Washington, DC (PRWEB) October 23, 2006 —-
Technology-related products and services will increasingly be shaped by 12 underlying principles, or “technology values.” These values —- such as simplicity, efficiency, and personalization —- represent the characteristics that consumers will look for in products, services, and technologies over the next 10 to 15 years. This is the conclusion of a new study from the Washington, DC-based research and consulting firm Social Technologies.
The 12 values will have broad impacts across the public and private sectors, with consumers’ collective preferences driving the shape and direction of products and services, according to the report, which draws on more than six years of company research into emerging technologies and changes in global consumer lifestyles. Companies will need to embrace these principles in product design and marketing — and understand the emerging technologies that will be needed to support these values — if they hope to align with consumer needs and desires now and in the future.
As Tom Conger, founder of Social Technologies, notes, “In crafting this research we didn’t want to simply look at what was possible based on a technology point of view or what was happening in the research lab. Instead, we wanted to examine what people actually need and want from future technology-related products and services based on today’s trends and change drivers. We also wanted to look at which emerging technologies were going to help fulfill these needs and desires in the future.”
For instance, to remain competitive, product makers in many sectors will need to accommodate the value of “user creativity”—the growing desire and ability of millions of consumers to create, augment, or influence design and content and share these creations with their peers.
The study’s authors began by creating an inventory of roughly 150 consumer needs and desires, drawing from Social Technologies’ knowledge base of global technology and lifestyle trends, then applying a futures mapping process to extract the 12 key themes. Each theme was then individually validated and amplified through intensive research. To complement the report, Social Technologies has launched a series of workshops to help organizations apply the concept of technology values to practical questions.
The 12 technology values are described in detail below. Briefly, they are:
User creativity Appropriateness Intelligence
Personalization Convenience Protection
Simplicity Connectedness Health
Assistance Efficiency Sustainability
About Social Technologies
Social Technologies is a leading research and consulting firm dedicated to helping organizations understand and shape the future of their business. By melding forecasting and analysis tools with expertise in strategic exploration and innovation processes, Social Technologies equips its clients with the ability to look five, ten, or twenty-five years into the future. The company, based in Washington, DC, performs research and consulting globally and has recently established offices in London and Shanghai.
Top Technology Values—Highlights
Note: The listed values are in no particular order
Consumers increasingly want to create, augment, or influence design and content, and share these creations with their peers. Supporting user creativity will be increasingly important to consumer technology, and will become more mainstream in coming decades.
Consumers will increasingly look for products and services that align with their specific personal needs and preferences—whether in the aesthetics of a product or in its functional design. More goods will be created to match individuals’ unique specifications.
Simplicity will have growing value for consumers confronted with information overload, time stress, and technological complexity. Simplicity’s influence is already evident in new, stripped-down devices that offer just a few functions, as well as in minimalist interfaces that conceal breathtaking complexity. The common denominator of all these efforts is that they are human-centered—and thus easy to learn and integrate into busy lives.
As consumers are bombarded with more tasks, choices, and information, and as demographic changes such as aging reshape consumer markets, they are looking to assistive technologies for help. Consumers will seek to bolster and extend their natural abilities—with technologies ranging from pharmaceuticals that enhance mental performance to robot aides for the elderly.
Products and services will need to embrace the principle of appropriateness to ensure that they are suitably designed for users with varying physical needs, resources, cultural characteristics, literacy levels, etc. Appropriateness will aid in the spread of technology products and services to new markets and to diverse user segments.
Already well-established in mature markets, demand for convenience will rise as a technology value for consumers all over the world. Consumers will look for technological products and services that give them what they want and need on demand and that reduce effort and relieve time pressure.
Connectedness gives consumers what they want, when they want it, and will grow exponentially with the expanding global information infrastructure. Consumers will look for products and services that seamlessly integrate with this global network.
Efficiency is the ratio of output to input—or, put simply, the ability to do more with less. It will become more important to technology as consumers search for products and services that let them manage emerging resource uncertainties, rising costs, and other pressures.
Intelligence will be enabled by innovations that increasingly shift information and decision-making burdens from the user to the device or service. The demand for greater intelligence will come in response to factors including complexity, aging, and the desire for personalized experiences.
Protection will be sought by consumers in a world that feels increasingly insecure. Consumers will look for technology-enabled products and services that strengthen their sense of personal security and protect their families, homes, wealth, and privacy.
Consumers will look to technological products and services to maintain and, increasingly, improve their health and wellness. The search for health-enabling solutions will extend beyond traditional health and medical products and services to include more of the things consumers use in their everyday lives, whether at home, work, or play.
Consumers will increasingly look for products and services that embrace sustainability—reducing the “human footprint” on the environment while maintaining quality of life. A variety of technologies offer ways to minimize resource use, waste, and pollution while improving human welfare.
For in about the Technology Values study, contact:
Futurist & Leader, Technology Foresight
+1-202-223-2801 ext 211
For information about Social Technologies
+1-202-223-2801 ext 112