Celebrating 10 years service research at ServLab

10 Jahre Dienstleistungsforschung im ServLab
Foto: Christian Hass, © Fraunhofer IAO

Executive director Prof. Wilhelm Bauer, State Secretary for Economic Affairs Katrin Schütz, and institute director Walter Ganz (from left) inaugurate the newly renovated ServLab.

Fraunhofer IAO is putting service experience and smart services at the forefront

For the last ten years, Fraunhofer IAO has offered companies the possibility of testing out and optimizing services in ServLab, which was developed in-house, before they are put into operation. On the occasion of ServLab’s 10th anniversary, service engineering experts will present selected use cases for smart services in the newly renovated lab, accompanied by a speech from Kathrin Schütz, Baden-Württemberg’s state secretary for economic affairs.

Companies are always on the lookout for opportunities to consolidate and develop their market position. In Germany’s service economy, innovative services have become an essential factor for success. Digitalization, which enables more and more business models featuring smart services to be created, only emphasizes the trend. But how can we develop services so that they succeed on the market? “ServLab shows that we saw which way the wind was blowing ten years ago; even today, it is a unique in Germany: a testing environment where companies can test their services systematically before their market launch and minimize the risk of a market flop,” says Walter Ganz, who helped establish the field of Service Management at Fraunhofer IAO and has significantly advanced it through his work.

Testing and optimizing innovative services

In ServLab, companies can deliberate over and test out their service products at all stages, from the initial idea to the market-ready product. Among other things, the testing environment allows the possibility of modeling service processes, visualizing service environments through virtual reality, as well as simulating interaction situations between different service partners and optimizing them with the involvement of management, employees and customers. Service engineering experts at Fraunhofer IAO have been able to constantly broaden their method repertoire on the basis of countless tests and simulations conducted at ServLab over the last ten years.

Aroma control, tracking and feedback: all-new features in the newly renovated ServLab

“Experience has taught us that service providers and customers will have to get involved in the creation and optimization of service products in a more interactive and intensive way,” explains Prof. Wilhelm Bauer, executive director of Fraunhofer IAO. “ServLab serves as the ideal space to facilitate this process.” For ServLab’s 10th anniversary, not only was the lab thorough renovated, it also acquired new hardware. With the brand-new scent atomizer, it is now possible to simulate environment scents and smells in-lab. Additionally, a voting system helps to gather and analyze expert feedback quickly and easily. The laboratory also now features a bigger powerwall and a new tracking system. “Baden-Württemberg plays a decisive role not only in industry 4.0 applications, but also in service engineering and in the development of data-based services and new business models. The state government’s goal is to encourage medium-sized enterprises in industry, trades and in the service economy to engage in more service innovation. Fraunhofer IAO’s ServLab is an important contact point for companies in Baden-Württemberg,” said Katrin Schütz, state secretary for the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing. “Such a testing environment, combined with scientific expertise, is a huge help to small and medium-sized enterprises in particular, especially in the context of digitalization and the development of newer, smarter services and business models."