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[/GDC_column][GDC_column size=”three-quarters”] Rachael Schwartz, VP, Product Management & General Manager, Keurig Connect, Keurig Green Mountain
July 26, 2017 / Frank Gilbane / Comments Off on Gilbane Advisor 7-26-17 — What AI can do, glass 2.0, content not king, execs on social
The business of artificial intelligence
MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee have written what may be the best current article for executives on what AI can, and cannot, do for organizations. Read More
Google Glass 2.0 is a startling second act
Well, I don’t think anyone should startled by this. “Heads up” displays have been around in some form since the 80s for military and industrial applications. Back then wired to custom pre-Windows mini PCs on your back or belt. Glass Enterprise Edition as a technology does have lots of potential, if sold and supported as an enterprise product – lots of examples. Read More
Advanced social technologies and the future of collaboration
When asked about their own use of communication tools in their day-to-day work, most executives report that social technologies overall are largely supplemental. Nearly three-quarters of respondents say they rely primarily on older technologies, such as email, phone calls, and texting, to communicate with others at work. … At the same time, respondents report that the integration of social technologies in day-to-day work is greater than ever before… 45 percent say social technologies are very or extremely integrated into day-to-day work at their companies, up from one-third who said so one year before. Read More
Content isn’t king
What! Heresy! you say. But wait, read on. This is Benedict Evans talking about the power dance between media and large technology platform companies. He is arguing that there is a big difference in the strategic value of consumer content between them. Content may be king for media companies but not for technology platforms, with the possible exception of Amazon. Good read. Read More
60 countries’ digital competitiveness, indexed
Doing business in the global economy is complicated, yet increasingly unavoidable even for many small to mid-sized companies. There are obvious competencies necessary around channel and partner choices, cultural and localization differences, e-commerce and operations, to name a few. But businesses also need to look at the larger context of the digital sophistication of target countries, public policy, political stability, and associated trends. This Digital Evolution Index provides perspective on the global digital landscape. Read More
May 19, 2017 / Frank Gilbane / Comments Off on Gilbane Advisor 5-19-17 — e-commerce, meta-platform, summarization and ML, design
E-commerce: What China reveals about the future of shopping
China’s e-commerce market is the world’s largest and fastest growing. It is also more mobile and more integrated with relevant platforms than those in the West, allowing for smoother customer experiences. This goes beyond WeChat e-commerce capability, the envy of western messaging platforms.
There are reasons eastern and western e-commerce may continue to evolve differently. But there is a lot to learn from China’s experience. BCG and Alibaba dig in. Read More
Digital assistants drive new meta-platform battle
Bob O’Donnell riffs on the intersection of digital assistants, the voice interface, and platform value. This weeks’ keynotes at Google I/O, and last week’s at Microsoft Build both provide useful context to several of O’Donnell’s points.
… digital assistants … have the potential to completely devalue the underlying platforms on which they run. To put it succinctly, if I can use, say, Alexa across an iPhone, a Windows PC, my smart home components and a future connected car, where does the unique value of iOS or Windows 10 go? Out the door… Read More
Improving summarization with machine learning
That this would happen should be expected, especially after the dramatic improvement to machine translation due to ML. MIT Technology Review’s Will Knight reports on developments at Salesforce following their acquisition of MetaMind, which is what we point you to below. But you might also be interested in the more technical description of how the algorithm works — at least scroll down past the technical paragraphs to see useful sample results. Read More
Mobile First, Desktop Worst
Designing for an optimal user experience is extremely difficult even with a single screen because of the variety of media, layout, and use cases. Multiply the number of screens by n, and it seems like an impossible task. On top of this fiendish complexity, there are compromises to be made between developer objectives and brand directives. No wonder design is often dumbed down to be simply useable across devices rather than optimal. This may not be a solvable problem, though better tools, perhaps informed by machine learning, will certainly help. In the meantime, it pays not to expect too much from simple approaches. Read More
Gilbane Digital Content Conference Call for Speakers Open
Content and digital experience technologies and strategies for marketing, publishing, and the workplace.
