My father-in-law Jack often helps his elderly neighbor Don with errands on the weekends. One day while they were out, Don mentioned he wanted to go to TD Bank, but didn’t know the branch location. Jack whipped out his iPhone and asked Siri, “Where is the nearest TD Bank?” A woman’s voice answered, “400 yards ahead on the right” through the car speakers. Having never seen a smartphone/in-car Bluetooth/GPS/voice recognition combo in action, Don was absolutely amazed.
Jack and Don’s story reflects the best that technology can offer—to simplify our experiences so we can focus on what really matters. What stands out to me is that it wasn’t one tool or technical capability that impressed Don. It was that he learned exactly where to go by just asking a phone. Technology on its own is amazing, but when multiple tools are used together to solve a person’s issue, they become much more powerful, and memorable.
Earlier this year, Gartner released its top 10 technology trends:
1. Mobile device diversity and management
2. Mobile apps and applications
3. The Internet of Everything
4. Hybrid cloud and IT as service broker
6. The era of personal cloud
7. Software-defined anything
8. Web-scale IT
9. Smart machines
10. 3D printing
What do they all have in common? They enable smart connections. They allow individuals real-time, portable access to information, and they drive costs down, which will spur adoption. And they will work together to propel interpersonal connections. Gartner calls this “the Nexus of Forces,” where mobile, cloud, information, and social tools converge. Again, the real trend is that technology is increasingly being used collaboratively to improve the human experience, to give us time to make more of our human relationships.
Many of these technologies are featured in this issue of Customer Strategist, along with how companies and individuals are improving customer relationships through their use. They include digital banking, personalization at scale, and customer experience innovations in healthcare. I can’t wait to show Don the issue.