“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something we make happen.“
While entering a state of flow is a rare phenomenon not experienced in everyday life, we regularly seek periods of increased concentration, during which we are able to focus on certain tasks which are important to us. These tasks may either be work related, entertainment oriented, or of any other nature whatsoever that we intend to give our attention to. Such distraction free sessions are milder versions of flow.
Products and services enable consumers to interact with elements of their world, and help decide the quality of various experiences that are formed in their daily lives. This gives great power to designers/makers of these products and services in being instrumental in whether they are helping their consumers move towards a state of flow or away from it. This is important because consumers are more drawn to repeatedly interact with products which support the drift of their experience towards flow as against products which hinder this drift. The lesser the friction the consumer experiences while interacting with a product or service, the more flow supportive it is.
In 2016, a new kind of cooking oven was introduced, called June Oven. It gave homemakers the freedom to be elsewhere while their dish was being cooked by eliminating the need to physically monitor the meal under preparation. The oven has an HD camera fitted on the inside which clicks work-in-progress photographs and shares it real time with the cook via a smartphone app using the oven’s wifi. It can also generate a time lapse which can be shared with co-cooks. Also, its self-learning technology, in coordination with the weight sensors, find out what type of food is being prepared and suggests a method that would be appropriate.
On demand television programming, though aimed at empowering the viewer to watch content at their own chosen time using delayed viewing, upsets the basic economics of broadcasting. Viewers, with the new found power to forward, rewind, and pause, choose to skip advertisements. This makes it difficult for broadcasters to keep advertisers investing in TV commercials. Brands lose TV as a medium of advertising, and broadcasters lose out on the money they make on ads.
In 2016, communication agency These Days came up with an interesting concept, which saw daylight as broadcaster SBS got interested in its novelty. The concept is Pause-Button-Advertising, or BREAKVERT||SING . Whenever a viewer would press the pause button, a still, animated or interactive advertising would display, and the frozen pause screen would transform into a targeted media space. The new revenue model immediately attracted 75 brands, increasing the advertising sales of SBS for the upcoming year.
On 31st March 2015 Amazon made a new product announcement, the timing of which sparked rumours if it was an early April Fool’s joke on consumers. It wasn’t, and the announced product, Amazon Dash Button, made reordering frequently bought items like washing detergent, disinfectant wipes, paper towels etc a lot easier by reducing the process of hopping on to Amazon website or app, choosing the product, confirming billing address and making the payment, down to a single step – pressing a button. Buyers just have to press around button on the tiny Dash device that they can stick or hang anywhere in their home of office, and reorder the product linked to the device in one single step.
Expect your consumers to be more inclined to embrace products & services in which they have less to deal with, and more so like never before.
Brands and governments are pledging products and services which are characterised by non intrusive interaction between humans, systems and machines. Anything apart from meaningful engagement is being considered redundant, and even meaningful engagement is expected to evolve and become leaner.
There always is a basic need of consumer underlying beneath consumer expectations, and it is this need that a trend and all the innovations depicting that trend attempt to satisfy. And since consumers are humans, changes in their basic needs are highly unlikely and very gradual, if any. Shown here are a few basic needs of consumers for illustrative purpose.
Now before you ask, the basic consumer need that our trend No Intrusion caters to is Freedom of choice to focus on what they want, when they want.
What caused this trend to
Have another glance at the few basic needs that we have listed. Almost all of these have been in existence ever since the evolution of human civilizations. So why is it that innovations come up when they do, and not earlier? The reason for this is – Change Factors. These are certain changes in the external environment that unlock new ways of meeting the same old needs, in the form of innovations that we witness. These factors could be slow and gradual changes (like penetration of internet or increasing life expectancy), or quick events (like Brexit poll outcome or MH370 plane mishap).
Let us understand the change factors that caused the trend No Intrusion to emerge.
Which other businesses
are adopting this trend?
An emerging trend will usually have more than a single innovation depicting it, which can be spotted in unrelated industries. Innovations coming in from diversified industries signify a stronger trend current, and more the count of innovations that are spotted means other businesses are already adopting it. If there’s a trend that only a handful of innovations are depicting, it means you have uncovered a trend that has just begun to emerge, and you are therefore in a position to become one of its earliest adopters.
Scientists at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab have created a system that can penetrate through walls and track people’s movement by beaming out radio waves that bounce off human body, and processing the reflected back waves using a computer algorithm to map movement in real time. Since inanimate objects can also reflect radio waves, it starts by scanning the area for fixed objects and eliminate them for processing. Then it focuses on objects which vary over time by taking a series of snapshots, this represents moving body parts. To further simplify the process of detecting a moving body in a wide space, the team uses a concept of military radar systems, that can lock and track objects, which improves the overall power consumption as well as image quality. This can provide for non intrusive ways to detect perimeter breaches, movement of troops in warfare, and search & rescue operations.
Knowledge of occupancy levels of homes and offices at different times of a day can have wide applications like:
A team at University of Massachusetts Amherst, Vanderbilt University has developed a method of monitoring occupancy of homes in a non-intrusive way without the need for deployment of sensors like motion, acoustic, CO2 etc. It does this by leveraging the high correlation between electricity consumption pattern and occupancy level changes in a home. A smart meter is installed instead of a regular electricity meter, and changes in statistical metrics of the smart meter data, such as power’s mean and variance over short intervals are analysed to represent occupancy level of the home.
What it means
Alright, you get it! Interaction that is non intrusive in nature is an important cornerstone in many of the examples shown. But what does it mean for you?
Learn from the above examples and see how this trend can be applied to your offering. Discuss with teammates, bring it up in your next townhall, or give cue from competitors.
Head down for few strategies for adoption on how to make your offering non intrusive.
Find ways to let your product talk back for giving feedback, state vital performance parameters, provide snapshots of work in progress, or signal any fault.
Use voice, gesture and touch as various modes to enable your customers to interact with the product.
Capture data when a consumer interacts with your product or service, and use it to make repeat interactions less intrusive.
Eliminate or automate some of the actions that are unproductive yet need to be undertaken by your consumer in order to complete his interaction with your product or service.
Developing ATM cards that could display the current balance of their customers’ bank accounts, resulting in fewer visits to the ATM or logging on to internet banking.
A luxury home developer
Using the home’s biometric lock, identify the household member that enters the house and switch on the lights/ AC/ fans etc of the rooms which are usually accessed by the member immediately after entering. The concerned rooms can be identified by keeping a silent track of the member’s past few usage patterns upon entering.
Learn & Evolve
A youthful public cafe
Allowing diners to gesture their rating of their dining experience while on their way out instead of scribbling in the guest register or selecting their rating on iPads.
Multi Sensory Interaction
A consumer electronics manufacturer of office use printers
Integrating their high end printers with Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service which enables it to automatically instruct its Amazon dash to order the next set of cartridges as soon as its toner ink runs into reserve.