Engage | Top 15 tendencies, which will change interaction with customers – engagement technologies (part 1)
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Top 15 tendencies, which will change interaction with customers – engagement technologies (part 1)

top 15 trends in consumer interactions

Top 15 tendencies, which will change interaction with customers – engagement technologies (part 1)

Recently Forrester has issued a new research report The Top Emerging Technologies to Watch: 2017 to 2021 which is looking at the tech trends that can help businesses in their relations with their customers. Here are the 15 trends in question. They are divided in 3 categories:

The 5 engagement technologies:

  • Internet of Things (IoT) software and solutions;
  • Intelligent agents, such as robotic process automation;
  • Personal identify and data management, including personal data lockers, authorization management tools;
  • Real-time interaction management, like customer recognition, offer arbitration and delivery, measurement/optimization; and
  • Augmented Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR).


The five insight technologies:

  • AI/cognitive tech, such as deep learning and natural language processing;
  • Customer journey analytics;
  • Insight platforms, such as new business analytics tools;
  • IoT analytics; and
  • Spatial analytics, including in-store analytics, location analytics, sensors.


And the five supporting technologies:

  • Security automation and orchestration, such as incident response and threat intelligence;
  • Containers and container management. For example, Docker or cloud container management;
  • Edge computing, where processing power resides throughout a network rather than in a central location;
  • Cloud native application platforms, such Platform-as-a-Service and API management; and
  • Hybrid wireless connectivity, where “chips and software […] translate between wireless protocols on same device.”


Today we will take a look at the 5 engagement technologies:

1.Real time interaction management (RTIM).

According to Forrester the biggest challenges faced by B2C companies who are making the transition from Cross channel campaign management (CCCM) to RTIM are the following:

real time interaction management

RTIM is communicating with customers in the moment and based on what is relevant for them. Another definition is “marketing that is based on up-to-date events”. The goal of RTIM is to connect consumers with the product or service that they need now, in the moment. The biggest advantage of RTIM is that it allows for strategy focused on current trends and for immediate feedback from customers. RTIM operates and responds to trends, customer preferences, and personal context in the present moment. RTIM for example can change the content of an e-mail, intended for an individual customer based on her/his previous purchases or shop browsing experience, but also adjusted for time of day, location and environmental conditions such as weather.

The success of RTIM is based on the following reasons:

  • Customers like customization
  • When something is relevant to consumers’ lives it as a better chance of grabbing their attention. 74% of users get frustrated when website content is irrelevant to their interests
  • Privacy concerns are not so important anymore. 61% of consumers prefer personalized offers even if this results inless privacy while 34% of millennials say they don’t worry at all about digital privacy.
  • RTIM increases revenue. Companies who use RTIM see an average uplift of 19% in sales


2. Augmented reality (AR).

According to research AR will have bigger impact than Virtual reality (VR). As VR will be burdened by large headsets and related gear by 2012 AR will be common, while VR will be still a niche technology.

As the recent case with Pokemon Go shows AR can be enabled with something as common as your smartphone. It overlays generated imagery on actual live scenes, instead of entirely replacing it as VR does. Certainly, overlaying anything you want on the real world represents a tremendous marketing opportunity.

Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. The technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. Augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulable. Information about the environment and its objects is overlaid on the real world.

AR uses the following hardware components – processor, display, sensors and input devices. Depending on the types of display there are several ARs: headmounted, eyeglasses, HUD, contact lenses, virtual retina display, handheld, spatial, etc.

Some of the multiple fields of implementation of AR are:

  • Archeology
  • Architecture
  • Visual art
  • Commerce
  • Construction
  • Education
  • Search and rescue
  • Video games
  • Industrial design
  • Medical
  • Military
  • Navigation
  • Sports
  • Tourism
  • Translation
  • Marketing


3. The internet of things (IoT)

IoT is the internet working of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data. Each thing is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system, but is able to interoperate within the existing Internet infrastructure.

According to experts the IoT will consist of almost 50 billion objects by 2020. IoT connects devices, systems and services, not only in machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, but also on many other protocols, domains and applications. Examples for devices, which belong the IoT category are:

  • Heart monitoring implants
  • Biochip transponders on farm animals
  • Automobiles with built in sensors
  • Field operation devices for search and rescue
  • Thermostats in smart houses

Apart from expanding the different possible application areas, IoT is expected to generate huge amounts of data and all this data needs to be aggregated, indexed, stored and processed more efficiently. In order all this data to be managed each device needs a unique identifier such as an IP address. The future development of IoT will depend largely on IPv6 as IPv4 has very limited address space and IPv6 allows for 4.3 billion unique addresses.

The fields of application of IoT are various, here are some of the most popular:

  • Optimization of shopping experience, i.e. smart fridges which send feedback to user smartphones about the products which need to be purchased
  • Support of behavioral targeting in media and more contextual ads
  • Environmental monitoring of air or water quality, atmospheric or soil conditions
  • Infrastructure management – Monitoring and controlling operations ofurban and rural infrastructures like bridges, railway tracks, on- and offshore- wind-farms, scheduling repair and maintenance
  • The IoT intelligent systems enable rapid manufacturing of new products, dynamic response to product demands, and real-time optimization of manufacturing production andsupply chain networks, by networking machinery, sensors and control systems together
  • Energy management – It is expected that IoT devices will be integrated into all forms of energy consuming devices (switches, power outlets, bulbs, televisions, etc.) and be able to communicate with the utility supply company in order to effectively balancepower generation and energy usage.[85] Such devices would also offer the opportunity for users to remotely control their devices, or centrally manage them via a cloud based interface, and enable advanced functions like scheduling (e.g., remotely powering on or off heating systems, controlling ovens, changing lighting conditions etc.)
  • Medical and healthcare – ranging from remote health monitoringand emergency notification systems in the medical care for senior citizens to consumer devices for healthy livng
  • Transportation – Application of the IoT extends to all aspects of transportation systems (i.e. the vehicle, the infrastructure, and the driver or user). Dynamic interaction between these components of a transport system enables inter and intra vehicular communication,smart traffic control, smart parking, electronic toll collection systems, logistic and fleet management, vehicle control, and safety and road assistance


