July 15, 2020

AI and ML help digital brands deliver exceptional UX

Adolphus Nolan III, Solution Architect at Bottle Rocket, highlights how AI and ML are helping marketers exceed some of the loftier user experience expectations with essentially minimal effort.

30-second summary:

  • An individual user experience can now be influenced, enriched and personalized using the learnings from millions of similar (or dissimilar) user experiences. And the tools to get started have never been easier to access.
  • Machine learning (ML) will be most valuable for brands if your marketing and product teams are brought into the fold.
  • Widespread adoption of ML tools will drive product teams and marketers to rely on AI for decision making and improving the overall customer experience.
  • Investment in AI and ML should be focused and tied to a single real-world problem such as reducing customer service costs or improving conversion rates.

Artificial intelligence (AI)—like most disciplines—has made staggering advancements in the 2010s due in large part to powerful leaps forward in cloud computing.

Through AI and machine learning (ML), systems can now perform functions based on what they learned from data rather than what was explicitly programmed by a human.

This allows the software to adapt, become more robust and process information that the software wasn’t specifically coded to handle.

An individual user experience can now be influenced, enriched and personalized using the learnings from millions of similar (or dissimilar) user experiences. And the tools to get started have never been easier to access.

For the first time in recent history, digital brands are empowered to meet or exceed some of the loftier user experience expectations with essentially minimal effort.

Marketing and AI

Marketers will be able to use AI to better predict customer lifetime value and target customers more accurately.

Using ML, each potential customer’s likelihood to churn can be compared to current high-value customers by comparing profiles. And while this propensity can be guessed, it would be without any strong degree of fidelity.

ML offers objective analysis at scale for your dataset or other datasets you may want to compare against.

Product teams and AI

Product teams will be able to link data from disparate data sources to craft a richer experience.

When developing digital (or physical) products in which the goal is to inspire utility, it is paramount to continue to gather usage information from users: every screen viewed in an app, every level completed in a game, every cup of coffee digitally initiated, all produce usage logs.

At scale, this could amount to millions of records sent from hundreds of different touchpoints. And for product teams working with designers and engineers, some insights are required to continually improve product offerings.

The demand for ML keeps growing

Crowdflower ran a recent survey with data scientists from a broad range of backgrounds, including those who were new to the field and those who were at a chief data officer level.

The survey revealed 50 percent of respondents noted ML had significant importance for their companies and their departments. The problem is that most companies don’t know where to start or are boiling the ocean by including too many things.

Investment in AI and ML should be focused and tied to a single real-world problem such as reducing customer service costs or improving conversion rates.

The demand for ML keeps growing. As businesses are shifting to stay relevant in the cognitive era, ML will both support and drive today’s data scientists and advanced analytics leaders into the future.

This article was originally published in ClickZ.com.

June 22, 2020

Bottle Rocket Engineers Create Finalist App for Google’s Android Challenge

The Android Challenge reemerged in December 2019 with a new global ask of the developer community. The goal was to create helpful innovations powered by on-device machine learning (ML). Not ones to shy away from any challenge, a team of Bottle Rocket engineers, along with our friends at Google, collaborated to create a one-of-a-kind app that not only earned them a finalist position in the Android Challenge, but also solved a key issue for the visually impaired.

The goal of the Path Finder app is to help users navigate through public environments and all the unknowns surrounding them. Leveraging the ML capabilities of Android, Path Finder helps people with visual impairments by identifying and calculating the trajectories of objects moving in their path. Custom alerts then inform the user of how to avoid these obstacles and what actions they can safely make.

"What started as a simple idea among Rocketeers was selected as one in a handful of finalists out of over 500 applicants," says Colin Shelton, Lead Android Engineer. "Our ML club is always looking for new opportunities to flex our technical chops and experiment with technology in new ways and this challenge was the perfect opportunity to do just that while also doing something good for the world."

The app brings together object detection and depth mapping and uses TensorFlow Lite to calculate distances of surrounding objects. It is designed to augment the user's experience, share information, and give support, not overwhelm them in difficult situations. Both audible and haptic feedback are part of alert system, while a range of pitches and frequencies communicate each object's distance and direction. Audio patterns, like Morse Code, are then layered and combined for sharing further information. The app helps visually impaired users gain the advantage of foresight, making public environments easier to navigate.

