential in the value of this unstructured content if it can be harnessed. This duo will give brands that opportunity.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-facing Applications That Drive Better Business Results
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Capgemini Joins Forces with Blueprint to Offer Advanced Requirements Management Capabilities for Financial Services

What’s The Combo Up To? Blueprint, an innovator and global leader in accelerating and de-risking large, complex IT projects, and Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, today announced a resale agreement increasing the ability for strategic customer growth worldwide.

How Will Capgemini and Blueprint Work Together? Capgemini will continue to leverage Blueprint’s wide array of requirements management capabilities both for its internal product development and for its customer implementations. Blueprint’s leading-edge, enterprise solution allows Capgemini to accelerate delivery of its industry leading solutions and reduce total cost of ownership for its customers. Blueprint’s software assists in aligning business strategy with IT execution, ensuring regulatory compliance, and supporting organizational transformation.

A Note From the Executives: Martin Saipe, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, Blueprint said, “Blueprint’s growing alliance with Capgemini represents a significant milestone in Blueprint’s channel strategy. Capgemini is a key part of our growth plan through the system integration channel. We are excited about this new resale capability and are expecting significant activity in the near-term.” 

Anand Moorthy, Vice President, Global Testing Practice, Financial Services, Capgemini stated, “Our collaboration with Blueprint provides very robust requirements and documentation tools for customer implementations and internal product development,” said . We can accelerate the requirements process for many of our customers because of pre-built, accelerator models that are refined over time, incorporating best practices which we then deploy in selected projects. Rather than creating new custom requirements for each project from scratch, we are able to be more prescriptive in our delivery helping our customers manage costs and lock-in quality.”

MY POV: This combination will help Capgemini’s clients accelerate the requirements process  because of pre-built, accelerator models that are refined over time, incorporating best practices which we then deploy in selected projects. As a former systems integrator and management consultant, I can say this is a very distinct advantage.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-facing Applications That Drive Better Business Results
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WHAT?!?!?!? Women Considered Better Coders – But Only If They Hide Their Gender

What Does Gender Have to Do With Coding? When a group of computer science students decided to study the way that gender bias plays out in software development communities, they assumed that coders would be prejudiced against code written by women. After all, women make up a very small percentage of software developers – 11.2% according to one 2013 survey – and the presence of sexism in all corners of the overwhelmingly male tech industry has been well documented.

You’ve Got To Be Kidding! So the student researchers were surprised when their hypothesis proved false – code written by women was in fact more likely to be approved by their peers than code written by men. But that wasn’t the end of the story: this only proved true as long as their peers didn’t realise the code had been written by a woman.

“Our results suggest that although women on GitHub may be more competent overall, bias against them exists nonetheless,” the study’s authors write. The researchers, who published their findings earlier this week looked at the behavior of software developers on GitHub, one of the largest open-source software communities in the world.

What Were The Results of the Study? Based in San Francisco, GitHub is a giant repository of code used by over 12 million people. Software developers on GitHub can collaborate on projects, scrutinise each other’s work, and suggest improvements or solutions to problems. When a developer writes code for someone else’s project, it’s called a “pull request”. The owner of the code can then decide whether or not to accept to proffered code.

  • Researchers found that code written by women was approved at a higher rate (78.6%) than code written by men (74.6%)
  • The researchers looked at approximately 3m pull requests submitted on GitHub, and found that code written by women was approved at a higher rate (78.6%) than code written by men (74.6%).
  • Looking for an explanation for this disparity, the researchers examined several different factors, such as whether women were making smaller changes to code (they were not) or whether women were outperforming men in only certain kinds of code (they were not).
  • “Women’s acceptance rates dominate over men’s for every programming language in the top 10, to various degrees,” the researchers found.
  • The researchers then queried whether women were benefiting from reverse bias – the desire of developers to promote the work of women in a field where they are such a small minority. To answer this, the authors differentiated between women whose profiles made it clear that they were female, and women developers whose profiles were gender neutral.
  • It was here that they made the disturbing discovery: women’s work was more likely to be accepted than men’s, unless “their gender is identifiable”, in which case the acceptance rate was worse than men’s.

What Do Female Coders Think About the Study? Lorna Jane Mitchell, a software developer whose work is almost entirely based on GitHub, said that it was impossible to tell whether a pull request was ignored out of bias, or just because a project owner was busy or knew another developer personally. Her profile on GitHub clearly identifies her as female, something she won’t be changing based on the results of this study.

“I have considered how wise it is to have a gender-obvious profile and to me, being identifiably female is really important,” Mitchell said by email. “I want people to realise that the minorities do exist. And for the minorities themselves: to be able to see that they aren’t the only ones … it can certainly feel that way some days.”

Another developer, Isabel Drost-Fromm, whose profile picture on GitHub is a female cartoon character, said that she’s never experienced bias while working GitHub, but that she normally uses the site to work on projects with a team that already knows her and her work.

Jenny Bryan, a professor of statistics at the University of British Columbia, uses GitHub as a teacher and developer in R, a programming language. Her profile makes clear that she is a woman, and she doesn’t believe that she’s been discriminated against due to her gender.

“At the very most, men who don’t know me sometimes explain things to me that I likely understand better than they do,” she writes. “The men I interact with in the R community on GitHub know me and, if my genderhas any effect at all, I feel they go out of their way to support my efforts to learn and make more contributions.”

Bryan was more concerned with the paucity of women using GitHub than she was with the study’s results. “Where are the women?” she asks. One possibility she raises is the very openness of the open source community.

