Connected homes in the US have been growing rapidly in both number and complexity. A study from Parks Associates found that 71% of US broadband households own a connected entertainment device. The same report shows that consumers consider Internet service providers as the most trust worthy company to access and manage their data. Service providers are responsible for providing their customers with more than just broadband Internet now. The growth of IoT popularity and demand for IoT support opens up many opportunities for service providers to expand their offerings to incorporate valuable IoT specific services to their customers, from data management to technical support.
How Customers are Using IoT
Connected home devices offer customizable solutions for individual household needs. With such a wide variety of offerings, it comes as no surprise that the smart home ecosystem is complex. Applications are not limited to smart phones anymore. Thermostats, TVs, security systems and even kitchen appliances feature applications that are designed to streamline home functions with a tap or simple voice command. As smart home devices become the standard in average homes, consumers who are less technology savvy are facing challenges when managing and maintaining all their connected devices. This becomes especially apparent when an issue arises in a single device that impacts the entire smart home. Where does the customer turn for support? Device manufacturers might be the first choice, but for service providers who offer IoT support and data backed findings could become the next best thing for resolving IoT issues.
What Service Providers Can Offer to IoT Customers
In CSG International’s study, “The Future of Digital Experience: connected Services Edition,” consumers were asked about the types of support they want when adapting to smart home experiences. The study highlights three key areas:
1. Installation and IoT Management – While early adopters of smart home devices usually opt to DIY their installation and device management, new IoT device owners might not be as comfortable with managing all the complex technologies. In fact, CSG International’s study found that 89% of consumers would be very likely to ask a service technician for trouble shooting or device repair help if it were offered by their service provider.
2. IoT Device Support from Skilled Technicians – Even the simplest IoT devices can complicate smart home networking when additional devices are added. Only 44% of respondents feel confident in their ability to self-install their IoT devices, while 67% of respondents said they are not at all confident doing complex installations by themselves.
3. Real-Time Support – In addition to technical assistance, consumers are looking for real-time support for technology installation and setup. By offering hands on assistance in addition to making their devices accessible from a central location, like a smartphone or computer, service providers can build a reputation for their IoT services.
Service Providers that offer these IoT specific services are also faced with the logistical challenge of managing their customer’s devices. The best way to enhance customer services while also balancing large amounts of data on the service provider’s end is to implement a managed Wi-Fi service. Managed Wi-Fi services offer tools to address all three of the customer requests above. Optim is a great solution for both customers and service providers. Optim offers IoT friendly features that allow customers to view and manage their home network from a simple dashboard on their computer or smartphone. In addition, when faced with complex networking issues, customers with Optim can easily reach a service technician and get the issues resolved in real-time. Optim’s smart data analytics allows service providers to see customer’s networks in depth and spot issues to effectively troubleshoot. Optim even features self-healing tools that fix potential problems before they reach a critical level.
Distrust connected devices to protect their privacy
Distrust connected devices to protect their privacy
IoT Security Solution
One of the glaring issues with all IoT devices is the general lack of security protocols in place. One study found that 53% of consumer’s surveyed distrust connected devices to protect their privacy. The concern is certainly justified as current predictions suggest cybercrime damages will amount to $6 trillion by 2021. IoT devices are especially susceptible to malware, spam and phishing threats primarily due to insecure interfaces on the devices themselves and insecure networks. Since IoT device security remains inadequate, service providers are challenged to maintain their customer’s data in a secure way. Providers who offer and utilize managed services through Optim can count on advanced security and data analytics to provide real-time and ongoing device management to detect anomalies and fill in the current device security gaps.
Tips to Incorporate IoT in Service Offerings
Managed network solutions aren’t just for connected homes. Managed network solution can be utilized by almost any industry – industrial, retail, Buildings/infrastructure, software support, security, among others. By offering unique IoT services to customers across industries, service providers can stay relevant as customers continue to adopt smart technology continues into their homes and businesses.
Some things service providers can do to efficiently implement IoT services include:
Selecting specific hardware you can offer to customers. By selecting specific platforms and devices to support, you can become tech experts on those devices and offer more valuable support to customers.
Know the associate device security issues.
Once you know exactly what issues your supported devices have, you can effectively use management tools to address those issues and give your customers peace of mind that you are actively protecting their device security and addressing their privacy concerns.
IoT devices are designed to collect data.
Using a data management system to store, back up, and analyze data will allow you to effectively use that data to address customer service issues and provide solutions to complex IoT problems.
Service providers are in a unique position that has many growth opportunities in the IoT and smart technology sector. By offering IoT services and support to their customers, service providers can position themselves for future growth as IoT continues to flourish for years to come.