• Christian Smeby

“Hey  Google, What Is  Multiexperience?” The Future of Digital Interactions

Updated: May 18, 2021


CloudNorway's Blog: "Hey Google, What is Multiexperience?" discussing Gartner and technology trends

Unfortunately, Google Assistant cannot help you with the answer for that – yet. However, soon I expect the buzz word “multiexperience” to be on everyone’s lips. According to analytics master Gartner, multiexperience is one of the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020. But what does multiexperience really mean? And what are the security implications of a multiexperiential digital world?

My interpretation of multiexperience is, simply put, how you as a user perceive, interact with and control the digital world across the new devices and sensory touchpoints available through modern technologies. “Interactions” in this context refers to the various permutations of modalities (like for example touch, voice and gesture) that users use to communicate with on their digital journey.


Similarly, Gartner explains multiexperience through the terms “Intelligent Digital Mesh” and “People Centric Smart spaces”. To even better understand what multiexperience is all about, I would like to define these two terms.



“Hey Google, what is the Intelligent Digital Mesh?”


The foundation for People-Centric Smart Spaces (and what enable multiexperiences), is what Gartner defines as the Intelligent Digital Mesh. The term Intelligent Digital Mesh is a concept about the intertwining of people, devices, content and services[1]. It consists of three key components:


Intelligent - meaning how Artificial Intelligence (AI) [2] systems and machine learning is appearing everywhere, spreading like grass fire, creating new technology categories along its path.


Digital - is an expression for the merging of the real world and augmented reality, in an immersive, digitally enhanced user experience.


Mesh – is how to exploit the connections between people and businesses. The Mesh is combining data from all our devices, the content we create and new services; and using this data to create business outcomes. The Mesh requires new and innovative thinking in order to handle a secure delivery of services, and not least – quick and responsive reactions to new situations and demands across the entire combined data-mix.


Thus, the Intelligent Digital Mesh is the way our future will shaped by AI. Furthermore, how powered smart devices can deliver digital services everywhere with increasing intelligence; with a focus on business outcomes.



“Hey Google, what are People-Centric Smart Spaces?”


People-Centric Smart Spaces, on the other hand, are the smart spaces in which technology and people come together.


In IT’s early beginning, machines that were built were mostly one-purpose-built special systems, like the Enigma (encryption device built to protect military communications in the early 20s), that were not available to the public and very expensive. With the development of general purpose computers, and as they became more accessible[3], it was common for companies to obtain computers for the sole purpose of creating “what can we use this new technology for[4]” kinds of projects. These projects were common in the mid- to late 80s, but in later years proved to be unsuccessful.


Unsurprisingly, today modern project management frameworks like PRINCE2 and PMP have gained foothold and are the most practised methods[5] for project management. Such methods emphasise functional requirements and business case driven goals over the more playful – “let’s find out what we can use this technology to solve” approach.


“It is fun to explore and play around with emerging new technologies. However, according to Gartner, in order to achieve quantitative results, the focus must be on exploring the human context to the technologies and the business aspects. In other words: putting people at the centre of your technology”

It is fun to explore and play around with emerging new technologies. However, according to Gartner, in order to achieve quantitative results, the focus must be on exploring the human context to the technologies and the business aspects. In other words: putting people at the centre of your technology. This is what Gartner calls People-Centric Smart Spaces. People-Centric Smart Spaces bring together both people, processes, services and things. The goal is to create an experience that is more immersive, more interactive and more automated[6].



“Hey Google, how is this all tied together?”


To summarise: People-Centric Smart Spaces are the digital smart-spaces in which people, processes, services and things come together. People-Centric Smart-Spaces build on the concept of the Intelligent Digital Mesh; the intertwining of people, devices, content and services in the digital world. Multiexperience is the user’s interactions with the various digital touchpoints in the Intelligent Digital Mesh, through People-Centric Smart Spaces.


Gartner believes that by 2028, user experiences will change drastically[7]: Our interactions with the digital world, (or the Mesh) will become increasingly based on conversational platforms. Combined with Virtual Reality (VR)[8], Augumented Reality (AR)[9] and Mixed Reality (MR)[10], this will also change how we perceive the Mesh. Gartner further states that the “computer” in this new, multiexperiental world will include all kinds of “reality,” thus all the new touchpoints and sensory inputs in the Mesh.



“Hey Google, what’s his diagnosis?”


Just like Google’s assistant sometimes uses a long time to explain a specific topic, I guess I have spent quite a lot of time on the technical aspects of the term multiexperience.


