I saw the movie 'Her' recently. I couldn’t resist, as it’s a technology driven film, and besides being a movie buff, I’m also fascinated with the idea of how technology moves forward and what will be possible. I won’t review the movie here, as many other writers do a much better job of that, but I do want to explore the idea of customization.
For those not familiar, the premise of the movie is that our lead, Theodore, upgrades his computer to the latest operating system, which delivers the first artificial intelligence. His takes the name Samantha, and over the course of the film, the two interact and explore relationships together.
The movie showed a near future view of the world. From a technology perspective, what was most interesting to me was how the technology was shown to fade into the background. Interfaces were simple, interactions both verbal and with touch, and displays were appropriate – projections in some cases, display screens in others, interactive tablets and surfaces in others.
While the premise of AI is certainly not in the near term, the customization of the user experience certainly is here. Technology like Siri in the iPhone allows for verbal interaction with devices, where a user can ask for something in spoken word, and those commands be interpreted. Google and Bing both use context to make search results more accurate. Amazon uses information to provide recommendations that are relevant and focused.
Collecting and using data is a core part of delivering a positive user experience, and starts with basics. In a solution provider business, do you capture details about your users systems and configurations? Do you collect information about their previous support cases? Do you make this information readily available to yourself and your team for handling customer requests? Do you focus on using context and information to enhance support?
What caused the bond between user (Theodore) and his AI (Samantha) was context and building a relationship. This was done by the use of data, as Samantha built knowledge, collecting details and information that she used in the interactions. Additionally, this technology was not front and center, but instead fell into the background, as interactions were done in a very human focused way.
Service providers who embrace using data and systems to enhance user experience are notable for their ability to drive higher value and higher revenues, as they solve problems proactively. Additionally, they use technology to deliver those solutions, but focus on people rather than the technology itself. Users want their information available to them on any device in any way, and don’t want to think about the way those systems tie together. Solution providers who focus on this are leading the way to being a core part of a business solution rather than a commodity service – this kind of seamless delivery is the next evolution of using technology, as our visions of the future show. Films like “Her” can give us a sense of the direction to focus on, where technology is only an enabler rather than the focus.