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Intelligent Communities Global Blog Series, The Future of Our Smart Communities: Services

One of the great challenges every municipality faces is how to deliver higher quality services to its citizens and businesses while their budgets consistently seem to shrink. Several of Canada’s leading communities are taking a pro-active role and are experimenting with shared services (an outsourcing or regional consolidation model); and almost all of them are looking at the Internet to be a low-cost channel for services delivery. Both these and other strategies are all the right steps towards a smarter and connected reality. Municipal leaders, however, recognized that one can’t quite eliminate the much needed face to face interactions with its constituents while delivering high-touch services–both from a quality and a security perspective.

Surely, the transformation of governmental services can’t be a burden that should solely rest on the shoulders of the municipality, although it is understood that they are the closest connected to the real needs and concerns of citizens and businesses in Canada. But what about the Federal services for which I have to go to Service Canada (I truthfully sat in their waiting room this week for 90 minutes so I could submit paperwork for a passport renewal)? Or Provincial services for which I need to go to Service Ontario? Passports, driver licenses, health cards, marriage certificates…does anyone still know for what to go where? Add to this Canada Post with its 6,500 services outlets. Or the municipal library systems (where there is more than books). And community centers all around the country for outreach and engagement.

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The Evolution of Immersive Video in the Retail Bank Branch Series (2): Bring an expert to any branch

In the first part of the “Evolution of Immersive Video in the Retail Bank Branch” series, I discussed how the retail banking industry is currently undergoing organizational changes that are affecting customers’ banking experience, including the knowledge and interaction they receive upon entering a bank.

Through these new organizational changes, banks are integrating new technology as part of their business processes to attract the more tech-savvy customers that desire choices and convenience when banking. Through Cisco’s Remote Expert solution, banks can meet these customer needs while making their business processes more cost and time-efficient and improving the customer experience. The Remote Expert solution enables virtual face-to-face meetings with high-definition audio and video.

RE Expert

Through Remote Expert’s integration with Cisco’s contact center, retail banks can leverage their existing database of enterprise-wide, skills-based information on the organization’s experts and make it available to customers at any time during business hours. Remote Expert allows a customer in the branch to find the right banking expert to meet their needs, including inquiries about annuities or questions specific to mortgage brokers.

Not only does Remote Expert enhance the bank’s existing channels and provide convenience for banking customers, it also reduces costs for all parties involved. Read More »

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The Importance of the Omnichannel in Financial Services

Technology has and will continue to be a key enabler across every product delivery channel within the financial services sector. You simply need to explore some of the newer bank branches, available applications within app stores or investigate online innovations inherent in many institutions’ web presence to see how engrained technology has become in the customer experience. While firms are making this transition in differentiated form factors and across different channels, the trend itself is clear and pervasive; underpinned by the “anywhere, anytime” mantra and the continued consumerization of technology.

These channel developments cut across all products, but all have one common element – enabling improved and increased collaboration between institutions, their clients, businesses and/or consumers to drive accretive revenue. While these developments have and will continue to deliver impressive initial returns, they are largely siloed by either a business unit and/or delivery channel. The true potential value can only be unlocked by enabling a seamless and contextual integration of the physical, direct and mobile channels – the evolution from multi-channel to omnichannel.

The omnichannel model enables the customer to choose how and by what method they want to conduct their business, be that in person, via a mobile device, from the home, online or with telephony. Cisco’s IBSG team has published a white paper that looks into the transformation of institutions from multi-channel to omnichannel. While the method of communication is important, the true differentiator in transformational channel evolution is the ability to integrate interaction. Institutions must be aware of the context and outcomes of customer interactions as customers move from channel to channel, product to product, or business line to business line.

From an institutional point of view, the value in the omnichannel impacts multiple factors. Read More »

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Video Collaboration Helped Me Say Yes to the Dress!

I recently saw a blog post from my colleague on how video technologies like Cisco Remote Expert are completely revolutionizing the way we do things; for example, applying for your wedding license via video.

It was his blog that made me think about my own upcoming nuptials and the role that video collaboration played in my wedding planning. And while I didn’t apply for my marriage license via telepresence, I did however do something pretty cool that I wanted to share.

I don’t personally consider myself a bridezilla, no comment on what my bridesmaids and husband-to-be would say, but I did find myself in a tizzy regarding my wedding dress. Like any bride, I wanted the support of my closest family and girlfriends when I went dress shopping. However, I was on the hunt for a dress during a trip to my home state of Louisiana and my sister, who’s my best friend and maid-of-honor, was in Virginia.

She’s my older sister, so I’ve been asking for her opinion since I was a kid. When it came to my dress shopping, I was upset at the thought of not getting to share that moment with her. I had to think outside of the box to make sure she was there for the experience — and boy did I ever.

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Transforming the Retail Experience with Video Collaboration

It’s happened to you many times – you’re in a store desperately trying to find a clerk to give you more information about a product you intend to purchase. But no such luck. Cisco is changing that with its Remote Expert Smart Solution for Retail.

Rob Lloyd - Remote ExpertA recent article recapping a keynote at last week’s Enterprise Connect with Cisco’s Robert Lloyd, highlighted how Cisco wants to make the customer experience not only easier, but more enjoyable. What’s the overarching goal? Making sure the customer has a highly-personalized experience and is equipped with information to make their final purchase decision.

Once retailers get that prospect into a store they can’t afford to risk losing sales from customers left unsatisfied with the service they receive. Cisco’s Remote Expert Smart Solution for Retail enables retailers to provide customers with consistent, fulfilling and positive shopping experiences. Using real-time, life-like video from screens positioned throughout stores, experts, can connect via video to share documents, videos, websites and any other content helpful to customers. This access to experts can reassure them about quality, functionality and how it might fit individual customer needs.

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