Voice Bot Battle Google Home vs Amazon Echo

google-home-family Amazon echo familyVoice bots are on the rise! If you haven’t heard them talking, you will. The battle between Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices (Echo, Dot, Tap, FireTV, Show, etc.) and Google Home devices are in full swing and about to reach the tipping point this year. The market is growing rapidly with over 52% of US adults using voice search on smart phones in 2017 and 20% using smart speakers in their homes. Twenty percent of households have either an Amazon Echo or Google Home smart speakers and projections show 45-58 million units being sold in the next 12 months. We can expect to see the majority of homes with a smart speaker by 2019. Apple is the latest to enter the market for voice bots and according to Loup Ventures is projected to sell 7-10M units in the next 12-24 months. So, what are people doing with these devices?

There are tens of thousands of Alexa skills or apps on the Google platform, and I want to highlight a few that are useful. Not only can you call up your favorite type of music, but you can also call up your favorite radio station if the station is voice enabled. There are hundreds of Cumulus radio stations enabled on smart speakers via the One Voice AI applications platform. One example of this is in Washington DC as you can call up one MIX 107.3 one of the local radio stations.

Georgia Tech skills are available on the Amazon echo dots that can be installed in a dorm. Once Georgia Tech skills are set-up on Alexa, you can “Ask Buzz” your dining hall balance for meal plans or overall BuzzCard balances. You can also predict bus time arrivals for the Georgia Tech buses.

Seniors can find useful skills to make the internet available to them by enabling the Ourvoice.net skills. The skills are able to support seniors with vision, neurological or accessibility issues. Alexa can read a book to them, do their shopping and even alert family members in case of an emergency.

One other cool feature of Alexa is you can have Alexa donate to a charity by saying “Alexa donate $XX to ABC charity”. See a list of currently supported charities via voice donations.

So, should you invest to enable your home with smart speaker capabilities? Even though Amazon has the market share lead today, Google is gaining ground quickly and according to Loup Ventures is projected to surpass Amazon in market share by 2022.

I believe Google will be in the winner! Alexa skills need to be configured or enabled versus just asking Google Assistant a question. Google is more accurate at answering questions with an 81% correct response, and Apple at just 52% correct and Amazon somewhere in between. The chances of repeating a question with Google are far less. Also, the Google algorithm is better at maintaining context of a conversation. For these technical reasons, I give Google the edge over its competitors. Whichever platform you end up choosing, I am certain you will enjoy talking to the device instead of typing to request information or assistance on the internet and most likely, the response will be faster.

Top Three Digital Trends On The Rise

The world of digital advertising is growing at an astonishing rate. In 2018, U.S. advertising spend will excess $220 billion and continued double digit growth in digital ad spend  which opens an array of opportunities for brands to promote their message and drive sales. Projections for mobile ad spend to continue to grow in 2018 reaching $70 billion in sales.  In my view the top three digital trends on the rise to improve marketing Return on Investment (ROI) include artificial intelligence, augmented reality and blockchain technologies.

artificial intelligence, augmented reality & blockchain

Digital Trends On The Rise

The age of artificial intelligence is upon us. Computers can now see, hear and talk. We have conversations with chatbots and home devices like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home. In the coming year, neural networks will utilize big data sets and get even smarter. Tools like Adobe Sensei will improve the design and delivery of online digital experiences. Google Cloud Vision   may be leveraged for logo detection in images posted online by social media followers and influencers to track online brand sentiment. The creation of Salesforce Einstein has enabled even faster customer acquisition with artificial intelligence based recommendations of next best steps in the sales process.

 

Virtual reality would bring an even cooler customer experience but until we are utilizing visors or displays in our glasses, the focus should be placed on augmented reality. This is a great way to blend the digital age with real world experience. Leading technology vendors such as Google, Facebook,and Apple have developed kits with applications programing interfaces (APIs) to leverage their platforms depending on your use case. Users would no longer have to image what furniture would look like in their home with the Ikea app on their mobile device or what it would be like to have a new Porsche  in their driveway.  The opportunities for enhancing the customer experience with a product placement are endless! As cool as the augmented reality technology maybe it is important to think about how it can be linked to the customer engagement metrics and leading indicators to drive product purchases.

 

The newest entrant into the marketing mix this year is blockchain technologies. With all the buzz around valuations of cryptocurrency, a gold rush is in the making for how the core blockchain technologies will radically transform industries. The NY Interactive Ad Exchange (NYIAE) is a model that allows publishers and advertisers to trade advertising contracts. Another on the rise blockchain implementation may be the Basic Attention Token (BAT) currently being beta tested in the Brave browser. This new technology can be used by loyalty programs to measure users time of engagement with ads.  It then assigns a prorated value of a token to be used by publishers and advertisers to provide consumer incentives like rewards programs do today with points or cashback.  This new model may be a more efficient way to reward consumers and to track the value of advertisement and user engagement.

