Look around you right now. How many inanimate objects do you see? Each of them serves a purpose or did at some point. But they're just dumb things with no intelligence or superpowers. Well, that's the way it use to be until everything became smart. What's that you hold in your hand? The next digital assistant?

Today, I attended New Zealand's CIO Summit where Sandra Ng (IDC, Group Vice President - ICT Practice Asia Pacific), opened the summit by talking about the importance of Leading in 3D to drive digital transformation to scale. She spoke about the importance of leading in three key areas: Innovation, Integration and Incorporation.

Sandra spoke of businesses rethinking how their solutions are integrated into human experiences. Take lift manufacturer Schindler Group, for example. After use, a lift would typically return to the ground floor while awaiting the next request with no intelligence about where it could best be utilised. Schindler's Transit Management System now provides, among other things, the "smart lift" that knows where it needs to be and when. With integration to the building tenants' calendar, the lift is able to predict when someone will need to leave the building to get to a meeting. Just push the button, and ping! No more waiting for the lift!

Perceived experiences are one of the strongest influences in customer purchasing decisions. Will this product or service really make my life better? Take the Huggies TweetPee prototype as an example. A wearable device with a moisture sensor is attached to a diaper, sending messages to inform parents that it's time for a change. Affordable sensors like this provide comfort and health benefits for the infant and the ability for a caregiver to respond on demand.

So much for making objects smart when we are presented with traditional organisations, the likes of government departments. Siim Sikkut (Digital Policy Advisor - Government Office of Estonia) spoke of building a digital society of e-residence. The Estonian government set out to transform how it engages with its citizens through the use of technology. In Estonia, it doesn't matter who you are, young or old, everyone uses online services to the same level.

Simple things save time and improve experiences and often they are the most obvious. Estonia has a rule of 'once only'. If the Estonian government already has the information, why should it ask for this information again just because you find yourself dealing with a different department. Siim went on to say that his government aimed to recycle information and systems wherever it seemed logical. Open standards play a significant role to ensure that they recycle the experience of experts from around the globe.

Today's world seems to lend itself to small but powerful tweaks. While sensors are affordable and efficient, cost effective changes can be made to business models and processes to help improve the lives of the people we serve. As Paul Keesing put it, "We think we know how customers should be served but we don't."
In the quest to understand the customer better, the digital business will innovate, integrate, and incorporate products and services into the smart worlds of the modern consumer.