No “OFF” switch

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Hyperconnectivity or “the sharp increase in the interconnectedness of people, organisations and objects that has resulted from three consecutive waves of technology innovation: the internet, mobile technology, and internet of things (IOT).” By 2020, according to the world economic forum, there will be 50 billion networked devices. This level of connectivity will have profound social, political, and economic consequences, and increasingly form part of our everyday lives, from the transportation that we drive to the food that we consume, to our jobs and the governance system we live in.
The challenge in hyperconnectivity is that by definition it transcends geographic borders. Data sovereignty and different rules on data privacy and taxation are becoming more prevalent. Will we be able to truly switch off/disconnect, or maintain distinct credential(s) in both online and offline worlds?
With further extension to hyperconnectivity people will find it harder to disconnect themselves, switch off or reveal distinct aspects of their credential(s) in different situations. We are heading towards an increasingly networked state where boundaries between online-offline, work-social are blurred with the merge of different spheres of contextually identifying credentials. This is becoming to be increasingly important due to the transformative consequences of social and technological changes.
Social digital ecosystem(s) differs from traditional communications technologies allowing users to create,share, consume and collaborate in instantaneous mediums. Governance of online credential(s) will become increasingly important and will bring out issues of ownership and privacy.
Rules of governing the dominion of digital information are dramatically different to those of offline possession. For example an image posted online could be retained or used by othersin ways that is not allowed or intended by the original author.
Hyperconnectivity is often synonymous with the loss of anonymity and a threat to privacy. The willingness of individuals to disclose information in exchange for access to services combined with the financial value to be gained from exploiting customer data mean that individuals cede control over what happens to their data. Even of individuals of limited to no online presence may be identified online, e.g. tagging in uploaded photos or movies. Therefore  individuals may no longer be the primary creators of their own online credential(s).
Identitifying credential(s) will change significantly as online credential(s) are becoming part of the many overlapping attributes held by individuals. Context is crucial in understanding an individual. An individual may have multiple effigy(s) simultaneously. At times, in some places, one digital self or another would be utilised depending upon context. An individual’s sense sense of self are affected to a greater extent by their ecosystem such as the events, community, family, and friends and not due to big events or global trends. Understanding the context and which effigy is most relevant  is crucial to predicting behaviour.
Hyperconnectivity represents a step change. The world is now a highly connected environment where its citizens are globally networked individuals. Events taking part anywhere in the world leads to real and immediate impact(s) elsewhere. Hyperconnected individuals have been provided an efficient and powerful means of communication but equally miscommunication can take place.
In the increasingly hyper connected ecosystem(s), identifying attributes are resources that can have personal, phychological, social, and commercial value. Trust is fundamental to relationships between citizens, between people and commercial organisations, and between citizens and the state. Ethical issues will become more complex and relevant as varying credential(s) come into conflict. A need to maintain balance between privacy, freedom and protection will become a key priority as we progress into the hyperconnected future.

Digital Engagement

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Current digital offerings provide generic experiences and if there are forms of personalized  content, it often suggests content or offers that are inappropriate or simply uninteresting. This is because brands attempted to provide personalisation without considering clients’ social identity, personality, underlying motivations and contextually relations.  Digital makes this tangible for personalisation. What makes it even more challenging is the scale and velocity of the digital ecosystem(s) that makes it hard for businesses to understand what are the value-driven service offerings and to whom they are serving to. Although a few may begin to create rich online experiences building on emotional value-based connection with targeted personas, many are still leveraging outmoded approaches of segmentation and category targeting.
Understanding of the target client must be at the core of every great brand. In order to nurture, service, and retain client loyalty, the understanding of the clients must permeate throughout the whole organisation.
Drawing on decades of research models to understand and predict human behavior, one leading model known as “Big5” also known as “OCEAN” which represents: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. The intent is to assign a percentage score of each of these attributes to any individuals, thereby being able to develop the persona and the analytic insights.
It is vital to note that personalisation capabilities are about aligning the right product or service to the right client at the right time and situation. Business must take into account the different personalities of their clients in order to ensure personified experience. Context is king.
Failing to understand what makes people engross  and comfortable with a particular brand or message tends to leave businesses competing in price which is ultimately a race to the bottom. The challenge of achieving this level of understanding requires businesses to continuously give up on margins as they try other means of attracting clients (e.g fee discount)..
It is evident that the missing link of clients’digital journey has been developing client understanding. Discerning the personality traits of  clients and the motivation behind their digital behavior (“He is online even if he is offline”) is the key to a more personalized and relevant client journey promoting the overall brand experience. Investing in personalisation to encompass the entire client journey ensures greater client loyalty and integrating into the digital ecosystem of people who genuinely like the product(s), service(s) and/or brand.
The challenge is to understand the journey to achieve such personalisation especially in the digital ecosystem where clients’ are unknown, anonymous or inaccurate digital persona(s) are associated to an individual interacting via various digital mediums. The essence to achieve personalisation requires trust to be established or else you will never uncover and understand the true client ( see “Be your digital self …”). Personalisation must consider context with the appropriate timing.
Adoption to new technology and mediums along with new data sets are required in real-time and at massive scale in order for businesses to attain insightful information on the personalities and behavior of clients. This enables genuine personalisation in every aspects from service to product offerings..

Be your digital self …

We all have at least one digital self, something representing us to engage in the technological world. Initially this may just be information about us and related data. But at some point, in time this digital footprint will learn and adopt our behaviors and become active.
We may have multiple digital selves – genuine and facades. The genuine self is the one which learns directly from our behaviors and mirrors our social identity. The facades are tailored for specific situations or may try to protect the genuine self.
The genuine digital self will become a mirror of you – most likely knowing more about you than you do yourself.
Is the genuine digital self a legal subject or just acting on behalf? Our genuine digital self will be able to act much faster considering more information than we can – if allowed. We must consider the level of responsibility and accountability on our physical self for what it does. Should this begin with a form of parent child relation and to evolve becoming a legal subject over time.  This evolved relationship enables the digital citizen to grow and learn over time to become of full legal age at some point.
Ethical standards for digital selves will become increasingly important – humans have ethical basic patterns which are inherited and part of the DNA. Before digital selves become widely adopted and increasing active, digital self will require such standards.
We will, as part of the evolution, need to revisit our standards of privacy. Are we able to pause our digital self and what would be the impact and disruption to our digital ecosystem?  Digital self-editing may sound funny but may soon become a serious issue when others detect discrepancies and lead to distrust. Observed digital selves – you observed by others – can be used to validate information or complement it. So, you need to become more yourself – which for most people is not a big issue.
We need to evolve our perspective of what we treat and define as sensitive information during this journey. Fundamental attributes such as name, birth date or social security number will be increasingly hard to protect. So, we will need to change the way how we see personal information during this journey. Many legacy constructs like credit card numbers are not suitable for the digital age and must be replaced – this is the essence of the ‘digital transformation’.
Obviously, the digital self needs to be well secured and protected. This includes integrity, availability and confidentiality. Initially you will be responsible to keep your true digital self secure. But at some point, this will change and your digital self starts to protect you – two evolutionary states of digital self defense.
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