Digital trends: Will 2018 be the year of Virtual reality?


Is 2018 going to be the year of Virtual Reality? Jeremy Dalton, the Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Lead for PWC, wants to believe, but doesn’t think the public is ready yet.

Last week I attended a series of lectures in London about Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (VR) and how companies are using them at the moment and in the future to develop their services. The key speakers were Jeremy Dalton (Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Lead for PQC) and Sylvain Reiter (Cyber-Duck).

How are Virtual and Augmented Reality being used?

According to Dalton and Reiter, Virtual and Augmented Reality are quickly becoming effectives way of offering unbelievable customer experiences, but also for companies to develop their services. The speakers talked about many how VR and AR are being used by companies from the auto industry to journalism and movies. Brands like IKEA, Barclays, Star Wars and Volvo are already using them in creative and experimental ways.

Virtual and Augmented Reality elements are being used in production line testing and to drive consumer sales, for example with mobile apps that let users put furniture in the own homes in the right scare or in real estate projects for visualization of not yet built houses. However in the USA Walmart is also using Virtual Reality for training purposes by giving their employees the possibility to learn in real life situations, and a UK based company used it in high court to illustrate how a traffic accident had occurred.

Virtual and Augmented reality can also be a force for social change. In the UK it is used to fight racial biases by making the user by giving them a change to experience bodyswapping or dealing with people from different countries. Virtual reality has also been called “The Great Empathy Machine“. United Nations has used it to put people in the shoes of immigrants for them to understand their experiences in a completely new way.

Taking VR and AR to the next level?

Even with all the new VR and AR experiences the public is receiving from different players in the field, the speakers reminded us that there are still many barriers for people adapting this new technology. At the moment they list four main areas for further development.

  1. The Cost

According to the speakers at the moment there are three different ways of users getting the VR and AR experience: home based technology, VR headset units such as Oculus Go and portable smartphone based technology. Dalton and Reiter however believe that the cost of using and developing VR and AR needs to be brought down. The technology is complex and in order to receive a high quality VR experience one must have a high quality headset, which is still expensive.

  1. The User experience

At the moment the speakers feel that the user experience hasn’t been optimized in terms of the technical delivery.  Especially with Virtual Reality, the technology is still complicated to use, when is should be easy and intuitive. Moving in the virtual world doesn’t always work in the best possible way, and in order to get a high quality optical experience, one might need a large and heavy headset.

  1. Content

Since VR and AR are still new technologies, there is a limited amount of good content out there. Companies are developing more and creating new experiences, but lack of user base means lack of content which doesn’t drive commercial sales. This leads to companies not adapting this technology in the services.

  1. Education

Adapting to new technologies takes time. According to the speakers, even though Virtual and Augmented Reality have been around as concepts for years (you might have seen it in Star Trek when you were younger), it was 2012 when they really began to catch on. However, there are still many misconception and misunderstandings about the technologies. People might think VR is only for gamers, or that in order to enjoy AR you need expensive smartphones and other technology. This is why most of the public hasn’t really had a high quality experience with these technologies yet, and educating people about the wonders of VR and AR is the next step that needs to be taken.

So do the speakers think that the year 2018 will be the year Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality really become a huge trend? The less expensive and more easily adaptable AR is already being utilized by more and more companies, but Dalton still believes that the public might not be ready for Virtual Reality yet. Give it a few more years, he says…

Written by;
Leena Salo
SID student

Next era of well-being

Since it was founded 50 years ago, Sitra has been a futures house and they have just updated their megatrends report from a Nordic viewpoint. As Finland’s celebrating its 100 year anniversary Sitra wanted to highlight the megatrends affecting work, democracy and inclusion, and growth and progress that are relevant to the Nordic model as all of these  themes are specifically at the core of the Nordic model’s future. Elina Kiiski-Kataja from Sitra presented these for the Futures Specialist Helsinki group on 4th of December. Here’s my recap of the event – thank you Minna Koskelo & Futures Specialist Helsinki for making this possible and Elina for having us and offering an insightful morning.

What’s the new normal for work?

