This weekend I had the opportunity to go shopping at the local mall. Since it was raining, and I needed to pick up quite a bit of stuff, I decided to valet park. The initial nice surprise was that valet parking was free! The next nicety, was that when I arrived the attendant merely asked me for my cell phone number. I immediately got a text message with links to my electronic valet ticket, and although parking was free the opportunity to use my credit card for a tip.
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Almost immediately, the gears in my head began to turn slowly as my internal “workflow engine” thought process neurons sprung to life. Working at Avaya has taught me many things, but one thing it has taught me, is to always be watching for innovative new ways that technology can be applied to improve a process that already exists. When I’m asked what I do for a living, or what Avaya does, I typically respond that, “Avaya connects people with the information and resources that they need, when they need it, and then empowers those resources by providing additional information needed to complete the task “.
That being said, here is the workflow behind my new AutoValet™ Breeze™ Snapp-In application, using common off-the-shelf technology openly available today.
A car enters the parking lot, and the license plate reader scans the plate.
If an account exists, AutoValet™ sends an SMS message to my phone with a link to my electronic valet ticket.
If validation is required, merchants can simply scan the QR code on my electronic valet ticket, or provide a validation code in a text message back to the AutoValet™ application.
On my way out of the M all, I click on the link in my electronic valet ticket, indicating my departure, and providing an opportunity to pay if appropriate.
A text message is sent to the valet attendant with all of my vehicle information, as well as payment confirmation if needed.
When I arrive to the pickup area, my vehicle is there waiting for me, and the financial transaction is eliminated, unless I want to give him a few extra dollars for this wonderful new customer engagement and digital transformation that I just experienced!
AutoValet™ can send me monthly statements, let me manage my account, add additional vehicles, and associate specific mobile numbers with one or more of those license plates.
As the account owner, I can be notified when any vehicle utilizes the service, letting me know who has used it, and where.
New accounts can be set up online in advance, or by simply responding to the initial license plate scan with a keyword such as “NEW ACCOUNT”. The application would then deliver a webpage that would allow a new account to be established.
This is simple Artificial Intelligence. Not the scary kind of AI, but the assistive side of AI. This is a helper application designed to make human employees more efficient in the tasks that they already perform. In this case, this AI is nothing more than a tool. Too often I hear horror stories about what people believe that AI is all about. And like most other things, ignorance is bliss.
That being said, I think we all have opportunities to innovate and elevate our lives through technology. In the 1950’s, Charles J. Fletcher, my father was working on vertical takeoff aircraft as a Pilot and Commander in the United States Navy. With vertical takeoff being a difficult engineering challenge, my father came up with an alternative solution for the problem. He eliminated the rough ground problem by floating on a cushion of air, and this basic concept has become the primary technology behind today’s hovercraft.
One of the many life lessons taught to me as a child growing up, was to look at the ways that a problem could not be solved, determine the roadblock, then eliminate it. What will remain, is an innovative path that no one has thought of before.
So I challenge you, one day during this next week, examine what you are doing, and how you were doing it. Identify those annoying repetitive tasks that you do over, and over, and over each day. Then think about how that process could be made “artificially intelligent”, by adding some common logic to eliminate those repetitive tasks. I honestly believe that what you’ll find is some incredibly new innovative ideas. Now, go invent something great!