Monday, January 19, 2004

The Digital Society is a term I came up with some time ago, with the idea of extending the "hype" of the Digital Home to other areas like school, eGovernment etc. I hope the term Digital Society does not suffer the same "hyped" fate of terms like the Digital Home or eCommerce before that. The use of the 2.0 suffix appears to go the same way, so I deliberaty will not use Society 2.0

So, what exactly is the Digital Society? The Digital Society aims to capture the essence of placing the citizen at the center of digital services --regardless of where these services come from -- entertainment companies, Government, my employer, my bank etc.

To make this concept more understandable. I propose 5 different settings or scenarios:
A) Entertainment - Music, photos, videos, films etc. Produced by me or professionally
B) Security and comfort - Managing the appliances at home, surveillance, healthcare services
C) Shopping and commerce - Banking, shopping
D) Work - Sharing documents and tools to do office work and school/college work
E) Citizenry - Utilising government services for tax, welfare etc

As mentioned earlier, the key to the concept is "user-centricity" -- where the user, based on her/his lifestyle preferences, will have different uses for the digital services. The rationale for this "user-focus" lies in the lessons learned from the PC-era.

Consider the mid 1980s, the mainstream office PC was invented, Ethernet was commercially available, client-server software architecture was gaining attention. By early 1990s we had a massive proliferation of software and the de-centralisation of IT-management. From the chaos of this proliferation, we emerged with user-centered design as a key element of software design. Today, we have muliple devices (not just the PC), Internet (not just Ethernet) and we have Service Oriented Architecture (evolved from client server). It is then, tempting to extrapolate the experiences from the PC-era and expect the emergence of "Consumer Centered Design" as a key element for creating digital services.

PS! I wonder why service providers like Telcos do not realise that, their way to segment the customer (i.e. private or corporate) blatantly ignores the fact that I am BOTH a private and a corporate customer (I am me!!).