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“Futurizing” smart service: implications for service researchers and managers

Nancy V. Wuenderlich (Department of Service Management, University of Paderborn, Paderborn, Germany)
Kristina Heinonen (Department of Marketing, Centre for Relationship Marketing and Service Management (CERS) Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)
Amy L. Ostrom (Department of Marketing, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA)
Lia Patricio (INESC TEC, Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal)
Rui Sousa (School of Economics and Management, Catholic University of Portugal, Porto, Portugal)
Chris Voss (Department of Operations Management, Warwick Business School, Coventry, UK)
Jos G.A.M. Lemmink (Department of Marketing, School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 14 September 2015




The purpose of this paper is to craft a future research agenda to advance smart service research and practice. Smart services are delivered to or via intelligent objects that feature awareness and connectivity. For service researchers and managers, one of the most fascinating aspects of smart service provision is that the connected object is able to sense its own condition and its surroundings and thus allows for real-time data collection, continuous communication and interactive feedback.


This article is based on discussions in the workshop on “Fresh perspectives on technology in service” at the International Network of Service Researchers on September 26, 2014 at CTF, Karlstad, Sweden. The paper summarizes the discussion on smart services, adds an extensive literature review, provides examples from business practice and develops a structured approach to new research avenues.


We propose that smart services vary on their individual level of autonomous decision-making, visibility and embeddedness in objects and customer lives. Based on a discussion of these characteristics, we identify research avenues regarding the perception and nature of smart services, the adoption of smart services, the innovation through smart services as well as regarding the development of new business models.


Smart services is a new emerging topic in service marketing research, their implications on organizations, customers and the service landscape have not been fully explored. We provide a fresh perspective on service research by characterizing relevant aspects of smart service that will stimulate fruitful future research and advance the understanding and practice of smart services.



Wuenderlich, N.V., Heinonen, K., Ostrom, A.L., Patricio, L., Sousa, R., Voss, C. and Lemmink, J.G.A.M. (2015), "“Futurizing” smart service: implications for service researchers and managers", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 29 No. 6/7, pp. 442-447.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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