Inclusive Design

Inclusive will be the defining word of 2019. Inclusive therapies, inclusive work places, and finally inclusive design. The word acknowledges diversity and encapsulates acceptance. The way our world should be and the way technologies should help bring us together. Call it a rise of mindfulness, call it a reaction to the reappearance of social fissures we all thought were long gone and sealed. It’s good. Here’s a clip of Microsoft’s Satya Nadella explaining how inclusion should be a preliminary step of product design as opposed to an after thought or add on. Right on!  

(Video credit: LinkedIn)


MSFT: Removing Barriers to AI

As underscored in Axios’s Login newsletter today, Microsoft is gearing up for a series of AI initiatives. One of them is the acquisition of Lobe┬áthat enables organizations to build AI apps and interfaces without needing to know how to code. Imagine how many departments’ ideas can now come to life more easily — from employee training, customer service communication to patient monitoring. Watch this trend as AI becomes the underlying technology in b-to-c and b-to-b service.

Voice Technology Apps Face Return User Issues

The hopeful summary on voice technology from Digiday ends on a somewhat low note: It’s hard to get return users on voice apps. In fact, only 3 percent of those who used Google home app skills in late December were actively using these skills in the second week. Holiday effect? Maybe. This trend signals a utility problem. Technologies take off because they help us save time, money. Or they entertain us. No matter what the creative wrap around a voice technology might be, it needs to do these things efficiently or it will not stick.

Seeing is Believing: How VR Can Speed Time to Market For New Products

I am fascinated by VR and related technologies that can speed up time to market. Imagine if your brainstorm sessions were more fruitful, you could demo the ideas more effectively and sell more and quickly. VR programs such as Tilt Brush, Quill, A-Painter give users the tools to illustrate and collaborate on ideas. Powerpoint – move over! These programs help convey ideas in immersive settings and allow for ideas to flourish vs. forcing things into quadrants.

Once you draw up the ideas, then you can illustrate in fine detail with 3D modeling software. My colleagues Harry Brisson and Matt Price recommended I check out Blender 3D and Autodesk, maker of Maya and 3D Studio Max. There is also Unity — an open source platform where majority of current VR/AR apps are created.

Majority of use cases for VR/AR/3D software are in entertainment (e.g., animation), education (e.g., training) and healthcare (e.g., doctors training on surgical procedures). They all underscore how we can create both efficient and higher quality storytelling/learning environments.

What if we were able to quantify how VR enabled groups to come up with more and better ideas, got agencies and clients to see eye to eye and overall just converted better? Any other ideas on which VR features or programs can be used in business?

VR Headsets Go Beyond Gaming As The Latest Sales Tool

Back in December, I had published a marketoon by Greg Kessler on my LinkedIn account, suggesting we would be relying on VR headsets to paint a vision of the future. The idea behind this cartoon is the topic of a New York Times real estate section article this week. ‘A New Dimension in Home Buying’ by Jennifer Miller shows how Hallstead Realty is selling multi-million dollar properties by showing prospects a vision of what these condos will be through VR headsets. It’s about evoking emotions and converting lookers to buyers when in the raw construction phase.

Hallstead’s initiative is not only a clever gimmick, but hope that VR will have real commercial applications beyond gaming. Similar to real estate, VR headsets can be used in retail to show how to dress, cook, or experience a vacation. In auto, it can help drivers test their car in the wilderness, or through narrow streets of old European cities without leaving the dealer’s showroom. If done right, VR stories can help propel new authors to best seller status by showing a preview of what those 300 pages hold.

As companies tie increasing profits to VR marketing, this type of storytelling will become mainstream (and with hopefully more attractive headsets)