“Through the Stuttgarter Zeitung’s newspaper article about UIB, we have become aware of your company. As Ms. Häffner regularly visits companies in her constituency, she would like to get to know UIB better by scheduling a company visit to your offices in Winterbach.”
It was through this unexpected email that our local state (Baden-Württemberg) Parliament Member Petra Häffner MdL visited us in UIB’s offices here in Germany.
I was delighted to give her a tour through UIB’s Customer Demo Center and let her try out our UnificationEngine® intelligent IoT messaging platform-powered SmartContact® on all of our different products, appliances, and chatbots for herself.
Without any training — and without a product app or smart speaker/virtual assistant — she picked up my smartphone, opened WhatsApp, and sent our Bosch coffee machine a voice note to make her an espresso. She also used Viber to operate our office’s Philips Hue lights (by now, everyone in the office expects the lights to randomly change colors when guests visit) and Telegram our company fridge to get a “shelfie” (confession: I do admit to tidying it up before she arrived).
I shared with her UIB’s origin story of how our Swabian-born Founder and CEO Toby Ruckert built a global startup and returned to open up its regional headquarters a mile from where he grew up.
Thinking as a politician, she asked herself the question of what impact will this digital transformation have on people. We know for example, that the proliferation of navigation devices has hurt younger people’s ability to read maps and has certainly had a negative impact on the sale of tourist maps in Germany.
Ms. Häffner spoke about the opportunities smart devices bring to the region’s many global manufacturers — how they are quickly learning to take full advantage of all the new capabilities made possible by the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). She shared how difficult and expensive it was just a few years ago to remotely control the shutters many Germans have on their homes’ windows. We agreed on the importance of people who talk to customers every day, those on the front-line for sales, installation, and service, to keep up with new technologies and invest in continuing education and training.
As a Rems Valley (Remstal) neighbor of UIB, Ms. Häffner was very interested to try out the Remstalkontakt we are creating for the 2019 Remstal Garden Show (Remstalgartenschau 2019). She had fun asking it questions and I know we found a new beta tester!
Author: Stefan Fuchs