Despite soaring temperatures and transport chaos, Heathrow’s Radisson Blu Hotel offered an air-conditioned oasis for those arriving in July to hear from Yotta’s guest speakers, as well as to share best practice in infrastructure asset management with peers and colleagues.
Customer success is so often indivisible from the level of support provided by a supplier and, here, Yotta is clearly upping its game. Although appointed relatively recently to fill a brand-new role, Director of Customer Service, Phil Oldbury, kicked-off proceedings by describing how a change in support desk procedures from reactive to proactive had made a tangible difference to levels of customer satisfaction. By adopting a ‘don’t stop the clock’ approach and by monitoring and analysing a dozen KPIs, average response and resolution timescales had been cut to seven and 17 hours respectively, with more than 70% of tickets resolved within eight hours.
Even so, customer expectations continue to rise and the ‘You tell us what you want and we’ll provide’ supplier mindset is no longer tenable. “It’s now a case of getting under a customer’s skin, having a clear understanding of their latest asset management strategy, and delivering flexible, best practice solutions that will take them to the next level and beyond”, said Oldbury.
Spearheading those future-proof solutions is part-and-parcel of the job for Manish Jethwa, Yotta’s CTO, whose presentation addressed the challenge of enabling connected assets, i.e., exploiting IoT devices to deliver networked services from existing fixed assets such as street lighting columns and road surfaces. The lack of a standardised API for IoT devices was a major hurdle, he said, currently requiring middleware for each and every application and potentially burdening users with heavy development costs. A microservices architecture, as used in Yotta’s Alloy platform to enable API linkages, was a promising alternative. Even so, Jethwa’s takeaway message was clear: “It’s easy to say that the data is out there and readily available in an Open format, but making actual use of that data is the hard part.”
Guest speaker Steve Berry OBE, Head of Highways Maintenance, Innovation, Resilience, Light Rail and Cableways at the Department for Transport, gave an overview of the department’s priorities and constraints in managing its highways infrastructure and joined a pre-lunch panel discussion on topics that ranged from lessons to be learned from the construction sector in applying BIM principles to asset management to the possibility of compulsory data management requirements being imposed on local authorities, and from the integration of asset and customer management systems to how innovation funding can be best used to encourage the cross-fertilisation of ideas and the sharing of benefits.
The afternoon programme commenced with contributions from Yotta’s Jon Shaw and Chris Dyer, and concluded with breakout sessions where attendees were able to hear from dedicated industry experts on highways, innovation in lighting and Street Works, and discuss specific areas of interest with like-minded users.
From Heathrow, Yotta was off to Cardiff for the final meeting in the series. Next on the agenda for this busy company are Enviro Summits, scheduled for March of next year, with their focus on waste, green spaces and street cleansing.