Predicting the future of consumer technology use – A scenario study at a wearable manufacturer

University essay from Lunds universitet/Produktionsekonomi

Abstract: Background: The large smartphone manufacturers are desperately searching for a product to follow smartphones which have lately gained close to commodity status. The manufacturers are putting a lot of faith into wearables, which they hope will become the next big thing. There is however not an agreed upon view on which shape they should take or which functionalities they should possess. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to provide insights on how the personal and mobile ICT-use will develop in the upcoming 5 years. This will be done through a series of future scenarios. The thesis will also provide insights on the implications each scenario has for a wearable manufacturer. Delimitations: The main focus is on mobile personal ICT-use and consumer ICT-products are therefore primarily discussed with a consumer perspective. The ICT use is also discussed in a western developed context. Method: In order to fulfill the purpose of the study a scenario method was used. Through interviews and analysis of trend reports and other material a series of aspects relevant for the market development were highlighted and thereafter clustered. Two large uncertainties for how the market will develop were identified in an influence analysis and thereafter discussed with a focus group consisting of university students. The uncertainties were then used to stretch out a scenario cross and scenarios were thereafter formulated and implications for a wearable manufacturer discussed. Results: Six major drivers were identified as factors that can have a significant impact on the ICT-development in the next five years. People feel technology is socially intrusive, wearables are challenging today’s UI, Internet UX is becoming push-based, analytics-based applications are on the rise, sharing becomes normal and controlling your data is increasingly important. From these drivers, the two uncertainties high vs low trust and high vs low social acceptance were identified and used as the dimensions in the scenario model. Four scenarios were developed; one where smart watches has reached a mass market named “The device-packed benefit-seekers”, one where smartphones have got an amplified role called “The social-craving skeptics”, one were there had been few changes compared to today’s situation named “The simple-minded conservatives”, one where only discrete wearables have entered the market called “The future-longing fashionistas”.

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