“Soon, all your devices will communicate with each other. You can ask your car’s Google assistant to turn on the washing machine you forgot this morning, or to preheat the oven so that you can just pop those half-baked garlic breads into it when you arrive home for supper”

In a more practical approach: soon, all your devices will communicate with each other. You can ask your car’s Google assistant to turn on the washing machine you forgot this morning, or to preheat the oven so that you can just pop those half-baked garlic breads into it when you arrive home for supper. You can wake up early one day, ask Google for the weather conditions, realise that it is quite cold out and ask your garage to preheat your car so that you will have a comfortable trip to work.


But how will multiexperiences affect the business world? And what about security? A good real-life, practical example of the use of multiexperince in the business world, is IBM’s Watson. Watson combines AI with algorithms for machine learning. Thus, giving the AI the ability to listen and recognize voices, and answer these voices with a voice of its own. With Watson, IBM has created a question-answering computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language.


But what about security? I do not believe that hacking your neighbour’s Google account, to for example play pranks, like changing the temperature indoors or turning the lights on and off will damage the outspread of multiexperiences in the private end user world. However, if you connect to IBMs Watson by speech and asks BluMix (IBMs cloud services) to spin up 100 new servers for analysing the most recent data findings, I really hope you have good security mechanisms in place.





Or, if for example a doctor (or even a visiting friend of the patient) asks the Mesh about the patient’s journal, causing the results of the patient’s latest tests to load directly in the system. And therefore, the patient is accidentally hit with a terminal diagnosis he did not yet know he had… It is safe to say that these results are not desirable, and that the security aspects of multiexperiences are highly relevant.



“Hey Google, what’s my password?”


Google Assistant, for example, already proposes a solution to the abovementioned issue: it comes with a very simple voice matching mechanism for granting authorisation. The voice matching mechanism enables you to look into your private calendar appointments, emails and such, but it is not 100% reliable yet.


I believe we will see the Mesh expand with more devices with biometric authentication, like the fingerprint reader on almost all smartphones connected to multiexperience systems that require exact identification for the proper authorisation. Likely, we will also see devices doing this identification in other ways more “hands-free” and user-friendly.


I believe multiexperiences will be amended with security mechanisms found in the hardware of, for instance, our cell phones. A zero-password stored, built-in security requesting your fingerprint or other biometrics. Then our smartphones become the keys to unlocking secure and trusted multiexperiences.


In conclusion: multiexperience is a buzz word that describes how us humans will interact with the digital world in the near future to come. As the concept of multiexperiences grows and becomes more mature, so must also the security mechanisms in the Intelligent Digital Mesh. At least if we are going to apply this brave new world of solutions to more than private home appliances like today’s Google Assistant.





References:

Gartner, Inc. (2019) Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020 (Report No. G00432920).

Stamford, CT: Gartner, Inc. Corporate Headquarters.


Footnotes:

[1] https://www.gavstech.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/WP-Intelligent-Digital-Mesh-Leading-the-Top-10-Strategic-Technology-Trends.pdf

[2] Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs. “Intelligence” can in this context be defined as “the computational part of the ability to achieve goals in the world” (http://jmc.stanford.edu/artificial-intelligence/what-is-ai/index.html)

[3] Moore's Law states that the number of transistors on a microchip doubles about every two years, though the cost of computers is halved.

[4] This is my own definition of projects that are given a product first and then finds out what problems or demands it can be used to solve or fulfil, instead of the PRINCE2 approach where you ensure that there is a valid business case, and a clear project brief with scope and information regarding the project before starting out instead of deducting this during the project progress.

[5]According to WorldCat®, the world's largest network of library content and services. WorldCat libraries provide access to their resources on the Web, where most people start their search for information.

[6] https://www.gavstech.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/WP-Intelligent-Digital-Mesh-Leading-the-Top-10-Strategic-Technology-Trends.pdf

[7] https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2019-10-21-gartner-identifies-the-top-10-strategic-technology-trends-for-2020

[8] Virtual Reality is simply put a computer-based technology allowing the user to interact with an artificial environment, often simulated in three dimensions and interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment (to http://lexico.com).

[9] Augmented Reality is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view (http://aniwaa.com )

[10] Mixed Reality is like AR on steroids, it projects three-dimensional digital content that is spacially aware and responsive, so that virtual objects become part of the real world. Often done by adding virtual/digital content to the real world or by adding elements of the real world into the virtual/digital one, thus mixed.

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