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How we bring future technology concepts to life for the Münchner Kreis Future Study.

How we bring future technology concepts to life for the Münchner Kreis Future Study.

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  • 1. Finding faster growth: new products and servicesPicture this Share this In Focus
  • 2. Picture thisVisualisation is providing ICT researcherswith vital insights as to the real potentialof futuristic technologies and the barriersthat must be overcome if consumers areto embrace them enthusiastically. Share this In Focus 2
  • 3. Picture this the more difficult it therefore is for researchers to guide the R&D process. ICT development may take place “Your scientists were so preoccupied in an ivory tower – but it is not an ivory tower of the developers’ own making. with whether they could that they The fourth phase of the Münchner Kreis Future Study, didn’t stop to think if they should.” an annual research programme conducted by TNS on behalf of major German and international companies and institutions, tackles the conundrum of generating meaningful data on consumer attitudes head-on. The study’s previous three phases had focused on qualitativeThis dire warning issued by Jeff Goldblum’s Those forces are a greater mystery for those working in and quantitative surveys of ICT experts, both withinmathematician character in the film Jurassic Park has ICT than for many other sectors. With no actual personal Germany and internationally, in order to establish thea special resonance for those working in R&D for the experience to draw upon, it is difficult for consumers potential for incremental innovation across the ICT andICT industry. The role of ICT development teams is to to give meaningful answers about their attitudes to, media industries. Armed with such insights, the Futureestablish what is possible, to map where technology and potential use of previously unimaginable solutions. Study for 2011 turned its attentions to the questioncould go next. Yet the question of where technology The further the ICT industry stares into the future, the of which innovative technologies have the greatestshould go remains largely outside their control, governed more difficult it is for consumers to imagine the role potential for consumer uptake in the future, identifyingabove all by the mysterious forces of consumer demand. that putative technologies could or could not play – and potential barriers and the preconditions necessary for successful launches. Share this In Focus 3
  • 4. Picture thisFeeding the consumer imaginationTo overcome the problem of relating never-before-seen technology to current consumer experiences,the researchers turned to visualisation. Leveragingthe insights from previous phases, they developed 16‘Pictures of the Future’ to illustrate how incrementalinnovation and the application of technologies in newcombinations and categories, could potentially impacton consumer experiences.Each of the 16 pictures consisted of an image andaccompanying description that translated complex,technical visions into everyday language. Importantly,these pictorial concepts linked futuristic ideas torelevant, known functions and services – a form of visualshorthand that ensured greater meaning for the surveyrespondents. The pictures were developed for a rangeof seven different life situations: Living, staying healthy,maintaining mobility, consumption and payment,entertainment and storage, learning and knowledge Examples of ‘Pictures of the Future’and work and organisation. Share this In Focus 4
  • 5. Picture thisIn this way, consumers were asked to imagine scenariosin which on-demand cars automatically deliveredthemselves to the locations where they were required,dealings with city services took place wholly online,energy-using devices in the home turned themselvesoff and on according the availability of renewable-sourced electricity and ICT solutions took over the job ofmonitoring patients’ health in the home, replacing moreregular contact with doctors.The sample group of 7,231 participants, evenly spreadacross Germany, Sweden, the USA, Brazil, China andKorea, were asked to identify the aspects of differentpictures that they viewed positively or critically. Theythen answered further questions on issues such astheir willingness to pay for the services, and theirexpectations as to when they should become available. Examples of ‘Pictures of the Future’ Share this In Focus 5
