Blog Post

What problem can technology solve in Newcomer settlement?

By: Marco Campana
June 24, 2023

I was watching a video about Apple’s new Vision Pro, their Virtual Reality headset. The video talked about questions you might typically ask when creating a new product or technology. Specifically, what problem is this product trying to solve? 

Combined with tech stewardship questions such as can we build the solution, should we build it, how do we do it responsibly, I thought it would be useful to go through these questions when it comes to technology and the Immigrant and Refugee-serving sector.

Why does it matter?

Because I have never heard or been part of a conversation about the use of technology for technology’s sake in our sector. Our conversations tend to be much deeper. With more substance. But we’re also not always on the same page when it comes to why or how we should be using technology ethically and effectively. So it’s worth having this conversation.

The big question I want to discuss is what problem(s) can tech solve in the settlement of Newcomers to Canada?

What is the problem you’re trying to solve?

In this article, I’m going to approach this primarily as an information and systems navigation problem. 

There are many other problems that technology might help us solve. And we should be discussing those. In fact, that’s one of the current problems in our sector. We’re not discussing those. 

For today I’m going to focus on one problem. 

How big is the problem?

It’s huge. It’s well documented

How can tech help solve this problem?

Until someone tells me otherwise, I’m convinced that an omnichannel information and content creation and delivery system is part of the solution. This would be a comprehensive platform that provides a seamless, integrated experience for Newcomers across multiple channels and devices. It would combine various technologies and methods to ensure that the right information is delivered to the right person at the right time and through the right channel.

Here are some of the key components of such a system:

  1. Content Management System (CMS): A robust CMS would be at the core of the system, allowing creators to develop and manage content across all channels. It would enable the creation of multimedia content such as text, images, videos, and audio, with built-in tools to optimize and customize content for different channels.
  2. Multichannel Delivery: The system would enable content to be delivered across all channels, including social media, websites, email, mobile apps, and even physical stores. This would allow users to access content on the platform that they are most comfortable with.
  3. Personalization: The system would use data and analytics to personalize content delivery for each user, tailoring content to their preferences, interests, and behaviors. This would help to improve engagement and increase conversions.
  4. Integration: The system would integrate with various other technologies and platforms, including marketing automation software, CRM systems, social media platforms, and analytics tools. This would provide a comprehensive view of user behavior and allow for more effective targeting and messaging.
  5. Cross-Device Compatibility: The system would be designed to work seamlessly across all devices, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. This would allow users to access content on the go, from anywhere, at any time.
  6. Accessibility: The system would be designed to be accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, by providing alternative text, captions, and transcripts for multimedia content.

Overall, an omnichannel information and content creation and delivery system would be a comprehensive platform that provides a seamless, integrated experience for users across multiple channels and devices. It would combine various technologies and methods to ensure that the right information is delivered to the right person at the right time and through the right channel, improving engagement, increasing conversions, and ultimately driving business success.

And, yeah, I got most of that in a conversation with ChatGPT.

I asked it some other questions, and the answers seem pretty reasonable with other reading I’ve done, so let’s continue. One importance contextual point is that our sector is very decentralized when it comes to information and content creation and provision. There are also many outside the sector organizations and information sources, such as 211, government sites (at all gov levels), and private sector content sources that would be useful and important to include. 

Given that it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to bring all these players together on a single platform, what might we be able to do?

How can multiple content providers on different CMS and platforms, but creating similar content, connect their platforms and content into an omnichannel information and content creation and delivery system?

Integrating multiple content providers on different CMS and platforms into an omnichannel information and content creation and delivery system can be a complex process, but it is possible. Here are some steps that can be taken to connect different platforms and content:

  1. Define Content Standards: Establish a set of content standards and guidelines that all content providers must follow. This includes guidelines on formatting, metadata, and taxonomy. Having consistent content standards will make it easier to integrate content from different platforms and systems.
  2. Use APIs: Many CMS and platforms provide APIs that can be used to connect different systems. APIs enable different systems to communicate with each other, allowing content to be shared between platforms. Content providers should look for CMS and platforms that provide APIs and ensure that they are properly configured.
  3. Implement Middleware: Middleware software can be used to connect different platforms and systems. Middleware acts as a bridge between different systems, enabling them to communicate with each other. Middleware can help standardize content across different systems, and it can also provide additional functionality such as content transformation and synchronization.
  4. Use a Centralized CMS: A centralized CMS can be used to manage content from different sources. The centralized CMS can aggregate content from different platforms and systems, and it can also provide a single source of truth for content. This can help ensure that all content providers are using consistent content standards and guidelines.
  5. Ensure Data Security: When connecting different systems, it is important to ensure that data security is maintained. This includes ensuring that data is encrypted during transmission, and that access controls are in place to ensure that only authorized users have access to the data.

