Healthcare, the Segment of One and a new wave of smart citizens: Diving into The Future of Identity ahead of our Amsterdam Trend Event


Following their insightful analysis of BIG BRAND REDEMPTION across the Netherlands, Citinerary -an international network of passionate citizens who observe and share, how we live, how a city functions and how it continues to evolve - are back with another exploration of the subjects set to shape our Amsterdam Trend Event on November 23rd.

Ged Hawes, their co-founder, dives deep into The Future of Identity, and what it means for consumers, carers and everyday citizens.

The Future of Identity

In 1964, MIT Professor Joseph Wiezenbaum created ELIZA – a computer programme that simulated conversation by using pattern matching to give the illusion of understanding the user. Wiezenbaum’s aim was to prove that the relationship between human and machine was superficial. He was surprised to find, however, that many users displayed emotional feelings towards the programme. Whether intentional or not, ELIZA showed that we value the security of having ourselves reflected back to us.

Fast forward to 2016 and devices not only reflect but they amplify our identity in a hyper-connected world where we can broadcast to an audience of anywhere between 1 and 3.4 billion people across multiple platforms and means of communication. As social beings, this is an incredible opportunity to reach more people and display our identity - if we want that. As with any relationship we can control how much we reveal, how much we contribute and how much we take. But just as we may actively craft online personas, we are also passively creating digital identities on our devices through the continuous creation of data. Whether we’re searching on smartphones or running with wearables, we are literally creating data from our first days.

Robots at your service

Smart Citizens

In our connected world, everything has an identity – citizens, employees, brands and things. The internet was built without thought of who (or what) was being connected. We’re still working through the ethical and social challenges of identities and interactions for citizens and organisations, let alone fridges, lightbulbs and TVs but Amsterdam has been a pioneer in examining how we interact with our environment.

In 2007 Amsterdam created the role of Chief Technology Officer for the City and has since been seen as a model for the Smart City. Earlier this year Amsterdam was named European Capital of Innovation by the European Commission, winning funds to boost the initiative. The Amsterdam Smart City initiative combined 12,000 datasets from 32 city departments with citizen generated data to identify urban issues and co-create solutions.

One project, the Smart Citizen Lab, is a collaboration with Waag Society analyzing data on how we live and move through Amsterdam to examine a range of themes from traffic congestions and healthiest route to work to best time to swim in the canals! Though the pilot focused on the collation of environmental data it will be interesting to see how it develops to engage citizens in meaningful collaborations with governments and enterprise to tackle societal challenges beyond mobility and infrastructure.

Philips Personal_health_ecosystem

Healthcare for the segment of one

There is one Amsterdam collective enabling a section of society that may have lost their identity in the digital era. Robots At Your Service is an initiative that aims to co-create the elderly homes of the future and improve the quality of homecare for the elderly. By combining robotics, IoT and AI their goal is to prolong independent living and enhance the standard of care for the elderly. Imagine the possibilities of wearable tech monitoring health metrics such as heartbeat, breathing or circulation to deliver healthcare at an individual level or work with government services to pre-empt emergencies.

On the same theme, Dutch electronics giant Philips have recently created the HealthSuite Digital Platform. Capturing and compiling information from multiple devices and sources it runs analysis to provide data on entire populations, specific conditions or personal health. This level of personalisation assists health care workers and empowers people in their own health and lifestyle.

People have control over what data they share (whether they take time to or not is their decision) and increasingly are more willing to disclose information with brands if they believe they’ll get something back. Technology is enabling us to empower individuals to increase self-awareness. So, as consumers manage a variety of online personas and datasets present more and more information on their every move, there is increased opportunity for organisations to create more relevant personalised real-time communications.  


TrendWatching's 2016 Consumer Trend Events head Chicago (10 Nov), London (16 Nov) and Amsterdam (23 Nov). Ready to unlock and experience the trends set to shape 2017 (and beyond)? Find out more here.