Saturday, August 19, 2017

Artificial Intelligence: There's No Stopping It

The current thought is that AI will either revolutionize every industry or become smarter than people and drive us out of existence. 

The real answer is no one knows, but we do know that AI is affecting us. Language processing, speech and facial recognition, self-driving cars, and evolving machine intelligence are but several of the ways AI is impacting human society.

In current usage, AI refers to either a computer that can learn from experience and improve its performance over time, or a computer that can recognize voice and other 'natural' human inputs and respond in a useful way.

Products, such as ECHO and Alexa are already acclimating consumers to interacting in a familiar way with very powerful, evolving machine intelligence.  For example, your ECHO knows that every morning at 6am you wake and turn on a light. That habit can be replicated  by ECHO and automatically be done each morning.  It's all about perfecting the experience and baking-in that intelligence and creating systems that will know what users want and when they want it.

Another area in development is what is termed 'reaction aware' or emotion-sensing AI systems which use up to 40 billion data points combined with deep machine learning and advanced computer vision technologies to sense and analyze feeling.

Powerful AI, like I have been discussing, is very expensive to develop and deploy, requiring huge amounts of coding, powerful processors, and very high bandwidth to make work. So, for now, the best AI goes into cars, smartphones, banking, healthcare, and digital signage. A limiting factor to AI's growth is the tremendous amount of data that systems must gather and process in order to develop deep intelligence about the real world.  However, in time this impediment will be overcome.

AI's immersive, man/machine collaborative environment might seem uncomfortable but it will shape our future.  Robotic factories are already making better robots for manufacturing cars. Future AI will surely impact humanity in ways that we can not imagine. In the best case scenario AI will contribute to a win-win world, but don't be so sure.

Jim Lavorato

Friday, August 18, 2017

Influencer Marketing: How It Works

Just in the last year ad spending on social media platforms grew by 40% - spurred-on by influencer marketing!

Influencer marketing is the process of using the voice (and face) of trusted personas to hawk your product, service, company.  As social space is more and more cluttered with ads it pays to have your brand leveraged by using influence as a marketing ploy. The issue becomes which one and how do I manage the influencer to get the expected marketing and sales results.

Your goal is to create a distribution channel to break through the ad clutter, so finding the right talent match that can help you do this is like a dating selection process - lots of people but you're looking for the right match.  There are five key issues which must be addressed in selecting which influencer to use.

1. Who is following the Influencer? Use of demographics and finding out the 'engagement' of the Influencer with his/her posse. Do they comment?  Do they tag their friends in comments?  The goal being to tap into the Influencer's fan base (which are going to buy, use, and repeat buy) your product or service.

2. Does the Influencer's audience align with your target market? Just because an Influencer has a large fan following doesn't mean he/she is a good match for your brand.  Certain personas may be terrific for you while others a complete wash-out.

3. What's the Influencer's history? Follow the Influencer on social media before deciding. Create a secondary account and see how your prospective Influencer performs. Do they make questionable or controversial posts? How well do they fit into your marketing strategy?  Vetting the Influencer thoroughly before signing up for their service is requisite.

4. How affordable is the Influencer?  Are they a celebrity, wide-range influencer, trail-blazer, or micro-influencer? These are the broad categories in play and each level has its price.  Your best bet is to mix as many levels as you can afford, keeping in mind your goals and which demographic you want to reach and engage with.  No matter which level you choose, you must research the Influencer's stats so you can negotiate a fair price - it's quality and not quantity you're looking for.

5. What are YOUR goals? Who is your target? What are the expected results from your ad campaign? You will need to set specific benchmarks - such as, awareness, reach, sentiment, or action and have a timetable for results.

Influencer marketing, like all marketing, is to generate new customers, while retaining the old ones. Understanding a talent's influence is essential to a successful match and the requisite marketing impact. Check out WHOSAY and Match Platform for more info.

For Fund-House
Jim Lavorato

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Industrial Revolution 4.0

The first industrial revolution came about when manufacturing meet steam power. The second, when electricity came about to power factory machinery. The third, when digital technology was introduced and because of the growth in the ever-evolving digital domain a fourth industrial revolution is now upon us - Industry 4.0.

IR-4.0 brings together information-technology and production-technology where automation applications and robots influence production performance and production quality - reducing human-induced inefficiencies and errors. Smart machines that operate in measured and fixed ways to enable precise planning , increasing productivity and quality, and minimizing down-times and failures.

In IR-4.0, investment in smart machinery and robots is a necessity. Use of the Internet of Things to bring together information technology and industrial design to elevate industrial production to a new level.  A level where robots communicate with each other, detect the environment with sensors, and determine the production process' needs through data analysis.  Where brand dependency is replaced by benefit dependency, the goal being using robots, enabled by artificial intelligence, to take over production completely.  For many businesses that rely on human labor, the switch to brain power rather from muscle power is what IR-4.0 is all about.

As Industrial Revolution 4.0 takes hold and evolves, new industry sectors will emerge as others disappear, drastically impacting companies, countries, and people across the globe.

Jim Lavorato