2016 Will Be The Year of Living Services

It’s holiday and gifting season… and there’s a delightful catalogue of digital devices and apps to choose from this year. While they are fun to have and operate, and certainly can add value to our lifestyles, the changing UI (user interface) — from mouse to voice interaction and gesture — is turning us into a generation of Trekkies. We look funny, act funny, and seem almost to be less present.

Consider the cartoonish behavior the devices we are all hankering after elicit in our personal and professional lives, and the lengths we go to eliminate effort.

Smartphones have us hunched over, tapping and swiping screens and talking to ourselves. Amazon Dash buttons save us the interruption of running out of coffee. Go-Pros and other camera and video devices have us strapping cameras to our chests and to our toddlers. The Ring enables control of devices via gesture; and wireless earphones and cubes of all sorts provide a constant soundtrack to our lives (with full data support).

The Apple Watch is a biggie. Users constantly have an ear, wrist, swipe action going on, with a kid on their other arm. The watch can reach deep into your life — it syncs with your other devices and provides a to-do list, but it also reaches beyond doing into care, providing stats on your health and physical performance. It can tap you on the wrist and will even suggest you get up and move if you have been sitting still too long. And like other devices of its ilk, it leverages the Internet of Things, acting as a remote control, connecting and communicating with devices in the home … and in shopping centers, airports and restaurants.

In essence, our actions are now driven by a greater connected intelligence as a network of data and intelligence wraps itself around our lifestyles.

This has all kinds of implications. It’s not just the way we interface with our devices that is changing; the way we respond to the world and our expectations in terms of our interactions with others (and with products, services and even government) is changing.

It’s what Fjord, the design and innovation consultancy acquired by Accenture Interactive, calls the birth of living services.

Living Services is what comes after the Mobile Era (where we are now). Fjord describes it as the coming together of “the digitization of everything” aka the Internet of Things, and “liquid expectations” — experiences that drive customer expectation across industry boundaries. This fundamentally shifts how businesses compete for customer mindshare… and further changes our behaviour.

With Living Services there’s a new wave of digital services coming that wraps around the consumer using data about us, our behavior and how we respond online, continually adapting to meet our personal needs. It’s convenient and that’s exactly why we continue to integrate digital devices (and services) into our lives.

Let’s do a little test. If you use Uber and you have an Apple Watch, as I do, are you now ordering up your ride via your watch? And since you trust Uber, will you now also make use of Uber fresh food and lunch deliveries, and Uber health offers (flu shots to your door) when they come to your part of the world?

Uber gets Living Services. More companies do. In the business world it’s resulting in disruption from odd places. It couldn’t be better for consumers and their devices though. Personally, I am looking forward to the era of Living Services. It promises effortless living.

Beam me up Scotty!