How artificial intelligence will help you deliver exceptional customer experiences with content

Artificial intelligence (AI) is at work right now, even if you don’t notice it. While you’re busy creating new marketing campaigns or documenting new products and services, AI systems are busy augmenting your capabilities.

Behind the scenes, AI is working to help you understand the bigger picture by providing an always-on alert system designed to ensure recognition of patterns, trends, threats, and opportunities hidden deep in the data. Content management systems depend on this data to help improve the way content is created, managed, translated, and delivered; that is, the right content to the right people, when, where, and how they need it.

And yet, most content management systems have yet to incorporate AI-powered functionality into their products. But, that’s about to change.

Once you recognize that content is a business asset, you will see the importance of leveraging every ounce of value from each dollar that is spent developing it. But, recognizing a need—and tackling it—are two very different things.

When ready to take action, you’ll likely find yourself in need of a digital transformation; a profound evolution of business activities, (including all things related to producing content) designed to help meet the fast-changing, technology-fueled needs of today, while simultaneously preparing your organization for changes coming tomorrow. AI is certainly going to be part of the mix.

Today, AI is in use in content production departments around the globe. It helps financial service companies automatically generate content that adheres to U.S. government regulations. AI helps news organizations (like the Associated Press) make corporate earnings reports on demand, and at scale, much faster—and more consistently—than its business reporters can. And it helps small businesses compete with much larger competitors by helping them develop capabilities previously limited to Fortune 500 companies.

AI also plays a significant role in content distribution and delivery. Today, with a few commands from the keyboard, intelligent agents can be put to work on your behalf. Intelligent agents can be instructed to generate a website, publish content simultaneously—and at the right time and to the right people—to multiple social media outlets, and provide predictive analytics designed to create relevant content of value to prospects and customers.

As AI matures, expect it to expand into other areas of the content lifecycle. For instance, your content management system can be fed insights generated from predictive analytics that can help guide conversations with customers. AI will serve up content designed to steer your prospects toward relevant content, product, and service offerings.

One of the promises AI will deliver is improvements to content management over time. As machines learn, they adapt and become smarter. AI will enforce the rules set in place to govern the creation, management, translation, and delivery of content. AI-enabled content management systems will identify threats (like incongruent content, bad links, security concerns) and help prevent violations of conventions, rules, regulations, and laws. Properly tuned, AI-augmented content management systems will help spot opportunities to produce new content and assist in determining whether the content created delivers the value expected. Education, business, and government will all benefit from AI-powered content personalization.

The future of artificial intelligence is uncertain in many ways, but one forecast remains clear—all worldwide industries, governments, employees, and retail consumers will be affected.

There exist doomsayers, such as Elon Musk of Tesla, who says he believes that artificial intelligence poses an “existential threat to human civilization”. Some technology leaders are more optimistic, like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who says artificial intelligence applications will help businesses “build things” that make the world “better.” Zuckerberg says AI promises—over the next 5 to 10 years—to help us develop new operational models.

While I understand the need to be aware of the dangers, I believe harnessing the power of AI cooperatively through partnerships with Fortune 500 companies is our best strategy. An example would be the recent deal announced by AT&T and Oracle that combines AI technology and data analytics to improve AT&T’s field service technician’s workflow—problem discovery, solution efficiency, and overall customer experience. When scheduling an appointment with a telephone installation technician, imagine being given a firm appointment time, rather than a 4-hour appointment time window. This same strategy could be deployed in the content world to build an AI-enabled Component Content Management System with content creation, quality, translation, and distribution interacting in real time.

My advice: Learn everything you can about AI. Seek out opportunities to become involved in projects, both at work and in your free time. In a world in which machine-ready content will play a critical role in your remaining relevant, it’s best to stay ahead of the AI curve.

Michael Rosinski, Astoria Software’s President & CEO, Discusses Augmented Reality: Will It Live Up To The Hype?

There’s a lot of hype about augmented reality (AR) and its impact on content. Lately, it’s getting difficult to avoid. From analyst firms to magazines—and from newspapers to corporate websites and blogs—everyone seems to be writing about how AR will transform the way we live, work, and play.

Virtual reality versus augmented reality

To understand the potential impact that AR may have in the future, it helps to start with a clear understanding of the difference between augmented and virtual reality (VR). AR and VR are related. AR is a distant cousin to VR. The primary difference between the two is rooted in reality.

  • Virtual reality aims to create convincing—yet artificial—computer-generated experiences that feel real. VR experiences are designed to be stimulating, immersive simulations that are made possible with the help of a headset like Facebook’s Oculs Rift.
  • Augmented reality, on the other hand, aims to complement reality by adding a layer of complementary information—something useful or entertaining—on top of reality. It’s live and in real-time. AR makes it possible for us to produce content that can be super-imposed over an image of physical world with the help of a camera-equipped mobile device or specialized headgear. If you’ve watched live television broadcasts of sporting events, chances are you’ve seen AR in action. But, AR’s true value is in the capability it provides users. AR can help consumers make simple repairs to an automobile, learn to cook, and more.

    Related:
    How Augmented Reality Works

While opportunities to apply AR to business are almost unlimited, opinions about its value vary.

The Future of Computing? Perhaps.

Some exclaim AR is “the future of computing!”. They cite examples of AR’s ability to radically transform education, healthcare, food safety, manufacturing, fashion, retail, and entertainment. A recent report from Forrester says AR’s “immersive digital overlays represent an opportunity to improve customer engagement.”

