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1. Opt for Digital First
Empathic Things add a new digital layer to business practice. This opens new avenues in terms of commitment toward customers, employees and partners in digital ecosystems. New consumer data open up vistas of new sales opportunities. Gartner expects that in 2020 consumer data from wearable things will feed as much as 5% of the sales among the biggest businesses. Those data are particularly interesting to advertisers, because they are even more personal than consumers’ web behaviour; advertisements can be made even more customer-oriented with prospects of higher conversion and subsequent clicks.
2. Build Systems of Engagement
Static ICT-systems are things of the past – dynamic and empathic systems are the future. It should be noted that the value is hardly created in the devices themselves, but in the ecosystem of which that device is part. When someone wears an activity tracker, the real value becomes manifest in the application that provides insight into the data. It is the open character of the programming interface (the API) to which the service can be linked that decides whether the data can be shared in relevant communities.
3. Analyze where connectivity can be a contributing factor
The unique strength of Empathic Computing and Things will not be released until it adds connectivity where it was hitherto impossible. A forklift driver cannot possibly have a laptop on his lap all the time. But digital glasses that give access to the right kind of information add connectivity in a situation where that was impossible so far. And look at holes in the information cover of employees. Where can realtime connections with information add value and contribute to the work someone is doing? If only to make things easier or more efficient. Value is determined by the extent to which the information links up with and responds to the user’s context.
4. Build better ‘knowledge bases’
Data must be provided with the right metadata to be used in the user’s context. The richer the data points, the better they can be opened up at the right moment and in the right way. Data points such as identity, location and history are obvious, but before long temperature, weather, humidity, haptic feedback to stimuli, facial expression and emotions will equally be stored as data points with the help of different sensors.
5. Build bridges between early adopters and mainstream users
In all likelihood there are early adopters of all kinds of activity trackers, for example, in your environment. Invite them to a pilot project in which you enable colleagues to share activity data or stress data in a social ecosystem. What new views can you gain from this with regard to the health of employees and what are the effects if you openly share this kind of data? You may discover, for example, what busy ‘junctions’ there are in your office with the help of location data or at what times of day the highest degree of stress is experienced. Also buy some specific Empathic Things that have much ground in common with your business, ask your employees to use them in their practice and to share their views with colleagues. To be really successful, you need to realize that the vast majority of your staff will be less interested and have different motivations than the early adopters and innovators. To bridge the gulf between these two groups and reach many more people, you should not gear your plans to the latter party more than is necessary.
6. Ensure sound privacy
With technology so close to the skin, data have never been so personal, and consequently privacy has never been so vital. For that reason it is a good thing to make clear in pilots or other applications that process data what happens to them, and to let those involved have control of their own data. Make privacy part of the design. It is important that the exchange is clear: what is
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