Clarifying the Concept of Smart Service System

  • Chiehyeon LimEmail author
  • Paul P. Maglio
Part of the Service Science: Research and Innovations in the Service Economy book series (SSRI)


A new trend of smart service systems is emerging. Technology is applied intensively to alleviate the cognitive and behavioral load of customers and improve the operations of service systems, thereby enhancing value. Despite the significance of smart service systems in this connected and data-rich world, knowledge on this concept remains insufficient. This chapter builds a theoretical background for smart service systems research. Motivated by recent cases of smart service systems, this chapter reviews the definitions and characteristics of smart service systems discussed in existing studies; integrates empirical insights from studies on the design and development of smart service systems; and further explores the nature of smart service systems by analyzing texts from the scientific literature, news articles, and end-user opinions. By integrating all the information, this chapter aims to clarify the concept of smart service system. Using the proposed conceptual framework and related studies as basis, this chapter also categorizes smart service systems into three types according to the portion of customer roles in technology-based value co-creation: smart self-service, smart super service, and smart interactive service systems. Finally, based on the proposed conceptual framework, this chapter discusses future research topics related to the concept of smart service system, such as autonomous service system as a new type of service system that requires a minimum level of human–thing interaction but works mainly based on thing–thing interaction. This chapter would serve as basis for studying and developing smart service systems.


Smart service Smart system Smart service system Definition Categorization 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ulsan National Institute of Science and TechnologyUlsanRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.University of California, MercedMercedUSA

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