“More than ever, technology must put itself at the service of Man”

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By FrenchWeb | 5 April 2017 [Content created in partnership with Accenture Digital]

Benjamin Pruvost, Business Designer, Fjord, and Emmanuel Viale, Managing Director, Head of the Accenture Lab of Sophia Antipolis, give their insight on new technology contributions for companies.

With the increasing role of artificial intelligence within management processes and user experience, companies are forced to revisit their model to meet the new expectations of consumers. From chatbots to the connected car, via Uber, Airbnb and other applications that offer multiple services to their users, companies are now led to produce functional and emotional responses.

Benjamin Pruvost, Business Designer, Fjord, and Emmanuel Viale, Managing Director, Head of Accenture Labs of Sophia Antipolis: For several years we have been publishing trends over the next 12-24 months with different views. Through these studies, we study the behavior of the users (Fjord Trends) and, on the other hand, the technologies and their rapid evolutions (Accenture Technology Vision).

We observe in these editions 2017 a real complementarity of these studies, and a new convergence of trends observed. More than ever, technology must be used and exploited to serve the user, with each individual wishing to feel privileged and served whenever he or she wishes.

The real challenge of companies is certainly to propose a technological innovation, but at the service of the use. For without use, any technology – as sophisticated as it is – is vain. User experience is therefore at the center of innovation: it must be relevant, simple and effective. It has also become essential to offer its clients meaning and an emotional dimension, in order to develop a sense of belonging, which allows the consumer to feel unique and privileged.

The success of Apple, WhatsApp, Uber or even Airbnb is proof that the adoption of a new technology is based on its ergonomics and its ability to meet the needs of the user. The unique, hyperspecialized and contextualized experience proposed by brands is therefore an issue for all companies, regardless of the sector of activity.

What is your smart business design?

Emmanuel Viale: As the notion of emotional intelligence for managers has emerged relatively recently, we are convinced that a smart company must develop its empathy towards its customers, its employees … be fully In capacity to respond and anticipate their expectations.

This means becoming more agile and flexible in its structure, to experiment, test and launch new services and products in the markets. So, companies need to simplify and humanize their business, as well as their process of developing the user experience. They can in particular draw their inspiration from start-ups to develop a new typology of structure and thus acquire some agility.

The organization in silos made sense in the past for reasons of operational efficiency, but is no longer adapted to the current rhythm imposed by a phenomenon of accelerated digitization.

The aspirations of the new generations, which want a reduction of the hierarchical weight and a more dynamic management within companies, reverse the classic structure of the company. The lack of transversality, flexibility, the cumbersome nature of certain processes are all obstacles to reactivity, and are ultimately sources of disengagement of the employees themselves.

The true strength of start-ups is precisely that they can reverse this trend and organize their organization with unprecedented resilience and agility – their weakness will certainly remain the scaling-up.

How does artificial intelligence contribute to giving companies a new corporate image?

Benjamin Pruvost: I do not know if it’s right to talk about artificial intelligence as the vector of a new brand image. However, one thing is certain: thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, robots and other chatbots are growing strongly and are increasingly an interface between the client and the company (on the Web, in call centers, With your phone, at home).

Artificial intelligence is now an integral part of brand discourse, and becomes one of its modes of expression. Its use , both in the relevance of the support and in the quality of customer interaction, must thus be developed in a manner consistent with the rest of the brand territory and the consumer path. Be careful however that it does not become counterproductive, generating in-fine dissatisfaction.

Artificial intelligence must therefore be used at the right time in the relationship and be a clear evidence at this point in the journey. The relevance of the answers, the fluidity of the dialogue, the taking into account of the context and the emotions are so important for the artificial intelligence to take the place of a quasi-human dialogue. Much progress has already been made but still needs to be done.

The Alexa service (intelligent speaker), developed by Amazon, is an example to follow. The proposed interaction promises intuitive use, with ease, for a highly qualitative customer experience.

What is the key to making businesses more resilient and agile?

Emmanuel Viale: The three keys of vault on which the agility of the company must be based are its ability to listen to the customer, the collaborative and experimental structures it can set up internally, and the link it reaches To develop with its environment, being connected and pro-active.

Technology must therefore enable companies to succeed in their transformation and to be competitive on all three aspects.

This transformation concerns all aspects of an organization’s activity, from Big Data to the Internet of objects, via platforms, CRM systems or collaborative tools.

In terms of home and car connected, how does technology go away from the needs of consumers?

Benjamin Pruvost: Again, apart from a certain consumer profile very interested in technology, most are mainly focused on the service rendered and the experience of use. Ideally, the service should learn from consumer habits and anticipate its needs without external intervention. These include the recent “intelligent” thermostats, which represent an impressive breakthrough compared to traditional home automation, which is often difficult to understand due to complex operating modes and interfaces.

However, the service is still limited to one type of device that requires a specific purchase and configuration. While the consumer thinks in terms of environment: its habitat, its mobility …

Alexa is, once again, an interesting example in this regard. Designed as a simple interface, the application can control (shutter shutters, increase heating according to temperature …) intelligently. A constituent element of this application is the masked solicitation system: the user is not aware of what this implies from a technological point of view, and perceives only ease of use.

For the connected car, it’s the same thing. The concept of safety and the efficiency of the system are of primary importance to the consumer, but he is less interested in the technical aspect.

However, the emergence of the connected vehicle raises a lot of questions: What experience will be offered to the consumer with the car of tomorrow? What will the pleasure of (no longer) lead in the future? What will happen to the time spent in his vehicle? What will be the consequences on the purchase of a vehicle if an automated fleet can be easily used?

The Concept-i stand-alone car unveiled by Toyota at the last CES in Las Vegas provides insight into these issues. The Japanese manufacturer aims to offer a “gentle and friendly experience” with this new vehicle.

What are the new territories to explore for businesses?

Benjamin Pruvost and Emmanuel Viale:  Virtual reality and augmented reality are not new but they still struggle to generate obvious uses. Pokemon Go’s overwhelming success (2% of the world’s population downloaded the app during its first month of operation) is significant not only in the development of augmented reality technologies, but also in the public’s appetite for this type of ” experience. We believe that mixed reality is the path to be explored to offer, once again, a sensitive and human experience.

In addition, brands shift from storytelling to story-making. And for good reason, the traditional downward communication of brands escapes more and more consumers, the era of slogans is over. From now on, each consumer participates, through social media, in the voice and contributes to the construction of brands.

Trademarks must thus be part of this movement, moving from discourse to action.

Recent studies show that in the “established” era of Digital, companies must incorporate all human dimensions in their transformations: in their organization, in their products and services, in their present and future ecosystems . Whether we look at it from a purely technological point of view, or user experience, the human aspect has never been more important.

Read the full article on FrenchWeb

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