Gartner predicts that “through 2021, businesses will see a rapid evolution of immersive content and applications that will range from consumer entertainment experiences to optimizing complex work processes.”

Gartner also predicts that by 2020, 10 million consumers will use augmented reality while shopping online. “Immersive technologies such as augmented reality increase user engagement with a product or service by enabling a consumer to fully explore features and conveying additional information that can aid in a buying decision,” Gartner says. “This will drive immersive interfaces, including both augmented and virtual reality, to become the standard customer experience paradigm for scenarios requiring human-to-machine interactions.”

Others are not so easily impressed. The nay-sayers complain that adoption of AR technology is slow; and the bar to entry, too high. Others say what started as a revolutionary technology with amazing promise has been co-opted—and dramatically watered-down—by the tech players like Facebook.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, predicts augmented reality will dramatically change the types of content we produce. At its annual F8 developer’s conference in San Jose, CA recently, Zuckerberg laid out his vision for incorporating AR into Facebook. Zuckerberg says he believes the future of augmented reality won’t involve headsets or televisions. Instead, widespread adoption will be driven by smartphones and other mobile devices with cameras.

 Not Everyone Agrees

“The problem is that the acceptable bar for what can, or should, be considered augmented reality is dropping quickly,” reports market researcher, Bob O’Donnell in USA Today. O’Donnell (and others like him) believe the original promise of AR has been diluted and can’t be delivered through a smartphone camera.  (NOTE: see also: Camera Effects Platform)

The question of which technology company will be the big winner in the advancement of augmented reality to a wide audience is not clear yet. Some speculate that Apple (a late entry into the AR space) could easily find itself on top. “If Apple put augmented reality in the iPhone 8’s cameras,” writes Caitlin McGarry in Macworld, “the company would own the full stack: hardware powerful enough to put AR experiences in the palm of your hand without burning through your battery and the software support to entice developers into creating those experiences.”

A Big Market With A Big Opportunity

With support from industry heavyweights like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook, analysts predict the AR market in the US could reach $50 billion USD (see chart below) in annual sales by 2021. Global growth is expected to reach 90 billion USD annually by the same time. With such a big opportunity for revenue generation, it’s no wonder that nearly every tech brand is looking for a way to grab their share of this promising market.

The question for content producing companies is not should they create AR content, but how will they manage the complex relationships between content assets in a world of layers. Add localization and translation to the mix, and the need for powerful, enterprise-wide content management becomes clear.

 

Artificial Intelligence and Work: Preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

We’re at the beginning of what some analysts call The Fourth Industrial Revolution—sometimes referred to as Industry 4.0—the marriage of advanced manufacturing techniques with artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). The goal is to produce a hyper-efficient, automated, interconnected system capable of communicating, analyzing, and using information to drive progress.

There’s a lot of talk about the impact of Industry 4.0 on jobs and the future of work. It’s a newsworthy topic that has made its way into the daily media cycle, particularly as some investors predict more automation and fewer jobs in the future.

What is AI?

According to the Google dictionary, “Artificial intelligence is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.”

AI is not a discrete technology. It’s a constellation of technologies that mimic behaviors and cognitive abilities associated with humans, such as rationalizing, reasoning, problem-solving and learning. Being able to sense, comprehend, and automatically act upon what is learned—without being explicitly programmed to do so—is what makes AI more powerful than traditional computing technologies.

Some of the most popular AI technologies are:

  • Speech Recognition — transforms human speech to text and other machine-readable formats
  • Natural Language Processing and Text Analytics — makes it possible for computers to understand sentence structure, intent, meaning, and sentiment
  • Machine Learning Systems — algorithms that learn and make predictions based on patterns in data
  • Decision Management — automated decision-making engines
  • Virtual Agents — chat bots and more advanced personal assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri

AI is with you already. There’s no escape.

No, robots will not organize a digital insurrection and take over the planet—at least, not any time soon. But, AI will usher in dramatic and significant changes to the way we live, work, and play.

Today, no matter where you look, AI is likely to be making a debut appearance. While previously limited to the fictional world of motion pictures, AI is making its way into almost every product, service, and technology imaginable. In fact, if you’re like many people, AI has been part of your life for a few years now:

And, if you own a smartphone, chances are, you have a helpful personal assistant powered by AI at your beck and call. Perhaps the most widely-known personal assistant, Siri, is now available across much of the Apple product line. Siri’s power increases by connecting it to Apple HomeKit, allowing you to communicate with—and control—connected smarthome devices from afar with your voice.

The impact of AI

AI evangelists often tout the potential benefits AI may have on business, education, and humanity as a whole, but some experts worry that it may also introduce significant negative repercussions if allowed to develop unabated. Just imagine the arms race that might occur with the introduction of autonomous weapons.

Fear of mass destruction—or a hostile robot takeover—aside, currently AI is being employed to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges:

In 2016, Gartner ranked AI as its number one strategic technology (for the second year in a row). Google, IBM, Salesforce, Amazon, and Apple have invested significantly in the development, purchase, and acquisition of AI technologies. And, the AI race is on inside global brands. According to research from Narrative Science, 38% of enterprises today report using AI. By 2018, that number is expected to grow to 62%.

With Fortune 1000 companies embracing AI in a major way, it is no surprise that AI will continue to be a growing influence on the technology front impacting jobs, automation, and productivity—all with touchpoints to the political landscape.