Akira Mizukami of PwC Consulting hosted a discussion with digital and VR experts on engaging users as we advance into the future after the digital age.
Masanobu Eric Matsunaga, Partner, PwC Digital Lead, PwC Consulting LLC, with a background in playing music professionally, made some important analogies to playing music and understanding the digital-user experience. Eric-san explains, “Music is about stress and emancipation. In the repetition of those two, we feel pleasure. I think it’s related to limit. When we are restricted, we are stressed. But when we can (achieve) something, we feel pleasure.” He expands that in a digital world, there are fewer stresses, so users get less of the satisfactory pleasure of accomplishment. Eric-san works with a lot of companies trying to understand their users, and unhappy with the results they’re getting. He went on to explain, “Repetition of comfort is no longer a comfort.”
In regard to AI and new technology, Eric-san and PwC often consult with employers, working with people and technology, and find a common concern is that technology will replace human jobs, however we continue to develop this very same technology. It seems a conflict of interest. The solution is companies must communicate to their employees that there are new jobs also created with the new technology and the new ideas, and there are new ways to view existing employment. The thing employers must continue to work on is the positive communication to the employees.
Tetsuya Takeda, Executive Officer /Director, Corporate StrategyAID-DCC Inc., expands on PwC, and talks about previously being in digital publishing. He says back then, while bridging the gap between printing and technology, he also developed an “allergy to technology.” Tetsuya-san explains that he didn’t know what it was at the time, but digital integration was going to, and will, advance anyway. It’s not about digital, per se, but it’s really about convenience. When things are digitized, those are things used as long as they’re convenient. He says, “Maybe we should not use the work ‘digitized’ or ‘digital’ as we should be thinking ‘convenience.’” So, he added, speaking to the audience, “When you’re working on technology, keep in mind, is it convenient? Does it add to efficiency?”
Tetsuya-san also made an important point that there still may be population gaps in internet and technology-literacy. This may be viewed as the user’s behavior being different with the advancement of technology, but it comes down to internet and digital literacy, and eliminating that gap in literacy in a convenient manner.
Nobuhiko Watanabe, Psychic VR Lab, gets a lot of inquiry into VR/MR, but explains people are influenced a lot by buzz words. Nobuhiko-san explains that what’s important is that in VR, a lot of buzz words will never materialize. He says, “We have all of this digitization, but people still use stamps because it brings comfort. We use smart phones now, and we have gotten comfortable with them, so what is next in relation to VR?” VR could be a media space in the future but still needs time to grow, and ideally, needs more competition to grow, so that it can get away from buzz words. It will take time and more daily use to find that comfortable space, to find its convenience. Otherwise, when people think of VR they think of automatic translation, or creating a Buddha statue, but digitalization itself does not bring happiness. A solution based on human requirement is what must be delved into.
Masanobu-san explains that in 20 years, there will be no such thing as “digital age” because it will just be modern life. Younger generations are born listening to musical digitally; it is a passive experience. If one imagines, it used to be people would intentionally put on a record, and had to be engaged to interact with the equipment and the shorter play time. Now, the digital-age generation does not know the need to engage with the music to enjoy it; it is convenient and passive as they do their tasks. Like in the analog time of records, companies have to think what will it take for users to have active engagement.
Tetsuya-san agrees, and says the standard will change. Now technology’s benefit is felt by ordinary people, but AID-DCC now has equipment where handicapped people can experience playing musical instruments. Technological advances in prosthetics have made it so a person wearing them can participate in long jumps, and people who may have feared engaging socially now communicate with others through technology, as a bridge over that fear.
Masanobu-san summed up the panel on US and advances in digital best by saying, “We need to create together with consumers.”
Watch the full panel, "The Future of Digital UX: Ads in the Virtualized World of Next Generation UX" here.