ery Human Technology - How Nokia is facing the population ageing.
Very Human Technology - How Nokia is
facing the population ageing.
Nokia Research Center
Abstract. At Nokia we believe that technology exists for the benefit of humankind,
and that empathy for the human condition is paramount to our success. Connecting
is about human relationships, and helping people feel close to what matters. With
our track record, Nokia is the company best positioned to create very human
Keywords: Mobile phones, mobile services, design for all, universal design,
design for all, inclusive design, ageing, disability
In a world where everyone can be connected to everything, Nokia takes a very human
approach to technology. We believe that technology exists for the benefit of humankind,
and that empathy for the human condition is paramount to our success. Connecting is
about human relationships, and helping people feel close to what matters.
Human aspiration is about making more of life, together – interdependence, sharing,
collaborating, connecting emotionally. When we make mobile technology second
nature, people can focus on engaging with what matters most to them.
‘Human technology’ & ‘human’ are not new concepts for Nokia. We see human
technology as a benefit from products that adapt to people – reflect human needs and
behaviours, benefit from products that are objects of desire – beautifully styled,
aesthetically appealing, tactile, and products that are intuitive and easy to use – familiar,
functional, easy to connect to, and the benefit of enjoying an individual experience –
personalisation of external appearance, individualisation of user interface & services.
With our track record, we are the company best positioned to create very human
technology. That means we must observe first and then design. Design products and
experiences people fall in love with.
1. Nokia Today
1.1. Way of life
We are living an era where the ability to connect, the availability of media, the
nature of media, the whole context of mobility is rapidly changing in a global scale.
There’s about 3 billion mobile subscriptions globally. The next billion connections are
coming fast, at the current rate of 1 million a day or, practically 10 per second.
Having a mobile, and being connected is an integral way of life, embedded in our
cultures across the world. On any given day, more than 900 million people around the
world are using Nokia devices.1
1.2. Our vision
In this world of changes, Nokia’s vision is a world where everyone can be
connected. According to estimates, connectivity will become truly ubiquitous and
global: by 2010 the number of mobile subscriptions globally has increased to 4 billion2.
And in 2015, just 8 years from now, a total of 5 billion people will be always connected,
either through wireless or fixed line connections3. And as the variety of things people
accomplish with their mobile devices becomes increasingly rich, network traffic is
going to increase 100 fold.4
1.3. Our promise
This future is positive for each and every individual in the world because everyone
has a need to communicate and share. This is an universal need respecting no
boundaries. Our promise is to help people to fulfill this need, to help them feel close to
what matters to them. This is our unique viewpoint into a connected world, we help
people to be truly connected in a way that is very personal to them.
Our approach to make this promise a reality is three-fold. First, we use consumer
understanding to drive all that we do. By understanding how the context of mobility is
changing, we can serve the needs of the people. Second, we take a very human
approach to technology by creating products and experiences that people can fall in
love with, making them simple and intuitive to use. Third, we see the Internet as our
Nokia estimate November 2006
Nokia Siemens Networks estimate 2007
Nokia Siemens Networks estimate 2007
quest, our big journey that we are already on. This means that our devices will become
primary devices to access Internet. To achieve this we are introducing consumer
Internet services and are driving a collaborative Internet culture within the company.
Nokia’s strategic intent is to be the leader in usability and user-friendliness for
every consumer group.
1.4. Nokia’s businesses
Nokia’s strategy today comprises of four businesses. The first one, “Lead and win in
devices”, looks at how we need to grow and transform the device business. Build upon
the world’s best portfolio of leading individual products recognized for superior mobile
experiences, ease of use, design and quality.
The second business is “Grow consumer Internet services”. The intent is that by
2010, Nokia will be the global leader in Internet on mobile, and capture a meaningful
and increasing share of the total consumer Internet services market.
The third area, “Accelerate the adoption of business solutions”, is based on the fact
that the business mobility market is now entering a new stage, where it addresses a
large number of mobile workers. To succeed in this business, we need for example to
provide an integrated user experience, as well as an open, extensible mobileware
The fourth area is “Leverage scale and transform to solutions in infrastructure”.
Nokia Siemens Networks and Nokia are independent companies, yet they work closely
together and gain mutual benefit from cooperation.
