Service Integration In The Future


Under the development of internet, online life become our mainstream life style. Individuals are easy to be connected with different services. For example, person can easily order food online, take exercises throw an online course from an application or book a car easily with Uber. This online habit is easy to be connected.



Between companies’ network is building

In 2014, Uber collaborate with Spotify. Uber & Spotify allow passengers customise the music through Spotify App when they use Uber’s service.

Recently, UberEATS is more and more popular among us. It shows a great combination between ride and delivery. Ikea collaborates with Apple intents to utilise AR to shape the furniture shopping market. We can see more and more companies is collaborating to seek better market return.

These linking can be regarded as business ecosystem. It was raised by Moore in article Predators and Prey: A New Ecology of Competition in 1993. From another article, The Business Ecosystem, Kenter. R.M points out linking business together could make ecosystem function better. Through the collaboration mentioned above, the business eco-system is continually being built. And it will become more complicated, since different companies starting collaborating. A more and more massive linking business world can be caught.



Inside enterprise network is building 

On 31, march, 2017, Tudou officially became a short vedio publication platform. And Alibaba, the parent company of Tudou, would spend 2000 million RMB to support the “DAYU PLAN”. It means, at the same time, Youku, UC, Tianmao, Alipay and other subsidiary corporations of Alibaba would gradually join the Alibaba System, sharing recourses between the subsidiary corporations. It shows that inside a huge enterprise subsidiary corporations start to support each other. The linked ecosystem inside an enterprise is being built.

When service providers link together, the service they provided must be linked together.




The awareness of the roles of the stakeholders are raised.

In 2016, at the IXDC2016, Beijing, Chashan, a senior user experience designer in Alibaba, gave a talk about the Implementation of Service Design in Business and Public Area. He raised that sharing economy spread so fast shall own to the emerging awareness of stakeholders. In the past, when user experience was mentioned, it was talking about the user. The user is more important than the experience. Then the experience was more emphasised than user. But now, the field of the user is enlarged. It means users are not only the person who directly use this service or product, but also the indirect users who would be influenced by the service or product indirectly or passively. And the role of users is described more specific. The population of stakeholders is based on the development of service design. The discussion of different roles of stakeholders gives the space to study what could happen between different user roles. It grows the peer-to-peer service, the user segmentation. Hence, he believes that the appearance of service design is the precondition of sharing economy. The importance of service design in sharing economy seems exaggerated. But it shows an important fact that persons who are discussed in business are no longer only users. A increasing awareness about the relationship between different user roles is being built.



Individuals draw increasingly attention in the world.

FJORD 2017 published an article named Ephemeral Stories. This article announces that with the population of information publishing platform, like Snapchat and Instagram, individuals are enabled to become a storyteller to the public. Everyone could run the We Media. With the technology development and awareness changing, individuals are more independent and shining than before. No longer like the past, when publication of paper media is the mainstream to inform the public. Now, everyone is a storyteller and everyone could become a centre of the media world.


My Assumption 

Above all, the service now is going to be connected. And in the near future, more and more service will be connected. A service networking is building. Individuals would be a unit in the linking word. In the further future, when the integration grows more mature, the integrated service might infiltrate into everyone’s daily life. This article believes that in the future, service for everyday life will perform as integration.


When it happens to individuals’ daily life, what will the individuals think? How will they feel? Will they do anything to support the change? Will they do anything to against the change? Individuals are at the end position of the whole service chain. But the service is designed for them. They are the most important part of this service designing. Therefore, their feeling and feedback cannot be ignored. To explore what will happen if the everyday service in the future is integrated, a design experiment is designed.


Design experiment 

This experiment is from user’s aspect to explore how will the end user feel, if everyday life is filled with integrated service. To attract real living scenario and create integrated life based on that. I invite one young lady as my focus group. Lady A used to be an international student in France and the United Kingdom. And now she works in a high tech company in London. An interview was arranged firstly.

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Based on the interview, her daily routing and physical touch points were caught. Besides the routing, two specific scenarios were created to present a linked service in the future.

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From the interview, Lady A says she will stand in front of her wardrobe and look into the mirror. Based on this fact, the first scenario is created. The first scenario is about a multifunctional wardrobe. For this wardrobe, the mirror on the board is a big screen. When Lady A stands in front of it, she can use it as mirror as usual, and she can also use other functions, such as checking the weather forecast, listening to radio, getting fashion news, shopping on line, donating old clothes and even order laundry service. Behind the wardrobe, it means relevant services are linked as a network here. Only through one touch point, different services can be accessed. When Lady A stands in front of the wardrobe, other services are available.

