The Internet of Things (IoT, sometimes referred as Internet of Everything) is the network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors and connectivity to enable objects to exchange data with the manufacturer, operator and/or other connected devices1

The design principles of Internet of Things can be extended to service industry by connecting the various objects within their ecosystem (business, competition, applications, infrastructure etc). The success of the IoTSI lies in a) constant sharing of information between the objects, b) collation of the various data points for meaningful analysis and c) sensing the pulse of the customer for taking timely decisions.

Disney World’s proprietary MagicBand is a great example of IoT, where the wearable sensor laden wristband captures what vacationers do everything from check in into their hotel room, buy their lunch, go through the turnstiles at the amusement parks, and reserve a spot for specific attractions. Disney uses this real time visitor movement data from the bands, and plans their rides and attractions, and regulate inventory at highly trafficked shops and restaurants2.

What does IoTSI constitutes:

Smart Business: It involves monitoring not just the performance of the customer’s balance sheet, but also involves industry and peer performance analysis specifically in the span of control of its operations. Impact of policies, regulations, global threats and innovation trends should also be taken into account for effective mapping of the customer business.

Smart Competition: Plotting of competition’s breadth and depth of involvement with the customer, its proliferation within the technology and market particularly in the region of customer operations are key in determining the threats that it can pose in the future. 

Smart Service: Leverage methods and tools to 1. Improve service (continuous improvement initiatives, automated solutions), 2. Monitor performance both technical and business oriented (customer surveys, SLA’s) and 3. Report performance real-time using mobile dashboards. 

Apollo hospitals for example have created an e-ICU system where all their ICU’s are connected and a team of experts can monitor patients 24/7, irrespective of the locations3; their target is not to have a patient waiting for more than 30 minutes. IoT is helping Apollo to provide superior service to their patients through real time monitoring of its services (patient wait time) and critical assets (doctors/ surgeons/experts). 

How IoTSI can operate:

  Smart Business Smart Competition Smart Services
Key Factors Key stakeholder mapping, comparative lens on peers and self’s success stories with other customers, partnership strengthening initiatives Data Availability (mining, soliciting and updating) is challenge due to high dependency on external sources Adaptation to innovations, Incremental improvements in services
Key Players Customer facing teams Market Intelligence teams Delivery teams
IoT Sensors Real Time Market Feeds,
Social Media, Annual Reports
Analyst reports, Social Media, Competitor websites Monitoring devices, sensors, alerting tools, Real time dashboards, SLA’s, Customer Satisfaction Surveys

The City of Barcelona offers Smart parking meters that operate on city wide Wi-Fi, giving residents real time updates on where to park and also allowing them to pay with their phone. Barcelona has also installed a city wide sensor network which informs citizens about temperature, air quality, noise level and pedestrian traffic. Through IoT, the city is not only providing better services to its citizens but can also monitor it s public transportation (another initiative called Smart Bus Stops), plan for mega events and festivals which attract tourism efficiently4.

Challenges in a successful IoTSI:

Key challenges foreseen in having a successful IoTSI setup are 1) Availability of certain data elements from external sources (e.g. competitor information), 2) Real time integration of data elements, especially due to hybrid nature of data involved (customer annual reports which are static vs. market share which changes quite often), 3)Single version of truth for externally sourced data elements 

Success of IoTSI:

The success of IoTSI lies in the A] participation of key personnel from the service organization (Sales, Delivery, Market Intelligence, Centre of excellence/innovations), B] Identification of the real time data objects that needs to be monitored from each of the Smart X’s (Business, Competition & Services) – ‘Customer Report Card’, and C] Effective decision making and creating actionable initiatives.

Effectively at an organization level the IoTSI can be compared to a stock exchange monitor where the report cards of each of the Smart X’s are summarized at an aggregate level and monitored. Stakeholders should easily be able to navigate and drill down to specific customers, analyze the information and proactively define the actions to be taken to improve its serviceability to its customers.

2The Power of IOT and Big Data, ZDNET, 2015
3IT’s Healing Touch, Real CIO World, 2014
4 The Power of IOT and Big Data, ZDNET