What is Smart Technology?
One of the first tasks I was given as a consultant was to create a ‘Contact Form’ for an online event planning system. It was a form that was used extensively by data entry people to get invitees into the system. As any consultant knows, creating a contact form is something we can normally do in our sleep. Almost every website has some variation of one. However, the project manager of this site had obviously given a lot of thought into ways to minimize the amount of time it would take to fill out the form. He had done manual data entry himself and he was frustrated by how long it took to get a single person into the system. He wanted the contact form to be a very smart contact form. He wanted the form to start out with many defaults already filled in based on specific contextual rules, and as you manually filled in data, more fields were auto-filled based on similar rules. There were unobtrusive prompts when the system could guess at values so you could click and move forward. Even entering a male first name would make ‘Mr’ be selected. It was not necessarily a form that would work for everyone, but he loved it and it saved a lot of data entry time.
Over the years I’ve worked with many clients who have had similar ideas regarding their specific needs and I’m always excited to work with them. I like the way they see how software should help them. It’s real. It’s tangible. It’s had a strong influence on the way I view technology; it’s had a strong influence on the way we operate PHPinternet.
We’ve given a number of names to this approach. Sometimes it’s the ‘auto-complete’ approach, sometimes it’s the ‘click-click-done’ approach. But it all boils down to ‘smart technology’. Smart Technology is not about artificial intelligence, it’s about making people’s lives easier. It’s software that is intuitive, easy to use, saves you time and maximizes your productivity. That is our focus in the work we do.