1.5. Nokia’s strategic capabilities
Strategic capabilities are areas where we invest into for gaining competitive advantage.
1.5.1. Consumer understanding
Consumer understanding is key for us. It is clear that consumers do not want
technology, they (we) want iconic experiences and intuitiveness of use. We should
observe first, then design. We need to expand the consumer understanding from mere
device capabilities and features into services experiences. Driving consumer
relationship is becoming more important as an increasingly larger proportion of
consumers also in developing markets already have a mobile phone. Understanding
people’s needs in different environments and under different circumstances is essential
to successful relationship.
Nokia’s aim is to become the most loved and admired brand, and very human
technology is the way to get there. We want to create products that adapt to people and
reflect human needs and behaviours. We want people to benefit from products that are
beautifully styled, aesthetically appealing, and tactile. Our products need to be intuitive
and easy to use. This means familiar and functional products that are easy to connect to,
and that enable seamless movement between applications & tasks. We want to create
products that offer an individual experience where one can personalize their external
appearance, individualisation of user interface and the services running on phone and in
Technology can obviously be named as a strategic capability for Nokia.
Technology has many roles for us in different phases of the adoption curve. Nokia
introduces and nurtures many novel technologies, and takes them to standardization
and other further development. In this early phase we are shaping the future technology
landscape. For example integrated mobile maps and navigation technologies could be
positioned here. When the technology matures it is expected to create differentiation
generating revenue through new premium features, smaller size, or better performance.
Finally, in mature and high volume markets cost advantage play a role. Here is where
products are made with a platform approach, design-for-manufacturing, competitive
sourcing, standard interfaces, optimized parts, reuse etc. These factors enable Nokia to
deliver products on a larger scale than any other CE company.
1.5.4. Open platforms for developers
Through all of these technology adoption phases, developers and 3rd parties can
unleash their creative genius utilizing Open Platform for Innovation such as the S60
software platform and the Maemo platform for open source applications, running on
Nokia Internet tablets. Nokia has always stood for openness and open standards and
firmly believes all the innovation cannot come from one company. We believe in
shared innovation, and in jointly growing the business.
Examples of applications developed for S60 include the Nuance Talks, Code
Factory’s mobile speak, Mobile Vital Sign Tracking System by San Diego State
University, and Mobile Health Monitoring developed in University of California San
2. Customer understanding and Product segmentation
Nokia is in the business of helping people feel close to what matters. We do this by
offering products and solutions that people will want to use because they feel these
enable them to achieve, connect, explore and live enjoyable moments.
2.1. Customer understanding research
Nokia’s current product portfolio builds on extensive research for understanding
the customer. When designing our current product segmentation over 77,000 people
were interviewed for 1,5 hours each, in 21 countries. This study, conducted in two
waves during 2005 and 2006, provided 10 billion data points to help Nokia understand
better the various socio-cultural issues, mobile phone usage scenarios, different market
dynamics and the general lifestyle of people all over the world. It was to our
knowledge the largest consumer study ever done in the ICT or telecommunications
A grid with two axis was used to distribute and evaluate the data. The vertical axis
is based on human behavior and represents the level of involvement, while horizontal
axis measures attitude and would represent people’s level of rational and aspiration.
Key findings from the second wave of this study revealed that there is a global increase
in people’s level of involvement and use of different mobile phone functions & features.
During 2006 the emergence of groups named ‘Technology Stylists’, ‘Life Jugglers’ and
‘Mature Acceptors’ provided interesting information to Nokia’s device designers. Also
the fact that consumers in emerging markets became more aspirational means that one
cannot assume any longer that people in emerging markets would automatically want
In addition to this massive research, tens of other projects are running in parallel as
an ongoing efforts to stay up to speed on people’s hope and wishes, behaviors, styles,
preferences etc. These studies are done all over the world in different cultures and
2.2. Product segmentation
The key driver for Nokia to introduce product segments is to make the choice easy for
customers and consumers. By basing our offering on customer and consumer insight,
we hope to help people find the best product for their needs. There are four different
categories: Live, Connect, Achieve and Explore. They each address a specific set of
consumer needs and aim in all ways – visually, verbally, sonically, by movement and
behavior – to communicate their proposition to people in a compelling and
differentiated way. These four categories also help in our effort to shift the value
proposition from mere product to an experience embracing more than just the product’s
It is important to notice that Nokia does not utilize customer segmentation, but
product segmentation. One person can well own mobile phones from different
categories, or a person who is very rational and entertains low involvement could own
a phone from the high involvement, aspirational area because of a unique reason. Nokia
does not actively promote the four categories to consumers as the intention is for every
phone to represent its category via its features, design, and usage scenarios.
