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Ping! Buzz! Is It a New Car Photo or Customer Alert? Fixing the Broken Enterprise Messaging IoT Signal-to-Noise Ratio

David Gurle, CEO, Symphony | April 8, 2016
David Gurle of Symphony talks about how to manage the IoT to ensure that we receive the information truly needed, rather than whatever happens to show up on our myriad of communications channels.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

The Internet of Things (IoT) offers a lot of potential for empowering employees and increasing business productivity - getting them the information they need, when they need it, in order to keep business moving, and to inform good decision-making. The IoT also offers the potential to disempower employees and decrease productivity by overwhelming them with information, both important (signal) and non-important (noise). To put it another way: IoT-based messaging will push out both new car photos and customer alerts.

How can we manage the IoT to ensure that we receive the information truly needed (or wanted) - rather than whatever happens to show up on our myriad of communications channels? While information overload is a challenge and an annoyance for consumers, it's a tangible problem for businesses. We want to empower our employees; we don't want to overload them. We don't want them to waste time filtering the signal from the noise.

It's a hard task, and getting harder each year as the number of information channels proliferate, and as the volume of messages on each channel grows. I am overwhelmed with messages, and suspect that you are too. It's only getting worse, and filtering gets harder and harder, especially because what may be a nuisance message at one moment may be important at another moment.

Some of my messages are from colleagues, customers, friends and family. Symphony messages. Emails. Text messages. Alerts via an increasingly wide array of social media outlets. Those messages are (usually) relevant, and frankly, I want to see them, but not always right away. A question from a customer is worthy of interrupting my workday; alerts on what my friends are eating today and colleagues sharing a cool photo can wait for later.

Messages sent to me by humans are only a part of the mix. The IoT is enabling an ever-increasing set of automated alerts - many of which I want, like Google Alerts on relevant business topics, as well as reports from our CRM system, and of course notifications from IoT devices like my watch, reminding me it's time to stand and up and take a break.

The onslaught of non-stop messaging via many media - platform messages, email, text, notification on the home screen of my phone, a buzzer, a tap on the wrist - are clogging the neural pathways. It's too hard to know what's important to me, and what can be safely ignored. Yet each message has the potential to affect the productivity of our employees.

Signal vs. Noise


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