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Are OEMs Ready for After-sales Service in an IoT Driven Economy?


Despite the growth of digital initiatives in recent years, IoT promises to be an advancement which will revolutionise our interactions with our devices. One which will see us move away from typing on keyboards and interacting with screens, to simply talking and gesturing to our devices.

We're now seeing smart appliances thrown in this mix, which can be controlled with the same voice commands, gestures and more. In 2020, about 20.4B IoT units will be installed and IoT-related spending will reach nearly $3T, according to Gartner estimates. 

All these devices will typically have a long lifecycle. And OEMs have a responsibility to support their end-users buying their products. But in an IoT driven economy, there might be multiple OEMs making up various blocks of a chain. Who, then, can support the after-sales service? 

1. Compatibility when purchasing a new device

While end-users still struggle to fully grasp how new-age technology works, there are similar doubts in their minds when it comes to compatibility. While OEMs may decide to build IoT products with limited interoperability, end-users may be unaware of this limitation. So when users are looking to buy a new device, they will run into an obstacle at the very first stage.

At Servify, we are aware of such hurdles. Our platform is one where users have been adding devices they own. Suggesting compatible IoT devices is, therefore, an easy undertaking for us. Especially for brand agnostic end-users who won't know if the new IoT device will work with their existing set of appliances and gadgets.

2. Installation issues and usage of new devices

OEMs will also need a trusted partner when it comes to installation of IoT devices. While the current scenario of smart devices has a limitation of installing only the sold product, setting up communications with existing devices is not part of their scope.

Even the Field Service Technicians who will be alloted such complex assignments, will need guidance. This is another area where our platform can help OEMs, with our Field Service Management mobility extensions. Our solutions can not only be configured to provide apt reinforcements but also be updated for advancement in technologies.

3. Multiple pain points during service instances

A key area in after-sales service is when any device service is required. This could be for simple instances like tasks not being executed or a more grave scenario like a complete breakdown. Since IoT requires inter-communication of multiple devices relying on multiple services, pinpointing faults will be a major challenge for every brand in the IoT ecosystem.

For example, a simple voice command to a smart speaker can trigger an a chain of actions. It could simply be 'set the living room to comfort mood'. The speaker will read this command, relay it to the smart bulbs to change its colour to a soothing one and the thermostat settings will be auto-adjusted based on the sensor's readings of the ambient temperature outside. A simple command, triggering a complex chain of events, with various products, possibly made by different manufacturers.

But what happens when the command doesn't execute as expected, even though the smart speaker seems to be working fine? Will an end-user even know where to begin diagnosing the underlying issue? And which product's support team is he going to reach out to?

Leveraging a tech platform like Servify, is tremendously beneficial in such scenarios, as we work with various brands to develop self-diagnosis tools and can provide turnkey customer assistance solutions.

4. One platform, multiple advantages

Building a solution for such a complicated network of devices isn't easy. Being a tech platform, however, gives Servify an added edge. Our insights from serving end-users have helped us eliminate inefficiencies in every step of the after-sales service process. This has led us to truly develop empathy to the challenges every end-user faces during a product's lifecycle.

By working with some of the top global technology brands, we have developed capabilities that enhance the device ownership experience. While IoT will have an array of products from different OEMs, our platform can provide proactive tips to every end-user, based on our learnings.

Building for the future

While we are in the 'smart' era of device ownership, not all our devices are smart. We can thus estimate that mass adoption of IoT devices will take quite a few years. But it is certainly on the horizon and we are prepared and ready to adapt to an IoT driven economy, for all our OEM partners.

- by Ranjeet Walunj

Chief Technology Officer, Servify