"I am so impressed with this team of engineers and other Rocketeers who worked hard to produce the Path Finder app," says Calvin Carter, Bottle Rocket's Founder and CEO. "It's proof that a small group of committed and passionate people all leaning in the same direction can achieve big things together."

The Path Finder app is currently featured among other finalists in a curated ML collection by Google. Download the app here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.br.ml.brpathfinder.

Read more about this story here.

Find out about the other winners here or here.

This article was originally published on PRNewswire.com.

June 22, 2020

Bottle Rocket’s Path Finder Machine Learning Concept Selected as one of a Dozen Finalists in the Latest Android Challenge

What started back in 2008 as a way to get developers excited about the possibilities of the Android platform, recently reemerged with a new global ask of the developer community. This time, the goal was to create helpful innovations powered by on-device machine learning (ML). This latest challenge, released in December 2019, set out to unlock new experiences on Android and help to inspire developers around the world, similar to prior Android Challenges over a decade ago.

Not ones to shy away from any technical challenge, a team of Bottle Rocket engineers, along with our friends at Google, collaborated to create a one-of-a-kind app that not only earned them a finalist position in the Android Challenge, but also solved a key issue for the visually impaired.

After just a few short weeks of concepting and a few months of development, the Path Finder app was born with a goal of helping users navigate through public environments and all the unknowns surrounding them. Leveraging the ML capabilities of Android, Path Finder helps people with visual impairments navigate through complex situations like shopping malls or crowded streets by identifying and calculating the trajectories of objects moving in their path. Custom alerts then inform the user of how to avoid these obstacles and what actions they can safely make.

“What started as a simple idea among Rocketeers was selected as one in a handful of finalists out of over 500 applicants,” says Colin Shelton, Lead Android Engineer II at Bottle Rocket. “Our ML club is always looking for new opportunities to flex our technical chops and experiment with technology in new ways and this challenge was the perfect opportunity to do just that while also doing something good for the world. We’re excited to watch the app improve over time as Android devices continue to mature and advance.”

The app brings together object detection and depth mapping and uses TensorFlow Lite to calculate distances of surrounding objects. It is designed to augment the user’s experience, share information, and give support, not overwhelm them in difficult situations. For this reason, Path Finder’s setup process is made to be conversational and is customized for users with limited vision, as well as the people helping them. Both audible and haptic feedback are part of the obstacle alert system, while a range of pitches and frequencies communicate each object’s distance and direction. Audio patterns, like Morse Code, are then layered and combined for sharing further information. The app helps visually impaired users gain the advantage of foresight, making public environments easier to navigate.

“The Path Finder app is an open source project that offers developers a starting point to take this concept even further,” states Luke Wallace, Director of Android Engineering at Bottle Rocket. “The Bottle Rocket team has effectively created a proof of concept and validated what is feasible through on-device ML. Our teams have proved that this technology has real world purpose and can truly help those in need. Path Finder is our gift to the Android developer world and the community.”

The app has been released to the public and is currently available in the Google Play store. The Path Finder app is also featured among other finalists in a curated ML collection by Google. Google plans to leverage technology influencers to spread the word about each of the finalist apps to help promote both the technology behind the app, as well as the apps themselves.

“I am so impressed with this team of engineers and other Rocketeers who worked hard to produce the Path Finder app,” says Calvin Carter, Bottle Rocket’s Founder and CEO. “It’s proof that a small group of committed and passionate people all leaning in the same direction can achieve big things together. It’s also a perfect example of ‘love of the game,’ something we talk a lot about at Bottle Rocket. They did this work because they authentically care for others and out of a true desire to learn. I recognize you and thank you for this amazing contribution not just to the men, women, and children who will be able to use this app to better experience the world, but also making the world a more inclusive place.”

