The Stench of Technology

Mark Canes

I read with fascination about Nissan’s plans to use fragrances to alert drowsy drivers and alter motorists’ behavior. As machine-human interfaces engage more of our senses, so the potential for broad-based improvents grows - as the less the skill set required to make use of the technology.

It got me thinking about business applications for this technology. If your customer service people sometimes get distracted and don’t notice new inbound customer orders, you could trigger an attractive smell each time an email or fax arrives from a customer. (Make mine chocolate and I’ll enter every order in real time.)

We could improve productivity in the warehouse. If order picking falls behind schedule, fill the warehouse with the aroma of pungent fertilizer – and once the backlog get caught up, replace it with fresh coffee – or if late in the day, a sniffing of Guinness.

The possibilities are endless.  The salesperson who hits her target early in the month gets rewarded with a hint of Caribbean seaside.  You could even personalize the process based user profiles – so while I get a whiff of single malt Scotch, perhaps you’re inhaling eau d’BLT.

But you’d have to draw the line somewhere. No-one wants to see the poor job applicant reading his rejection email while using a bandana to muffle the smell of sour grapes.

Yes, I know - this post stinks.