“In open source, no one is getting paid to manage the community,” she writes. “Thus often no one is thinking about how well the community is (or is not) functioning.”

That’s a pressing question for GitHub itself, which has faced serious charges of internal sexism which led to the resignation of co-founder and CEO Tom Preston-Werner in 2014. GitHub did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the study.

In 2013, GitHub installed a rug in its headquarters that read, “United Meritocracy of GitHub.” The rug was removed in 2014 after criticism from feminist commentators that, although meritocracy is a virtue that it is hard to disagree with in principle, it doesn’t do much for diversity in the workplace. CEO Chris Wanstrath tweeting, “We thought ‘meritocracy’ was a neat way to think of open source but now we see the problems with it. Words matter. We’re getting a new rug.”

As the researchers of the pull request study wrote, “The frequent refrain that open source is a pure meritocracy must be reexamined.”

My POV: As one of the few females in the technology, analyst, software, digital transformation world, you would think that women would be highly sought after. It not for all the obvious reasons that help companies check off their requirements to support a gender neutral workplace, but also because women bring something very special to the workplace. An honest desire to do great work in collaboration with others.

I hope more companies who are saying they want to support women in technology, software, medicine and other typically male-dominated fields put their money where their mouth is and hire us. We are are ready and willing and capable of going the distance. I know when I was in graduate school, I was the only blonde female in my Ph. D. program. What does that say?

@DrNatalie, Ph. D. In Engineering, UCLA and VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

 

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IoT In the Auto Industry: Automakers Choose Microsoft as Connected Car Partner

What Does Mobility Mean? To Microsoft mobility means the mobility of the person, not of any single device. People now want their technology experience to move with them, from place to place and device to device, at home, at work, and on the move. And this is also true in the automotive industry and in today’s connected cars. People expect their car’s computing power to match its horsepower. And automakers are leading the way, bringing mobility solutions to their cars to meet drivers’ changing expectations, as well as enhance safety. These automakers see their cars as technology platforms, and they are choosing Microsoft as their partner.

Why are Are Automotive Giants Choosing Microsoft for IoT and Cloud? They are choosing Microsoft because we uniquely deliver end-to-end solutions from the cloud, to the device, to predictive analytics, and do so in a way that allows all our partners to innovate on top of their existing systems. Nobody else offers this breadth and depth to the auto industry.

Which Car Companies Have Chosen Microsoft for Cloud and IoT? Volvo Cars, Nissan, Harman and IAV announced  details about their partnerships with Microsoft to enhance their connected car strategies. They join Toyota, Ford, Qoros, Delphi, and other companies already working with Microsoft to bring their cars into the mobile-first, cloud-first world.

What’s the Future of The customer’s Relationship and Experience with These Connected Cars? In the near future, the car will be connected to the Internet, as well as to other cars, your mobile phone and your home computer. The car becomes a companion and an assistant to your digital life. And so our strategy is to be the ultimate platform for all intelligent cars.

At CES there were many demonstrations of a variety of mobility solutions available today and reveal new prototypes. They showed ways people can be more productive in their cars, how cars can monitor what’s happening in their surroundings to improve safety, and how cars can adapt to unique users to deliver a more personal driving experience.

  • Volvo Cars showcased new concepts that integrate Microsoft Band 2 with a Windows 10 smartphone and the Volvo on Call Universal App, creating new ways for customers to interact with their vehicles. From the new Microsoft Band, a Volvo owner can press and hold the action button and say, “Volvo, start the heater of my car,” among many other options.
  • Harman announced a collaboration with Microsoft that will integrate Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite capabilities into Harman infotainment systems. Drivers will be able to access Office 365 services and interact with them through intelligent personal assistant software to schedule meetings, hear and respond to important emails, and make Skype calls when in park, or when on the road in autonomous vehicles.
  • IAV will use Windows 10 Continuum to stream Windows 10 via a mobile device directly to a car’s dashboard, giving drivers access to Windows 10 features and apps such as Cortana, Skype for Business, Calendar, Outlook and Groove Music while the vehicle is in autonomous driving mode or parked. This integration allows drivers to use the devices they already own. Microsoft and IAV will also demo how to use Cortana Analytics and data from a vehicle’s surroundings to improve safety by anticipating and mitigating potential vehicle and pedestrian accidents.

In addition, Nissan Motor Company and Microsoft announced that all Nissan LEAF and Infiniti models in Europe will have Connect Telematics Systems (CTS) powered by Microsoft Azure.

Why Is Microsoft A Good Partner for the Auto Industry, IoT, Cloud Computing and Awesome Customer Experiences? Automakers are choosing Microsoft as their connected car partner to help them transform the consumer experience with a platform for intelligent cars that complements their own strategies and ambitions. With this partner focus, they are able to leverage their cloud-based intelligence technologies, productivity services and tools, and even personal assistant technologies like Cortana in a neutral manner.

They are able to strike the right balance between using data to create both intelligent and personal experiences, while helping maintain privacy and security. They are also able to create more natural, human computing interfaces. And, they are able to develop and deploy secure platforms and infrastructure to enable innovation on top of existing systems.

My POV: Why Are Partnerships The Path to Innovation? It’s simply that when we collaborate we are a better we, than a single me. At least that’s my saying. I am always a better me when I collaborate. With respect to Microsoft and the auto industry they are partnering to build mutual value, not to compete. The value of a true partnership comes when one is able to help automakers accelerate their mobile and cloud strategies and unlock new experiences for consumers, like no one else can.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Cloud and IoT That Drive Better Business Results and Awesome Customer Experiences
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