The Path Finder app can be downloaded here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.br.ml.brpathfinder

May 7, 2020

15 Technologies That Will Disrupt The Industry In The Next Five Years

Five years ago, the words "artificial intelligence" and "machine learning" were on everyone's lips. Today, these technologies form a core part of how companies do business. Because technology is ever-evolving, there will always be new tech emerging on the horizon.

However, the past has shown us that not every emerging technology can remain relevant, much less disrupt entire sectors of the economy. With each new crop of technologies, there are usually a few that have that potential. Fifteen members of Forbes Technology Council discuss some of today’s emerging technologies that they expect to be game-changers in the next five years.

1. 5G Technology

The biggest disruptors are those that simplify the user experience, and 5G accomplishes just that. Even in fields like customer service, 5G can both enhance and simplify the customer experience. Voice calls will be clearer, video support more accessible and greater bandwidth will enable the widespread adoption of AI/automation. The result? Richer, easier and more helpful customer support. - Mike De La Cruz, Directly

2. Unsupervised Machine Learning

Unsupervised machine learning (UML) is disrupting how we leverage data for predictions and intelligence. Unlike traditional ML, it works without any data training or labeling, which enables it to recognize and flag unknown patterns and make more accurate predictions. UML eliminates the limitations of preexisting knowledge or human bias, and will therefore enable insights never before possible. - Yinglian Xie, DataVisor

3. Robotic Accuracy And Automation

The next game-changer will be more human intelligence-based robotics and automation. Think about drones delivering packages with human understanding: "Please place this order beside this vase on my living room table." If the vase got moved, the drone will realize that it moved at delivery time (vision recognition) and either deliver it there or ask the user for a new precise delivery location. - Ayman Shoukry, Specright Inc.

4. Intelligent Tech Revolutionizing Security

Intelligent technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning are already enabling us to respond more dynamically to information sharing over email. It’s possible to detect when someone is about to make a mistake, as well as detect intentionally risky behavior such as exfiltrating data. This technology will revolutionize the way organizations consume security solutions and ensure that email is safe to use. - Tony Pepper, Egress

5. Connected Telehealth Solutions

As the pandemic strains hospitals, I’m encouraged by policy changes and shifts in public opinion that will lead to widespread adoption of telehealth. New telehealth apps, when made interoperable with critical patient data in electronic health records and other platforms of engagement for healthcare providers and payers, will change the paradigm with how care can be delivered more effectively. - David Wenger, Bridge Connector

6. Augmented And Virtual Reality

Virtual reality and augmented reality devices are becoming more capable and cost-effective by the minute. The possibility of using a VR space to interact with customers or co-workers seems much more plausible, and provides a richer interaction. The virtual experience may provide another revenue stream from customers, or be a sales tool to entice them to experience it for real. - Luke Wallace, Bottle Rocket

7. Hyperautomation

Hyperautomation provides companies with a framework to use a combination of AI and MLto identify and automate any business processes. Hyperautomation can span across a range of tools that can be automated, but also refers to the overall complexity of the automation. Robust data warehousing and availability of historical data becomes integral to being able to analyze the trends and gaps in current processes. - Jahn Karsybaev, Prosource IT

8. Edge Computing

AI and ML will increase in effectiveness when moving processing closer to the user. Edge computing will transform how data is processed and delivered to the end user, along with 5G data networks. New applications and the explosion of IoT devices will drive this new paradigm. - William McSorley, WM3 Group LLC

9. Spatial Computing

Spatial computing provides a new relationship between humans and digital content. Controlling interfaces with eyes, gestures and voice in a seamless and integrative manner offers a new precedent for interaction with the world. The technology has been partially used in semi-autonomous cars, drones and robots. The digital world will become more and more seamless with the real world. - Alexandro Pando, Xyrupt Technologies

10. Quantum Computing And IoT

AI and ML will continue to be on trend, but a few other things are coming. First of all, we’re talking about quantum computing. Once this moves from prototype to practice, it will create a breakthrough similar to the invention of the computer or the launch of the internet. The second thing that is trendy now and will continue to grow is IoT. Devices and their practical application are growing daily and will continue to grow. - Boris Kontsevoi, Intetics Inc.

