New Brand is Poised to Serve as a Behind-the-Scenes Monitoring Service to Maintain All Connected Devices Automatically
Our homes are becoming more connected with every year. The average home is predicted to have 50 connected devices by 2020. With more connectivity comes increased complexity. The average homeowner will need more support to manage their home, and it can’t be all via call centers. A new brand, called Sweepr, is poised to serve as a behind-the-scenes monitoring service to maintain all connected devices automatically.
Using machine learning and emotional intelligence, Sweepr creates multiple personas for users based on their knowledge and acts as the technical concierge for the home, looking after seen and unseen incidents on behalf of the homeowner. It maintains an up-to-date store of all device-related content to help homeowners with any questions they might have about how a device works, why it has stopped working, or when the warranty expires etc.
Sweepr is the latest development from co-founders Jim Hannon and Alan Coleman, which began in 2010, with their Dublin-based billing software company Brite:Bill, which was used by North American companies such as AT&T, Comcast, and Sprint. In 2016, Brite:Bill was acquired by the Israeli company AmDocs, as one of three companies bought by the Nasdaq-listed provider for approximately $260 million.
Coleman says his team, many of them from Brite:Bill, are using their experience solving one sort of customer service headache (billing) to sort out another (technical support.)
“It really requires a lot of agent intervention,” he noted. “One North American ISP shared with me that they still have 96 percent of their technical support issues come in as phone calls to their care agents. As a result, the economics are very punitive and getting worse, because the variety of issues that are driving tech support is getting wider, and the frequency that people need help is increasing as well with the complexity of our homes.”
Sweepr will leverage the proliferation of voice assistants in the home as well as connectivity features embedded into household appliances and smart home technologies.
“The goal is to have a single, ubiquitous support layer to communicate with many different products and services to provide help to customers when they need it,” Coleman said. “The reality of that situation is that it requires a lot of collaboration and content to help deal with the diversity of issues that arise. We don’t have all of the answers to all of the tech support questions in the world, and we don’t have the commercial muscle, so to speak, to force all of the constituent parties to cooperate and play nice. What we do see is economic factors driving toward that ubiquitous support layer.”
Coleman says that appliance and smart home products companies are only beginning to experience the financial challenges that internet service providers have endured for years, while servicing client calls. They’re also finding that it’s incredibly difficult to support a connected product without any relationship to the router or network layer.
Sweepr looks to serve as the behind-the-scenes service layer for your local ISP. The plan is for it to play the technical concierge role as voice-enabled Level 1 and Level 2 support for the network and other connected devices in the home.
“Our expectation is that a customer having a technical issue would say, ‘Hey Comcast, why isn’t my Whirlpool fridge working?’ and we’ll be able to take the diagnostic information from the device and then based on content authored by Whirlpool, we’ll give an Whirlpool-accredited support solution that is facilitated by the ISP.”
That’s the plan, at least. Today, Sweepr is in a trial with one North American ISP, delivering their support – via Skills – without any interconnectedness with other connected products. They hope to launch in Q4. Stay tuned.