Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Why Convenience is Time

The value of convenience is emphases on consumption rather than production of technology (Thomas F. Tierney)
The other day, when I read the above passage in an article, it made me think that one of the oft-used word in the digital business model is - convenience. Be it the ecommerce, omni-channel, user experience, customer journey, all these hinge on, convenience. But what is convenience and can it be quantified. More importantly, is it for real
Wikipedia defines convenience as, the state of being able to proceed with something without difficulty. Difficulty is directly related to the effort and by definition effort can be termed as the minimum usage of available resources for maximum benefit. As a consumer the finite available resource at his disposal are - Energy, money, and time. But as money is directly related to savings and cannot be considered convenience in the true sense, we shall focus on energy & time. The more you expend your limited resources, the less convenient it becomes. convenience thus is inversely proportional to the consumer's energy & time.
 C α 1/(E+T)
However, the need to own a product will depend on its value (how badly the consumer needs/wants it) and how much it costs in contemporary channels.
C = V/(E+T)
Where, C= Convenience, E = Energy (for Physical and Mental effort), T= Time, V= Value (perceived value)
 So if convenience is mostly about time & energy…what will one do with the time they are freeing up? I asked few of my friends and colleagues what would they like to do during free time… here are the most popular responses -
  • Watch movie
  • Spend time with family & friends
  • Listen to music
  • Read books
  • Play games
  • Sleep
 So the two probable outcomes of convenience by freeing up time would be more travel and more media consumption. And since the conserved energy needs to be expended, physical exercises or travel would happen . But seriously, travel to meet friends?, which itself is less convincing as one of the prime drivers (no pun here) for going digital was to avoid travel. Since travel happens to be common in both time and energy aspect and in this fast paced life the popular currency of travel/commute happens to be time.. Time is of essence, when it comes to convenience
 The likelihood of doing the notional activities that the user is interested in doing would be a better value proposition for communicating convenience. Eg: Watch "The Avengers" while your shop. Or. Play Squash in your supermart aisle.


Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Cool New Websites of the future

Hey, Website!
Hey yourself, User. What brings you here?
I hear you are a cool guy/place to hang around with :)
Thanks! Wow!! Didn't know that I'm that famous ;) tbh I'm just trying to be like you - More human, more friendly :)

…and so forth, the online conversation goes on between the user & the brand

Every brand website is a potential storyteller and technology is a great enabler of stories. The pace at which technology is getting adopted, especially the bot & AI technologies, chatting and talking websites are going to be the future storytellers of the brand.

Websites have come a long way.  From the static 'online catalogs' of early 90's to animated Flash based website of 2000's and the current search friendly and dynamic websites (with some personalization and responsive)…. They were led by customer friendly approach which was driven by the device & the purpose - Informational to Interactional to Engagement. The future purposes of website is to be conversational and be brand story tellers.

Chatbots have been around for quite some time now. Remember, the virtual assistants you see in few shopping portals or the popular (actually unpopular) Clippit, the office assistant in the earlier version of MS-Word. Well, these dumb stuffs have actually become smart over the years, thanks to artificial intelligence.

“So pretty much everyone today who is building applications whether they be mobile apps or desktop apps or websites will build bots as the new interface, where you have a human dialogue interface versus menus of the past,” - Satya Nadella
There will be a paradigm shift in User Experience due to this new UI involving bot & AI technologies. The advantages of having a conversational UI are lot. Here are few important things I can think about:
  • It helps build more engagement than a tree based content layout
  • More natural and personal than a regular website content
  • Instead of browsing a website, you’ll be talking to the brand-bot
  • The possibilities are endless – they can work across multiple platforms and can be scaled to process natural language, including voice commands

Soon, you'll have brands having conversations with you on chat platforms, social media, websites, and devices (Siri, Echo, Alexa, etc). A seamless storytelling through owned, shared, and paid media

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Key Takeaways from NASSCOM ILF 2017 Event

    After a long time, I attended a full NASSCOM conference (Yes, all of three days!!). 
    As good events go, this event too was good, with a long line of illustrious industry 
    speakers (Ginni Rometty) business leaders (Mukesh Ambani, Anand Mahendra) 
    to sportsperson (Anil Kumble). The topic curiously was more introspective 
    rather than outward looking – To reimagine and not reengineer

While a variety of topics were discussed (https://nilf2017.sched.com/
for me the key takeaways from the event were:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Virtual Reality
  • HealthTech

From IBM Watson to Startups creating NLP & Deep Learning based solutions for enterprise, 
I'd noticed AI coming in all shapes and sizes. Some call it Machine Learning, some others Cognitive 
Business. However, the idea that data will drive businesses is very real. If Data is the new oil… 
Artificial intelligence is going to the refinery plant.

Virtual Reality, which has been in the spot light for past few years but limited its presence and activities
to media and gaming industry will have a larger role to play in various other businesses. Healthcare and
Education being the most natural progression for virtual reality solution. From the basic 360 degree 
video currently in use… the use of 3D - CGI will increase. Personally, I feel that VR needs to move 
from single user interaction to single object - multiple users interactions on real time basis.

From FoodTech couple of years back and to Fintech last year… this year will be about HealthTech. 
The healthcare market is over $3 Trillion and digital has been scantly used in this industry. There is 
huge interest from Pharma, Insurance, and Govt on increasing the quality of medical care thus will give
rise to a lot of startups focussing on end user solutions

    Apart from the above, there were some more things to ponder:

    • Why do technology firms talk about VR / reduced attention span,  etc. but have day long conferences & have has physical conferences rather than virtual hangouts?
    • Most technologies are old wine in new bottle… Be it ASP (application service provider), SAAS, cloud computing, etc…
    • Is Digital SCAM (Social-Cloud-Analytics-Mobile) in a new guise
    • Messenger is more important than the message: Two business leaders having divergent views on same subject (demonetization) receives applause from the same audience.
    • We live in the ‘Now’ moment: As the field of technology rapidly changes, most of the business leaders have a focus on what is the current need and try and identify solutions that best suits their current challenges. Also, they consume information for the moment with little action points.
    • There is a huge gender gap in IT field…. Unlike most of the media & marketing/advertising events I have and keep attending regularly - women delegates are scantly present in the NASSCOM event. Hope the young girls take inspiration from Ginni Rommety and we get to see many more women in the IT field. Please note this comparison is just between media/advertising industry and IT industry