Are You Disconnecting?

By Guy Borgford, Director of Business Development

Look around you…drive by any bus stop, lineup, or really anywhere people are waiting for something or someone – what do you see? Chances are most people have their faces buried in their phones.

Our smart phones have become an extension of ourselves. Although many argue this phenomenon is a detriment to our personal lives and the greater good of humanity, is this the case? It’s one thing when friends and family leave the presence of each other to submerge themselves in their state of disconnected connectedness, but when alone and killing time, or pursuing information to make one’s life more efficient, our phones augment our lives and open our sphere of existence to a much larger world.

You have no argument from me that the notion of living in the present is threatened by our digital existence and always-on connection through mobile technology. And this behavior is a product of the nature of mobile application development, where in most cases, the goal of the developer is to maximize engagement and time spent with the application. More time and more engagement equals more opportunities for monetization. But as builders of mobile tech, are we being shortsighted? Is this really the right way to maximize value from our efforts? And as people, are we dehumanizing our existence through the misguided obsession to connect outside of the real world that’s going on around us at that moment?

As technology advances and we move more into the world of IoT, sensor-based products and connected devices, the demands for active user interaction become less critical and the core user and business benefits move further away from traditional KPIs of active engagement and time spent. We shift more into models of micro-moments on the consumer side, with bits of critical information pinging us throughout the day, leaving us to keep our heads up and our eyes open to the world around us. On the business side, the promise of big data necessitates the transformation of mountains of data into visual metaphor, for quick and critical real time business intelligence.

We think about this all the time at Smashing Ideas. The digital products we build aren’t about fusing a handset to someone’s face, it’s about creating seamless, useful experiences that connect the dots between form, function, goals and life, so that the digital becomes an augmentation of the world around us, not the world we live in.

Think about it when planning out your next digital experience. Whether it’s a consumer-facing application or an internal digital transformation initiative, digital is nothing without the amazing world around us. Look up or you’ll miss out.

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