Overall, integrating multiple content providers on different CMS and platforms into an omnichannel information and content creation and delivery system requires careful planning and coordination. By defining content standards, using APIs, implementing middleware, using a centralized CMS, and ensuring data security, content providers can connect their platforms and content to create a seamless, integrated experience for users.

I’ve read that a digital experience platform is both an emerging, but existing technology, and one that can help focus not only on content, but the end-user experience, which is key.

What is a digital experience platform and how can it help build an omnichannel information and content creation and delivery system?

A digital experience platform (DXP) is a software solution that combines content management, analytics, and integration capabilities to create a personalized and consistent digital experience across all channels and touchpoints.

DXPs provide a unified approach to managing customer interactions by bringing together content, data, and context from various sources to create a seamless experience for users. They provide a centralized platform to manage all digital touchpoints, including websites, mobile apps, social media, email, and messaging platforms.

When it comes to building an omnichannel information and content creation and delivery system, a DXP can be incredibly helpful. Here are some ways a DXP can help:

  1. Content Management: A DXP provides a robust content management system (CMS) that enables content creators to create and manage content across all channels. This includes the ability to optimize and customize content for different channels, such as social media or email.
  2. Personalization: A DXP uses data and analytics to create personalized experiences for users across all channels. This includes personalized content recommendations, targeted promotions, and customized user interfaces.
  3. Analytics: A DXP provides robust analytics and reporting capabilities that enable businesses to track user behavior and engagement across all channels. This data can be used to optimize content and marketing strategies, and to identify new opportunities for engagement.
  4. Integration: A DXP integrates with various technologies and platforms, including marketing automation software, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and analytics tools. This provides a comprehensive view of user behavior and enables businesses to create targeted and effective marketing campaigns.
  5. Cross-Device Compatibility: A DXP is designed to work seamlessly across all devices, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. This allows users to access content on the go, from anywhere, at any time.

Overall, a DXP is a powerful tool for building an omnichannel information and content creation and delivery system. By providing a unified approach to managing customer interactions, DXPs enable businesses to create a personalized and consistent digital experience across all channels, improving engagement, increasing conversions, and driving business success.

Some of this is a bit high level technical. And I want to be sure that all voices in the sector participate in this conversation. Because everyone, not just techies, have a role to play here. In fact, it’s us non-techies that must fully understand what’s possible and then drive, lead, and guide the techies. Because they should simply be implementing a vision that we have come up with. One that determines not only that we can build it, but that we should and how.

So I asked ChatGPT for a more plain language description of the tech above.

How would you explain what an omnichannel information and content creation and delivery system is to a lay person?

An omnichannel information and content creation and delivery system is a way of delivering information and content to people through many different channels, like social media, websites, email, and messaging apps.

The goal of an omnichannel system is to make sure that the information and content being delivered is consistent across all channels, so that people have a similar experience no matter how they choose to interact with the content.

For example, let's say you're looking to buy a new pair of shoes. You might start by searching for shoes online, and then visit a store to try them on. With an omnichannel system, the information and content you see online will be similar to what you see in the store, and you might even get targeted ads for the same shoes on your social media accounts.

The idea is to create a seamless experience across all channels, so that people can engage with content and information in the way that works best for them, whether that's online, in person, or on the go. An omnichannel system ensures that the content and information you receive is always up to date and relevant, and that you have access to it no matter where you are or what device you're using.

How would you explain what a digital experience platform is to a lay person?

A digital experience platform (DXP) is like a central hub that helps businesses manage their interactions with customers across many different channels, like websites, social media, email, and messaging apps.

Think of it like a control center that allows businesses to create, manage, and deliver content and experiences to customers, no matter how they choose to interact with the business.

With a DXP, businesses can collect data from these interactions and use it to personalize experiences for individual customers. For example, if you browse a website looking at shoes, the DXP might remember what you were looking at and show you related products the next time you visit.

