Never run on empty again

We often perceive queuing to be a waste of time simply because we could be doing something better. The advent of the driverless car could potentially change the regular visit to the fuel station by virtue of an intelligent planning solution.  Being able to understand your upcoming schedule, current capacity and prevailing travel conditions (weather, road works, congestion, etc.) could mean that an intelligent planner ensures your vehicle is re-fuelled at a convenient time without you being present, either on-demand or at a scheduled slot at your local station with which you have a contract. It could also be an attractive venture for the station to guarantee revenue, predict capacity and optimise the supply chain and delivery schedule of multiple fuel types, not just carbon based fuel. Using ANPR cameras and sensors, the garage can record the transaction and post it to your credit card.

Driverless cars have the potential to create many disruptive joint ventures.  Automated business and consumer deliveries would overcome skills shortages, but offer a new challenge to security staff. Health and community services could be accessed by elderly customers or simply extend their mobility. Roads could be surveyed using driverless cars with cameras that are later inspected back at the office. Vehicles that interact with smart cities could be used to collect important environmental, traffic and other data.

The car journey may start to resemble the train journey with all the benefits such as time to relax, indulge in a good book, watch a film or catch up on emails and telephone calls, but without the pitfalls, such as waiting on the platform and last mile to and from the station. Being able to access a greater range of on-demand services could be made available with innovative pricing and billing engines.

Of course, it may also mean that in future you will never run on empty again.

What are your thoughts? Leave a reply below or contact me by email.

IoE: the ultimate digital transformation benefits accelerator?

IoE – Internet of Everything (a term defined by Cisco) – is where networked sensors, data, processes and people combine to replicate the five human senses to deliver customer and business services intelligently. It’s an exciting approach to digital transformation that has already delivered some fantastic outcomes – like heating fuel efficiency, telematics-driven car insurance and smarter cities.

But what is the potential for IoE as a tool to measure the tangible and intangible benefits of digital transformation across on-line and off-line sales channels – simultaneously, instantly – to deliver competitive advantage?

Digital transformation approaches, such as the user-centric Agile design of on-line sales channels, have already radically disrupted traditional methods of benefits realisation like payback, where value is based on the forecast time it takes a proposed change to recover the costs of its investment. This is because Agile applies continuous user feedback to drive the rapid, iterative improvement of a product or service. Consequently, an outcome such as payback may be realised quickly and cumulatively over a series of releases rather than as a long-term fixed event.

Furthermore, this approach enables the explicit linking of hard financial outcomes like payback to soft, intangible benefits like the intrinsic value of a personalised user experience. This is because these enhancements successfully deliver increased sales revenue by responding effectively to individual customer needs based on a range of instantly available data like user testing, marketing feedback and social media trends.

A key factor in the success of this approach is that an on-line sales channel is a highly controllable environment versus other channels like stores or call centres – all customers have to engage through the same small number of portals (or platforms) making the process of collecting data and responding personally less problematic than these off-line channels that require individual physical interactions in different, variable environments.

However, IoE could provide the tools to simultaneously, instantly measure the off-line customer or employee experience in ways that are comparable, aligned to on-line channel measurements. This (big?) data would then drive the user-centric Agile design of a truly seamless, responsive onmichannel experience (and consequently enable the acceleration of linked hard and soft digital transformation benefits).   Here are some ideas…

  • Sight: is customer in-store browsing (across potentially hundreds of locations) materially different to on-line behaviour during the same day? What benefits are realised when retail stores implement rapid changes to their physical layouts that match on-line channel enhancements simultaneously?
  • Hearing: how are thousands of customers reacting in store and on the phone about a product that’s receiving adverse social media reaction that started trending an hour ago? Does it align to on-line feedback? Can this collective insight be used to enable the right social media response across all channels to defuse the issue?
  • Taste: does a food product taste the same across hundreds of stores in a given day? What is the variation of quality of this product when it’s provisioned by different suppliers across different geographies? How can this real-time quality data drive consistent performance and the right pricing from multiple suppliers?
  • Touch: what impact does local temperature have on customer mood and employee sales activity? If there is a change in the weather should employees in stores or call centres be immediately directed to behave differently to help personalise off-line customer engagement? How could this also inform enhancements to the on-line user experience at the same time?
  • Smell: do all stores “smell” the same during the same day? How does this environmental factor impact customer behaviour? Is there a way of connecting/associating products with “positive” smells with the on-line user experience (for example, the use of colours that may carry the same connotations)?

If you would like to find out more about how Digital Transformation can benefit your business please leave a reply below, or contact the Sopra Steria Digital Practice.