3. Inclusive design
We at Nokia believe that design has two complementary natures: it needs to be about
practical intelligence, providing people solutions that they need but don’t necessarily
know to expect; additionally, it must provide aesthetic delight – whatever we create
must give people delightful sensory experience. Nokia is an innovator and creator of
trends, demonstrated both by artistic and commercial success that has made us number
one in this market, and the many awards our designs have received. I dear to claim
have a very competitive design portfolio addressing the needs of many different types
There’s a clear demand for simple and truly beneficial technology. Information
society is moving from technology driven to consumer driven. Purchase decisions are
more and more based on benefits, what the phone can do for you, and not on
technology, i.e. what the phone can do. People are increasingly turning their backs on
products that are too difficult to use. We aim to design products that will learn about
you so that you do not need to learn about the product.
In addition to benefit vs. technology, a need for cultural diversity is being
recognized as a design driver. Nations, cultures and religions keep mixing together, and
good designers need to be able to mix symbols and fashions in order to create culturally
diverse, or acultural products and services. We understand the need for products that
can be understood and used by all representatives of different cultures, and the need for
products that are discreet in all contexts.
There’s a change in the attitudes and lifestyles of the aging population. Older
people are becoming mentally younger, and teens are spotted using products that are
usually associated with older people (for example heavy eye-glasses, big fur hats, Hush
Puppies shoes, using socks with slippers outdoors etc.). Two out of three over 50-year-
old Europeans think that companies don’t take care of their needs when designing
products and services.
Physical age does affect the requirements of products because sooner or later every
person is developing limitations in vision, hearing, dexterity and learning. However age
is not the starting point, good design to accommodate all human functions is.
4. Making accessibility business as usual for Nokia
Accessibility cuts through all areas of Nokia, its customers and partners. The
company’s Group Executive Board has approved an accessibility strategy for ensuring
that the topic is integrated in the various cycles within and around the company.
We aim higher than just complying with the regulations. By living up to our own
standards and being voluntarily active, we can set the direction to the Information and
Communications Technologies industry on how to implement best practices. Nokia’s
strategic intent is to be the leader in usability for every consumer group. We will
reassume our market leadership in usability and user-friendliness for all consumer
groups. We take accessibility to the forefront in mobile phone and converged device
design and turn it into our long-term competitive advantage. Our intent is to raise
accessibility to be an integral element in the Nokia Design DNA.
In order to become the world’s most loved brand and reach the target 40% global
market share, Nokia has to be able to provide connectivity for all groups of people.
This is consistent with Nokia’s aim for “emotional engagement” at the heart of our
brand. Nokia’s aspiration of becoming the world’s most loved brand requires an
approach which stretches beyond products and solutions to a mindset of doing more
and proactively anticipating market movements.
Nokia is already now offering a variety of assistive software and products, such as
audio aids, visual aids and inductive loopsets. Making accessibility business as usual
means that usability is deployed in product planning, open software platforms for 3rd
party developers, in active participation to standardization, long term research and
Over 900 million people use a Nokia mobile phone every day. The number of
mobile users is increasing on a rapid scale. With its track record in mobile technology
R&D and design combined with the current market situation, Nokia is in a key position
to influence what types of mobile devices and services are being developed.
The ageing population is not a homogenous group of people. People over 50, 60,
70 and 80 years old have as different preferences, lifestyles, and everyday patterns as
people in younger age groups. The only common factor is the potential functional
Nokia’s strategy has for some time been to connect people, make them feel close
to what matters by utilizing very human technology. We want to offer products that are
easy to use by anyone, that are intuitive and sensitive to the users’ needs and grow with
them. By introducing accessibility to Nokia Design DNA, we are strengthening this
vision. This is Very Human Technology in practice.