 

These three exciting new digital trends which may be applied as advertising strategies offer new ways to experiment with your marketing mix of campaigns and ultimately improve ROI in 2018.

 

Tableau 10 Tweaks

tableau-logo

The #Tableau10 Roadshow visited Washington DC yesterday to show off some of their latest data visualization product improvements. Besides a new Navigation bar and some new fatter fonts for usability there were a few other interesting new features highlighted. To help with some of the data munging exercises you can now do inner database joins and customize geographic territories. In addition, there is simplified access to more advanced analytics functions, as well as, mobile version of Tableau for the Google’s Android platform.

Besides seeing the new features there was a session on best visualizations of all time. The key takeaways were to make sure you use a viz that show overall trends and outliers, but make sure not to clutter with to much information in single viz. I have found a handful of key data points is the maximum for humans process. Start with a map if possible since it is an image that helps people put data in geographic context. Enable exploratory analytics since you never know all the questions your audience may ask. Finally package the visualizations as a story. Start with the situation or problem to be address by the data then the decision recommendations or actions taken.  Finally what was the result of the analysis and recommended action. Or in short what I like to call the three Ds: Data, Decision, & Done!

AWS Summit

AWSCloudCity

Over last two days I attended the Amazon Web Services Public Sector Summit and had the opportunity to observe several great customer stories on how public sector organizations are leveraging the AWS platform to improve services to their respective constituencies . My interest are primarily in the analytics and IoT arena. Out of 70 session I have just a handful of stories to relay and I am sure there are many more just as impactful. The most impressive public sector digital transformations to the cloud include the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and the World Bank primarily because of the speed at which these CIOs are driving the change.

LaVerne H. Council. the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) the Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology (OI&T) and Chief Information Officer (CIO) oversees the day-to-day activities of VA’s $4 billion IT budget. Her focus has been to aggressively align resources and measurements with the agency’s mission. By focusing on outcomes verse activities she has been able to create some interesting solutions to better serve our veterans. The linked FCW articles does a good job talking about the transform she is driving at the VA.

World Bank’s Stephanie von Friedeburg is the CIO who has driven a wholesale shift of email infrastructure and 250 applications portfolio to cloud platforms. Here is link to Peter High’s interview in Forbes about how she started the journey.

There were also a lot of interesting city specific case studies from the AWS City on a Cloud competition. To wrap it up a very insightful closing keynote with Andy Jassy, CEO and Teresa Carlson, VP WWPS Here is the video link to the Fireside Chat.

 

Snow Storm Coming To Big Data

In last month I observed two briefings about the impending snow storm coming to Big Data. Not that winter is soon upon us, but because of the blizzards of information flowing into organizations today. There are a couple of vendors building solutions to battle the on going storm. There is Amazon’s Snowball for moving data and Snowflake a new SaaS database solution for  getting a handle on your data.

The Snowball  helps with the ever growing challenge some enterprise organizations have with Big Data and how do they move it all into the cloud. Amazon rolled out the Snowball product at the ReInvent User Conference to address just this problem. It is a 50 Terabyte suitcase which can be used in parallel to ship petabytes of data back to their data centers. The main reason for this solution is that it just takes to long to ship the data over current net infrastructure.  Also, there is the  cost and complexity to bump up bandwidth to move petabytes of data from on premise to the cloud. If you want to try their is an Amazon blog link suggesting Moving Big Data into the Cloud.

The Snowflake helps optimize the performance of the data once you get it into the cloud. Gartner named them Cool Vendor in DBMS category in early 2015. They call themselves an elastic data warehouse service.  The automate a lot of administration functions when moving to the cloud based to reduce cost of management by leveraging multi-structured shared data. See details on interview of founder Bob Muglia at VMworld 2015.

Don’t get caught in the blizzard of data and make your snowflakes into snowballs and get your data to the cloud faster on the latest state of the art cloud DBMS.

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DIGIFUTURES DOING DATA IN 2015

We are morphing from digital media campaign management to marketing analytics and data visualizations. There are projections for a shortage of data scientist with the accumulation of Big Data so we aim to fill the gap.  I am currently exploring pilot projects to build client portfolio. If you need to evaluate data analytics/visualization tools,  build proof of concepts or start a pilot. DigiFutures can help.