Reinventing the customer experience, from store to stadium5 minutes
Increasingly, consumers are defaulting to online experiences for shopping, sports and entertainment events, even learning. Organizations that have invested in physical venues to attract shoppers, fans, entertainment seekers and students are now convinced they need to step up their game to compete. Today, these Immersive Experience organizations are enhancing physical spaces with digital information, adopting a wide range of disruptive technologies in the process. And that adoption will only accelerate.
In this fifth article in the Moving Forward research series, Panasonic Corporation of North America assesses how senior technology decision makers view the technologies driving us forward and their impact on customer experience in industries like Retail, Education, and Sports, Media and Entertainment.
By 2025, 10 disruptive technologies are expected to generate trillions of dollars of economic impact. Our new study reveals that Immersive Experience industries have already adopted just under five of these technologies on average. And four technologies appear to be at the top of their innovation agendas – artificial intelligence, robotics, 3-D printing and energy storage. Panasonic is deeply engaged in each of them.
How organizations see digital tech enhancing physical spaces
Artificial Intelligence: a critical technology
Along with the cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) is seen as the technology most critical to the future success of experience-oriented organizations. Four in five have either adopted or plan to adopt AI in the near future. Why? It will enable them to enhance the customer experience through:
- Better customer insights and new products based on those insights
- Better ability to predict customer behavior and the operational advantages this foresight enables
- The opportunity to design for customers in a more seamless, personalized way
Personalization vs. privacy
While organizations (especially retailers) see the importance of personalizing content – in part through insights from AI – they also see the need to strike a balance between personalization and privacy. When asked to choose between protecting consumer privacy and using consumer data to develop better products, slightly over half prioritize privacy.
In fact, consumer privacy/security concerns are the biggest obstacle overall to adoption of disruptive technologies, ahead of stagnant budgets, lack of skilled employees and government regulation.
Three technologies poised for growth
In addition to AI, a trio of technologies – robotics, 3-D printing and energy storage – also have great potential in Immersive Experience industries. Each shows a gap of around 30 points between current and near-future adoption, indicating strong opportunities for technology solution providers in these areas.
Intent to adopt varies among industries. Retailers expressed strong interest in robotics and energy storage. Educators also have robotics on their tech adoption shopping list, along with 3-D printing.
Combining physical and digital worlds a near-unanimous priority
If there’s one area where almost everyone sees potential, it’s enriching physical environments with digital information. An overwhelming 19 of 20 organizations focused on customer experience believe it’s important.
Retailers especially see this capability as a must-have, with seven in 10 considering it very important. They identified a number of game-changing benefits, including:
- Visualizing merchandise as it would appear in real life through applications like digital mirrors and digital space design
- Viewing inventory or alternate product options (e.g., sizes, colors, materials)
- Securely dropping off and picking up merchandise for servicing after hours
- Purchasing merchandise at the point of display, eliminating the need for checkout
Digital’s impact on live events
Sports, media and entertainment organizations think integrating digital and physical worlds can get customers off the couch and into their venues. They envision an enhanced experience that may include:
- Previewing and pre-purchasing merchandise, food and beverages, and premium services prior to arrival
- Providing turn-by-turn wayfinding directions in the venue
- Allowing access to behind-the-scenes data and information that enriches their audience’s perspective, such as augmented reality projections of player stats
Panasonic recently brought a lot of this technology together in the Atlanta Braves’ new baseball stadium, SunTrust Park.
Advanced displays are key to immersive experiences
To bring immersive experiences to life, nine in 10 customer experience-oriented organizations expect to invest in advanced display technologies within three years. The most interesting of these, in their view, is a display that projects not only images but information. Panasonic’s LinkRay solution uses visible light to transmit content to mobile devices and has been embedded in mobile apps for venues like the iconic Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
Other advanced displays of keen interest to customer experience experts are screen sharing between displays and mobile devices, virtual reality, projection of 3D images and augmented reality.
Embracing disruption is essential
Many customer experience-oriented organizations have already experienced the disruption of e-commerce retailers and media streaming services. Not surprisingly, six in seven agree that “embracing disruptive technologies is not a ‘nice to have.’ It’s the price of doing business – and staying in business.”
A large number of these organizations realize they need a strategic partner to get the most out of disruptive technologies. As partner to many of the world’s best entertainment experience organizations, including Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and the Olympic Games, Panasonic can be a great resource for those looking to bring together our digital and physical worlds.
About the research
This research was commissioned by Panasonic Corporation of North America and fielded in the U.S. and Canada. The survey included 100 CTOs and other senior technology decision makers in organizations with at least 200 employees.