The first inspected megatrend was about the future of work – what’s the new normal? What’s the role of technology and humans versus robots? Most people are still working in steady paid jobs at this moment but what about in 2040? Sitra states in their updated megatrend report that there are 2 possible scenarios:

  1. Work changes but there is plenty for all
  2. Only a few people have work and even fewer benefit from the results

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The change forces behind this scenario are described in the above slide on the left hand side – automation, robotisation, artificial intelligence and digital platforms are changing all areas of work.

So what can we do? We need new models for life long learning to keep people from dropping off from the work force. Our old model getting educated while you’re in your twenties will not work anymore. And on income distribution – do we aim for more or less equality in our society? The basic income model is just being tested in Finland. The Institute of the Future in California is researching  a universal livelihood model and sees this from the viewpoint of capital and assets, not just work income. Should there be passports to school, healthcare etc. ? If we do not find models to help in this change the price to pay is increasing unrest and upheaveals in our society.

How is democracy doing?

We are no longer members of political parties, just 3% of us belong to a party. There has been a significant change is the culture of communication and discussion – the development of tech and globalization can have a major disruptive influence on the democratic system says Sitra. Everything is connected – well-being, education, trust, economy.

Increase in participation to general discussion can provide a counter power to globalization. Power is in the hands of few people but we can all have an effect on the quality of democracy. In the light of research the people who are participating (voting and getting their voice heard) are more well off than the ones not participating. But even in the US half of the people didn’t vote in the presidential elections – is democracy getting broken? Sanna Aaltonen from the Youth Research Foundation says that social infrastructure has not been built as the focus has been on technology. She also asks where will the trust in future encounters be built. Everything is connected – well-being, education, trust, economy.

The two scenarios for democracy (see slide below) are:

  1. Transparency, innovativeness and inclusion will flourish in democracies
  2. Power concentrates in the hands of the few and exclusion and disruption will increase

A strong local democracy and global decision-making are needed for scenario 1 to happen – to build a common, not divided, future. We need people who want to save the world and combine scientists and decision-makers to find solutions to the wicked problems. As well as lovable technology that understands humans and our behavior and leaves space for humans.  We need to go where people are, not just build new channels. And note the importance of communication and data as in spring 2018 the new data law will widen the gap between US and EU. In SDN conference in Madrid in 2017 it was discussed that service design is one of the enablers for building a bridge between senior citizens, refugees and tech.

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What are we aiming for – economic growth or well-being?

Economic growth based on overconsumption of natural resources is not sustainable. The economy is at crossroads and the two scenarios offered on this are:

  1. Will we seek growth by using all the means available and risk ruining our planet  and wither away OR
  2. Aim for well-being and manage to decouple economic growth and overuse of natural resources resulting in growing well-being even faster than economy

What makes you feel better, what increases your well-being? And can you and I change our values and get from talk to walk as the world changes?


“Renewal starts with us, people. Even though the megatrends shaping the world extend all the way to Finland, the future is still largely in our own hands – if that is what we decide,” says Mikko Kosonen, head of Sitra. Trends offer a road to development and renewal as Minna Koskelo commented.

The future of the Nordic model is dependent on our reaction to the above presented 3 megatrends.

Link to Sitra’s presentation can be found here Sitra megatrends 2017

Designing Work for Future Needs. Future Needs are Here NOW!

Last week I participated the last one of the design related discussions of the series “Enter and Encounter – A series of discussions hosted by curators” jointly organised by Design Museum and the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo. My expectations were high due to the interesting title: “Designing Work” (more here, in Finnish) and due to the fact the previous discussion was so inspiring. (You can read from it on my previous blog-post here.)
As last time, it really was worth making my way to the Design Museum after a long and exhausting day at work.

Continue reading

Dog fur mittens?


What does the customer of tomorrow want? I was at the launch of futurist Elina Hiltunen’s new book and petification was the morning’s first consumer trend. Elina identifies and explains 18 consumer trends that can have an impact on you, me and on different businesses through us.

The trends already exist – it’s a question of how well we identify them and can we put them to use in for example developing new services or developing existing ones? Megatrends are the big changes that are already having an impact and have been taken into account in several business fields – population growth, digitalization, longer life expectancy etc. Trends on the other hand are changes of direction in behavior or situations. And weak signals are the first signs of change, the rising phenomen  (Hiltunen, 2017, 56).

The following are the trends that I picked up from Elina.