May 3, 2017 / Frank Gilbane / Comments Off on Gilbane Advisor 5-3-17 — SaaS era, Watson vs Einstein, e-commerce AI, FB monopoly
Why the SaaS era of journalism will be our most exciting yet
During the first quarter century of the commercial internet, digital journalism has already gone through three eras: the portal years, the search years, and the social years. Each era advanced storytelling and presented new revenue streams, but I would argue that digital journalism is now entering its most exciting period yet. Think of this as the stories as a service era, where journalism will be paid for by readers, for readers… Digital journalism has been commoditized, creating new market opportunities at the bottom of a new disruption curve that is not yet “good enough”. (italics added). Read More
Parsing the IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein deal
But aren’t Watson and Einstein competing? In short, the deal is about more data; it’s a complementary marriage of Watson’s broad unstructured data capability and Salesforce’s structured data focus on their application and customer experience. Well, that’s what caught my interest anyway. But there is more to it and James Governor sorts it out… Read More
How Germany’s Otto uses artificial intelligence
Otto is the largest e-commerce merchant in Germany after Amazon. Their use of AI goes beyond pure marketing to reduce shipping, returns, and inventory costs, and improves customer experience. An instructive example of what is already being done with machine learning, and without human hands on, their system…
analyses around 3bn past transactions and 200 variables (such as past sales, searches on Otto’s site and weather information) to predict what customers will buy a week before they order… has proved so reliable—it predicts with 90% accuracy what will be sold within 30 days—that Otto allows it automatically to purchase around 200,000 items a month from third-party brands with no human intervention.Read More
How our publisher tracked down his online troll and changed our comments for the better
MIT Technology Review is determined to keep the value of comments alive. Jason Pontin reports on his efforts and current strategy in this thoughtful and thorough piece. Read More
Facebook and the cost of monopoly
Facebook may have a monopoly in social networking, and while that may be a problem for Snap or any other would be networks, Facebook would surely argue that … society as a whole shouldn’t be too bothered… The problem is that Facebook isn’t simply a social network: the service is a three-sided market — users, content providers, and advertisers — and while the basis of Facebook’s dominance is in the network effects that come from connecting all of those users, said dominance has seeped to those other sides… Facebook passed Google as the top traffic driver back in 2015, and as of last fall drove over 40% of traffic for the average site, even after an algorithm change that reduced publisher reach… So is that a monopoly when it comes to the content provider market? I would argue yes, thanks to the monopoly framework above. Read More
The history of Instant Articles’ path to Instant Recall, via The Verge
April 18, 2017 / Frank Gilbane / Comments Off on Gilbane Advisor 4-18-17 — chatbots, nextgen IT, AR, marketing data, CX and distribution
What to do about the chatbot crisis
It’s never been clear that messaging apps had a future as platforms. It is also a stretch to think of voice as a platform, at least in any general purpose sense. In either case it seems like a misuse of ‘platform’. Messaging and chat systems will continue to proliferate because they are relatively simple communication tools with simple interfaces, and because there will always be heavy competition for control of the final short distance to eyes and ears. Even with only 3-4 major platforms, countless use cases, devices, and integrations guarantee severe user experience challenges. (Cartoon by XKCD)
And that’s before adding chatbots to the mix. As amazing as the progress of machine learning is, no none knows when, or perhaps if, a general purpose AI will be available, and the better a general purpose AI gets the more unpredictable and less understandable it will be. John Brandon takes you through his enlightening experience using multiple chatbots daily. Read More
The second coming of IT
It is easy to forget that the center of gravity for commercial computing and software innovation used to be in, mostly large, businesses focused on solving purely business information technology problems. Consumer applications only trickled out slowly after personal computers had been around for awhile. This was mostly due to cost, and capability, not necessarily lack of imagination. Sam Lessin makes the case that for many of the same reasons, businesses will again be the first to benefit at scale from machine learning and AI. Read More
The first decade of augmented reality
This article by Benedict Evans has something in common with the two articles recommended above — that while there are amazing technologies promising profound business and consumer benefits, we are still in the early stages learning what they can do and how to build products and use them. Evans is one of best at asking original questions, 38 in this this post. A sample…
It does seem to me, though, that the more you think about AR as placing objects and data into the world around you, the more that this becomes an AI question as much as a physical interface question. What should I see as I walk up to you in particular? LinkedIn or Tinder? When should I see that new message – should it be shown to me now or later? Do I stand outside a restaurant and say ‘Hey Foursquare, is this any good?’ or does the device’s OS do that automatically? How is this brokered – by the OS, the services that you’ve added or by a single ‘Google Brain’ in the cloud? Read More
Why distribution still matters in the internet age
Abhishek Madhavan cautions about taking the “distribution is free in the digital age” mantra too literally, or out of context. Distribution of physical products is not free, and last mile physical distribution is a critical, sometimes the most important, component of customer experience. Building a digital business that does not include a way to control the cost and physical distribution experience is risky business. Read More
5 data assumptions that marketers should avoid
Brand managers, striving to maximize spend and performance, have an opportunity to embrace advanced marketing analytics and positively impact collaboration, real-time decision-making, and revenue. This starts by removing the perceived barriers to entry for working with data. Read More
March 27, 2017 / Frank Gilbane / Comments Off on Gilbane Advisor 3-28-17 – customer experience, millenials, ad agencies, software complexity
Next-generation customer experience
How do you link customer experience operationally and improve CX beyond individual touchpoints to succeed throughout the customer journey? Read More
Three millennial tech myths busted
Ben Bajarin shares findings from a recent study of mostly 18-24 year olds. Many of you are likely to be surprised by at least one of the “busted myths”, that: “Millenials are Done with Facebook”, “The PC is Dead to Millenials”, and “Face to Face Meetings are not Desirable”. Read More
Complexity and strategy
and cost and return in building software products. This is both fascinating as an inside look at Microsoft Office development and competitive strategy, and important for software development and product managers new to large complex products.
