Interview: How to make the interaction between Humans and Machines easier

Tugberk Duman, Head of Innovation at Futurice. In 2016, Tugberk launched Futurice’s biometrics business unit to help shape the future of human-machine interaction. The following year, he stepped up to his current role leading the company’s innovation unit. His latest work includes face recognition payment in the financial service sector and developing walk-pace identification technology with Finavia and Finnair.

Tugberk Duman, Head of Innovation at Futurice. In 2016, Tugberk launched Futurice’s biometrics business unit to help shape the future of human-machine interaction. The following year, he stepped up to his current role leading the company’s innovation unit. His latest work includes face recognition payment in the financial service sector and developing walk-pace identification technology with Finavia and Finnair.

Futurice is an international Digital Innovation Company for technology trends. xethix spoke with Tugberk Duman, Head of Innovation, about how biometrics and artificial intelligence will shape our future.

xethix: One of your goals at Futurice is to make the interaction between humans and machines easier. Could you explain this a bit?

Tugberk Duman: At Futurice, we create digital products and services for many different industries – and our work includes very often the process of simplifying the interaction between humans and machines, indeed. Using technology should be a satisfying experience that helps customers reach their goal in an intuitive way.

However, many companies start with their internal goals in mind when creating new digital solutions – the result can be complex solutions that are difficult to use and push themselves into the foreground instead of really making lives of customers easier.

The payment process is a good example: Many mobile payment solutions require customers to open a separate app on their phone, remember passwords and generally make an easy process – like paying at the checkout – more complex than it needs to be. When looking at the user experience as a starting point, however, you realize that a smooth and frictionless process is most important from the customer’s perspective. Implementing a way for customers to pay via a biometrics-based service has a lot of advantages like a better customer experience, faster processing and – above all – an uncomplicated, intuitive handling.

xethix: Making the interaction between Humans and Machines easier, you see the „Zero User Interface“ concept as the future – what does this mean exactly?

 Tugberk Duman:  Zero UI is all about this easier interaction between humans and machines. This approach enables consumers to interact with digital products and services in a  frictionless and very intuitive way. Technology-wise this includes for example voice control, face recognition or behavioral biometrics. Implementing technologies like these for Zero UI solutions allows to create invisible and minimal interfaces that dissolve into the environment but react to a user’s presence proactively.

Where earlier we had to alter our behavior to interact with machines, digital solutions based on Zero UI understand our natural modes of communication, from speech to gestures and even facial expressions or emotions.

 xethix:  When using biometrics, there are three main aspects to consider: cost, security and convenience. How do you order their importance?

  Tugberk Duman: We at Futurice believe that security – or more exactly protecting consumers’ privacy and data – must be the top priority. Ideally, biometrics solutions e.g. based on face recognition should be services that consumers opt-in to voluntarily, because they make everything so much easier.

But this will only be possible if both, security and privacy are taken more serious and users are informed proactively and transparently about any use of their data. At Futurice, we are acting based on fundamental principles when creating biometrics-based services: Consumers participating in the services – whether pilot or fully launched – must provide informed consent. For us it’s extremely important to guarantee complete transparency in how we use consumer data – which will of course not be used beyond the biometrics project.

It’s key to support and adhere to a consumers‘ data rights, especially the right to be forgotten. Additionally, we always guarantee secure storage and handling of consumer data.

The next priority should always be convenience, or maybe better, a customer-centric experience. You should never use biometrics just for the sake of it or because it is a new and exciting technology. Our most relevant point is optimizing and enhancing the customers interaction with technology.

Cost is of course important as well and should be considered throughout the project – a possible approach to reduce costs are solutions that make use of personal smartphones, tablets and laptops for signing up to biometric services and logging biometric data.

 xethix:  You said once, „technology solutions should not be rolled out without looking at potential social impacts of the technology“. How can that work in a good way?

  Tugberk Duman: The most important step is to carefully choose the starting point for any digital project. A digital project is never purely about technology – it rather is about the best way to achieve a certain objective, be it a smoother process, winning customer loyalty or expanding a company’s product line to enter new markets.

When you start service creation with those underlying objectives and with the customer needs at heart and center, you factor in the impact of technology from the beginning.

 About: Futurice ist ein international agierendes Unternehmen, das innovative digitale Lösungen entwickelt und Unternehmen und Organisationen dabei unterstützt, die Digitale Transformation mit Erfolg zu bewältigen. In multidisziplinären Teams arbeiten Designer, Entwickler und Business Advisors an der Entwicklung von digitalen Services, die auf die Bedürfnisse der jeweiligen Kunden optimal zugeschnitten sind. Die 2000 in Finnland gegründete Digitalberatung hat heute über 600 Mitarbeiter in Helsinki, Tampere, Stockholm, London, Berlin, Stuttgart, Oslo und München.

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