It’s STILL all about the people

A recent Tech Republic Survey looked at so called “smart technology”, such as digital assistants, machine learning algorithms and video conferencing, assessing its usage, efficacy and how the respondents felt the technology had fared against expectation.

Only one about a quarter (24%) said their expectation had been met, while 35% said at least one product was a disappointment.

As ever though, it’s not the main questions that I find interesting. It’s the little tidbits that often get relegated to the end of a report that I find most instructive, and this survey did not disappoint.

Once more, simply asking why demonstrated that businesses continue to waste time and money when adopting technology solutions because they fail to build on user skills, instead assuming or hoping that the technology will somehow just kinda work.

By the Numbers

Just under three quarters of those who replied are currently using some kind of smart tech in their daily life and most (85%) think it has either does, or has the potential to benefit them in some way. However, when it came to the actual effect, only a small majority thought that these technologies actually improved their existence.

For example, more people thought that video conferencing made their job easier than those who said it said it made it harder, but not by that much.

Now this is hardly a glowing endorsement, but one that we shouldn’t really be that surprised by.

A great deal of smart technology is still very new, and there will be teething problems, particularly with regards to anything that’s voice activated, if my continual battles with Siri are anything to go by. She can set a timer very well, and is apparently an expert on when the clocks change, but playing the song I want to listen to while I’m driving is apparently all too difficult.

Technology vs People

While Siri and the capabilities of the profusion of new gadgets will of course improve, it’s how we interact with them that will make the biggest difference.

As I’ve written before, new applications can only be effective if we invest in the users, and smart technology is no different. Unless you train your team, set reasonable expectation levels and encourage active engagement, you’re just wasting time, money and opportunity.

So, what were the three main reasons stated as to why smart technology didn’t live up to expectation?

  • Too difficult to use
  • Didn’t function as expected
  • Not fully supported by the company

How disappointingly predictable.

Today’s Top Takeaway

Smart technology still requires smart use to maximise its value.

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