Saturday 30 January 2016

What is Artificial Intelligence ?

Just over ten years ago, the IBM supercomputer program Deep Blue beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov—the greatest chess mind alive. That moment marked a turning point in the relationship between man and machine.

Later in 2011 IBM Watson supercomputer defeated Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings in US TV show Jeopardy.  

Recently Google’s AlphaGo beat the 2500 year old Chinese game Go.

Machines have topped the best humans at most games, including Chess, Scrabble, Othello, and even Jeopardy!! But the future of artificial intelligence (AI) is about way more than games is used in Digital Transformation.

Artificial Intelligence is the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior

There’s definite signs that machines with artificial intelligence will soon be taking over skilled manual work that now is typically handled by humans.

Amazon awarded $20,000 to the creators of a robot that uses Artificial Intelligence to fill orders most like a human, but it’s not going to replace employees yet.

Online services like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, already use deep learning to identify images, recognize spoken words, and understand natural language and translate in other.

Today these biggies are making their machine learning - deep learning software freely available to people.

Last year Google open sourced its artificial intelligence engine TensorFlow, which the company uses for many of its own applications, including voice recognition in Android and even its flagship search engine.

Facebook open sourced designs for custom hardware, designed to run the latest AI algorithms. 

China’s largest search engine, Baidu, open sourced its the artificial intelligence training software.

Microsoft’s Brain is now available for anyone to use in their apps., The company has open sourced the artificial intelligence framework it uses to power speech recognition in its Cortana digital assistant and Skype.

BMW, Tesla, Google are using AI for self-driving cars. Apple is also getting into this so the idea of buying a car from the same company that made your iPod doesn't begin to seem all that far-fetched.

Many experts in the field of artificial intelligence say that it will eventually evolve far beyond all human physical and intellectual capacities.

Recently Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, raised a concern about how AI can be threat to humanity. Even Professor Stephen Hawking warned that AI could spell the end of human race. 

But unlike Terminator movie series with Skynet, we hope that these AI champions will be used to solve real world tough problems like climate modeling to disease analysis and betterment of humanity.

Sunday 24 January 2016

Bitcoin and Blockchain - Digital Future...

Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, created and held electronically. It was first created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto.

In this era of Internet and digitization, we’ve moved from phone to VoIP calls, face-to-face meeting to video conferencing, fax to email, cable television to IP TV, and the list goes on. Bitcoins are gaining popularity as a new way to purchase goods or services.

Bitcoins aren’t printed, like dollars or euros – they’re produced by people and businesses, using computer software that solves mathematical problems.

However, Bitcoin’s most important characteristic, and the thing that makes it different to conventional money, is that it is decentralized. No single institution controls the bitcoin network.

They are not tied to any country or subject to any regulation. Instead, Bitcoins are created digitally, by a community of people that anyone can join. 

Bitcoins are ‘mined’, using computing power in a distributed network. Conventional currency has been based on gold or silver, but Bitcoins are based on mathematics.

Bitcoin has several important features that set it apart from government-backed currencies.
  • It's decentralized - The Bitcoin network isn’t controlled by one central authority.
  • It's easy to set up – Unlike banks who ask you thousands of questions and proofs to open an account, you can set up a Bitcoin address in seconds, no questions asked, and with no fees payable.
  • It's anonymous - Users can hold multiple Bitcoin addresses, and they aren’t linked to names, addresses, or other personally identifying information.
  • It's completely transparent - Bitcoin stores details of every single transaction that has ever happened in the network in a huge form of a general ledger, called the Blockchain.

Blockchain is a shared public ledger on which the entire Bitcoin network relies. All confirmed transactions are included in the Blockchain. Nobody can copy & reuse the same Bitcoin for more than one time as every transaction is validated in Blockchain which confirms that Bitcoin was never used before.

You can buy and sell Bitcoins at Mt.Gox, Coinbase, BitQuick, Bitbargain and many more.

Mining Bitcoin involves running software on your computer that processes complex mathematical equations. If your computer solves one of these equations, you get a reward in Bitcoins.

Today Bitcoins are getting slowly adopted but Blockchain is going disrupt the financial industry due to its instant near real time updates and transparency.

Sunday 17 January 2016

Smart Home changing our lives in Digital age

In the last decade, a range of digital technologies and services have hit the market and moved quickly from niche use to the mainstream like Facebook, & smartphones. 

In the next decade we are in for even more dramatic changes in the roles that technology will play in daily life.

One of them is Smart Home technology. There are several examples smart homes are going to make our lives comfortable.

Imagine you are in 2020 - you'll awake in the morning to the sound of your alarm, and the hidden sensors in the room will know you're getting up. The lights will automatically, but gradually turn on and the thermostat will warm the rooms you're about to use — the bathroom, the kitchen and, a few minutes later, your car.

The coffee will start to brew. You'll get push notifications about the weather. Your kitchen will remind you which ingredients you'll need to pick up on your way back home from work and the items you'll want to include in dinner that night before they spoil.

When you leave the house, you'll press a button via an app that will self-drive your car out of the garage. Right then, security systems will snap into place. House doors will automatically lock. Appliances will switch to an energy-saving mode.

On your way back in the evening, using geo-fencing technology your house senses you're arrival & will get ready for you - the thermostat will warm things up, the garage door will open as you pull up, and your favorite music will start to play when you walk in. Hope you had visualized the situation.

