Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Cool New Websites of the future

Hey, Website!
Hey yourself, User. What brings you here?
I hear you are a cool guy/place to hang around with :)
Thanks! Wow!! Didn't know that I'm that famous ;) tbh I'm just trying to be like you - More human, more friendly :)

…and so forth, the online conversation goes on between the user & the brand

Every brand website is a potential storyteller and technology is a great enabler of stories. The pace at which technology is getting adopted, especially the bot & AI technologies, chatting and talking websites are going to be the future storytellers of the brand.

Websites have come a long way.  From the static 'online catalogs' of early 90's to animated Flash based website of 2000's and the current search friendly and dynamic websites (with some personalization and responsive)…. They were led by customer friendly approach which was driven by the device & the purpose - Informational to Interactional to Engagement. The future purposes of website is to be conversational and be brand story tellers.

Chatbots have been around for quite some time now. Remember, the virtual assistants you see in few shopping portals or the popular (actually unpopular) Clippit, the office assistant in the earlier version of MS-Word. Well, these dumb stuffs have actually become smart over the years, thanks to artificial intelligence.

“So pretty much everyone today who is building applications whether they be mobile apps or desktop apps or websites will build bots as the new interface, where you have a human dialogue interface versus menus of the past,” - Satya Nadella
There will be a paradigm shift in User Experience due to this new UI involving bot & AI technologies. The advantages of having a conversational UI are lot. Here are few important things I can think about:
  • It helps build more engagement than a tree based content layout
  • More natural and personal than a regular website content
  • Instead of browsing a website, you’ll be talking to the brand-bot
  • The possibilities are endless – they can work across multiple platforms and can be scaled to process natural language, including voice commands

Soon, you'll have brands having conversations with you on chat platforms, social media, websites, and devices (Siri, Echo, Alexa, etc). A seamless storytelling through owned, shared, and paid media

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Key Takeaways from NASSCOM ILF 2017 Event

    After a long time, I attended a full NASSCOM conference (Yes, all of three days!!). 
    As good events go, this event too was good, with a long line of illustrious industry 
    speakers (Ginni Rometty) business leaders (Mukesh Ambani, Anand Mahendra) 
    to sportsperson (Anil Kumble). The topic curiously was more introspective 
    rather than outward looking – To reimagine and not reengineer

While a variety of topics were discussed (
for me the key takeaways from the event were:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Virtual Reality
  • HealthTech

From IBM Watson to Startups creating NLP & Deep Learning based solutions for enterprise, 
I'd noticed AI coming in all shapes and sizes. Some call it Machine Learning, some others Cognitive 
Business. However, the idea that data will drive businesses is very real. If Data is the new oil… 
Artificial intelligence is going to the refinery plant.

Virtual Reality, which has been in the spot light for past few years but limited its presence and activities
to media and gaming industry will have a larger role to play in various other businesses. Healthcare and
Education being the most natural progression for virtual reality solution. From the basic 360 degree 
video currently in use… the use of 3D - CGI will increase. Personally, I feel that VR needs to move 
from single user interaction to single object - multiple users interactions on real time basis.

From FoodTech couple of years back and to Fintech last year… this year will be about HealthTech. 
The healthcare market is over $3 Trillion and digital has been scantly used in this industry. There is 
huge interest from Pharma, Insurance, and Govt on increasing the quality of medical care thus will give
rise to a lot of startups focussing on end user solutions

    Apart from the above, there were some more things to ponder:

    • Why do technology firms talk about VR / reduced attention span,  etc. but have day long conferences & have has physical conferences rather than virtual hangouts?
    • Most technologies are old wine in new bottle… Be it ASP (application service provider), SAAS, cloud computing, etc…
    • Is Digital SCAM (Social-Cloud-Analytics-Mobile) in a new guise
    • Messenger is more important than the message: Two business leaders having divergent views on same subject (demonetization) receives applause from the same audience.
    • We live in the ‘Now’ moment: As the field of technology rapidly changes, most of the business leaders have a focus on what is the current need and try and identify solutions that best suits their current challenges. Also, they consume information for the moment with little action points.
    • There is a huge gender gap in IT field…. Unlike most of the media & marketing/advertising events I have and keep attending regularly - women delegates are scantly present in the NASSCOM event. Hope the young girls take inspiration from Ginni Rommety and we get to see many more women in the IT field. Please note this comparison is just between media/advertising industry and IT industry


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Trends for 2017 in Marketing, Business, and Society

Season's Greetings and warm wishes for a great year!

In Content Marketing, 'tis the season for either predicting the trends/things to watch out for this year or give a quick review of what worked and what didn't in the year gone by… or maybe both. My content calendar too has the same topics :)

However, looking at my past blog posts that I posted around this time, I realize how repetitive the predictions were year after year. For example for past few years, all subject matter experts including me, are talking about Mobile, Augmented Reality, IoT, etc as the things to watch out for and it looks like it will remain the same for next couple of years too. Hence this year, I wanted to look at trends in a broader but more impactful perspective.

I was attending a corporate event during the last week of December and got to hear various speakers from technology, consultancy, and media fields. They shared their observations and wisdom on how they perceive digital will impact markets in general and other important issues that concerns India in specific and world in general. From the talks, I got some insights into what the top 3 trends could be:

In a larger sense, 2017 is going to be all about empowerment. Be it the common man, the marginalized, the women , the society is going through a lot of changes when it comes to empowerment. Thanks to technology and its impact, people who never felt heard and were silent till now are getting vocal and getting noticed too. Maybe, the Brexit and US presidential results are in some way the signs of feeling of empowerment by the majority of silent people. The popular acceptance of demonetization, the clamor for transparency in the government functioning, overall the shrugging away of status quo and accepting drastic change in hope of betterment are all signs of an empowered society

From a business or organization perspective, it will be ideas driven. As the markets turn homogenous, as the product replication time reduces, the need to innovate becomes imperative. Small companies, especially startups, will sprout based on various innovative ideas,  and large organizations too will look at their internal pool of functions and people to innovate. The reason why I say Big Ideas is that for an idea creator, no idea is too small :)

Lastly, when it comes to marketing… it will be about Big Data. Mostly, the use of data will be driven by 2 factors:

  • To do n=1 marketing (or to coin a new term cell-marketing), wherein by using big data you can focus and pin point your marketing activity to a single outlet or customer. This means data will be analyzed on real-time basis  for better and faster marketing/business decisions
  • Exploring Co-data marketing…where-in various data points (usually by different companies) will be shared to market a new set of services to the customer. For example, data points from a credit card company and a fast food outlet company (or a health provider) will be taken by an insurance company to offer me customized insurance package/premium .

This year, hope to see a society that is more empowered, where the businesses comes with new ideas and where marketing becomes personalized, thanks to big data