In the experiment testing, she showed great interests in the multifunctional wardrobe. She even added more possible function to the wardrobe. “Maybe the mirror can tell me the something about the clothing match. How are others matching their clothing? Will it suit for me?”

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Lady A also mentions that she takes exercise every day. Sometimes she plays yoga, sometimes she practices boxing. So the second scenario is designed. The second scenario is a fitness system. It starts from a fitness machine. When users take exercise with the machine, their health data are collected. Then the data will be sent to the kitchen. The kitchen will order material and cook food for the users automatically. Hence, the users can easily enjoy the most balanced and healthy meal. When the users finish the meal, the kitchen will collect the dishes and do the washing. The experiment scenario is designed to get end users’ response and understand the reason. So a proactive scenario is set as below. Because the suggesting is calculated strictly and absolutely good for the health. So the users must finish the suggested meal strictly. Such as, the system suggests a user to drink 2L water, because of the user’s data analysis. If the user only drink 1L, the system will know it and giving a warning. “You must drink 2L water. Otherwise, you are locked in the dining room until you finish the rest 1L water.”

When Lady A know the scenario, she shows angry and say, “I will only accept kind reminders or notifications. I would not allow any system block me!”


Second Experiment 

Because the experiment is based on the real life routing of Lady A. During the experiment, it is really hard for her jump out of the box. To explore other possibility, the second experiment was planned to be rehearsed by another user.A young Gentleman B was invited as the second testing user. He is 24 years old. He also works in a high tech company. These similar background makes him could understand Lady A. The similarities of the two experimenters ensure the role play could happen, and the differentia keep the different outcomes of the experiments.

Gentleman B was required to role play Lady A. He need to image he is hero of the life routing during the experiment and give feedback and suggestions in the process.

The second experiment start from getting up and taking exercise, which is a warm up to play himself as Lady A. Then he went to the first scenario. “This is a multifunctional wardrobe. The mirror on the board is a big screen. When you stand in front of it, you can use it as mirror as usual. You can also check the weather forecast, listen to radio, get fashion news, shop on line, donate old clothes and even order laundry service. How do you think of this wardrobe?”

Gentleman B answered, “I do not need a huge screen. If the wardrobe would fold clothes for me, it will attract me.”

After rehearsing the life routing of Lady A, such as taking tube, working, having lunch and getting back home, he went to the second scenario. When he understood there was a fitness system linking with health analysis, material purchase and cooking, he got a question, “Because the suggesting is calculated strictly and absolutely good for the health. So the users were asked to finish the suggested meal strictly. Such as, the system suggests you to drink 2L water, but you only drink 1L. The system will lock you in the dining room until you finish the rest 1L. How is your feeling?”

Gentleman B gave a similar answer as Lady A, “A service system’s job is giving suggestions. I will decide it by myself.”


Experiment Summary 

Both participants showed great interests to the key scenario during the life routing which contain a lots of touchpoints. Hence, the experiment could prove that integrated service would be an interesting service format in the future existing in young people’s life.

From both of them, they think in a service system notification could exist. But a service cannot force them to do anything. A service system could not be a forcing system.

For different users, the service system could allow users to set it according to their personal preference. Customisation could be an important feature in an integrated service system.

Based on the week signal and design experiment, it will come true that the service for everyday life will integrate in the future. The performance will follow below five trends.


Trend 1, the touchpoint of daily service will integrate.

Service is delivered by touchpoints. The integration of service must depend on the integration of service touchpoints. The integration of touchpoints could happen at some junction point. Take Uber and Spotify as example, user’s touchpoint journey of Uber starts from ordering on smart phone and moves to the in-car space. And user’s touchpoint journey of Spotify starts from choosing music on phone to listening to the music in front of a speaker. In-car space and speaker location could be overlapped physically, which gives the two services the chance to be combined. In this case, the junction point is a location junction. For future integration, the junction point has a lot of possibility. It could be an emotion junction, which mean following user’s emotion journey of two service, the overlap would be an opportunity to link the two services together. It could also be a habit behavior junction, such as a finish point of one service could be a start point for another service in a general habit. Considering different kinds of junction would provide opportunities to link services together.


Trend 2, the integration might cross online service and offline non-human resource service. 

Online service is a popular service format recently. Many user needs could be met successfully through online service. Now, online service usually stands as an ordering platform and hand over the task to backup. Now the backups are always human resource. But for some situation, human resource cannot be applied. Take the experiment as an example, if the wardrobe could help fold the clothes, it is hard to image that a servant would come whenever the user ask a folding service. But if a domestic, small size, clothes folding machine were produced, the expectation could be met. Also relating to efficiency and low-cost, human resource would be reduced in the future. So offline service through non-human resource would be more possible. Therefore, based on the needs and possible situation, one trend of future integrated service might be a combination of online service and offline non-human resource service.


