What do you value more? A nice chat with a friend over a cup of coffee or the same conversation over a Whatsapp conversation? Difficult question? I think not. Most of us would probably attach more value to the former. After all, we’re all human beings that need affection and that use our bodily senses to enjoy company.
Recently, there was a study conducted among kids and teens on how much they value the importance of a face to face talk, versus a digital chat. The outcome? Kids nowadays, attach an equal amount of importance to a digital conversation as to a physical one (and their texting behavior is increasingly growing).
This is very interesting, for various reasons.
1. The blend between digital and physical is ‘really real’
We already knew that our daily experiences increasingly combine digital channels with offline ones. The holy grail for companies operating today, is to have an effective omni-channel experience, whereby its clients seamlessly switch from online to offline. Uber, Disney and AirBnB are good examples of this. They mastered the philosophy of omni-channel design to a great extent.
That’s not news. What is news is that this has grown to such extent, that people who were born in this ‘digital age’, don’t know any better. They were ‘trained’ in using digital from a very early age on that now results in their brains telling them: ‘hey man. An interaction is an interaction, the medium – or channel – is of no importance’. The brain has adopted omni-channel and formed into a uni-channel: the blend is real, and has become one.
The brain has adopted omni-channel and formed into a uni-channel: the blend is real, and has become one.
2. This opens the way for adoption of augmented and virtual reality – The matrix is coming
AR and VR are already here. Numerous car brands are using augmented reality for a better driving experience, hospital utilize VR to prepare patients for a scary operation and in gaming, VR has grown tremendously over the last years. However, it hasn’t really ‘lifted off’ yet. Of course this is because of technical immaturity and limitations, but there is also the notion of ‘this is not real, we’re not living in the Matrix’. Well… when the valuation of digital and physical become one, maybe we will end up living in the Matrix sooner than expected. After all, when we can’t distinguish the virtual from physical, then what is ‘real’?
After all, when we can’t distinguish the virtual from physical, then what is ‘real’?
3. Digital is the new language that everybody speaks
As physical interactions become less important, and technology advances, the focus will be truly on the message, not the channel. Movies like ‘Her’ and voice recognition (and translation) software like Google Home and Siri are already testing the waters of this concept, and the way seems to be paved to bring this into our everyday lives. Digital is the language that everybody speaks.
Whether the outcomes of this study are scary to you or not, change is coming!