The Convergence of Building Automation Systems and Information Technology: Global Standards Lead to Cost Reduction and Increased Functionality

Terry w. hoffmann | April 26, 2016

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Building Automation Systems (BAS) have made tremendous strides in recent years toward embracing connectivity and interoperability standards. These efforts have given building owners more freedom to choose among manufacturers for both products and service support. Even greater benefits await an organization whose BAS is seamlessly merged with its information technology architecture. The synergy created by sharing infrastructure and data reduces operating costs and creates new service opportunities.

Spotlight

Ericsson

Ericsson is the world’s leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. With more than 110,000 professionals, and customers in 180 countries, we combine global scale with technology and services leadership. Our services, software and infrastructure – especially in mobility, broadband and the cloud – are enabling the communications industry and other sectors to do better business, increase efficiency, improve their users’ experience and capture new opportunities. It is our job to take the lead in enabling this, and we are shaping our decisions around that. By enabling the Networked Society, we make a real difference to people’s lives, and the world we live in.

OTHER ARTICLES

How to Improve Big Data Quality for Bigger Enterprise Insights

Article | May 20, 2020

We’re dealing with more data in the enterprise than ever before. Headlines blare that “data is valuable” but, that’s only true if the information you have is of high quality. The question becomes, how do you know if your data is high-quality? This post explores the concept of big data quality and why it is a challenge, why the enterprise needs it, and what solution you can use to ensure the quality of big data.

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Why Humans Need Chatbots And Chatbots Need Humans

Article | July 1, 2020

Chatbots have come a long way in the past few years. The improvements in technology have enabled developers to expand on bot capabilities far beyond just functioning as a FAQ. Today, the automation of chatbots can process orders, perform financial transactions, make bookings, and much more. (Check out other intelligent functions here.) However, as intelligent as bots can be, no chatbot can handle and resolve all your customer queries. It simply cannot answer the infinite number of questions a human may throw at it. The technology is simply not there yet, and it may never truly get there. But perhaps more importantly, brands shouldn’t want a bot to manage every customer query. A bot working independently of human involvement won’t always deliver the best results for customer or agent. It’s the combination of chatbots and human agents that takes customer service to new heights. What you need is a smart and efficient way of translating your organization’s unique customer service philosophy into appropriate action so that every question is met with an answer in the best way possible – whether that be by bot, human agent, or a blend of both. To deliver this, you have to pay attention to the who, what, when, and where of customer engagement. You need to know who your highest-value customers are so you can always route them to a human agent, for example. You need to know what they need help with so a simple question can be managed by a bot. And the list goes on. Here’s why humans need chatbots, and chatbots need humans – and how you can achieve this perfect balance to deliver support that will exceed customer expectations and generate substantial ROI. Why humans need chatbots There’s no doubt that supplementing customer-facing roles with automation can yield fantastic results. The launch of McDonald’s self-serve kiosks is a great example of this. By giving customers the option of ordering their meal through a kiosk, or through a cashier, McDonald’s demonstrates the success you can achieve by combining automation with human. Here are just some of the benefits it brought to the customer and employee experience: 1. Automating large portions of simple queries so workers have more time to focus on other, more complex tasks 2. Reducing monotonous, repetitive queries to improve employee experience 3. Catering to customer preferences – choose quick automated service or deeper human engagement 4. Reducing queue times, in turn improving customer experience 5. Lessening the opportunity for human error 6. Generating ROI by reducing staff numbers These results almost identically mirror the benefits that intelligent chatbots can provide customer service teams. By implementing a bot, a large portion of frontline support can be automatically managed by the bot which: 1. Gives agents more time to handle complex questions 2. Reduces the monotony of answering repetitive questions 3. Allows customer to choose between chatting to a bot or an agent 4. Reduces wait time and queue length (through bot’s ability to handle infinite simultaneous conversations), in turn improving customer satisfaction through quicker resolution 5. Eliminates human error in data entry 6. Generates substantial ROI through lower service costs See how closely those benefits match? Recommended reading: Chatbot ROI Calculator Why chatbots need humans The relationship between bots and humans isn’t a one-way street. While agents need bots to provide more effective and efficient support, bots need agents to provide the personal, ‘human’ touch that many situations call for. In our latest 2020 Live Chat Benchmark Report, we found that chatbots handle 68.9% of their chats from start to finish – although an impressive stat, it still shows that many queries require an agent’s touch. Recommended reading – 2020 Live Chat Benchmark Report There are always going to be situations that call for human assistance: canceling a subscription, reporting a lost or stolen credit card, or registering a serious complaint. Or maybe the topic is sensitive, and your customer would feel more comfortable explaining their situation to an agent. Similarly, some (though increasingly less: stat?) people are still wary or reluctant to communicate with bots and prefer to only speak with a live agent. To cater to these customer preferences, it’s vital that these customers can be routed past or transferred from your chatbot to human agent without effort and without having to repeat themselves. It’s important to note however, that transferring from bot to agent isn’t always just in the interest of the customer – it can often benefit the customer service team too. This is because not all queries are equal. For example, if a customer reaches out asking about a bank’s opening times, this can be easily managed by a bot. However, when the same customer asks about a loan, this high-value interaction may dictate that – according to your unique customer service view – a human agent takes over immediately to ensure the customer receives the best experience and you close the deal as quickly and effortlessly as possible. If your chatbot can’t do this, turn it off and find a chatbot that can (we can help with that). How to create the perfect chatbot – human (agent) balance To begin creating the right balance between chatbot and human, you need a bot that’s widely accessible to today’s digital-first consumers; your bot needs to be where they are, wherever they are. Comm100’s AI Chatbot can serve customers on web, in-app, Facebook, Twitter, WeChat, WhatsApp for Business, and SMS. You also don’t need to build separate chatbots for each channel. Simply select the channels you want your bot to be available on (hint: all of them!) and you’re off. Although your customers will know they are speaking to a bot (and you should make this clear to them to set expectations), you need a bot that understands natural human language. Comm100’s AI Chatbot harnesses the world’s most advanced NLP engine so that it can understand your customers’ goals and provide the answers they’re looking for. Better still, add a large range of off-the-shelf integrations to this, and the Comm100 bot can begin performing actions on behalf of your customers – from tracking an order and paying a bill, to booking a flight. By resolving a large portion of your frontline customer service questions, your agents will have more time to focus on higher-value queries and customers that matter most to your bottom line. Recommending reading: Comm100 Chatbot Resolves 91% of Assigned Live Chats for Tangerine As we’ve discussed earlier, there will be times when you or a customer would rather connect with an agent than a bot. It’s crucial that your bot offers this flexibility. Firstly, your bot should be able to give the customer the option to speak to an agent at any time. Eighty-six percent of consumers believe they should always have the option to transfer to a live agent when dealing with a chatbot. You can easily set this option up within the Comm100 AI Chatbot. Next, you need a bot that can automatically identify the conversations that you want an agent to manage. This requires training your bot on the topics – ‘intents’, in bot lingo – that your customers will bring up. If there are specific intents that are of high value to you, you can tag them so when a customer mentions it, the bot recognizes it and automatically transfers the chat to the appropriate agent or department. The bot can also be trained to notify an agent or escalate the conversation when asked a question it can’t answer or if a visitor is clearly frustrated. As a failsafe, your agents should also be able to monitor bot conversations and take them over in these situations. Wrap-up Chatbots will never replace whole customer service teams, and nor should they. The ‘human touch’ is still essential to customer support, and we are a long way off until this changes. However, if implemented intelligently, bots can resolve a great portion of customer queries without any human involvement, allowing team sizes to reduce, or remain the same in the face of increased support volume. Take Tangerine, an Australian telecom company, for example. They experienced rapid growth, which in turn produced a surge in chat requests. By implementing Comm100’s AI Chatbot, up to 91% of assigned live chats were resolved by the bot without any agent involvement. As a result, Tangerine could manage the increase in chat volume without hiring and training more agents. And when high-value customers reached out, their agents were free to provide them with the best experience.

