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Always in beta: How digital changes my world

By Hanna-Mari Parkkinen, Business Design Senior Manager, Accenture Digital, Helsinki

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One of the wonderful things about working in digital is that it is continuously evolving.

Trends and tools that were great last year are constantly merging with what is new this year. And that is also true in our personal lives, as my sons remind me often.

Who could have imagined that we would spend the summer with the boys hunting Pokémons, walking more than 10 kilometers during our game days playing the mobile augmented reality game Pokémon Go.

Because of my focus on digital, my mantra is that I am always in beta–meaning always growing by testing and trying things. l learned that approach from my mom who went back to school when I started first grade. She never stopped studying and has been an example of continuous learning.

You can always improve and learn something new.

I can say that our family is also digitally savvy. We have two active sons with plenty of hobbies. We have a WhatsApp group called “SuperFamily” that our boys created for us. We use it to communicate, exchanging voice messages and the latest changes in the schedule with each other. We put all ice hockey and football practices as well as our business trips on a Google family calendar. Since we are in Finland, there is plenty of ice hockey!

We manage school communications using an extranet application where homework, exams, feedback from classes, as well as all absences, are posted. The student association is run on a Google calendar, and parents use WhatsApp to communicate around carpooling.

We just bought Amazon Echo, a smart voice-controlled speaker. As a family, we are experimenting with how to involve “Alexa” (the name to which the device responds) in our daily lives. Alexa is great at letting us know the time and location of the next ice hockey practice as well as if there will be traffic on the way there.

Furthermore, I love coding with our boys. We coded our family holiday app together using Python, a programming language. It is what Accenture Interactive calls a “Living Service” (combining data analytics with the Internet of Things to create a service that comes to life), so it is “always on beta” or learning and evolving as we experiment with it.

“We invite them to try things with us, gradually helping them experience the opportunities and seeing the potential digital can bring.”

I hope my sons will embrace the idea of learning something new every day because that keeps me energized. This way, trying new things feels more like an exciting journey than something scary and overwhelming.

In the same way, at work we build our clients’ confidence, encouraging them to try new technology and jump-start their digital journey. We also help them personally embrace digital. We invite them to try things with us, gradually helping them experience the opportunities and seeing the potential digital can bring.

Whether it is a new communication tool for multi-location teams or establishing the first internal livestream, broadcasting live video to employees, or using Facebook Live to broadcast interviews with clients, we push the boundaries.

What will the future be like?

Our sons will never need a car nor a driver’s license, self-driving vehicles will be moving them with their large ice hockey bags from one hockey rink to another. Already, I watch a livestream of their games across the country and follow their scores with intelligent connected pucks. In the future, it will be a fully immersive virtual experience.

Personally, I am looking forward to immersive experience rooms where we will feel like we are sitting next to each other, even if we’re in different locations. That is the next frontier of digital for me.


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