The Challenges of the 21st Century Business Environment
As we progress further into the 21st century, the business environment has proven to be driven by digital innovations like smartphones, connected devices, AI, VR, even digital currency. This onslaught of change has brought about tremendous challenges. However, great opportunities exist for those that seek to overcome these challenges. In examining the current state of digital transformation, problematic issues present themselves including:
- An increasing expectation of instant gratification from consumers
- Consumers looking more for an “experience”
- Further demand for increased convenience, ease of use and accessibility via mobile devices
- The struggle of organizations to evolve operations in a digital world
- Disparate platforms and media channels
- The death of legacy brands
- Privacy and security concerns
These issues are just a small sample of business challenges facing organizations today. In order to overcome some of these challenges, Rhythm advocates a progressive philosophy of leading digital transformation. An opportunity exists to utilize the growing “Internet of Things” (IoT) to develop and deliver enhanced customer experiences that delight consumers and drive value.
IoT and Customer Experience
The “Internet of Things” provides businesses the opportunity to deliver new and impactful experiences for customers. IoT can be summarized by utilizing Internet connectivity coupled with connected devices to enhance an existing product or become an innovative new product in and of itself. Value is derived for consumers through the following benefits:
- Devices with Internet connectivity deliver data to consumers on demand. This data is specific and relevant to the tasks fulfilled by the device. For example, the “FitBit” automatically offloads data into close proximity of wireless base stations where statistics are input to one’s online profile for further analysis. There is no need for the consumer to enter data. It is there, on demand, instantly.
- Connected devices provide new and innovative experiences. As consumers gravitate to favoring experiences over products, connected devices will satisfy this demand.
- Providing greater utility and functional experiences. After the novelty of a new experience, IoT coupled with a strong attention to the design of a customer experience will delight consumers over the long-term use of a product through greater utility and functions. Anything else will fall short in their opinion creating further loyalty with a brand.
Customer experiences need to be created through highly-skilled and thought out experience design. The “User Experience” or “UX” is critical in defining customer interactions with a product. However, it does not stop there. A recent article by econsultancy.com states...
"Experience design will increasingly consider complete business systems - not just the customer facing digital interfaces. Design teams will broaden their outlook to make this a reality…Data-driven, automated, user experience optimisation (multi-variate testing at scale) will become much more prominent. Design systems will need to flex and adapt to support all the variants. More organisations will be using design-systems-as-code, served from component libraries, to support programatically-assembled experiences on the fly.”
At Rhythm, we explore opportunities with our clients to utilize our UX expertise coupled with IoT innovation. Two examples are provided below.
Real-Time Parking Application
Rhythm works with one of the largest privately held real-estate investment companies in the United States. They develop, own and operate mixed-use real estate properties including high-profile commercial office buildings, upscale retail centers, and residential developments.
As part of a large website redesign project for a well-known retail property in Orange County, Rhythm identified an opportunity to deliver a better customer experience for shoppers. The solution being an online parking web application utilizing real-time data to inform users of parking availability at this high-traffic shopping center. The result…an enhanced experience that delights shoppers.
Utilizing data from parking sensors, we are able to display in real time how many parking slots are available in specific lots on the website and this information is also displayed on site when visitors arrive at structures via electronic signage.
Skywell is a water company that believes in better ways to deliver clean, fresh water to people. They have created an atmospheric water generator for consumer and commercial use. The device creates water from the humidity in the air and then filters the water so it is fit for human consumption.
Rhythm was tasked with creating a tablet application that would connect and communicate with the device to perform a variety of functions. We produced an Android tablet based application which connects with the water unit via wifi. The tablet is mounted on the device allowing users to interact with the application to control various functions such as operating hours and the creation of hydration profiles. The end result is an innovative product experience that matches the ingenuity of creating water from thin air. A customer experience that truly delights users and serves to increase sales of Skywell devices due to increased features, functionality, convenience and value.
True Digital Transformation: The Combination of IoT and Customer Experience Design
“Digital Transformation” is a catchphrase widely in use today. It means much more than integrating an organization’s website with a CRM system and displaying it on a mobile phone. There will be companies that succeed in forging through a true digital transformation by examining all aspects of their operations. From products and services to customer support, internal processes and more, all areas have the possibility for positive transformation through digital technology.
The world is changing rapidly and as Millenials and Generation Z mature, frictionless digital experiences will be expected as a standard. The future purchasing power of these consumers is enormous. IoT and Customer Experience Design will be at the heart of success or failure when meeting their needs and desires. At Rhythm, we will continue to explore opportunities to lead digital transformation for our clients, leveraging IoT technologies and designing effective brand experiences.