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We get so caught up in the products and news that we cover that we often overlook, or fail to stop and appreciate, the impact that the underlying technology might have on our industry. Two stories in particular stand out from the past week that show how brands are able to leverage the latest tech to improve the overall retail and customer service experiences—Samsung with their new Visual Support service, and AT&T’s partnership with Badger Technologies that will bring 5G-ready robots to retailers’ aisles.

Let’s start with Samsung. … After months of beta testing the service in a few key markets, Samsung announced this week that it’s ready to roll out Visual Support globally. The program is intended to improve and streamline the process of helping customers who call a service rep to report a problem with their Samsung product. As any service rep will tell you—or as you already know—these types of calls can be incredibly tricky for both you and the customer. Often, a service rep may find themselves offering up less-than-efficient troubleshooting solutions all because the customer can’t quite clearly verbalize what it is that’s causing their product, appliance, etc., to malfunction.

Samsung Visual Support aims to address that very situation by employing the power of the smartphone camera. Once Visual Support requested by the customer or suggested by the service rep, the customer will receive a text message with a link inviting them to launch the Visual Support interface. The customer then grants a few permissions, allowing the rep to access the camera and flash settings, and that’s it.

The rep is essentially brought into the room where they can get a visual of the product, see the type of environment its in, get easy access to important information, and provide more efficient recommendations based on what they can actually see. Beyond enabling Samsung to provide better customer service, Visual Support also saves the company (and client) time and money by avoiding unnecessary service trips out to the customer’s home.

Moving over to AT&T, the company announced a partnership with retail robot maker Badger Technologies, in which the two companies will work to accelerate the rollout of 5G-ready autonomous robots.

Already in use at some major retail chains across the country, Bader Technologies’ fleet of autonomous retail robots are able to move up and down aisles of a store, scanning the shelves for out-of-stock items, and checking the floors for spills and other potential hazards. What AT&T brings to the table is their expanding 5G network and a multi-access edge computing environment, in which the robots will have access to a lower-latency, higher bandwidth network that will enable them to operate more efficiently than if they were, say, tied to the in-store WiFi network.

That also gives Badger Technologies access to more secure and private network connections, and, in turn, more control over what data travels beyond the walls of the store and what stays on site.

Both examples from AT&T and Samsung offer a strong reminder of just how powerful the tech we use every day can be when applied to our own retail environment.

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