Hyper-personalisation will be driven by connected smart homes, research says

Starcom and its partners, Visa and Seven West Media, took over four Australian households and transform them into connected smart homes of the future

It seems having multiple smart devices in the home will be the next tipping point for increasing consumer expectations.

The ground-breaking Future of Connected Living research project saw Starcom and its partners, Visa and Seven West Media, take over four Australian households and transform them into connected smart homes of the future, in a project designed to uncover how smart technology will change consumer behaviour, and the commercial opportunity for brands.

With the first stage of the study now complete, Starcom reports the age of the intelligent agent will facilitate a drive for ‘hyper-personalisation’. It reports, once the home itself can act as an intelligent agent for shopping, administration, health, finance, and transport services, people will expect dramatically more personalised, relevant and intuitive service levels from brands.

The report also said voice will become the trusted recommendation, as voice search results were implicitly more trusted because of the nature of the voice interface.

Starcom’s national head of futures and product, Graeme Wood, who is leading the project, said Starcom found the households treated voice results as human recommendations. He said this is a subconscious instinctive trust, rather than a function of technology and intelligent agents that interact via voice as well as showing visual results, will be the tipping point for voice commerce.

Therefore, brands providing a service and having a role in the smart home will need to think about how they use personal data to make the voice interface both hyper personal and intuitive.

“We went into this thinking the primary things people are looking for in a connected home are knowledge, entertainment and organisation,” Wood told CMO.

“Because this is what smart devices up to now have done. What we actually found it’s fundamentally different when you move from one or two smart devices to 50 or 60. It creates an expectation of much more intuitive and emotional benefits. While the first generation may have been centred around IQ, the next gen is EQ (emotional intelligence), and wellbeing.

“People stop thinking they are talking to a speaker, and start thinking they are talking to their home. The level of expectation rises so quickly, we were genuinely shocked. The expectations of what a smart home could do were far higher, because people took to it like ducks to water.

“So much of that is down to using voice, which is implicitly a more natural way to interact. When people use all of the internet input devices, they have to consciously think what they are doing. But talking is just what we do without having to think about it.

“This has fundamental and profound implications: not just is it a more natural way to interact, there’s something different something fundamentally different about making choices through voice. When we think about everything we know about the power of word of mouth, now a few things suggest to us, it might not have been word of mouth all long, it might have actually been the medium of conversation itself. When your home tells you something, you believe it because of the medium of voice,” he said.

In this way, the smart house of the future acts as an intelligent agent to create the most value and convenience for the people they represent. Starcom potentially sees intelligent agent optimisation replacing something like search engine optimisation in the not too distant future.

“Now, it needs to be more about how to create value through service design. Hyper-service is how to achieve this, as once the home can act as an intelligent agent for shopping, admin, health, finance, transport, people will expect dramatically more personalised, intuitive, and more relevant services,” Wood added.

“Having multiple connected devices changed expectations. It is the tipping point. The signposts show the way self-service moves to hyper service is going to be facilitated by intelligent agents rather than humans. We found once participants got a little bit of smart connectivity, they can’t understand why all services don’t have it.

“The opportunity we see for brands considering their role in the connected home is to think back to what personal service used to look like in their category, and then think about how to recreate it through an intelligent agent. Brands need to ask themselves – what are the human expectations and how do we accelerate customer experience practice to deliver them?” Wood said.

The Future of Connected Living project is being carried out with research agency partner, The Practice Insights, and collaborating brand partners Visa and Seven West Media – with Samsung also participating. Technology installation company, Tech2, was brought in to manage the installation of the connected homes.

Visa’s Head of Product and Solutions in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, Axel Boye-Moller, said Visa is participating in the project as part of its commitment to drive the future of commerce.

"Consumers will increasingly look to shop, buy and browse from multiple devices in the home environment, including with their voice. We see our role as making the consumer experience as convenient and secure as possible.”

The initial stage of the 12-month project saw the four households – or ‘natural labs’ – in the greater Sydney area observed over observed over a six-week period between April to May 2019, with observations recorded via a mix of online diaries by the households, filmed observations and show- and-tell interviews.

The research study will continue until March 2020, with the next phase involving a quantitative study and the connected households remaining ‘live’ until the end of the 12-month period, when a final analysis of key findings will be made.

“We also found the participants were as privacy literate as we were expecting them to be, but were clear on what the trade-offs were and what they were willing to trade,” Wood said.

“They wanted to volunteer more personal data if it made their home smarter, or their lives better.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia. 

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