Selecting the Right Technology and How to Keep it Relevant Long Term
Technology is changing and evolving at an exponential rate. In the last 10 years we’ve seen the introduction and mass adoption of Uber (2009), the iPad (2010) and Snapchat (2011), all now ubiquitous and changing the way we interact and navigate our environment. In the last year alone, self driving trucks were introduced, and Space X launched and landed Falcon 9 upright and intact.
So, it is no wonder that when we were at the American Museum Expo this past May, we kept getting the same feedback: This is all really cool, but how do we choose and invest in technology experiences that will be relevant and have impact long term?
Museums are experts at creating engaging spaces for their patrons. And technology can be a powerful tool to make these spaces even more engaging, responsive and dynamic. It can also fall flat and be an expensive investment if not managed properly.
So how can one be sure which technology is the right choice for interactive experiences long term?
Experience technology shines through as a viable investment option, because it combines both technology and storytelling content. Technology is a tool to tell your story in a unique, more impactful, more interesting, more engaging and more memorable way. At its most basic level, experience technology is all about telling stories that resonate.
It is easy to get bogged down in technology options. Should I use augmented reality or touch screens? When considering experience technology for your environment, there are four things that need to be defined:
- What are your goals? What do you want to accomplish in your environment?
- What is your budget? Understand there are costs to purchase, install, maintain and support your experience. This includes content updates for as long as you want the technology to perform in your environment
- How much space do you have? How much space are you going to use and how is that space going to be managed?
- Who is your audience? Why have they come to your environment? How often do they visit? What is their dwell time? What do they want and expect from you?
Knowing the answers to these four questions will narrow down the type of technology best suited to accomplish your goals.
Keeping Experience Technology Relevant Long Term:
Having content that tells the story and works well with technology is a great start. But the only way to keep it fresh and relevant long term, and get the most from your investment is to create, invest in, and execute an experience content update plan.
Television has been around, relatively unchanged for over half a century. At its core it is just a black box with wires. Without updated content, new shows, channels, it is just a box of wires. Now there is more competition for attention, with blogs, podcasts, YouTube, social media, gaming, augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality, etc. But television has remained relevant, even as an “old technology” because new, updated content keeps it relevant and keeps large audiences tuning in.
Your experience content update plan should include:
- How often experiences need to be updated. This will vary by each type of environment and will depend on how often your customer comes to your location. You should also consider their dwell time and how they use the space and what their expectations are when in your environment. This will give you a baseline for how often experiences need to be updated.
- Create experiences that are timely and relevant: Attention spans for most consumers are between 3 and 8 seconds, depending on who you ask. You have a short amount of time to get people interested. If you don’t present and promote it in a way that is disruptive, they won’t pay attention to it. And If they’ve seen it in the past, it will not even register.
- Create experiences that have impact: break through your consumer’s three second attention span, disrupt their normal behavior and grab their attention for longer periods of time when you get them involved and keep them engaged with personalized and interactive storytelling content.
- Choose the right Experience Technology partner: Bringing in the right partner that understands both technology and content creation is key to a successful experience, beyond the launch. For long term success, the right partner will understand your goals, understand the risks and benefits of different technology, will be able to work with multiple stakeholders, is innovative and can think outside the box, and has a proven track record.
With so many options and so much innovation, it’s easy to get intimidated when trying to select the right technology. Recognizing technology is just the tool to tell a story, putting a content experience update plan in place and having the right technology partner will keep your interactive technology experiences and investment relevant.