Trucks at Work

Technology remains no easy thing

Here’s another entry into the “unsurprising” category: a new report from global consulting firm Accenture – entitled Engaging the Digital Consumer in the New Connected World – finds that everyday users are finding it increasingly “challenging” to figure out how to use smart devices such as iPhones and tablet computers these days, accompanied with a big spike in “digital distrust” when it comes to data security.

Both of those issues directly affect the trucking industry, especially when it comes to digital security needs, as more and more freight information transference shifts from paper-based methods to electronic conduits.

Accenture polled some 24,000 consumers between the ages of 14 and 55 in 24 countries online last October and November and found, for starters, that 83% reported various problems when they use a wide variety of “smart devices.”

Such "devices" include: wearable fitness monitors, smart watches, smart home thermostats, in-vehicle entertainment systems, home connected surveillance cameras and security systems, and wearable health products.

The biggest challenges users face, according to their responses, were:

  • Smart devices are “too complicated to use” (21%)
  • The “set-up did not proceed properly” (19%)
  • The devices “did not work as advertised” (19%)

None of that surprises me very much (being that I grapple unsuccessfully and repeatedly with those very same issues, usually turning to my 12 year old for technical support) but all the same it’s not comforting to know that basic “ease of use” protocols still seems to be a hit-and-miss endeavor in the technology field.

Indeed, unsurprisingly, across all age groups and geographic regions surveyed, 33% cited “ease of use” as the most important criteria when deciding which of these products to buy, with 29% pointing to “product features and functionalities” as their top requirement.

“For these new connected device categories, high tech companies need to go back to the drawing board and rethink their product development approaches to focus on the entire customer experience,” noted Sami Luukkonen (at right), managing director for Accenture’s electronics and high tech group, in the report. “They should make fundamental strategic changes that no longer focus on product feature differentiation but rather holistic, digital experience differentiation.”

The firm’s survey also found that “digital distrust” is a growing factor among consumers, too.

More than half in the poll (54%) are not always confident about the security on the Internet of their personal data, such as email addresses, mobile phone numbers, and purchasing history.

In addition, the percentage of people who are “not confident at all that the security of my personal data is protected on the Internet, so I never share information this way” rose from 7% in 2013 to 10% in 2014, Accenture reported.

Something to keep in mind as the digital world will only continue to expand – especially where trucking is concerned – in 2015.

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