  • 6. Picture thisKey themes and concerns Willingness to payAcross markets a number of key themes emerged from Consumers no longer expect ICT solutions to bethe participants’ responses, providing vital insight into delivered for free, however willingness to pay variesthe overriding concerns of consumers – and the issues considerably by region and the type of solution offered.that technology companies must address if they are to Consumers are most willing to pay where solutionslaunch services successfully in the future. offer comprehensive new services rather than simply information.Privacy protectionConsumer fears about the unauthorised storage and Trust in ICTcriminal misuse of their data confirm the importance A lack of trust in ICT solutions represents one of theof firmly embedded, credibly enforced data and privacy most significant challenges for those in business, scienceprotection rules as a necessary precondition if ICT and politics who seek to launch new technologies.solutions are to be adopted by mainstream consumers. Consumers worldwide expressed fears about system outages, services becoming unavailable and dataUser friendliness becoming lost. Prior experience of unreliable orEase of use is a given in consumer expectations of immature solutions appears to be a major contributoryICT solutions. Any technology provider must ensure factor here. A new approach to beta-testing and newsimplicity and accessibility if they are to launch services forms of system design, clearly communicated tosuccessfully. Across sectors, the most successful ICT potential users, may be essential for the take-up of newproducts set new standards in this area. technologies in many areas. Examples of ‘Pictures of the Future’ Share this In Focus 6
  • 7. Examples of ‘Pictures of the Future’Share this In Focus 7
  • 8. Picture thisEnthusiasm and scepticism: Picturing future opportunities excessive costs and unreliable technology. A broader,key geographical differences Despite the reservations that potential providers must well-defined support network for those living at homeTo a significant degree, potential consumers in China, overcome, the study highlighted significant areas of appears to be an essential starting point for suchKorea and Brazil proved consistently more positive opportunity for ICT, where solutions to different life solutions in European markets.in their view of the potential for ICT solutions, their situations are likely to engender healthy consumerwillingness to pay for them, and their trust in the demand across different markets. Staying healthycapability of the solutions to deliver on their promises. When it came to the role of technology in keepingThese findings suggest that ICT companies in markets Living consumers healthy, applications to help userssuch as Germany, Sweden and the USA, which enjoy The ‘automatic energy manager’, a ‘picture of the communicate more effectively with doctors wereready access to the skills required to develop innovative future’ that invited respondents to imagine a system met with far greater enthusiasm than those thatsolutions, may need to target these technologies first for automatically controlling energy use in the home to transmitted data to doctors automatically. Greaterat emerging markets before re-importing them to their match the availability of renewable electricity sources, levels of trust in technology and those providinghome territories. highlighted the need for more transparency on energy tele-monitoring services are essential if autonomous pricing and better communication of the finite nature technology is to take more of the initiative in the of resources, in order to drive consumer take-up. monitoring of medical conditions – although these reservations were far more pronounced in the The notion of ‘healthcare assistants’, devices that European and US markets than in China, Korea and enable people to live independently at home in old Brazil. Interestingly, users are far more inclined to pay age, found a large, receptive market in China but was for tele-monitoring services when tangible hardware isConsumers in China, Korea and Brazil proved consistently met with some scepticism in Europe, where potential involved – providing vital insights on how to packagemore positive in their view of the potential for ICT solutions users expressed concern over loss of social contacts, such solutions effectively for consumer take-up. Share this In Focus 8
  • 9. Picture thisMaintaining mobility deliver on its promises emerged in Europe and the USA, Brazil and Korea. The concepts of mobile shopping andIn the field of mobility, the ‘pictures of the future’ whereas consumers in China, Brazil and Korea showed mobile wallets are welcomed, although with significantapproach revealed strong potential interest in immediate interest. reservations about the security of payment details andsolutions that solve well-established consumer needs. personal data. End-to-end digital banking services,Respondents were asked to imagine personal mobility Consumption and payment which remove the need to open accounts in person,assistants, which provide end-to-end support in planning Across markets, consumers recognise the value of new were met with enthusiasm in Sweden, Brazil, Korea andand conducting long-distance trips, automatically payment options, with users in the USA and Europe China, whereas users in the USA and Germany doubtedbooking tickets and making reservations; networked more cautious about the benefits than those in China, whether such a solution would ever be feasible.vehicles that use ambient communications technologyto detect hazards and avoid traffic; and autonomousvehicles, available on demand, which drive themselvesto the point where a user requests them.As with many other scenarios, the key to mainstreamtake-up of such technologies rests on packagingthem in a way that can overcome reluctance to pay,and building up trust in relevant technologies andtechnology providers to the extent that consumers havefaith in them to take control, whether in spending theirmoney on travel reservations and bookings or decidingwhen to brake. When it came to the concept of anautonomous car making itself available on-demand, Examples of ‘Pictures of the Future’familiar scepticism as to the capability of technology to Share this In Focus 9