Changes of direction

Petification – digitalization is here as well. Smart devices are entering the pet industry –  – PetPace helps you observe your pet’s health and TailTalk sensor the feelings of your pet. In USA you can purchase the lazy dogwalker’s Pooper-service – the scooper will take care of picking up the organic waste for you for a price of 15 dollars per month. And you can buy a genetically engineered aquarium fish that glows in the dark as a Xmas present.

Hello Kitty business class on the airplane is all about the trend of  taking care of your inner child and the need to stay young, relaxed and experimental. The soft throwable mike belongs in theis trend as well. The perfect me -trend  includes sharing your own views and opinions with bigger audiences – hate talk is the negative side of this and brave acts the positive one. We are many –trend manifests itself in the  courage to be yourself – being different and non-perfect makes us more interesting.

There’s no typical consumer

Something for everyone – the positive side of this trend is that even a niche segment can be interesting for a company when in global scale. Stereotypes are breaking down  – in her book Elina Hiltunen mentions an interesting example  – the physical change of the barbie for a healthier and more real look. And barbie’s friend sits in a wheelchair.

Also the aspects of getting old are changing – at my hairdresser’s I stumbled across Ari Seth Cohen’s superb book  Advanced Style. Older & wiser – all the models are over 70 with an attitude. Continue reading

NBF16 – my takeaways


Last year I attended Nordic Business Forum 2015 thru the live stream and it was an amazing experience. I was so stoked that had to buy a NBF16 seminar pass right away –  I wanted to experience it physically, to hear the keynote speakers live, meet people and be part of the buzz.

Now, after digesting the whole experience for 2 weeks, I’d like to share some of my learnings with you. The four things that are still on my mind are:

Do, do, do =  Only action makes inspiration come true, execution is everything

Choose to matter = Everyone of us is the change, don’t wait for it to happen

Attention on solutions = Solve a problem, don’t concentrate on egos

Values & Trust = Employees 1st, customers 2nd

The main themes at the Nordic Business Forum 2016 (NBF16) were marketing, digitalization and culture . Two days, almost 6,000 people, tens of nationalities – the event was bigger than ever. And well worth the investment in time and money. Full agenda can be found at NBF16.

On marketing and change

Marketing is a service, an emotion and about making a connection. Today mass anything is dead, even niche groups are big enough to target. Scott Galloway continues:

  1. The young and healthy have left the building (=tv). 74% would cancel Netflix if there were ads. The price of freedom – adfree world – is a couple dollars.
  2. Store is the number 1 factor influencing the purchase decision – next come search, CRM and social.
  3. Ratio, heart and genitals drive the decisions. Technology helps reduce pain when you’ve first identified the actual pain points.
  4. Car is a service, Google is a spiritual guide and FB’s for love, empathy and sharing.

His final words were that “lots of things are happening that are not good for us”. Privacy issues and tax evasion are threats if you’re not transparent.

Peter Diamantes asked which problem do you want to solve. Solve and share it – like Uber. Everybody has potential to become extraordinary problem solver with latest tools around like sensors, 3D printing, virtual & artificial reality, genetics etc. But how to the unlock passion to do this?  Unfortunately our governments are the slowest to change as they are the most linear organizations on the planet. But even they can’t regulate against change in the end. We – the people – are the change, in the past citizens have started the biggest changes. And what’s not possible today, will be possible tomorrow.

Gary Vaynerchuk started his keynote stating that we’re still grossly overspending on stuff that we’ve done before. For example by using tv ads to interrupt storytelling. Everything should be about creating value. Communication drives everything and you can only learn by doing. Only action creates results, not inspiration. Do, do, do – test, test, test – and do it again. Try out all the new stuff and think how this could help your business. Create a culture where your employees are better than the competition and figure out a firing policy as well.

This was the first time I heard the godfather of creativity, Seth Godin of the Purple Cow, live. For him marketing is all about creating experience. So are you’re creating something worth mentioning? He focused on the value of teamwork, building trust, co-creation and sharing ideas – a connection economy. Sounds familiar to a service designer.   A few phrases of his that resonated with me:

  • There no such thing as a writer’s block – just bad habits and reluctance to dance with fear.
  • It’s all about creating marketing together, being fully human. Sow ubana – I see you.
  • There are not enough bad ideas to find a few good ones.
  • Do you want to make art or be a copycat?
  • Will you to choose matter?