I struggled with how to think about complexity through much of my career, especially during the ten years I spent leading Office development. Modeling complexity impacted how we planned major releases, our technical strategy as we moved to new platforms, how we thought about the impact of new technologies, how we competed with Google Apps, how we thought about open source and throughout “frank and open” discussions with Bill Gates on our long term technical strategy for building the Office applications. Read More
Ad agencies and accountability
…if Google and Facebook have all of the responsibility, then shouldn’t they also be getting all of the money? What exactly is WPP’s 15% being used for? … If ad agencies want to be relevant in digital advertising, then they need to generate value independent of managing creative and ad placement: policing their clients’ ads would be an excellent place to start. Read More
How AI can solve 3 pain points in marketing
Lots of hype around AI technologies solving everything (before taking over that is). Time to focus on use cases. Three in marketing are: “lack of reliable, centralized data”, “talent bottleneck”, (or cognitive overload), and the “inability to calculate ROI”. Read More
This Economist article about fintech in China is important not just for economists or financial technologists, but for customer experience professionals. China is “far and away the biggest market for digital payments, accounting for nearly half of the global total”. Beyond digital payments, there is Chinese fintech support throughout the ecommerce ecosystem, for investing, consumer lending, and small business last mile distributors, reducing friction and increasing market channel and consumer reach. The arguably superior CX of the ecommerce ecosystem already at scale in China makes lots of western ecommerce experiences look creaky at best.
Many of you are familiar with attempts by Facebook Messenger and other messaging apps to become platforms in the way that WeChat has in China. But success will require going beyond a simple transaction bot to a more complete integration with the full ecosystem. Western ecommerce ecosystems have a different set of challenges, but China is experimenting and learning a lot quickly. Studying the massive scale and rapidly evolving Chinese experience will no doubt provide valuable insight. Read More
Voice and the uncanny valley of AI
As part of our recurring ‘right tool for the job’ theme, we point you to Benedict Evan’s analysis of the notion of voice as the next platform.
This tends to point to the conclusion that for most companies, for voice to work really well you need a narrow and predictable domain. You need to know what the user might ask and the user needs to know what they can ask… You have to pick a field where it doesn’t matter that you can’t scale. Read More
The blockchain will do to banks and law firms what the internet did to media
Banks and law firms may face the most existential disintermediation threat, but all corporate strategists need to think about the potential impact of blockchain technology. MIT’s Joi Ito, Neha Narula, and Robleh Ali enlighten. Read More
The potential for blockchain to transform electronic health records
Lot’s of potential here. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and MIT Media Lab describe their pilot program. Read More
On-Device machine intelligence
“What if you want machine intelligence to run on your personal phone or smartwatch, or on IoT devices, regardless of whether they are connected to the cloud?” You can… Read More
We have chosen a small number of the superabundance of end-of-year reviews and predictions to recommend, each focused on rapidly developing areas that are important for you to keep up with, even if at a high level. Topics include bots, deep learning, mobile, marketing technology, software development, and design.
Bot Check-In: A Year of Disappointment
Sam Lessin sums it up and explains.
Despite lots of PR, neither Facebook, Amazon or Google-developed bot platforms this year made it easy for developers to work with. Narrowly focused services can thrive in the near-term but mass-market bots have a way to go. Read More
Deep Learning 2016: The Year in Review
Jan Bussieck provides a really useful, not-too-technical, recap and look forward.
The many revolutionary results we have seen in 2016, be they in medical imaging, self-driving cars or machine translation also point to the fact that moving along the axes of data and compute power will lead to diminishing marginal returns… This means that the greatest yields can be reaped from pushing the third frontier forward, to develop algorithms that can learn from raw unlabelled data such as video or text. Read More
2016’s top programming trends
Mobile is eating the world – 2016
Benedict Evans’ latest version of his well known presentation is not just about mobile but covers computing and market issues in the context of today’s dominant platform. The link provides access to both his slides and video presentation. Read More
2017 predictions for mobile marketing
In terms of industry headline value, possibly the two most intriguing mobile advertising developments in 2016 were perpetrated by platform operators: Google massively extended its suite of mobile advertising products and Apple introduced in-store search ads…
Eric Seufer provides three predictions for this year. Read More
Who controls the marketing tech stack in 2017: The CIO or CMO?
There are lots of workable options for collaboration. Dion Hinchcliffe suggests some scenarios. Read More