The opportunity to digitalise core offerings and provide customers with highly valued experiences is revolutionising industries and markets. Those who prevail will seize new service-based revenues, reach new audiences, build stronger customer relationships and be protected from competition and market shocks.
Design thinking will show the way – designing with the end user’s goals in mind and leveraging a broad mix of innovation accordingly. For success, it is paramount to apply just the right combination of market insight, service design and technology prowess.
Transformational service models
Service innovation starts by viewing an organisation from a single perspective. How do its activities satisfy end user goals? This will spark radical advances such as augmenting or displacing a physical product with a subscription model or personalising an offering as a service.
Services become memorable experiences and new models change the commercial relationship between the consumer, provider and third parties.
All will transform a business, but it’s vital to consider the technical aspects of user access, billing, payment, service activation and management. Success will also depend on how new services are launched and incrementally developed – often with the help of AI systems that learn as they operate.
This autonomous operation – spanning everything from robotic vehicles to frictionless shopping – is often controlled by a central cloud-based brain. Creating a service through the combination of these systems is a game-changer, increasingly empowered by new approaches such as digital twin and smart edge technology.
Autonomous operations – let customers take it easy
None of us are keen on routine. The big weekend shop? A dispiriting chore. Cutting the lawn? Spare me. We all crave buzz over boredom, which is why autonomous operations have been devised.
And guess what, removing routine is a boon to end user convenience. Better still, because they are highly autonomous, they can be readily made available as digital services.
This physical/digital space represents the commercial sweet spot that will help ambitious companies deliver transformative customer convenience and we believe it is set for massive expansion.
Smart digital platforms
Platforms shape digital service thinking, at both technology and conceptual service model levels. The economics at play recognise the virtuous-circle interaction of consumers and producers.
This highlights the importance of the API economy where platforms can be extended to a range of devices to form digital ecosystems. Wearables, nearables, edge networks and fog computing are all included in this. AI will play an increasingly important role, enabling platforms to learn, recommend, make intelligent decisions and deliver data insights.
The five human senses are being augmented with vestibular (gravitational) and proprioception (relative body position), while technologies are also allowing for brain computer interfaces. We are ambitiously exploring these as the world moves beyond the screen. The next phase is zero UI, where we recognise sentiment, mood, perception, and gesture, and respond to neuroscience sensing.
Human senses, ambient interfaces and the future of digital services
Oh, what it is to be human… many of us have been musing on the big questions of our existence and will continue to do so as lockdown gradually loosens around us. In our periods of isolation, we were reminded of what we were denied.
Essential human contact, physical touch, our freedom to smell, see, hear and feel the wider world. For me, the phase has also highlighted the core component of my professional life, because human senses are the means by which digital services deliver value.
Digital health services
Simultaneously, emerging digital service technologies are bringing connectivity, mobility, data generation and machine learning capabilities. They promise new insights, new therapies and a response to the challenges of 21st Century healthcare.
Healthy competition within digital services
Lockdown is changing everything. Not least the digital revolution rippling through GP surgeries in the UK, where start-ups are disrupting the disruptors to accelerate mass adoption of new patient services.
But just how protectable really are digital services? Are today’s breakthrough innovations under threat of becoming tomorrow’s commodities?