  • 10. Picture thisEntertainment and storage Work and organisation concept of an online data manager that could giveThe concept of a lifetime data safe, providing reliable, The ‘pictures of the future’ developed around the users direct control over access to their data, providedsecure storage of digital content that can then be theme of ‘work and organisation’ involve consumers trust could first be established for any provider of theaccessed from anywhere, proved a popular ‘picture of dealing directly with the issues of security and service. There was also recognition of the benefitsthe future’ across markets, fitting with the long-term personal privacy that form potential barriers to take- of a digital city service office that could move manytrend towards the digital storage and consumption of up of many ICT solutions. Key insights to emerge of consumers’ dealings with municipalities into thecontent. The concept of a personal TV, enabling users from the study include strong appetite for the online space.to view on a range of devices, at any time or placethat suits them, also met with enthusiasm, althoughreservations emerged as to potentially complicated userexperiences. For future providers of such services, clearand simple functionality is essential.Learning and knowledgeInnovative forms of teaching and learning are an area ofgreat opportunity for ICT solutions, reflecting growingconsumer demand for continuous learning. Participantsresponded positively when asked to picture an electronictextbook, which could enable independent, networkedlearning for adults or cut down on the weight of booksin schoolchildren’s bags. Concerns about cost and dataprivacy, especially where children are concerned, are themajor barriers for potential providers to address. Share this In Focus 10
  • 11. Picture thisNew opportunities, new challenges For its next phase, in 2012, the Future Study will A ‘trend landscape’ will be compiled, mappingThe expert-focused previous phases of the Future continue to focus on the user, leveraging the out consumers’ priority needs going forward. ByStudy had already demonstrated the speed with insights provided through the Pictures of the identifying areas of strong demand for innovation,which ICT is transforming consumer experiences. Future to ask detailed questions about daily life the study will provide insights on adapting solutionsIn helping potential users to imagine ICT playing a experiences and ideal requirements for technology. to future consumer priorities.role in previously unimaginable situations, the fourthphase of the study has highlighted wholly newopportunities for growth. At the same time, though,it revealed significant barriers to adoption thatcompanies or governments must address in order toprepare the ground for such technologies to enterthe mainstream. In enabling meaningful consumerresponses to futuristic scenarios, the Pictures of theFuture approach has a vital role to play in informingthe R&D process and providing a regular soundingboard that can continue to link developing conceptsto potential future demand. Examples of ‘Pictures of the Future’ Share this In Focus 11
  • 12. About InFocusInFocus is part of a regular series of articles that takes an in-depth look at a particular subject, region ordemographic in more detail. All articles are written by TNS consultants and based on their expertise gatheredthrough working on client assignments in over 80 markets globally, with additional insights gained throughTNS proprietary studies, such as Digital Life and Mobile Life. About the authorsAbout TNS Dr. Malthe Wolf is Director of the Future Research CentreTNS advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and at TNS Germany. Malthe specialises in technology andstakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions. With a presence media, working with clients from all sectors interested in how ICT and new media will influence our future.in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world’s consumers than anyone else and understands He and his team continue to pioneer new methodologiesindividual human behaviours and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world. for assessing the impact of future developments.TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world’s largest insight, information and consultancy groups. Stefanie Sagl is Senior Consultant in the Future ResearchPlease visit www.tnsglobal.com for more information. Centre at TNS Germany. Stefanie is also a technology and media specialist, with specific expertise inGet in touch implementing syndicated studies.If you would like to talk to us about anything you have read in this report, please get in touchvia enquiries@tnsglobal.com or via Twitter @tns_global Share this In Focus 12