We are facing a new scenario where, from now on, a generation with unprecedented behaviours will dominate the consumer world. Socio-demographic changes paint a picture of a totally different consumer from what we are used to: new technologies and global trends question the viability of traditional business models; this client requires a lot of attention.
So let’s take a few moments to discover the differences between Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants. “Digital Natives”, according to Mark Prensky, are all those born in the mid 80s and onwards. Hence anyone born before then, is classified as a “Digital Immigrant”.
Some features that define “Digital Natives” are:
- They receive information quickly.
- They enjoy multitasking.
- They prefer graphs to text.
- They work best when connected, they learn from being connected.
- They chose to play seriously instead of work.
- They are born with a mobile in their hand.
On the other hand “Digital Immigrants” are described as those:
- Born in the pre-digital era, before the 90s.
- Step-by-step processes mould their mental structures.
- They learn from pre-acquired knowledge.
- They print digital documents to read them or correct them.
- They read instructions before using equipment.
The differences between both groups lead to a generational and cognitive gap. We see new cognitive traits in today’s youths, such as:
- A digital client formed during infancy.
- Social networks: the new way of socialising.
- Technology forging identities.
- They think and act in-group.
- They are global retail minded.
- They play at virtual reality.
- Multitasking behaviours.
- Visually inclined: to see and hear is better than reading.
They harmonize with the new, previously unimaginable, technologies erupting on the scene, keys to technological applications like The Internet of things, or Smart Cities, Wearables (GoogleGlass or Smart watches), Big Data, Cloud Computing, 3D printing, Augmented Reality and Robotics.
Let’s discuss 4 new scenarios or a combination of these:
While Quick Response (QR) codes and Augmented Reality (AR) interact in physical spaces, Virtual Reality (VR) exits in a completely digital environment. AR attempts to add digital elements to tangible reality, VR aims to substitute it, using glasses or other devices. VR users are immersed into a computer-designed world.
Quick Response codes convert any kind of information into an image, made up of black squares, which can be scanned and deciphered by a device. These codes are used to enable access to digital content and can be scanned and read by smartphones, they are used in publications, leaflets, business cards, etc. Most codes take the user to a website or downloadable content, such as images or videos. Once the code has been scanned, no interaction with the environment is needed.
AR uses real surroundings, filling them with digital elements with the help of a device; instead of scanning a physical surface to gain access to digital content (as most QR codes do) it interacts with the physical environment through the screen. We can see examples in services such as Layer, this app fills city locations with useful information (temperature, addresses, etc.), similar to what Google is attempting with the Google Glass Project.
But the fun comes when two or more technologies are combined, like QR codes and Augmented Reality.
As long as interaction remains the aim, QR codes can also be used in AR applications. While a traditional QR code in a magazine will take you to the publication’s website, a RA code will link you to videos on your mobile or tablet, as if they were floating on the page.
AR can be used to add digital elements to surfaces like magazine pages. Layer is one of the most used AR platforms; it allows you to check important information about a place just by pointing your phone in that direction.
We must be very aware of the common traits of our future consumers, as these will present a great challenge to all businesses.