And of course I have to share his picture of bats having a cocktail party. Certainly made me think of these creatures in a different way.


Vineet Nayar on culture

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Hackathon / Day 3

Service Design Hackathon -Day 3. (30.1.2016)

It is Saturday morning and everyone in our group seems to be in need of strong coffee. Last night we ended up asking “why”, today we will give an answer; who do we want our customer to become. In today´s agenda we have one more interview and by the end of the day we will give a presentation, we will pitch the business plan of our team.


Our last guest arrives for interview. He is 23 y.o student, lives by himself in the city centre of Helsinki. His life style is busy urban life. His dream is one day to own flat in city area. Our questions for him want to measure how keen he is to use services for housing and living by using Internet. We are also interested in how he sees himself in the future – does he like to use more time for his free time rather than spending time for domestic work. Our goal is still to make  “tripadvisor of services”; to make ordering of services easier than it is now. (…Our quest didn’t see extra services too important as he could do most of the daily stuff by himself. Maybe it was too early for him to think of daily life with busy family with children etc…)


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Extra tab for “living”

After interviewing the student our picture of our customer segmentation became very clear! We are focusing for parents, 40+, digital native people who can afford to spend some extra money for daily luxuries such as for cleaner or nanny, or who are in charge of their own aging parents for example.

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Potential market

Our group´s working stations for plan presentation divided naturally; visual person search pictures for power point, technical person played with power point itself, business person did the calculations of research and person who was called human, was the all over leader of our presentation and team work.

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After working few hours we started pitching. Was amazing to hear fellow Hackathor´s presentations. So many interesting service models with great future thinking. Wasn’t easy to select the most interesting one to be best. Actual pitching last 10 minutes and we were proud of our own work. Did audience love it, this we will see on 21st of April, when Kiinteistömaailma announces their chosen project.

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Kiinteistömaailma # Twitter


Written by Paula Nordfors – Laurea, Helsinki, Finland

Hackathon / Day 2

Service Design Hackathon, Day 2. (29.1.2016)

Friday night after work at, raining outside, it is no more real winter outside. I must turn my head in to creative gear. These were the first thoughts on that night before the game of Kiinteistömaailma Hackathon started again. Homework was completed, which was to think:

“Home service ”tripadvisor”– because of you and your home”

We also had to think of someone potential customer for our group and invite he/she for interview to Futurice for that night. Our guests were pensioners, living in Helsinki and Sipoo.

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After cup of coffee and interview our team was ready to start full on working again. This evening´s programme was to search for business goals and limitations of our business idea. Segmentation of our customers and most of all “Love the problem, not the solution!”  The point of the interviewing was to find customer´s needs, thinks and feels. Also to think what suprises us the most!


“Love the Problem, not the Solution” -Futurice


Our service idea started to get it´s shape. We noticed very important thing, future is missing totally on Kiinteistömaailma´s webpage. You may buy, rent or sell your house/ flat via Kiinteistömaailma, but the main thing “living” in the house is not important right now for Kiinteistömaailma, at least this became our feeling.

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Our topic “Service of living in the future – 2020?” wants to bring daily living in to Kiinteistömaailma´s strategy. We want to make new tab called “Living” on kiinteistömaailma´s webpage. When you click “Living”, opens up for customer Tripadvisor looking page, where customer may search quick and easy any kind of daily services (such as cleaner, nanny, plumber etc). At the same time it is all visible how good or bad this service is by the experience of other users. As today you must search separately and maybe for hours good and reliable services to make your daily life easier. By the time you had find what you were looking for, you are already tired to continue to contact such a service provider, which leads you of course not to use ..cleaner for example, because it feels too complicated after all.

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29.1.2016 towards our customers

Our customer focus was at the beginning people age 60+. Very soon we noticed through the interviewing that this generation isn’t very familiar with fast developing Internet. Older generation feels customer service face-to-face much more comfortable and so on we decided to change our customer segmentation. Via brainstorming and asking question “WHY? WHY? WHY?”… we ended up the day 2 of Hackathon.

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To be continued Day 3. (30.1.2016)

Written by Paula Nordfors – Laurea, Helsinki, Finland