User experience and the IoT

I remember reading about the Twittering Ferries a few years ago. This story captured my imagination and I started to explore the Internet of Things (IoT) in more detail. IoT, in essence, allows ‘Machines to speak to Machines’ (M2M), provide instruction, feedback on status, and even process artificial intelligence. The reason the Twittering Ferries intrigued me, however, was not the M2M relationship, but rather the fact that the code behind Twittering Ferries created a means where machines were now talking to people. They used social media to facilitate communication to human beings. This has been my interest point over the last few years, and a question that has been plaguing me ever since is: “What happens to IoT when it progresses from M2M to Machines to People, or People to Machines?” I have had the privilege of sitting on the International Advisory Board for the IoT Asia conference, which has given me massive exposure to the IoT conversation. Over the last few years, these discussions have provided a robust understanding of IoT into manufacturing and operational processes, but recently we are seeing more and more conversations leading towards a consumer interaction with IoT. All IoT conferences are speaking to retail tracks, user experience tracks, wearables, home automation and a host of industry that are consumer facing. Historically, IoT solutions have not considered human beings in their equations and strategy roll out; which has proven to be a challenge, mainly because their solutions never came into contact with people, except through...

Social by design: Good advice to take

Facebook believes in “social by design.” In other words something is not social unless your deigned it to be social. Social needs to be a core part of what you do and not just utilizing social websites. Understanding this concept is key to designing social media strategies. A strategy becomes social when it leverages the social aspect of life rather than uses a social network. There are three primary social elements that we should be thinking about when we develop a social strategy. 1) Personalisation A social strategy will look to customize a campaign with a personalized interface for the user that enhances their experience by highlighting what’s important to them. The users identity then defines a large part of what their experience becomes. This is easily achieved by integrating with existing social networks, and by designing space on your online platforms for personalised content. 2) The reason to share Viral campaigns become viral because they have something that people want to share. The trouble is that people don’t always share content in the same way all the time. People are more complex than that. Sharing is dependent on the content, the emotional context of consuming that content and so many other uncontrollable factors. When designing for social, we should not ‘hope’ that people share content. We should design the strategy to encourage the sharing action. I recently consulted a company who was showing me their ‘social’ application on Facebook. Yes, it was on Facebook. Well done. The app however...

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