Services of the future – easier life and new experiences
Will bricks-and-mortar stores become showrooms for online business in the future? And what can be expected to be found in a smart home?
In the future, the typical service will involve home delivery – but for goods or services?
“In the 1950s, people on average travelled eight kilometres a day; today, the distance is 40 kilometres. Finns use a vast amount of time to fetch items like discounted minced meat, over increasing distances”, says Mika Pantzar, research director at the Consumer Society Research Centre.
He is one of the experts whom DNA invited to discuss the services of the future. In the future this group theorizes, consumers no longer run after goods or food, but order them more and more often from an online store directly to their home.
“We compare our experiences of service to the best service on a global scale. We are constantly in touch with the whole world”, says Minna Koskelo, an expert in forecasting and futures thinking.
More services, less goods
Miki Kuusi, the managing director of the food ordering and delivery service Wolt, believes that bricks-and-mortar businesses will not disappear as online shopping increases; instead, it will change into a different kind of experience. In the future, a bricks-and-mortar store can be used, for instance, as a showroom for an online store, a place where you can view, try out and fully experience the products.
People will seek out experiences – even from services which have previously not been considered to offer any.
“It has been observed that people prefer to sit on the front seat rather than the back seat of Uber cars. The dynamics are different than with traditional taxis,” says Markku Wilenius, a futures researcher.
The Uber service provides other insights into the future as well. It is a transport service which does not own any cars. In a similar way, the retail giant Alibaba does not own any warehouses, and the accommodation service Airbnb does not own any properties.
Tuuli Kaskinen, Operations Director at the Demos Helsinki think tank, believes that the consumer’s need to own things will also decrease and in the future, consumers will instead purchase services rather than goods.
“A big question is who owns the platforms through which business is handled, who collects the profits and how the services are paid. “We can be liberated to become more truly human”, he says.
It feels that we still should own some things together. ”
Artificial intelligence to become the butler of the future
In addition to people, services will be increasingly offered by machines. For instance, in a smart home, artificial intelligence can serve people the way butlers used to.
“We have been thinking that smartphones contain everything. We could equally well think that the home contains everything, and when your own intelligence and an artificial intelligence capable of learning are combined in your home, the environment will become increasingly responsive. The home will order a medical check-up, cleaning or food,” says Juha Kostiainen, SVP, Urban Development and Corporate Relations at YIT.
Wilenius believes that technology will create prerequisites for even better human communication.
On the other hand, increasing technology may also lead us completely astray. Wilenius emphasises that the good effects can only be realised if the wasting of natural resources can be brought under control.
See the episode “Services of the Future” of DNA’s Professionals of the Future documentary series here.