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Technology Innovation Alone Doesn’t Guarantee Value Unless It Is Really Solving a Problem

January 22, 2018

Technology Innovation Alone Doesn’t Guarantee Value Unless It Is Really Solving a Problem

I recently read that L’Oreal has launched ‘UV Sense’; a wearable electronic sensor that measures an individual’s UV exposure. The fingernail device has an accompanying mobile app, to inform the wearer when UV exposure is high (and of course product recommendations for UV protection).

There’s no doubt that Assisted Technology is a trend for 2018.  ‘Finery’ has launched a virtual wardrobe assistant that puts together outfits based on the clothes we own. Self-service cashless convenience stores are popping up all over China using biometric technologies to link purchases to shopper accounts.

But a device that tells me it’s time to put on sunscreen feels like ‘technology for technology’s sake’ to me. Considering the availability of free UV rating apps that show UV levels in real-time, daily weather reports and our own human intuition, it seems unlikely that a customer would purchase the UV Sense wearable when they can solve their problem (i.e. should I apply sunscreen?) for free.

Maybe I am wrong. Perhaps L’Oreal unearthed a customer problem that needed solving. I recognise that UV can be high even when temperatures are not – and this is when the dangerous effects of the sun start to impact. The UV Sense is an innovative piece of technology and has the potential to be a valuable (free) consulting tool, but my CX sense (that’s right, at BrandHook we have a sixth sense) tells me that it doesn’t deliver enough value to the customer to be viable as a stand-alone commercial product.

Real time ethnographic research to understand people’s behaviour and attitudes to being Sun Smart would potentially change my mind. Being with people in their daily lives as they tackle and solve problems is the most powerful way to develop the product and services that can bring value to people’s lives.

In 2018, BrandHook and The Royals are launching our own piece of tech to do just this. Her name is Polly, and she uses AI chat functions to ‘talk’ to people in real time and capture the granular details of people engage with brands. If you’d like to meet her, get in touch.

Written by Stacey.

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