3 most important use of Smart home technology are:

Security:  Few years back you had to put a plate of “Beware of Dog” on your gate for your home security J. Today with Nest or Piper security systems you can link it with local police or private security and also control your home from your smartphone, while you are miles away or even enjoying vacations in other countries.

Connected Home Appliances: with Nest, Whirlpool & Samsung, some of your appliances can be connected using Internet of Things on WiFi and they send you notifications or reminders suitably like you milk is getting over or you have forgotten to switch off the fans. Smart TVs with internet give you freedom watch all your favorite programs in HD at your leisure.  Google acquired Nest Labs provide self-learning thermostats to control the temperature even when you are not at home.

Energy Conservation: With all these connected devices, major advantage is energy conservation.

From living rooms to yard, we are embracing the Smart home technology & it will   work on 4 Cs – Connectivity, Conservation, Control & Comfort!!

Saturday 9 January 2016

User Experience (UX) and Customer Experience (CX)

In the world of Digital Transformation, UX & CX are extremely important to keep all the stakeholders engaged. But what is different between them?

User Experience-UX is when customer starts interacting with website, mobile apps or the products. It is measured in clicks to completion, success rates, abandonment rate etc. Good UX gives customer an ability to:
·        Find any information on your website easily and quickly
·        Search web pages with ease
·        Complete a desired task without any hassles

Customer experience-CX encompasses all the interactions a person has with your brand at all the different touch points like desktop, mobile, call center, marketing, sales etc. It can be measured in overall experience, brand loyalty, recommendation to others. Good CX gives customer an ability to:
·        Have a pleasant, helpful interaction with the organization
·        Feel positive and happy about it
·        Spread the happiness socially and via word of mouth

UX & CX can be simply explained with Airline Company. When you book the flights on their website, check the status on the mobile app, store your e-boarding pass, email it etc. is all UX. When you actually come to airport terminal and see long queues for check-ins, very less agents helping customers, no communication on departures, lost bags etc. is all about CX.

Another great retail example is Amazon. When you land on their website, do the search for the products, select the product, putting it into the cart and finally pay for it is all about UX.

When you call the customer service for any returns or refunds or problems about orders,  the time you have to wait on the call, how their service rep politely answers your queries, how quickly you get your refunds or able to return your products without any hassles, is all about CX.

While designing UX, many designers just focus on pretty looks & features. But they need to avoid information overload, too much text, cluttered forms and keep it simple for users. They should focus on one core functionality and make it really simple for your user to access, use and become great at that functionality.

You might have the best advertising, brand recognition, sales team, customer service representatives, and organizational structure (all CX-related items), but if customers’ interactions with your website, mobile app, software or other product (all UX-related items) create barriers to completion of the desired tasks, overall CX fails.

Some of the best customer experience brands today are Apple, Disney, Google, Coca Cola, Amazon, BMW, Sony and Louis Vuitton.

·        Instagram app has clear focus on camera button
·        Airbnb uses very simple visually appealing app for users
·        Amazon uses positive psychological techniques to drive sales.

Hence UX can make the biggest difference in your new product, and will help you truly connect with the users but later CX has to improve it further.

Friday 1 January 2016

Mobile First strategy for Digital Transformation!!

Today we live in “always on, always connected” world, and use mobile for almost everything. On our smartphone we get answers to so many questions like “I am hungry, where can I quickly grab a bite”, “it’s time to buy new car, which model & dealer I should go for”, “I am excited for my date, where can I get new outfit”. We do all such research before making any purchase.

Mobile is now considered as the Swiss Army knife of shopping, used multiple times in multiple ways during the customers’ paths to purchase.

With BYOD - bring your own device policies, employees are also flocking to mobile. If you find that employees have to log off from one application to access data from another, then you can automate that process. If you’re seeing systems lag due to overuse at one time of day, perhaps the work can be better distributed over time. Consider using mobile big data to look at traffic flow and use patterns to find opportunities to streamline tasks.

On an average as individual, we have more than 250 mobile moments a day.

More than 50 percent of companies expect to use mobile as their primary business platform within three years.

Starbucks has used Mobile for their Digital Transformation as they process millions of loyalty card transactions and payments via mobile.

Airbus is using mobile technologies to deliver insight directly to maintenance engineers on the ground, which helps maximize flight time and revenue.

Some of the questions they should answer before embarking on mobile:
  • Do we really need a mobile app?
  • How their website should look on the mobile?
  • Should they have different language support considering geographies of customers?
Smartphones are becoming key players in the decisions that people make. The businesses they visit, social activities they engage in, routes they take in traffic and connections they have to brands are all managed on smartphones. You can also get a wealth of qualitative data about how people behave from mobile devices, making them crucial in real-time big-data projects.

Today mobile is not just a channel but also used to collect data from Internet of Things & Wearables and provide insights for next best action. 

Some examples are:
  • Your Fitbit device captures the data from your daily activity, which shows you are not walking enough due to cold weather. Further it gives you a huge discount from a nearby gym to sign up.
  • Sensors data from telematics or car engines are collected on mobile and Insurance companies are applying Big Data Analytics for optimal premium calculation.
  • Your Smart home refrigerator sends you alerts for short supply.
  • Operate your home from the smartphone
  • Apple, PayPal and many others have enabled mobile for payment.
By creating and monitoring meaningful metrics like churn rate, customer satisfaction, operational efficiency, your organization can grow its understanding of business processes and engage with customers in more meaningful ways. 

Mobile is truly helping in Digital Transformation!!
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