January 12, 2018

Five for Friday: Emotions go digital

We're not machines. Instead, we can let all sorts of gadgets help us express feelings and understand those of others.
We're not machines. Instead, we can let all sorts of gadgets help us express feelings and understand those of others.
Istock.com/Creative-Touch

No matter how digital the world goes, human emotions are still inside us. This week, we look at how digital services and devices can tap into the market of feelings.

Although smartphones and other devices are often blamed for distancing people from each other, they can also be used to make us better understand both each other and ourselves. Allow these five examples from Finland tell you how.

HappySignals

The company wants to improve the happiness levels of employees by helping support staff and outsourced services improve the quality of their offering. This is not only about soft values and employee experience; all of it can be converted into hard currency, as inefficiency costs money.

“It wasn’t long ago when companies were saying ‘workers always complain anyway’,” CEO Sami Kallio told us in August. “Now they see the value, including financial, of keeping staff happy and loyal.”

Ōura

A finger can provide a surprising amount of information of what’s going on inside us. Finnish heathtech company Ōura has created a design jewel that can be used to capture all this data, which can then be interpreted on a mobile app. This is meant to help ring-bearers improve their wellbeing.

“The ring helps its user understand his or her body even better,” CEO Petteri Lahtela and CTO and head of design Kari Kivelä explained to Good News from Finland in 2015. “With the information we can pay attention to our mental and physical readiness, and try and maintain them at the highest possible level.”

Auntie

If you’ve never had your very own agony aunt, no need to worry: Finnish Auntie brings one to everyone with access to a digital device and Internet connection. Auntie is a preventive therapy service that combines digital and live sessions, and also works as a middle ground between face-to-face psychotherapy and self-help tools.

“Unfortunately, humankind isn’t running out of crises,” co-founder Mervi Lamminen said a year ago. “What’s changing now is that people, including employers, better understand that doing situps and pushups doesn’t suffice to ensure people are well and fit for work.”

Sailer

“Behind each customer there is more than numbers and statistics – there is life,” says Sailer, a videographic research company from Helsinki. Sailer collects market research data on video and presents the results in the form of a documentary film, believing this enables people to communicate emotions and effectively.

“Humans aren’t only about numbers,” founder-CEO Hannu Uotila told us last month. “On a scale from one to five, someone’s two might be someone else’s four. We want to develop a profound understanding instead of averages.”

NayaDaya

The NayaDaya team wants to add emotions to the digital world with their platform that lets people to express the emotions caused by what they’ve just seen, read, heard or experienced. The tool can be integrated to any website or digital service.

“Places where the emotions of others are often left ignored are those where empathy doesn’t really shine through, like social media,” co-founder and CEO Timo Järvinen said in our article just this week. “A lot of understanding is lost between people when we communicate through digital channels without seeing each other eye to eye.”

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