Overall, a DXP helps businesses deliver consistent, personalized experiences across all channels, making it easier for customers to engage with the business and creating a better overall experience.

And, finally, there are nuances that apply to our sector. And the Newcomers that should and must centre in any solution. I asked that question.

How can a digital experience platform help community-based social service organizations provide information and services to new immigrants and refugees?

A digital experience platform (DXP) can help community-based social service organizations provide information and services to new immigrants and refugees in a number of ways. Here are a few examples:

  1. Multi-language Support: A DXP can provide support for multiple languages, making it easier for organizations to communicate with new immigrants and refugees who may not speak the local language. This can be especially important for organizations that serve diverse communities with a wide range of languages.
  2. Personalization: A DXP can help organizations personalize the information and services they provide to new immigrants and refugees. For example, the DXP can use data analytics to understand the needs and preferences of individual users, and provide customized information and services based on those needs and preferences.
  3. Mobile Support: A DXP can provide support for mobile devices, which are often the primary way that new immigrants and refugees access information and services. This can include mobile-responsive websites and mobile apps that provide information and services in a format that is optimized for smaller screens.
  4. Integration with Social Media: Many new immigrants and refugees use social media to connect with their communities and stay up to date on news and events. A DXP can integrate with social media platforms to provide information and services directly through social media channels.
  5. Content Creation and Management: A DXP can provide tools for creating and managing content, making it easier for organizations to create and share information with new immigrants and refugees. This can include features like content calendars, workflow management, and analytics to measure the effectiveness of content.

Overall, a DXP can help community-based social service organizations provide information and services to new immigrants and refugees in a more efficient and effective way. By providing multi-language support, personalization, mobile support, integration with social media, and content creation and management tools, a DXP can help organizations reach and engage with new immigrants and refugees in a way that meets their unique needs and preferences.

One final question. If you follow my work, you’ll know that I believe that there are models out there that we can learn from and even replicate. 

Babycenter.com provides a personalized digital experience platform for expectant and new mothers. How could this service be replicated for immigrants and refugees?

To replicate the personalized digital experience platform provided by Babycenter.com for immigrants and refugees, the following steps could be taken:

  1. Identify Target Audience: The first step is to identify the target audience. For immigrants and refugees, this could include groups that are new to the country, may not speak the local language fluently, and are in need of information and support related to things like healthcare, education, housing, and legal services.
  2. Collect User Data: The next step is to collect user data from a variety of sources, such as user registration, browsing history, location, and demographic information. This data can be used to create user profiles that contain information about individual users, such as their preferences, interests, and behavior.
  3. Provide Multi-language Support: Given that many immigrants and refugees may not speak the local language fluently, it is important to provide multi-language support. This could include translations of website content, mobile apps, and other digital platforms into different languages, as well as the ability to search and navigate the platform in different languages.
  4. Personalize Content and Services: Based on the user profiles, the digital experience platform could personalize content and services to meet the specific needs and interests of individual users. This could include providing information about local services, events, and resources in a user's community, as well as personalized support related to things like healthcare, education, and housing.
  5. Integrate with Social Media: Given that many immigrants and refugees use social media to connect with their communities, the digital experience platform could integrate with social media platforms to provide information and services directly through those channels.
  6. Partner with Community-Based Organizations: To ensure that the platform is meeting the needs of the target audience, it is important to partner with community-based organizations that have expertise in working with immigrants and refugees. These organizations could provide input on the design and development of the platform, as well as help with outreach and engagement efforts.

Overall, to replicate the personalized digital experience platform provided by Babycenter.com for immigrants and refugees, it is important to prioritize the needs of the target audience and provide personalized, culturally sensitive information and support. By collecting user data, providing multi-language support, personalizing content and services, integrating with social media, and partnering with community-based organizations, a digital experience platform could help meet the unique needs of immigrants and refugees in a personalized and engaging way.

If you’ve read this far, thanks!

I hope this helps outline one problem that technology can help us solve. There are many moving parts to creating the solution. But it is more possible than it ever was.

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2 comments on “What problem can technology solve in Newcomer settlement?”

    1. Absolutely, Nick, thanks! I'd add interoperability. As I add in the article, we're a decentralized sector when it comes to information and content. Ensuring we build, are funded to build, and expected to build with interoperability, re-sharing, and with content syndication and open copyright commitments.

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