In three words, Intuitive Intelligent Interaction.
This will be the foundation of Web 3.0 according to the experts. Thanks to the exponential growth rate in computer processing power, cognitive computing on a massive scale is on the horizon. If you want to take a sneak peek at what the future holds, look no further than Siri, Google Now and Cortana, although they are merely children by comparison to the A.I. of the future.
As the era of Web 3.0 evolves into a mature state, you will have 24/7 access to your very own personal assistant. S/he will be equipped with an intimate knowledge of your preferences thanks to your vast and ever expanding digital footprint, rendering the traditional search for information a highly inefficient practice of a bygone era.
Consider this, in the not too distant future you ask Assistant a question, ‘I would like to purchase a bottle of red wine on my way home’. In the blink of an eye, S/he assimilates all of your prior history relating to wine. S/he has access to your browsing history, likes, bookmarks, apps and any recommendations you’ve posted plus everything else you ever did online. Armed with this information, it is safe to say, a computer with sufficient processing power and the necessary intelligence software would quickly ascertain the following. You once had a preference for Californian Cabernet’s priced around $30, but you have shown a more recent tendency towards buying Argentinian Malbec in the price range of $25 to $30 dollars. With this information and access to all of the data on the internet, you will likely get an answer like this. “Hi Rob, I notice you are currently enjoying Malbec. 2.5 miles from your current location you will find a 93 point Bramare Malbec by Vina Cobos at Jerry’s Wine Emporium for the excellent price of $28. Do you want me to order it and have it ready for pick-up?”
Think about it, all the components are there. S/he knows your current location. S/he knows you are most likely on your way home because of the time of day and your route. S/he can see that you use apps from Vivino and Robert Parker and that you have posted reviews of wine you have enjoyed to a multitude of social networks. S/he also has access to millions of reviews from other wine consumers and of course the inventory of wine retailers in your vicinity. So it only takes a small leap of faith to believe that future technology will bring all of the disparate data sources together to provide you with a highly relevant recommendation in a matter of seconds.
But, this kind of technology and software isn’t going to be available on a global scale for a while yet. But it will permeate our experiences on a day by day basis little by little, Google Now as a great example.
Google Now is already trying to provide useful information by monitoring my inbox and search data. With access to that content I’m already receiving useful and actionable information which is surprisingly accurate.
A more interesting example of personal assistance which is available today comes in the form of Amy, a dedicated assistant who will schedule meetings on your behalf. Amy is the brainchild of A.I. start-up X.ai in New York. Their goal appears to be a simple one, banish the hassle of arranging meetings with multiple attendees. By copying Amy on your email to the parties involved in the meeting she will handle all of the communications and negotiations relating to the meeting time and location. Amy is currently in Beta, you can add your name to the waiting list for Amy’s services at the company’s website.
Amy also illustrates the challenge for A.I. Scheduling a meeting doesn’t sound like rocket science but its complexity is mind-boggling when you factor in all of the possible nuances that could occur during the communication between Amy and the meeting participants. This is why Amy only schedules meetings and not a plethora of other services such as making your travel arrangements or restaurant reservations. Scheduling meetings with all the variables and communication between groups of humans is a very significant challenge in itself.
While we wait for the technology and software to evolve to a point where Amy becomes more than just a one trick pony (sorry Amy), we can look to a hybrid of human and machine intelligence to deliver highly relevant and intuitive recommendations and suggestions.
LOCATION BASED INTELLIGENT INTERACTION
If this isn’t on your radar, it should be. We are about to see location technology such as beacons transform the way retailers connect with customers.
For example, you are thinking about buying a new pair of shoes. You’ve been online to a couple of stores and you spotted a rather nice pair of brown dress shoes on ShoeStore.com. But it’s not urgent and while you like them, you’re not ready to order online without seeing and trying them on in person. As you exit the product page, the website asks if you would like to save the item, which you do, and then instantly forget about them.
Two weeks later, you’re in the mall with the family when your mobile alerts you. You take a glance at the screen and there’s a simple message, product photo and an offer.
The shoes you were considering are available in your size at the SHOE Store on the second floor of the Barton Creek Mall (the one you’re in). If you purchase today you will receive 20% off the retail price. You received this message because you entered into a digital catchment area of the SHOE Store. SHOE’s marketing machine has recognized your presence, has checked your online history and recognized you looked at a pair of shoes, checked the local inventory of the store and found a match, reviewed your loyalty status and gave you 20% discount via a simple message optimized for mobile delivery.
Now that’s both disruptive and a rewarding customer experience. I believe you will see this type of activity very soon.
The use of location based technology in conjunction with:
- online browsing
- customer segmentation
- website interaction
- customer behavior
- local inventory
- mobile marketing…
…is about to transform more than just the retail sector. I’ll share more examples in future posts.