Am I Digital – Ten ways to embrace digital technologies in your life

Everyone is getting digitalised in some way or the other in their lives today without even being aware of it.

Everyone is getting digitalised in some way or the other in their lives today without even being aware of it. The truth is, the word digitalisation has penetrated all corners of the world irrespective of societal status, age or culture. Digitalisation is a platform enabled by technological advancements to bring the customers closer to the product and deliver the best in class user experience.

Kewyn George

Kewyn George

Here are ten ways of embracing digitalisation in our lives:

1. Digital payments

We’ve witnessed the revolution of digital payments during the demonetisation period in India. A significant push was given to all buyers and sellers to adopt digital platforms to transact for any business/ purchases. With a less cash strategy, more and more digital payment usage will be seen. The world of information is converging in palm held smart devices. This enables information access with a single sign on, from household bill payment, item purchases to crowd funding for a common cause. The list goes on. Going cashless and card-less will certainly make life more comfortable, but we cannot rule out the risks aligned to cyber security. All information converging and diverging through a single medium poses a huge risk of data theft and other security concerns. While there are good measures like biometric enabled multi-factor authentication, EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) standards for user authentication, NFC (Near- Field Communication) capable readers at merchant stores, it is imperative to watch out for the possible risks pertaining to this.

2. Digital health

Digital health is the adoption of technology enabled devices to track and monitor your health for a better life. The prime element to bring in an effective digital health system is the 3-attribute communication: Doctor – Device – Patient. They can be placed in any sequence but the communication line connecting the doctor, patient and information are key enablers for digital adoption. The evolution of Google Glass, wearables and online platforms for virtual checkup have made us agile, quick and responsive in making right decisions. This evolution brings in a complete life cycle view of any individual’s health status, from identifying the symptoms to full recovery.

3. Digital entertainment

With rapid transition of a direct-to-consumer world and the rise of “Zero Distance to Customer”, the entertainment industry will see the most innovative ways to engage customers with an “always on” approach. Around the world, we notice the significant penetration of online video streaming from Netflix to Amazon Prime. People will choose agile options, as it’s quicker to surf the content based on their interest area. The rise of virtual reality will give every consumer the touch and feel experience to see anything in this world. I’m scared of roller coaster rides, but through virtual reality I can experience the universal studio ride just sitting in my house. This extends to all other forms of entertainment.

4. Digital Home

From your calling bell, washing machine, air conditioner to cars, everything in your home is inter-connected enabling inter-communication allowing more effective planning and managing of household expenses. Amazing right? The mode of operation happens through a click of button using Internet of Things (IoT) or voice recognition systems enabled in the house connected to handheld devices. Operate the smart home anytime and from anywhere.

5. Digital virtual assistant

It’s a conversational, technology enabled device providing voice recognised, or text based, information to users. These features are now available on smartphones like Siri, Cortana or Google Now. These devices help plan your meetings and routine activities, pushing you to be more disciplined in managing time.

Gartner expects "zero-touch" user interfaces to be available on 2 billion devices by 2020. This is promising, and we notice the rise of virtual assistants in the coming years across the mid-level segments too.

6. Digital records management

A complete hassle free management of key documents, like house registration documents, educational certificates, license documents and the like can be stored in a cloud-based system that can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. Digi-locker, an initiative launched by the Government of India, takes care of all the core set of documents. More than 1 billion documents are accessible safely through the Digi-locker.

7. Digital Shopping – Magic mirror

eBay Inc. & Rebecca Minkoff used interactive mirror technology to bring in greater customer experience. When someone enters the fitting room, magic mirror recognises the products through the RFID’s attached in the chosen dress. S/he can request for any other size or color by touching the screen. If s/he is comfortable with the product, it automatically gets added to their cart and is ready for billing. This technology has transformed the shopping experience for users. Another example is the IKEA augmented reality enabled app which provides features like placing the products in the customer’s house and checking the fitment before deciding. All these innovative ideas ensure customer satisfaction.

8. Digital vehicle

High speed and powerful computing has enabled digital automotive technology to bring in an integrated connection to the outside world, thus giving a best in car experience. The demand for connectivity within the car will see a rise even for low segment cars in the coming years. Voice recognition modules will enable transaction on the move with ease. Styles, preferences for a car and all other related information will get connected, and the system will provide the required guidance and support while on/ off the road. It will guide you through everything from fuel efficiency and food preferences to weather predictions and insurance premium reminders.

9. Digitally enabled security and safety

Today, it’s a common trend to hack someone’s social media account and post messages as them. The root cause for all these issues is a lack of awareness on the cyber security risks aligned to the social media platforms used every day. Is your digital identity protected? What makes you confident to say Yes? Most of us would prefer the middle option- “not fully”. Today it is a mandate to secure your digital identity. Three simple things you can do are: Protect with an encrypted password, regularly back up your data and never store any sensitive files/photos in your devices. There are many security solutions that can track location and protect data as well. OpenVAS, Truecyrpt, ClamAV are some of the open source security tools to use. Watch over me, bsafe, staysafe are few other sets of mobile apps, enabling tracking for personal safety.

10. Digital love

Xiaoice is a chatbot created by Microsoft. Many men find her loveable. With technology advancement, the distance between humans will widen further, and closeness towards devices will become more. These chatbots can sweetly converse when required and can understand feelings. Most importantly, they are programmed to listen. Loneliness is a deadly disease, due to depression in youth or lack of family in the old. In both situations, the conversational chatbot is a blessing for engagement. They remember all the feelings and console accordingly. Who knows, we may even witness the marriage with devices soon!

So, how many times today have You experienced the effect of digitalisation?

The author is an executive partner at Gartner. Additional analysis on digital trends in India will be provided during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2017, November 13-16 in Goa, India, the world's most important gathering of CIOs and other senior IT executives. Follow news and updates from the events on Twitter using #GartnerSYM.

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