ZTE's Project CSX Phone is the Crowdsourcing Campaign that Everyone Can Learn From
It's been a pretty awesome year in the world of ZTE. Last year at this time, the company was rolling out their Axon 7 smartphone with Dolby Atmos Digital Surround Sound. And since then they've seen their total number of active devices in the U.S. skyrocket to more than 33 million.
It's another announcement from a year ago, though, that resulted in what struck me as one of the most important announcements from ZTE's press conference this year. At CES 2016, the company unveiled their Z-Community platform, a forum for ZTE customers where they can get product-specific support and interact with the company on an almost human level. It's also through this platform that ZTE launched Project CSX, or Crowd Sourced X, where X stood for anything. Essentially, ZTE allowed it's Z-Community members to help drive the entire product development process, from initial concept to design, to manufacturing, and ultimately to branding. They stepped in at certain checkpoints along the way to ensure that the process was a smooth one, but the community members were the main drivers from start to finish.
The result of Project CSX was unveiled this year at CES 2017. The new Hawkeye phone is a device that will include scrolling-based eye tracking and will ship with a self-adhesive case for wall mounting. The eye-tracking technology will recognize movement of the eyes so long-scroll pages will move up or down, or left or right automatically, and voice commands can be used to navigate between pages. The self-adhesive case is a convenience feature, freeing up the user's hand from having to hold the device.
ZTE had an early mockup device with them at their press conference. During the event, ZTE announced that in true crowdsourcing fashion, the product is now available for preorder through Kickstarter for $199. The funding goal of $500,000 will help the company meet a shipment date of September 2017.
While the product itself was cool to hear about, it's the entire concept of a crowdsourced project that really steals the headline here. There are plenty of instances throughout the tech community where manufacturers will solicit feedback from consumers about their products and use that input to guide them in their work. But the idea of allowing consumers to literally drive the entire process is almost unheard of. And the only reason ZTE was able to successfully pull this off is because of the Z-Community. Launching the platform allowed ZTE to create a massive pool of engaged customers, which ultimately is a win-win for the customer and the manufacturer. The platform gives the consumer access to information about their product and the company as well as a place to talk with other ZTE customers; and it gives ZTE endless amounts of data and information about exactly what their customers are looking for from them.
That's 21st century technology at its finest right there. Every single tech manufacturer out there could learn everything they need to know about customer service, customer engagement, customer retention, and maximizing customer satisfaction from how ZTE is managing their Z-Community and Project CSX. I've come across a lot of awesome tech during these media days here at CES 2017, but this whole concept is the most innovative thing I've come across, and it ought to be on everyone's radar.