11. DataOps

Given how many technologies we have gathering and transmitting data, I feel that DataOps will become more essential going forward. Organizations will need to adopt agile approaches and increase collaboration to manage and analyze the data. When they do, they'll unleash a wave of insights that will drive transformations at all levels, big and small. - Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

12. Natural Language Processing

Natural language processing (NLP) seems to be a game-changer these days. We want robots to be able to process human speech and be able to intelligently react to it. A minor change in a sentence can dramatically change the intent, so we want to make sure robots can handle them! - Gev Balyan, UCRAFT

13. Value Stream Management

Value stream management (VSM) is definitely a game-changer, because this breakthrough technology is now seen through a different lens—a lens of an (almost) completely remote workforce. You now need VSM to maintain visibility, which is a critical component of successful software development in the new world. - Bob Davis, Plutora

14. Additive Manufacturing

Complex geometries unsupported by traditional machining and injection molding can now be created on demand with a single print. As 3D printing becomes increasingly integral to the manufacturing zeitgeist, more businesses will have access to rapid prototyping, tooling and direct manufacturing, and acquire new core competencies. The world is on the cusp of fully embracing this disruptive technology. - Christopher Yang, Corporate Travel Management

15. Regulatory Tech Coming To Government

I'm interested in seeing how regulation tech develops. This category of technology enables governments to implement enforcement and monitoring activities required by law. This trend has the potential to make it easier for businesses and individuals to comply with regulations. There is also a dark side to this trend—how will it impact privacy and freedom? - Nelson Cicchitto, Avatier Corporation

This article was originally published on Forbes.com.

January 6, 2020

Five Real Life Emerging Technology Examples that Really Work

These tools can seem daunting for many companies to even consider. But what we don’t always hear about are how regular companies are using them to improve the digital experiences they provide to clients. These technologies can help companies of all shapes and sizes deliver hyper-personalized content and experiences with increased speed, simplicity and value to their users. And, don’t forget they can also help amplify acquisition, conversion, retention and engagement with your customers. These technologies have moved beyond the realm of “what’s possible” and into the hands of users who have grown to expect them as it makes their lives easier and more delightful. And they don’t have to only be used by the most giant of brands.

Here’s a few practical, relatively simple applications that I’ve seen that have truly benefited end users across a variety of different scenarios.


WILL MY BAG FIT?

Augmented reality was used to create an innovative bag scanning tool that lives inside an airlines’ consumer-facing mobile experience. Via this tool, users can check if their carry-on bag will fit in the overhead compartment prior to coming to the airport. Pretty handy and super helpful in ensuring customers don’t run into any hiccups at the airport before travel.


HIRE ME!

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence was used to power a “matchmaking” experience for candidates applying for jobs. This technology instantaneously matches candidates and jobs without the need for formal job applications. This digital business enhancement has transformed the traditional model and has reduced the typical time it takes to get hired by 75%.

HELP ME STAY HEALTHY

An IoT and On-Demand Delivery feature in this healthcare app provides users with doorstep delivery of needed health aids and Bluetooth connected health metrics. This allows medical professionals to easily segment and monitor high-risk patient populations to identify early stage indicators of morbidity and help prevent urgent hospital visits. The experience has resulted in a 95% patient satisfaction rate and reductions in readmission’s that are as high as 50%.

TALK TO ME

A Voice skill was used to reduce friction within this high-growth situational intelligence company’s platform that connects with up to 44 cloud-based services and autonomously delivers hyper-relevant information to their users.

THIS PLACE IS HUGE

Interactive Wayfinding was used in an on-property consumer-facing app to help users navigate a very large casino property and help make their experience better and more engaging. The experience has 2.5M users worldwide and 70% of active users leveraged the experience more than once a week.

As hopefully this article has pointed out, there are ways to leverage these types of technologies for basically any type of business out there. And, as an upside, your business will have access to new data sets that can ultimately benefit any business. Add in a little predictive modeling and you can begin to add levels of personalization for specific targeted user segments that once wasn’t possible. Net net, finding real ways to leverage emerging technologies within your business will enhance your digital experience with more habit-forming features that can lead to maximum acquisition and engagement across the board.

This piece was originally published at Medium.com/rocket-fuel.