Do these words sound familiar: Are you listening to me?
It’s not only marital, parental or platonic relationships that benefit from effective communication – the business benefits of paying careful attention to your customers and reacting accordingly should never be underestimated.
Just ask Microsoft.
Windows 10 is being hailed as a problem solver and expert opinion seems to be that Microsoft is using the latest launch to right its design wrongs. Looking at how things are being used and then designing around these applications is rapidly determining the direction of strategic sails globally.
Sometimes you just have to admit to being wrong. Fix it. Move on. Simple.
The trick of balancing the sometimes divergent views of existing customers and current market trends is the key to ensuring a sound product development strategy. And there are some things happening out there in the market that have me champing at the bit … or, to use more appropriate software development terminology, going all unicorny* in my office.
One of the trends that may have been considered ‘unicorny’ some years ago is Industry 4.0. Based on the very sexy technological concepts of cyber-physical systems and the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 ties together the recent significant advances in information, computing and communication systems, and machinery and the mechanization of production. This so-called ‘fourth industrial revolution’ is quickly turning the fantasy of truly Smart Factories into a productive reality.
The buzzwords that are being bandied about are electrifying: self-diagnosis, cognition, self-optimization, integrative production technology. Be still my beating heart.
Academic institutions have been quick to react to the educational opportunities that these developments present. Mechatronic programs, offering a combination of precision mechanical engineering, electronics and computer systems, have been incorporated into engineering faculties around the world. Mechatronic engineering specializes in the control of advanced hybrid systems found in numerous industries such as aerospace, automotive, chemical processes, healthcare and a host of others.
So as we congratulate ourselves on our continued evolution and the way in which we are able to filter this knowledge into the workplace, let’s not forget that there are actual people at the core of all of this technology. Inventing it, creating it and, most importantly, using it. We have to take cognizance of the significance of the User Experience and listen to the steady rhythm of a strong, well-supported partnering between the creators and the users of this technology.
Bringing it back to an organizational level, the reality is that this has become increasingly less challenging with the implementation of technology that connects people, things and systems across the entire value chain…aka the Internet of Things.
So to answer my initial question: we hear you.
Stick around, it seems that not all the fantastic inventions occurred in the last century. *An adjective to describe a feature or product that’s so early in the planning stage that it might as well be imaginary.