Tech and Business Review: June 17, 2017

In Technology by Shelly KramerLeave a Comment

Tech and Business Review: June 17, 2017

These last few weeks I’ve been in Vegas for the PegaWorld event, in Phoenix to meet with one of my business partners, to Prescott, AZ (where it was much cooler) and now I’m headed to NOLA tomorrow for the SHRM conference with my partner Eric Vidal and TalentCulture’s Meghan M. Biro for some immersion in the HR and HR tech world.  I just keep going from hot, to hotter, to hottest and most humid. Not sure what’s wrong with me, but that’s the way it goes. Enough about me—here’s what’s up in the worlds of tech and business this week….

How to Prepare Employees to Work with AI. It’s a fairly common thing for people to fear losing their jobs because of changes and advancements in the world and in technology. If you think about it, this is even more evident during this current industrial and technological revolution.

The fear of robots replacing humans is increasingly becoming a reality. We have robots working as concierge in airports and hotels, and robotic hands used in manufacturing and in hospital operating rooms. There are virtual assistants, self-driving cars and trucks being tested for efficiency and safety. AI is continuing to master an increasing number of tasks. Since there is still an unprecedented shortage of experts in the field, one of the biggest challenges is to help the current workforce adapt to technology and to, the jobs of the future.

Check out this very interesting article shared by Jeff Shore on how the enterprise can help this ongoing transition to the age of Artificial Intelligence.

How Marketers Can Prepare For AI-powered Marketing.  Artificial intelligence is affecting all facets of business, including marketing. Gone are the days of throwing ideas against the wall to see what sticks—today’s marketers are employing technology like AI, machine learning, predictive analytics, and more, and seeing big returns as a result. Technology is a way that marketers can glean critical business insights and data-driven, technology empowered marketing is, and will be, the standard of how we do business.

I enjoyed this read on how to assess the real potential of AI in Martech shared by Michaela Brown on Twitter—and you might, too.

The first ad network for Alexa Skills shuts down following Amazon’s policy changes. To keep existing customers or attract new customers, brands and companies will need to focus on providing the best experience for their customers. When VoiceLabs introduced its interactive ads platform for the Amazon Echo, it had support from advertisers like ESPN and Wendy’s. It offered developers a way to make money from their Alexa Skills using a service called “Sponsored Messages.” That has all come to a screeching halt as Amazon has decided to ban ads using a voice and interactions that are, in their view, too much like Alexa.  And since that is exactly the whole point of what VoiceLabs’ interactive ads provide, it had no choice but to stop offering Sponsored Messages.

While this is certainly a blow to the ambitions of companies like VoiceLabs, it can be viewed as a victory for users of the Alexa platform not having to be subjected to obtrusive advertising messages. According to a statement from Amazon, while it puts a priority on user experience, it will continue to work with developers to create ways to monetize, while maintaining the best possible user experience.

To learn more, check out this TechCrunch article shared by Issac Naor on Twitter.

Fairy wants to make daily housecleaning a thing. Time and convenience seem to be two of the biggest challenges for consumers, and this is especially true when everyone in the household is working. Service oriented start-ups have been popping up everywhere promising convenience. You have Lyft or Uber providing ride sharing services, Grubhub offering food delivery, with caregiving services, and many more.

A new start-up called Fairy wants to help you come home to a cleaner house by providing a frequent, hotel-like housecleaning service.  If you live in San Francisco or New York, you can avail yourself of the service. Fairy’s service starts at $149 a month which includes twice-weekly 30-minute cleaning sessions. Customers can select from multiple service tiers. Similar startups have struggled to find success in this realm, so it will be interesting to see if Fairy can break the mold in that regard—the company’s founders believe they have found the magic formula for success. Or maybe that’s fairy dust? I crack myself up. For more on this, check out this article from TechCrunch shared by Steven Krohn on Twitter.

Could VR make your next dentist visit less painful? Technology are constantly disrupting the way companies do business. I believe no matter what type of business you operate, if you’re not embracing or at least exploring emerging and immersive technologies, you’re missing out on a ton of opportunities.

If you’re afraid of going to the dentist, the prospect of being able to use virtual reality to help alleviate the stress and make the experience less traumatic is intriguing. According to a study published by Environment and Behavior, three groups of participants used VR headsets while undergoing a tooth extraction or getting a cavity filled. It showed that the participants who were immersed in a VR experience reported less stress and pain. To find out, more head over to this Verge article shared by James A. Gardner on Twitter.

Photo Credit: kaannc7 Flickr via Compfight cc

Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”

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