By David Cox
In recent years we have seen enormous changes, but we are only at the beginning of a revolution in technology. Since the 1970s, computers have altered little in their basic functions although they have become more powerful, portable, accessible and, in their smart phone and slate incarnations, more dazzling. But however sophisticated they have become, they have remained machines that perform functions over and over again. You can’t have a conversation with a computer, until now.
In the past, companies could succeed by simply building better products and distributing them more efficiently. But today, it is the compelling nature of the total customer experience that creates value. These experiences have to engage your mind, your body, and your sense of self. In this rapidly changing world, new products are like starbursts, exploding on the scene, but then rapidly disappearing, unless they truly take us to new levels of engagement.
Microsoft’s Kinect technology is an example of a game changing experience. Kinect can recognize our face, our voice, even our emotions, knowing us in a way beyond science-fiction. It will revolutionize the technology of the home, and, through the consumerization of IT, the workplace. It goes beyond the achievements of screen based technology appliances, such as Smart Phones and slates and makes them appear, in their current form, almost obsolete.
The 1939 New York World Fair opened at a time like our own. Unemployment was high. War was on the horizon. We imagined a better world ahead. It is time for us to imagine again – a brave new world of continuous services and connected applications.
The weakness in financial services lies in its fragmentation. Technology can free us from this, allowing the industry to delight its customers, motivate its employees and anticipate disruption. In a new world of continuous services, small firms can compete more easily with big ones, distance is no longer an issue, risks can be better managed and costs can be aligned with the movements of the market.
Technology may ultimately bring us the more accessible and transparent markets financial reform can only dream about.