Lorry drivers and the technology adoption problem
Recently we have been helping a number of our clients to introduce new ways of working, underpinned by new digital technologies.
The best way to think of trust is like a prism, which can either channel or deflect actual use of the system depending on how the individual feels about it. Without it, adoption can be slow or even non-existent.
Traditional models of adoption when it comes to technology in business have focused on the technology itself.
The main problem? A lack of trust in the new system, and therefore a much diminished return on investment for these digital initiatives.
As it turns out, our conception of adoption so far is that if the technology is a) useful enough, and b) easy enough to use, that this will create enough of a reason for an individual to start actually using it.
In 1989 a theory called the Technology Adoption Model (TAM) was created to show how the ‘perceived usefulness’ (PU) and ‘perceived ease of use’ (PEOU) of a product were the main determinants of the intention to use it, which in turn predicts ‘behavioural intention’ (BU).
However more recent studies have looked at the role of trust in this equation, to start to explain the human factors that impact the adoption of technology.
One study called ‘Augmenting the Technology Adoption Model with Trust’, looks at the attitudes of truck drivers to driver assist technology. In 2010, more than 61,000 large trucks were involved in fatal and injurious crashes in the United States, resulting in 3,675 fatalities and about 80,000 injuries (NHTSA, 2012). ‘Inattentive driving’ is the single biggest cause of these.
This adoption of this technology by drivers is crucial to reduce the number of road accidents. In-vehicle feedback systems have been proven to provide benefits in mitigating driver distraction. Research has shown that timely rear-end collision warning can reduce the number of collisions by around 80% for distracted drivers. Forward collision warnings have been shown to increase the average following distance maintained by truck drivers and help avoid 21% of rear-end crashes.
The study took 100 commercial drivers, and measured their perceptions towards the technology, and correlated this to both their intention to use, and their actual use of the new systems.
The role of ‘trust’ was found to be a significant part of the adoption equation, even more significant, for example, than the ‘ease of use’, indicating that we need to find ways of building trust and familiarity with new technologies and systems.
The best way to think of trust is like a prism, which can either channel or deflect actual use of the system depending on how the individual feels about it. Without it, adoption can be slow or even non existent.
With it, adoption can be rapidly accelerated.