Architecting a Smart Community from a CX Perspective
Cities of today face new challenges that simply didn’t exist in cities of the past. Due to explosive population growth (current predictions estimate that by 2050 the world’s urban population will double), residents face unprecedented levels of pedestrian traffic, automobile traffic, increased water usage, increased electrical demands, among a dozen other issues.
In response to these new challenges, we’ve begun to see smart homes pop up here and there within the fabric of a given city. And even more recently, the scope has broadened from a singular smart home to an entire Smart Community.
We decided to take a look at this concept and brainstorm how we would architect a Smart Community from the ground up. Key to this exercise was to make sure we were looking at the city from the perspective of the user, focusing on their experience. After all, if you build it (with experience in mind), they will come.
The Resident Experience: A Day in the Life
- 6:00 am - Imagine waking up in the morning…as you open your eyes, your blinds have begun to open just slightly to let in the morning light while ambient music coaxes you awake. Your nose twitches ever so slightly as the smell of freshly brewed coffee makes its way into your room. You look up and notice your closet light is blinking. This means it’s forecasted to rain that day, so you make a mental note to grab a raincoat on the way out.
- 6:15 am - As you climb from bed and head for that coffee, the lights in your bedroom turn off just as your stereo switches to the current traffic report, ensuring that you have ample time to make it to work. You grab your iPad off your smart charging table and reserve one of your building’s car-share vehicles for the day, set the desired temperature for your shower, then sit back and read the morning news as you enjoy your coffee.
- 7:00 am - On your way to work you make a quick stop at the bakery to pick up breakfast which is ready and waiting for you. You’ve racked up enough loyalty points so the breakfast costs you nothing.
- 7:30 am - At work you receive a notification that the building maintenance needs to access your apartment to replace the HVAC filter and check your tankless water heater. You authorize entry with the click of a button.
- 5:30 pm - On your way home from work you stop for a few groceries (also ready and waiting for you) and then enter your apartment, sans keys; which is perfect, considering you have two bags of groceries in your hands. As you unload the groceries you get an alert that your milk is low. You acknowledge the notification and a request is sent to the grocer who has already confirmed delivery for first thing tomorrow.
- 6:30 pm - As you settle onto your couch to watch an episode of your favorite show, your thermostat auto-adjusts to heat only your living room to the optimal temperature. After a while your iPad alerts you that your friends have arrived, so you click a button to let them know you are on your way. You head downstairs, and as you walk with your friends to your favorite restaurant, the street lights brighten and dim ahead and behind you. You enter the restaurant, and each person is greeted by name, your group immediately escorted to a table. Since you are regulars, your favorite order appears on your phone and you accept, placing the order.
- 8:00 pm - As the last round of drinks arrive, you order an Uber and head out to the car awaiting you. The bill for dinner was paid automatically as you left the restaurant, a receipt already in your online expense and banking queue waiting for review.
- 8:30 pm - When you arrive at the arena for a concert, signs light up with your name and those of your friends directing you to an entrance. Even though the show is sold out, you walk right in; lines are now a thing of the past. As you approach your seats you get a notification there has been a last minute cancelation and a club level box is available for a small upgrade. You convince your friends it’s worth it and hit accept, at which point a map directing you to the box appears on your phone.
- 8:45 pm - As you walk to your new seats, you place drink orders for everyone, a way to thank them for being spontaneous. When you arrive a few minutes later in the club level, the drinks are waiting.
- 11:30 pm - The show is amazing and as the encore winds down, your phone sends you an alert that your Uber is ready and maps out a route back to the car. After dropping off your friends, you arrive home. The elevator is waiting for you and your floor already selected. The screen in the elevator shows an animated advertisement for your favorite coffee with a promo code. You don’t want to run out of coffee so you touch your phone to the screen and an order is placed with the grocer. They will deliver it with the milk tomorrow.
- 12:00 am - As you wind down for the night, your blinds, lights and thermostat all go into sleep mode. Your deadbolts lock and you set your phone and tablet on your smart nightstand to charge. Thanks to your Smart Community, your entire day has been a smooth, frictionless experience.
Sound too easy? Too good to be true? It’s not. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Now, the million dollar question. Do you know where the potential friction points were within your experience and how they were resolved? No? Good. You’re not meant to know. This is the heart of our Smart Community approach and why focusing on the experience is so critical. It’s precisely where we start with any company or organization we engage with to assist with their Smart Community initiatives.
We wanted to explore this concept further, taking a look at it from all angles and vantage points. So, we did just that, and then we went back and wrote a whitepaper on it.