Business innovation and the opportunities they create is how enterprises distinguish themselves from one another. It is how they do things better, how they create value, and ultimately, how they pass that value over to the customer. Business innovation isn’t a box you can check off and forget about, rather, it is a continuous effort that is empowered by technologies and methodologies that are available at any given moment. Today, that technology is artificial intelligence.
The challenge with the customer experience is that it is ever-evolving, and all too often we are seeing the seemingly infinite demands of the customers met with the finite limitations of people. So how can brands meet these demands? When you take into account Gartner’s statement that “By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human,” the answer becomes simple - technology. And there are none that exist that are so perfectly poised to improve nearly every facet of the customer experience like artificial intelligence.
Socrates was an ardent critic of the written word and his most famous pupil Plato once wrote that “If men learn this, it will implant forgetfulness in their souls; they will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written.”
If millions of years of human evolution have taught us anything, it is that people have always preferred the use of voice to interact. However, for decades it was agreed that the technology “wasn’t quite there yet” to be used with machines. In the interim, nose-to-the-phone model of personal computing became the defacto standard, and no one really questioned it. Things have really begun to change in the past few years as Apple Siri, Amazon Echo, and Google Talk gained momentum and their QoE is a welcome relief.
I had the pleasure of being invited by Genesys to be a part of the Toronto Tech Summit’s panel discussion on “How AI is Shaping Society,” late last week. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation along with my awesome fellow panelists (from IBM, Element.AI, Inegrate.AI and RBC) and the crowd was extremely engaged! In case you missed it, here are some of my answers to the questions posed:
Brandy, a Generation-Z consumer, comes across an Instagram “like” by her friend for a featured dress. She likes the garment and is interested in purchasing it in a different colour. She decides to go online and compare prices, and while browsing, she is prompted to download the retailers’ app, which would result in a 10% discount off her first purchase. However, after comparing prices, downloading the app, and moving the dress into her “shopping cart,” she abandons her purchase thinking the dress isn’t the one for her.
I love technology; so much so, that I have made a career out of it. I see its potential, and I see it as the answer to many questions and problems that we as a society face. Technology is not meant to complicate our life; rather simplify it, streamline it, and enable us to do more. And it is these experiences with technology that are at the forefront of the consumer's mind, not the complicated mechanisms behind it. It was Steve Matyas, CEO, Staples Canada, who once said “the customer doesn’t care what happens in the background,” and he couldn’t have been more right. Experiences define a brand; not products, services, or the technology that powers them.
Voice command technology has mostly been used in smartphones and computers in recent years, but today it’s becoming increasingly common for voice assistants to be incorporated into virtual and home assistant devices, consumer products, appliances, customer service offerings, e-commerce, and more. In fact, as the technologies required to operate voice assistants continue to improve, so too will it become increasingly common for consumers to expect this level of interaction from the brands they support. Most of us are already using voice commands on their smartphones, and it’s expected that this technology will be installed on over 7.5 billion devices by the year 2021. At the 2018 CES event in Las Vegas, there were numerous new prototypes and products that integrated voice assistant technology, proving that this trend is sticking around for good.
Unless you have been hiding under a rock, the odds are that you have heard about the fascinating world of AI and the transformational impact it is going to have on our lives. Certain parts of the euphoria remind us of the dot-com bubble from the ‘90s – when the technology hype hit its peak. There seems to be intense excitement at all levels, from CEOs and analysts to grassroots developers; all are expecting AI to not only dramatically change our lives but the world. Well, we really can’t blame them, given all the excitement created by the billions of dollars being invested in this domain. With all the stars perfectly aligned, perhaps it is best to “peel the onion” a little bit in hopes of gaining a better understanding of what AI really is, why now and why all the hype, and how can it dramatically change the Telecom Industry landscape, in particular.
It has been more than four weeks since the “FOR SALE” sign has been up on a house I drive by on my way to work. The house is in a well-known suburb within the western region of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) where properties have been sold rather quickly in the past. It is priced on par with current market rates and does not suffer from any defects or design flaws. So why has it not been sold yet?