Some call it luck. Others, pure chance. Those moments where a combination of events, rather mundane, happen at a time or sequence that makes it special, even magic.
As our surroundings start to include more and more digital components such as screens, connected appliances, sensors and widespread connectivity, what today is mostly referred to as digital experiences become physical.
Imagine that moment you get into the dressing room and your favorite song happens to be the next one playing. Or when you receive a coupon at the mall for discounted ice cream at a place just by the store that often has shoes you love. Or even when at the airport the screen at the gate is showing great things to do in Hawaii, that you happened to be checking out some time ago. Was it chance? Was it luck? What matters is that a combination of events created a special moment – a real experience much more than a digital one, enabled by an increasing convergence of digital technologies that allows for a better understanding of each of us, as consumers and individuals.
Most organizations are collecting large amounts of data accelerated by connected sensors and smart devices. Personal, social, behavioral and whatever else can be stored on scalable and accessible cloud infrastructure. It’s often driven by a desire to capture everything in case there is something useful. Like extracting and storing oil before refineries existed, companies are collecting user data anticipating future value without a specific business case.
Others are already using that data looking to make more personal connections between their brands and customers. Applying machine learning to it and predicting behavior, they are making targeted approaches mostly in terms of deals, coupons or advertisement. There is an added value but it’s a road that if not carefully tread can lead to over personalization and targeting, also triggering the creepy factor.
Bridging the digital and physical world allows for balancing that concern, while providing great experiences. Like fireworks, we are amazed by the show of lights and forms, in a synchronous dance that involve us. Except when fireworks are aimed at us. That special moment happens around us, not at us. Memorable but not intrusive.
Today the constraint is not a matter of technology availability anymore. Finding in real-time the commonality in a crowd, and changing the environment around them, seamlessly and subtly, opens the door for creating special experiences. Some call it serendipity. Created and real.