Con­sumers grav­i­tate to­wards what is fastest and eas­i­est. The fewer steps in­volved, the bet­ter

New Straits Times - - Opinion -

IN case you missed it, two pop­u­lar ap­pli­ca­tions in­te­grated their ser­vices this week. One gives you di­rec­tions to your des­ti­na­tion, while the other lets you lis­ten to stream­ing mu­sic.

I found out about it by ac­ci­dent on Wed­nes­day morn­ing when I switched on Waze on my smart­phone to find the fastest route to my son’s col­lege. There was a new icon on the screen, and I was prompted to give Waze ac­cess to my playlist in Spo­tify. Within sec­onds, Bruno Mars’s

was blar­ing through the speak­ers as we made a U-turn onto Per­siaran Ke­wa­ji­pan.

Truth be told, you could lis­ten to your Spo­tify playlist while us­ing Waze be­fore, but it in­volved switch­ing be­tween the two apps. Their in­te­gra­tion makes it much more con­ve­nient, and saves time, and we live in an era where con­ve­nience and time are two prized com­modi­ties.

The signs have been there for years. Con­sumers grav­i­tate to­wards what is fastest and eas­i­est. The fewer steps in­volved in the process, the bet­ter. Size doesn’t mat­ter, and price mat­ters less than it used to. Tech­nol­ogy, in­no­va­tion and busi­ness sense are likely to spur even more in­te­gra­tion be­tween apps and the com­pa­nies be­hind them, mov­ing for­ward.

The list of things that we can al­ready do with apps to­day is an ex­ten­sive one — send each other mes­sages, links, pho­tos and videos; play games and take quizzes; cre­ate orig­i­nal mu­sic and video; con­duct bank­ing trans­ac­tions; watch TV shows and movies; buy and sell prod­ucts and ser­vices; watch and talk to any­one, any­where; read books, mag­a­zines, and news­pa­pers from around the world.

At the most ba­sic level, there can be op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­te­gra­tion be­tween two or more of th­ese apps alone. For ex­am­ple, to­day we can al­ready watch movies on var­i­ous de­vices (smart­phones, tablets, lap­tops or desk­top PCs) with our per­sonal pref­er­ences in terms of lan­guage and sub­ti­tles. Who’s to say we won’t soon be able to have an­other op­tion — to have ac­tive links that let us shop for any­thing on screen that catches our fancy.

Say you’re watch­ing

on your tablet one day in the not too dis­tant fu­ture, and you feel the watch worn by one of the char­ac­ters would look good on your wrist, or the par­tic­u­lar dress worn by the hero­ine in a scene would be per­fect for an up­com­ing com­pany din­ner. With one tap, a box ap­pears in the cor­ner giv­ing you de­tails about the prod­uct — man­u­fac­turer, brand, price — and the op­tion to lo­cate the near­est store or to buy on­line.

The suc­cess­ful prod­ucts and ser­vices of the fu­ture will be those that can tick the most number of boxes in the con­sumer’s wish list.

Why is con­ve­nience and sav­ing time so im­por­tant? I think it has to do with the sheer vol­ume and speed of in­for­ma­tion and data that’s avail­able or fed to us on a daily ba­sis.

If it’s al­ready over­whelm­ing, keep in mind that in­for­ma­tion, log­i­cally, will never de­crease. It just keeps ex­pand­ing — more peo­ple, knowl­edge, com­pa­nies, case stud­ies, ex­am­ples, sur­veys, recipes — ev­ery sin­gle day. But hu­mans, with the aid of tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion, have a knack for adapt­ing to new chal­lenges and en­vi­ron­ments. We will learn to adapt to this new world of mega vol­umes of in­for­ma­tion as well.

Re­cently, some­one on my Face­book shared a video of the Lopi­fit. De­signed by Dutch­man Bruin Bergmeester, the elec­tric walk­ing bike is a blend be­tween a scooter, an elec­tric bike and a tread­mill. It re­tails for US$2,495 (RM11,000).

With a Lopi­fit, some­one can ex­er­cise while they walk-cy­cle to their des­ti­na­tion. If they use the up­dated Waze app, they can get there in the fastest route while lis­ten­ing to the lat­est hits. Su­per multi-task­ing and time sav­ing!

The next ques­tion is, what do they do with all the time saved? Ah… that’s an­other is­sue en­tirely.

The writer stud­ied jour­nal­ism at the Univer­sity of Toledo, Ohio. He has been with the NSTP group for more than two decades, the ma­jor­ity of them at ‘Busi­ness Times’. He has a wide range of in­ter­ests in movies and mu­sic, plays golf and the drums

Pop­u­lar ap­pli­ca­tions Waze and Spo­tify in­te­grated their ser­vices this week. This al­lows users to nav­i­gate with Waze with­out leav­ing Spo­tify.

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