Can You Get the Digitally-Intimidated to Use Technology?

It has been expected for some years now that computers would not only be everywhere, but in everything as they became cheaper. That is now achievable.

Not long ago, a detergent company prototyped a chip on a detergent container to provide rich media instructions when consumers used their smartphone to interact with it. While the prototype has not become mainstream, it signals the readiness of the technology to be in everything. Pens have also gone digital. With Wacom‘s Inkling digital pen, you can sketch things up on a piece of paper and the computer in your pen will record your motion and create a digital image that you can download to your computer and manipulate graphically.

Technology, no doubt, has the ability to provide value-add to our daily lives and help solve problems. For businesses, it could mean improved efficiency and cost reduction.

Nevertheless, there is still a group of people out there that are intimidated by technology. My mother-in-law is one of them. To this day, she relies on loved ones to turn on the stereo or put in a DVD for her. If no one is around, she’s quite content to go without. As for the computer, it is like a piece of decor in the house. She feels no desire to interact with it.

My mother-in-law is not alone. While the technology-intimidated crowd tends to skew older, I personally know a couple of people around 40 that are not comfortable with technology and only use the basics like TV.

Being a technology enthusiast, I always wondered whether there is a way to add value to this group through technology. I believe the answer is yes and we’re now at a tipping point to digitally engage this group en mass.

For example, some dental practitioners have introduced a “video book” to help educate their patients on more complex dental procedures such as dental implants.  Once the dental practitioner identifies the need for a particular procedure, he or she will hand the patient in the chair a mini-computer, disguised as a book, to educate the patient on the procedure. The video book provides information in a multimedia format, combining text, audio, video and animation explaining the procedure. While the patient (mostly technology unsavvy seniors) consumes this information, the dental team can work on another patient and return at the end to answer questions. This approach not only provides a more effective education for consumers, it also saves time for the business.

As for my mother-in-law, she still won’t entertain touching a computer but has slowly warmed up to the iPad – a computer that is kind of shaped like a book and only has one unintimidating button on it!