Trend 3, the nature of the touchpoint will change from immediately to on-going.

In the past, timeliness is an important feature of service. Take transportation as an example, paying money and getting a ticket it does not make sense to a commuter. The service only happens when the user is taking on a transportation and his geographic location is changing. And the service ends at the user get out of the transportation. This is the timeliness of previous service. But now, the service touchpoint is not only where the service happens, but also a platform triggering the next integrated service. So the service would not stop at the end of the first service content.

The nature of time changing shows opportunities to service improvement.

Firstly, the control of time has more space to be presented, which could be time setting, time putting off, time lasting.

Secondly, the presenting way of time becomes more obvious than before. In previous timeliness situation, time hides behind the service. But now, the time becomes on-going, it becomes an obvious feature to the public. And new problems could come. What problem will time-lasting cause? For example, from the negative side, it could be anxiousness, because of the long-term nature. It could cause customer churn, because of the disagreement of the service system setting or dissatisfaction of only one part of the service system. While from the positive perspective, it could increase the use ratio of the whole service system. Because it is integrated, a service will drain customer to the next service. At that same time, the service system becomes a compulsive service, Will it cause problems or ethic problems followed by?


Trend 4, the service network could not control stakeholders.

This trend is mentioned particularly, because in the integrated service controlling becomes very easy.

Firstly, the choosing process is omitted.

In the integrated service system, service is linked with other service. Some process which is necessary now might disappear in the future. Taking the experiment as an example, if the kitchen will order the material automatically based on the data, it means that for the users, in the purchasing process, their behaviour of choosing disappears. Without a process in which users choose service by themselves, it is easy for the system to provide some compulsive service. But it should not happen.

Secondly, the engagement could not be a compulsive method.

The service system might influence stakeholders’ behaviour in some way, but it is not supposed to control the behaviours. It might shape the behaviour during the process. If it happens it might be based on the value delivery, rather than behaviour control. Taking the another experiment fragment as an example, the original idea of forcing user finish 2L water is a good, because it is good for the health. But nobody will accept it. From the design experiment, Lady A mentioned, “If the system wants me to do something, it is better to attract me to do it. It should not force me to do anything.” Attracting here means using different methods persuading the user and making them feel happy. It could be a value delivery, which means encouraging and empowering the stakeholders to do something. It could be an interesting activity, which means shows entertainment to attract user doing something from their initial willing. Linked service system could easily work like service pushing system. But it should not be a compulsive pushing. Hence, finding a pleasant way to persuading users to accept a service is important in the future integrated service system.


Trend 5, customization format will pop up. 

Following last trend, when everyday service becomes an integrated service, the word service changes from a countable word to an uncountable word. It means it changes from a specific service to a service system. To the users, they might get confused to distinguish the start point and the finish point of a service. Because he is always in the service process. For the constant service, it looks like a compulsive service push. But it would not be sustainable way, for any service in any situation, treating customers compulsively. So customization could be a remission project. The customization could work from below different aspect.

Firstly, supporting the user to choose the interesting topics. In the future service integration, every service is linking together, which also means a mass, looking from outside. Making users customise their interesting topic aids the service system to clarify the relevant service for the costumer and provide right service.

Secondly, supporting users to set their preference working model. Taking the exercise scenario in the design experiment as an example, some users wants to get higher quality of exercise or challenge themselves. So this kind of user would like to accept a certain degree of compel. But some users just regard taking exercise as a small hobby. Or some users they refuse any kind of force. For these kinds of users, they would not accept any force. Therefore, clarifying the preference working model is also important. It could help the service system provide right working style.

Thirdly, supporting the user express the expectation level. All the customisation is working to provide more precise, more suitable service to the users. After understanding what they want and how they prefer it works, how much do they want should also be clarified. It will aid the second point as well, providing the precise degree of the service.

These three areas would be the future feature of future customisation for integrated service.


For service design and service designers

Service design is a human-centred subject. Compared with other user-centred design discipline, human is a wider field than only user. Which means the object of study is become wider. It works in concert with the holistic view of service design, considering the entire environment of service design.( Stickdorn and Schneider, 2012) It is alright, but in the entire environment, after we think of the technology or popularity, the key point is still the human. The first trend comes from human behaviour inheritance. The second trend comes from human needs. The fourth trend is about ethic, which is a hidden standard of human relationship. And the last trend comes from a combination of human expectation and acceptance level. The trends from this article is not important, it is based an assumption, integration. i

But it is important for service designers to analysing human in different scenarios and dimension, and then design the service for them.


Here is all the bibliography of this post.

Qican Dong (DON16497652)




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