UX research & organizational initiative:
Emerging technologies, company & industry awareness
Role: Independent zealot and curious cat
Premise: My AD encouraged me to pitch a series of ideas for innovation through emerging technologies to our VP.
Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, I also independently attended the 2017 Developer Summit in Las Vegas (now the AT&T Shape Conference) primarily to learn about AT&T's strategy surrounding emerging technologies, specifically seeking out answers about our roadmap and capacity on big data, AI & machine learning, voice assistants, block chain encryption, quantum computing, AR & VR, etc.
Outcomes: Prior to attending Dev Summit, two of the more interesting ideas I proposed included concepts I called 'Body Keys' and 'AR Zones'.
Body Keys: The idea would be for AT&T retail stores would offer a 3D body scan service that would allow consumers a way of obtaining and continually updating their own personalized digital fitting. A good start might be partnership with major brands, perhaps major brands such as Levi’s and Nike – two retail items that pose challenges in fit and high returns with online purchasing. Retailers would work in partnership with AT&T to develop experiences that can allow for fitting comparisons and simulations, for both purchases and production.
Keys can be useful for a variety of partnered services including both physical and online purchases of clothing, medical and health industry, insurance, industrial fittings, avatars, identification, etc., and can also work with product placement in interactive media. Keys might also work with geolocation and AR wayfinding to guide consumers through physical retail centers, or to drive sales of on-demand customized clothing and equipment.
I later found a number of companies who have either tried or are currently moving towards use of 3D body scans, including Amazon and Nordstrom.
AR Zones: The idea proposes the use of real-time volumetric video, machine learning and interactivity for home, commercial, or industrial applications, including security, communications and entertainment. The idea comes from a Ukraine company, Limpid, who has been developing technology for situational awareness and visibility in military tanks. I thought to apply the same capabilities at AT&T, starting with their Digital Life services, and beyond.
Developer Summit: in addition to upping my own awareness for ideation, I shared my findings and organizational contacts in two presentations to further connect and inform our UX and digital organizations with our R&D teams to anticipate how we might empower our processes.
The first report was an enormous 80-slide compilation citing use cases for A.I. and machine learning, and relaying the state of various emerging tech.
The second presentation included specific findings from the AT&T Developer Summit; I was the only participant from our UX organization.
OrgView 2020: AR Wayfinding & Data-driven Org Chart Proposal
Role: Independent initiative
Background & problems: In such an enormous organization, coordination of communication and awareness across teams is critical for efficient workflow.
Speaking with our tower's CEO in an 'Ask Me Anything' session, I inquired about the most painful blindspot for someone of her status and tenure. She said that knowing when to dive in deeper to investigate project status rather than simply relying on what she was told is what keeps her up at night.
Accompanying our CEO in the same session was VP of Corporate Solutions (HR), and when I asked what she uses for an org chart, she said 'We don't have one, I requested one yesterday'. They are too labor intensive and she relies on who she knows. Organizational awareness relies heavily on the corporate directory and internal wiki pages which are initiated by individuals teams.
Approach: Following the discussions, I thought to apply the feedback towards a final project as a final project submission for an IDEO Observation for Innovation course I was attending. I proposed a data-driven org chart app that would shed light on team structure, function, project status, personnel, budget-tracking and location. The proposed app would offer data visualization and analytics combined with AR way-finding across campuses to better connect awareness of projects across teams via an intuitive walk-through. The proposal also explores new tools for virtual collaboration.
Outcomes: The project was well received by HR and development, particularly for navigating corporate real estate, and was earmarked for consideration...pending funding. One of the developers was particularly keen on applying QR codes across campuses for AR navigation.
Example layer data options include individual, org/business unit, project timelines:
• Individual history
• Role, org
• Personality – Myers Briggs, DISC or other taxonomy
(example use case: locate an extroverted developer)
• Areas of expertise / disciplines / skills
• FTE vs contract employees
• Location/contact info
• Organizational relationships
• Org history
• Lines of business, revenue
• Organization or project by discipline or area of interest
(example use case: search big data, personalization groups)
• Budgetary / funding information
• Search by project timeline
• Communication, talent, and collaboration incubator
• Matching talent, personality, experience and skills to business goals
• Performance prediction
• Employee empowerment for organizational awareness
• Collaborate with other companies via secure open-data sharing
• Integration with LinkedIn, internal wikis for self-representation
• Private levels of deeper info.
Business intelligence aspects:
• Change management
(example use case: Are projects/efforts/budgets overlapping?)
• Acquisitions: transition of talent and resources
• Predictive aspects
AR/VR connect: UX ideation, organizational development & communication initiative
Role: AR ideation team contributor
Background: Towards the end of my time at AT&T, our new Chief Digital Office called for proposals around augmented reality, and I was invited to join an ideation group who was already developing an AR experience for the AT&T Lounge in Seattle.
Approach: In addition to pitching my AR Wayfinding idea described above, it also made sense to connect our ideation group with The Foundry to learn what they already have in development, to possibly gain support for our prototypes and share resources. Because the AR group was limited to their specific technologies, I hoped to also expand the scope and palette of innovation by connecting groups with different skill sets and resources.
I contacted a principle engineer at the AT&T Foundry, and the assistant to Foundry leadership.
Outcome: The principle engineer introduced team leads in five locations, including two in Atlanta, as well as some other local support resources. I introduced our group to the local teams and they invited us to a sharing session to a prototyped demo on site at a Foundry in downtown Atlanta. I also learned that the other Atlanta Foundry was exploring volumetric video for telepresence, a technology that I had specifically proposed with 'AR Zones'.
UX research: Design principle, "Baby-face bias"
Role: Contributor to a series on design principles
Approach: I investigated and presented the topic of Baby-face bias. Having just finished reading "Enchanted Objects" by David Rose and "The Inevitable" by Kevin Kelly, I selected a topic that related directly to emerging technology including AI and personalization.
Both books address the coming influence of machines with personality, and how they may become influential through both facial features and voice via virtual assistants or androids.
Outcomes: I investigated the various states of voice assistants, AR and VR, and I looked for relevant strategies and developments at AT&T.
Coincidentally, around the time of my presentation, there was furious debate between our EVP of Design and the business team regarding development of a voice assistant and funding for personalization. Later, I attended our Developer Summit and met and interviewed an AT&T Foundry team member who introduced a digital assistant prototype.
I also interviewed the marketing team responsible for AT&Ts Owen on the Move campaign, recognizing that his youthful, digital native persona was deliberately chosen to lend confidence to customer support.
Sample slides below from the 50-slide deck