This article discusses:
- What’s driving the Internet of Experiences and what are the new possibilities it can create for businesses
With the advent of Industrial VR, Edge computing, AI and natural general intelligence, we are beginning to realize the Experiential internet aka Internet of Experiences. Internet of Experience aims higher, concentrating on what becomes possible when smart devices work together in a converged technology landscape to create interactive experiences.
A wave of new technology coupled with pervasive connectivity is giving rise to spellbinding experiences. Retailers are coming up with new store formats and experiential environments (think Ikea Placei), thanks to the power of real-time analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Augmented Reality (AR); airlines are reducing training costs and risks by using virtual environments to simulate equipment and maintenance requirements (look up Japan Airlines that is using Mixed Reality for trainingii); banks are replacing clicks and swipes with voice-based multi-lingual 24X7 assistants that provide account balance details, help make payments and offer financial advice (check out Amy that speaks English and Chinese iii). The world is running amok with super smart assistants like Siri, Alexa, Nina, Viv, Jibo, Cortana, Silvia, etc., that leverage Natural Language Processing (NLP). We have technologies like Drones, Additive Manufacturing, Computer Vision, Human Machine Interface (HMI), 5G, Blockchain and Mixed Reality (MR), which were the stuff of science fiction until a decade ago. Now, these technologies are mainstreaming. They are seeping into homes, streets, enterprises, city systems and governments, bringing the Internet of Experiences (IoE) to life, and turning digital engagement into a strategic must-have at practically every touchpoint, within every process and across transactions.
The change these technologies are bringing about is more powerful than we imagine. Ten years ago taking pictures of lunch and showing them to strangers would have been considered positively odd. Taking endless selfies would have been unacceptably narcissistic. Today these are natural things to do using Facebook or Snapchat; no one thinks twice about it. The domino effect of technology is so powerful that it is influencing the design of spaces. We now have specially designed Instagrammable restaurants, bars, stores, museums and streets. And it won’t be long before we see these social platforms and technologies—like LinkedIn and Twitter, head mounts like Meta-2, realware, Oculus Rift and Microsoft HoloLens along with fully immersive industrial VR like CAVE —alter industrial IT and OT.
Drivers of the IoE
There are two simple explanations for the rise of the IoE. Both are tides that will not turn back. The first is the Millennial generationiv that is driving the digital trend. This generation, accounting for 31.5% of the global population, represents a massive opportunity for any industry willing to go digital. Following closely are the Centennialsv . This generation is already larger than the Millennials. They now represent 32% of the global populationvi . The behavior of these two generations is driving change. The second explanation for the growth in the IoE is in the phenomenal rise of AI and the convergence of all the other emerging technologies. In the last decade, we have experienced the consumerization of IT, which we can largely see reflected in the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend. Employees are bringing devices to work that they are familiar and comfortable with, adding to speed and agility. With BYOD, we have already witnessed the rapid consumerization of IT and are a mere step away from the consumerization of OT.
The new waves of intelligent technologies, pervasive connectivity and the growth in empowered edge devices are ensuring that the virtual2digital2human collaboration chain is being strengthened and that at the convergence of IT and OT, businesses find common grounds for decision making and strategizing. In context of Internet of Experiences, your entire working environment becomes your computer, creating immersive workspaces.
Shift from Immersive experience to Immersive environments
It isn’t surprising to find Gartner Vice President David Cearley including Immersive Experiences as one of the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019. The early signatures to notice is the shift from thinking about individual devices and fragmented user interface (UI) technologies to a multichannel and multimodal experience. The multimodal experience will connect people with the digital world across hundreds of edge devices that surround them, including traditional computing devices, wearables, automobiles, environmental sensors and consumer appliances. The multichannel experience will use all human senses as well as advanced computer senses (such as heat, humidity and radar) across these multimodal devices. This multi experience environment will create an ambient experience in which the spaces that surround us define “the computer” rather than the individual devices. In effect, the environment is the computer.”vii
With Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE), an Industrial VR environment as a fully immersive technology, we can recreate a physical setup in the virtual ‘environment as a computer’ world, thereby empowering niche skilled experts to gain cognitive controls of complex industrial environment. This further leads to use cases like remote Command center operations of Oil Rigs, where the environment on an Oil Rig can be cognitively controlled remotely. Or also enabling complex industrial training scenarios (persona-based training on an Oil Rig like the OIM, the Derrickman etc. for tasks like drill bit inspection and Blow out prevention).
For businesses, this calls for a strategic shift in their approach to digital. From “going digital”, which is the act of transforming existing processes, businesses need to work at “being digital”, which emphasizes new ways of executing processes, enabled by the IoE. Being digital is going beyond user-experience to drive object-experiences.
Looking over the horizon
The IoE creates new value. Businesses, for example, have been devising methods to improve employee capabilities. The investments being made in skills enhancement are considerable. But the learning experience is often abstract and may be unconnected from the actual task/ work/ process. Most learning methodologies fail to replicate environments and stimuli of the real world in which the learning needs to be deployed. This is why internships and on-the-job training have become important. They bridge the gap between knowledge and the real-world experience required to execute tasks with confidence and efficiency. This is where an immersive approach, created by the IoE can step in. Using a variety of technologies, such as Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), Virtual Reality (VR), voice interfaces, computer vision, haptic stimuli, holograms, headsets and body tracking, the complete process of learning can be disrupted, from the hardware to the physical environment (for instance, an immersive approach is extremely beneficial in an industry like health care, where it is difficult to always offer students and doctors with real-life experienceviii ).
The outcomes of the IoE get us closer to the Holy Grail of business: To create mesmerizing engagement, powerful collaboration, heightened efficiency and, ultimately, simplifying daily life. For businesses accustomed to looking over the horizon and boldly going into the future, embracing the IoE is a natural next step.
ii Japan Airlines Is Using Microsoft's HoloLens For Training: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4AjTrArUCU
iii HSBC Ask Amy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_tNM2In7sA
iv Millennials: Born between 1981 and 1996 aka digital natives or Gen Y
v Centennials: Born after 1997 aka Gen Z
vi Gen Z Is Set to Outnumber Millennials Within a Year, Bloomberg, August 20, 2018: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-20/gen-z-to-outnumber-millennials-within-a-year-demographic-trends
vii Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019: https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2018-10-15-gartner-identifies-the-top-10-strategic-technology-trends-for-2019
viii Watch an ultrasound simulator coming to life with the Microsoft HoloLens module in a medical training session: https://vimeo.com/201466785