I was asked to talk about Digital Experience (DX) to an IT company. After much deliberation, I decided to talk about smart glasses and blockchain as Deep Tech, which I will start this year, although it may not be strictly DX.
Agricultural guidance and smart glasses
First of all, I talked about how smart glasses will change the way we teach agriculture. In a world without such high technology, knowledgeable agricultural extension workers have to go into rural areas even though they are old or send experts from abroad to provide guidance. The experts go into the field and instruct the farmers. The client's and user's complaints about this should be as follows.
[Client] Training management organisation.
[Complaint] Young people think farming is uncool, and the number of agricultural extension workers has decreased. The education level of extension workers has gone from a university degree to a high school degree.
[Frustration] I don't get good quality service.
What will the world be like with smart glasses? With smart glasses, you can connect an old but knowledgeable extension worker who is too weak to go into the field with a young extension worker who does not have knowledge but has healthy feet. I have used the smart glasses and found it useful to have the smart glasses to mark the places I need to pay attention to the screen or get directions such as arrows, rather than being supported only by words. We can then continue to use the local knowledge we have without having to rely on international experts. As a result, the following values can be brought to the client and users.
[Client Value] The knowledge of extension workers is passed on to the next generation.
[User Value] Farmers will learn from young people who have a strong knowledge base.
Emissions trading and blockchain
Existing emissions trading requires verification that invisible greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, have been adequately reduced. To do this, I went to a large private certification body and were told that I would first need to pay €200,000. Then I was told that I would need to pay €40,000 for annual renewals. The labour costs are high for a credible foreign, highly educated person who can give the certification. And there are not so many people who can inspect the biogas plants scattered around, so the labour cost is even higher.
[Client] Me (^^;)
[Frustration] The hurdles are too high to start.
[Users] Farmers and emission credit buyers
[Frustration] The breakdown of what is bought and sold in the emissions trading is unclear.
What would happen if we use blockchain to make it impossible for technology to tamper with data, instead of giving authentication? Firstly, there would be no need to hire a highly paid person to give certification credentials that could be trusted. Using blockchain and digital data, instead of certifying a formula to guess emissions, we can see actual emissions in real-time. The digital data is then used to prove that biogas is actually being used without people having to go there. The €40,000 is supposed to be the cost of checking annually that the biogas is being generated each year properly. But with the blockchain and digital data, you can check it every day. Therefore, the client and the users who benefit from the project will receive the following value.
[Client Value] The threshold for project initiation is lowered.
[User Value] Because the intermediary margins are reduced, the emission rights buyer can buy more emission rights per amount. By using the blockchain, there will be less middleman margin, and farmers will be paid more.
The story I have written about here is also in Deep Tech, which is about solving social problems with the latest technology. As someone who lives in a developing country and is actually involved in both of the above projects, there are two advantages to bringing technology to social issues. As you can see from both complaints, the benefits are "making the invisible visible" and "shortening the distance between things that are far away". In the main sense, the second advantage can also be "visualisation" when it comes to making distant objects visible, but for now, I divide it into two.
In the first example of smart glasses, this technology has connected farmers with elderly agricultural extension workers who say they are too weak or lame to go to the farm. In the blockchain example, we solve this problem by making invisible greenhouse gases visible as data in the blockchain. In particular, developing countries have a greater need than developed countries to make visible their trust in public institutions, which cannot be guaranteed. That is also why the World Bank issued a blockchain-based World Bank bond in 2018. It could be argued that the €40,000 a year has brought us closer to where the biogas equipment is, as people no longer have to go and look around.
There are other benefits, such as lower costs, but these are secondary to the above two benefits of visibility and distance to solve problems in developing countries.