A Revolution in Convenience For Hearing Aid Users
Remote hearing care or so-called teleaudiology has been around quite a while now. Up to now though, only a few hearing care providers have integrated it into their offering. Which has irked more than a few consumers we know. However, there are signs that some of the big players in hearing care provision are factoring it in and getting ready to move forward with it. It looks like remote hearing care may go mainstream in 2020. That makes sense, big national and international hearing care providers constantly need to up their game and differentiate themselves from their competition. Remote hearing care as a wider offering will allow them to do that, it will also allow them to meet other needs, of both their business and changing consumers. If they do introduce it, others would be foolish not to. Let's talk remote hearing care.
Amplifon & Remote Support
Amplifon is the biggest Independent provider of hearing care in the world with businesses across the globe. They are committed to staying that way and they understand implicitly how digitalisation will play a huge part in that. The deeper connection with their customers and the huge amounts of data that will provide will allow them to better look after their customers and plan their future.
Amplifon obviously sees remote support as part of their future offering and they are diligently working to provide it right across their business units. They already see custom apps as a unique part of communicating and supporting customers and have been working to deliver them in tandem with their different hearing aid providers.
Their app is well designed and highly functional, they have layered custom screens over the device manufacturers app. They have also added custom features such as the support feature and a very interesting feature they call the Companion.
They say "The Companion function is exclusive to the Amplifon app. It processes and analyses hearing device usage data in real-time using an artificial intelligence algorithm and, through a predictive model, gives suggestions on battery replacement or the most suitable program for the surrounding circumstances. Available throughout the entire life span of the chosen device, the Companion is a fundamental support, particularly when first using the device, making it easier to hearing well again."
The deployment of the app is just the first part of a strategy to include true remote support to its customers. They envision a world where their customers will have a choice, face to face in-store appointments or remote telecare appointments. I would imagine they don't believe it is an either-or situation. I would imagine they see it as a blended offering that meets the changing needs of their customers. I would expect to see them enter the teleaudiology space within the year. As I said, for them, it makes so much sense.
I do know of other major players who are working towards this type of offering. They also are looking at how they will make it a custom offering, one integral to their brand. I would imagine we will see quiet pilot projects happening within some of the very big Nationals or Internationals during 2020. It's rather simple, not one of them can ignore this concept for two reasons.
The first reason is that consumers want it, they see huge value in remote care systems. The second reason is that once one begins to offer it or work towards it, everyone else has to run to keep up. This will have a wider effect on the market across the world. Independents who aren't offering the service right now will need to offer it very soon. Otherwise, they will be differentiating themselves by being left behind.
That is not a very good place to be, seen as a laggard in the introduction of high technology and consumer convenience. There is a great saying, Netflix didn't kill Blockbuster, high late fees and bad customer service did. Whether it is true or not, it is valid, if a consumer wants service and convenience and a business doesn't offer it, well then that business is dead.
Good For Consumers
The move towards remote hearing care can only be seen as good for consumers. It will offer real convenience in your care. Will every visit be replaced by the screen? I would say most definitely not, but it will allow for quick follow-ups and changes to your hearing aids on the go. What's not to like? The entry of a behemoth like Amplifon into the space will ensure that everyone smartens up and gets onboard. I think 2020 will be the year of remote hearing aid care.
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