4. Intelligent agents

In artificial intelligence, an intelligent agent (IA) is an autonomous entity which observes through sensors and acts upon an environment using actuators (i.e. it is an agent) and directs its activity towards achieving goals (i.e. it is “rational”, as defined in economics). Intelligent agents may also learn or use knowledge to achieve their goals. They may be very simple or very complex: a reflex machine such as a thermostat is an intelligent agent.

  • In customer relationship management (CRM), a virtual agent (sometimes called an intelligent virtual agent,virtual rep or v-rep) is a chatterbot program that serves as an online customer service representative for an organization. Because virtual agents have a human appearance and respond appropriately to customer questions, they lend automated interactions a semblance of personal service. Combining artificial intelligence (AI) with a graphical representation, virtual agents are increasingly used in CRM to help people perform tasks such as locating information or placing orders and making reservations.

Intelligent virtual agents (IVA) are built on the laws of artificial intelligence (AI), and are programmed to interact with humans. They are powered by a knowledge base, which includes an extensive list of possible different questions, responses and gestures, allowing the bot to react and respond to human input in a relatively human way. An intelligent virtual agent can serve as a company representative and be programmed around a specific task, such as answering customer questions on a website’s homepage.

Virtual Agents can:

  • Lead an intelligent conversation
  • Perform appropriate non-verbal behavior
  • Respond to customer inquires
  • Combine artificial intelligence (A.I.) with graphic representation to help people perform tasks
  • Convey a human appearance and personal service feeling

Practical applications include:

  • Locating information
  • Placing orders
  • Making reservations
  • Answering questions about customer accounts
  • Providing product information and customer support

The Future of Virtual Agents
Most customers prefer self-reliance and want to avoid wasted time, whether it is with real or virtual agents. A recent Forrester Report showed that only 28 percent of U.S. online consumers “prefer to contact companies via telephone or e-mail rather than using a company’s website to get answers to their questions.” As younger generations make up more of market segment, they are likely to drive up the percentage of people who would rather not interact with humans for assistance.


5. Personal identify and data management, including personal data lockers, authorization management tools

Personal information management (PIM) is the activities people perform in order to acquire, organize, maintain, retrieve and use personal information items such as documents (paper-based and digital), web pages and email messages for everyday use to complete tasks (work-related or not) and fulfill a person’s various roles (as parent, employee, friend, member of community, etc.

Practically, PIM is concerned with how people organize and maintain personal information collections, and methods that can help people in doing so. People may manage information in a variety of settings, for a variety of reasons, and with a variety of types of information

PIM considers not only the methods used to store and organize information, but also is concerned with how people retrieve information from their collections for re-use. On a computer system with a hierarchical file system, a person might need to remember the top-level folder in which a document is located, and then browse through the folder contents to navigate to the desired document.

Email systems often support additional methods for re-finding such as fielded search (e.g., search by sender, subject, date). The characteristics of the document types, the data that can be used to describe them (meta-data), and features of the systems used to store and organize them (e.g. fielded search) are all components that may influence how users accomplish personal information management.

There are six ways in which information can be personal:

  1. Owned by “me”
  2. About “me”
  3. Directed toward “me”
  4. Sent/Posted by “me”
  5. Experienced by “me”
  6. Relevant to “me”

Technologies and tools such as personal information managers help people spend less time with time-consuming and error-prone activities of PIM (such as looking for and organising information).

personal information manager (often referred to as a PIM tool or, more simply, a PIM) is a type of application software that functions as a personal organizer.

Personal information can include any of the following:

  •  Personal file collections (digital and physical): documents, music, photos, videos and similar
  • Personal notes/journal
  • Legal documents
  • Education records
  • Address books
  • Lists (includingtask lists)
  • Significantcalendar dates
    • Birthdays
    • Anniversaries
    • Appointmentsand meetings
  • Reminders
  • Email,instant message archives
  • Faxcommunications, voicemail
  • Project managementfeatures
  • RSS/Atomfeeds
  • Alerts
  • References (including scientific references, websites of interest)

Some of the most well known PIM tools are:

  • Google calendar
  • Outlook calendar
  • Evernote
  • One Note

Authorization management systems on the other hand go beyond traditional authentication mechanisms (passwords, smart cards and public or private keys) to authorize user access to information assets and to wrap those privileges around user sessions.

Until 1998, companies deploying any sort of authorization management systems were left to their own devices – mixing and matching access lists in Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directories, Oracle databases or SQL servers, and coding each application to talk to these directories.

But the problem lay in getting these systems to complete very granular authorizations that could distinguish, for example, whether or not Joe the purchasing agent could authorize a purchase of more than $1,000, or that Jane in accounting had access to accounts receivable but not payroll. In response, a few vendors have developed an emerging class of authorization management tools that automate many of these tasks. Each uses a different approach to solve the problem.

Nowadays developers use different approach – they define protected resources on the Webserver. As a user requests access to information, the software retrieves the customer’s roles from the company’s customer database and attaches those roles, in the form of access rules, to the customer’s session.

In the next article we will cover the 5 insights technologies.


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