Something of a philosophical post this time around! It recently hit home with me just how much emerging augmented reality, virtual reality and data analytic technologies are connected with empowering the individual. In recent years communications and the Internet have brought knowledge to and provided a voice for the individual. In the near future technologies such as data analytics will make that knowledge more personally-relevant and technologies such as augmented and virtual reality will present that knowledge in a more personally-intuitive fashion. All this will contribute to greater individual understanding and confidence, which in turn will promote a greater feeling of empowerment.
This is particularly true in education and healthcare sectors, where the concepts of self-directed learning and patient self-management are already defined and are of increasing interest as centralised institutions struggle to scale with the increasing and diversifying demands of the students and the patients that they serve. If individuals both on the service-providing and service-consuming sides can use mobile and wearable technologies to increase personal empowerment then a number of benefits can be realised. Service consumers can confidently take on more responsibility for self-management of their own situation, reducing overhead and demand on specialist service providers. The providers can concentrate more on guidance and coaching of the consumers to further improve their knowledge, understanding and self-management skills. In education and healthcare this would be a fairly radical reorganisation of the structures and processes we’ve relied on to date, whereby the “uneducated” consumer essentially relies on the “expert” provider to direct almost every detail of the learning or healthcare experience. However it is a model of working that needs to be progressed to provide the personalised and sustainable service that we all crave.