CES 2016 was a massive melting pot of the latest tech inventions by companies from all over the world and SecurityCoverage was there joining in the excitement.  A slew of industry ellipses, terminology, and jargon infused the show floor but one acronym seemed to rule them all ~ IoT.

What exactly is the Internet of Things (IoT)?  Wikipedia defines IoT as “a network of physical objects, devices, vehicles, buildings, and other items which are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data.”  Wait… what?

CES 2016 RecapThe explosion of consumer electronics and IP connected devices is astonishing.  Everything from appliances, watches, clothing, home entertainment systems, garage doors, lighting, locks, and toilet paper rolls!  But one this is for certain…  IoT is NoT easy!  Yet we expect the average consumer to grasp this “connected home” concept by advertising the latest tech device which simplifies and improves their lifestyle.  These same devices that are marketed to consumers to make them more “efficient” and “happy” actually complicate their lifestyle!

What happens when a device doesn’t connect as it is supposed to?  What happens when the device develops a software glitch?  What happens when one device overrides other device permissions?  What happens when the bandwidth these devices are consuming slows?  What happens when these devices break?  What happens when these devices are hacked or get a virus?  Who does the consumer call to help solve all of these problems?

I asked one tech vendor what happens when your device has a problem.  The vendor literally told me that their device does not have problems!  Be real folks…  Tech has troubles, and the companies that don’t recognize this and solve for tech support and security WILL LOSE.

The hesitation to adopt an entire connected wireless home network stems in part from the lack of technical support in this space. Nearly 1 in 3 consumers experience connectivity problems with their tablets or smartphones while half experience issues with their computers, according to a recent Parks Associates report.  It’s all about customer experience!  I don’t care if you built it, connected it, or sold it… if you can help me with it; you’ve won my business for life!

What does this mean for the Internet Providers that power and supply bandwidth to these “connected customers”?  Consumers expect their ISP to assist with these interconnectivity issues.  In their eyes, the Internet is the denominator, enabling all of their devices communicate.  If the provider cannot offer technical support and security that their customer expects, it will become a serious black eye to the provider’s brand.

What will your business do to improve customer experience in 2016?  The reality is that your company doesn’t have to be an expert; you just have to know one.  The future is now and the provider that can aggregate IoT the best will win.  Operators will need to be one step ahead to guarantee long-lasting, satisfied customers.  Tech support gives the operator the opportunity to re-invent their brand by providing a world-class superior experience.

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