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The Real CWNEs of Extreme Networks

Article | August 14, 2020

Okay, I assure you that this blog is not about a cheesy reality TV show. However, there is a group of real Wi-Fi reality stars at Extreme Networks that get very high ratings, but without all the drama! I am talking about all the CWNEs that work here at Extreme. For those not familiar,Certified Wireless Networking Expert (CWNE) is the top-level certification offered by the CWNP program. To become a CWNE, a WLAN professional must pass four very hard exams about 802.11 wireless networking administration, security, analysis, and design. But keep in mind, passing four tests is only the beginning. All CWNE applicants must establish many years of wireless networking experience, meticulously document involvement with numerous WLAN projects and seek endorsements from respected Wi-Fi industry professionals. The CWNP Board of Advisors must approve all CWNE applications.

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How is your company managing its AI and ML initiatives?

Article | February 13, 2020

When it comes to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) projects, the biggest challenge for CXOs isn't necessarily deployment, but rather, managing these initiatives. For example, what do you anticipate your AI/ML budget will look like? What business areas are you applying AI/ML in? How knowledgeable is your upper management about AI/ML? Sometimes even determining the manager of managing initiatives can become an issue.

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Spotlight

Ericsson

Ericsson is the world’s leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. With more than 110,000 professionals, and customers in 180 countries, we combine global scale with technology and services leadership. Our services, software and infrastructure – especially in mobility, broadband and the cloud – are enabling the communications industry and other sectors to do better business, increase efficiency, improve their users’ experience and capture new opportunities. It is our job to take the lead in enabling this, and we are shaping our decisions around that. By enabling the Networked Society, we make a real difference to people’s lives, and the world we live in.

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