Even now it’s fairly easy for most technology support people to perform their function. They have either extremely deep knowledge in one sector (PC, Mac, iOS, etc.), or are something of a jack-of-all-trades/techs. Much like a handyman is great for most day-to-day repairs, but should never be used to replace your boiler, your electrical system, or your windows.
But what happens when everything is online? Well, almost everything.
When I raise the subject of Internet of Things, I usually get one of three reactions;
- The what of who?
- That’s awesome, can’t wait!
- No thank you.
The first answer is invariably from people who are not technology oriented (majority), the second one from people who ARE technology oriented and usually young, and the third answer from people who are either terrified of technology itself, or who realise that privacy would be a thing of the past.
It’s hard to argue with the latter when you’ve voluntarily put your entire life’s infrastructure online. Like I will.
But who’s going to support all of this? Governments will do their best to regulate this, and they’ll fail; technology providers will attempt to make it simple and safe for the average user, and they will fail; and your PC repair dude will have little idea where to start, but probably charge you for trying.
Luckily the technology behind the Internet of Things is already known to most techies, but they can no longer stay as deep into one technology as they may have done in the past, and probably prefer. Customers will begin demanding jacks-of-all-techs over specific and individual knowledge-sets, and expect them to be able to fix their smartphone, re-program their dogs’ locator chip, and propose a tasty dinner based on the computer generated contents of their fridge.
The new generation of technology support professionals will need to keep up with innovation as never before, or lose out to those that do; your local PC repair shop will lose to home service; and we, the consumer, will expect this to be seamless, painless, and cheap.
I even foresee both regulation and certification around providing these services. It’s one thing to support a customer who can’t flush his toilet using his iPhone, it’s quite another supporting a customer who is having issues with her pacemaker, or insulin dispenser.
In the race to profit from this technology explosion, standardisation, interoperability, and ease of maintenance will be ignored, meaning that every new technology you deploy will be stand-alone. Maintenance complexity does not go up linearly with the number of individual technologies, it goes up exponentially. Support contracts will be how most of these businesses make their money.
However, to the rescue comes the jack-of-all-techs who will not only help you fix what’s broken, but will be able to help you choose what technology you can go for next given their knowledge of what you have now, and what goal(s) you are trying to active. Every good support person, consultant, or friend, gives you what you need, and not necessarily what you ask for. Even if they use sentences which end in prepositions.
The only thing holding back total technology adoption are people born before 1990. Most people born after that take the Internet, smartphones, and loss of privacy for granted. Every year that goes by our numbers fall, so the checks and balances between the Internet of Things and an individual’s rights for independence from technology are weakened.
Once again, here comes the jack-of-all-techs! The right tech support professional inherently understands that customer service is the only thing that matters, and you can never provide world class customer service if you don’t have your client’s best interests at heart.
Let the learning begin.