The technology industry introduced its first Proof of Concept (PoC) labs somewhere around the mid-1990s. The Internet had really started to gain traction and there was a dynamism to our web pages, Windows 95 worked really well and nobody was really worried about the millennium bug yet. It was time to show what ‘might’ be possible with the new breed of technology.
Technology today moves a lot faster than it did back then. Concept labs still exist, but users expect a more tangible experience of what it can do to make our working lives better.
ServiceNow took this drive for immediacy and immersion forward this October with our Innovation Experience, showcased at Now at Work London 2019.
This immersive and contextual experience technology hub was an opportunity for our customers to physically walk into a special zone and experience a workspace that truly represents the office of the future, today.
We’ve constructed the space to showcase scenarios that are common to all work departments, not just the IT function. The technologies are empowered by Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and so are able to interpret the needs of humans more intuitively, directly and rapidly.
All ServiceNow solutions that form part of the Innovation Experience are mobile-first. This means that all functionality can be accessed and executed from a users’ smartphone, tablet or laptop device. People can now manage work at their desk, or, equally, they can be in the coffee shop, on the bus or train.
Saddle up partners
We took visitors to the ‘Saddle Bar’, which is a real bar in San Diego, near the original wooden space ship where ServiceNow started in 2004. Users were shown how to build an application on the Now Platform from this mobile location.
They witnessed the transition from initial app design, through to working in ‘sprints’ (Agile processes designed to encapsulate elements of work and drive them forward rapidly) and then onwards towards the ultimate app deployment.
A lot of the innovation showcased was based on our ServiceNow New York release instances, as well as the technologies we are bringing in from our partners, including Office 365.
Channeling information streams
As we now work to expand the scope of digital business wider every day, we need to be able to connect to information from traditional data stores alongside telemetry from IoT sensors, and much more. Information streams from any source can be plugged into the ServiceNow platform and fed towards the users who are creating applications in these new work environments.
Innovation Experience visitors got a hands-on experience of using the ServiceNow Guided App Creator to design working applications faster than ever previously possible.
The platform asked visitors whether their app should have location maps, whether it should be web-based, whether it should have a phone icon for voice functionality, and if it should have other pre-canned elements of functionality. So it’s all low-code no-code and ready to use from the get-go.
The office of the future – now
At the ServiceNow Innovation Experience, which we intend to showcase beyond Now at Work London, if users want to book a meeting area, they can do so using the booking systems that run in Office 365. To make things even more intuitive, this kind of action can be carried out using chatbots. There are ‘human handoff’ controls in place for the AI to release to human operatives if they can’t resolve a request, but the system always shows the user what ‘confidence rating’ its AI actions are based upon first.
There’s a lot of intelligent automation happening in the background, but visitors to the hub themselves don’t feel like they’re exposed to much technology because it augments and supports tasks so intuitively that it encourages thinking about work itself, not about the underlying workflows.
When people send text messages, they don’t think about how data packets are transferred between carrier networks. It’s the same at the hub – the office of the future. We can see that people start thinking more about the impact and value of the work they are carrying out, rather than the nature of the work and the processes that underpin it.
The ServiceNow Innovation Experience has proved to be an immersive and contextual environment that is inspiring, yet real. It is thought-leading, yet achievable. When employees start to realize that they can achieve so much more in the workplace, they get inspired by the journey they have just taken and decide that there are so many other problems to be solved.
It’s a virtuous circle that drives the passion to innovate. Our new generation of workers realizes that they can work anywhere, at a pace that suits their own personal goals and deadlines, in harmony with their personal lives. This freedom lets the creative juices flow and allows us to further eradicate all the time killing, antiquated and poor experiences of the past.
Proof of Concept is so last millennium, the proof is in front of us – at the ServiceNow Innovation Experience.