Category Archives: Conversational Experiences

Google Assistant Actions & Amazon Alexa Best Practices

Tom Edwards, Ad Age Marketing Technology Trailblazer and Chief Digital Officer, Agency @ Epsilon analyzes best practices and points of difference between Google Actions across the Google Assistant ecosystem as well as Amazon Alexa Voice Services.

In this video, Tom compares and contrasts Amazon Alexa Skills with Google Actions and discusses feature differences, outlines best practices associated with deploying skills and actions as well as key points to consider before submitting for final approvals.

Tom also discusses driving skill and action discovery as well as strategic thoughts tied to going beyond tactical utility towards full ecosystem considerations.

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YouTube Messenger Launch Analysis

Tom Edwards, Ad Age Marketing Technology Trailblazer and Chief Digital Officer, Agency @ Epsilon analyzes the worldwide launch of YouTube messaging as well as previews the path to immersive co-viewing.

Today, YouTube launched in-app conversational video sharing functionality that essentially enables conversational threads or messaging within the native YouTube app experience.

In this video, Tom analyzes the new features that are available as well as discusses topics such as the shift towards social messaging, the role of YouTube’s Uptime application and a preview towards the world of immersive co-viewing with YouTube in virtual reality.

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Amazon Spark Analysis

Tom Edwards, Ad Age Marketing Technology Trailblazer and Chief Digital Officer, Agency @ Epsilon analyzes the launch of Amazon Spark and discusses the potential connection to conversational commerce through messaging.

The video starts with an overview of the newly launched Amazon Spark, which is a mashup of discovery and inspiration features of Pinterest, combined with the UX style of Instagram for iOS users built on a foundation of a shoppable personalized feed.

The discussion shifts to unstructured social data & Amazon’s relevancy algorithms, the role of image recognition and the power of visual discovery as a foundation for additional data exhaust and progressive profiling.

Next, the analysis reviews the role of social in Spark and the evolution of reviews. From UGC, influencers, and social currency to a theory tied to rumors of conversational commerce through a potential messaging platform. Spark could be Amazon’s answer to a scalable campaign platform driven by WOM.

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Find “BlackFin360” on Amazon Alexa

AI and Computer Vision Key Trend for 2018

Tom Edwards, Ad Age Marketing Technology Trailblazer and Chief Digital Officer, Agency @ Epsilon discusses how computer vision, powered by artificial intelligence will be the key trend to watch in 2018.

I recently provided commentary to CMO.com discussing 7 digital trends that will change business forever. My contribution to the piece was tied to  the potential impact of computer vision powered experiences and this led me to create this video.

It starts with an analysis of all facets of computer vision and how it will impact consumer experience, it’s role within multimodal computing, how machine learning is accelerating our ability to categorize visual information and I discuss the shift from mobile first to AI first.

The video then investigates computer vision’s implications and opportunities for marketers through image and object recognition, the camera as a platform, contextual environments and redefining personalized advertising, the alignment of virtual assistants and computer vision and computer vision’s role in the mass adoption of augmented reality.

The video ends with a discussion and research findings tied to the potential impact of computer vision driven experiences and what it means for Gen Z while also exploring the rapidly developing computer vision ecosystem.

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Find “BlackFin360” via Alexa

BlackFin360 on Amazon Alexa

I received great news this morning that the BlackFin360 Alexa Skill passed certification and was published to the skill store.

Now you can access key insights and information via Alexa by enabling the BlackFin360 skill. Simply search “BlackFin360” on the amazon home page or enable via the Amazon Skills Store here.

Screenshot 2017-07-13 10.37.06

Some of the key intents of the skill are as follows:

In the coming weeks I will be adding an RSS feed of the blog content and evaluating YouTube playlists and the Echo Show. I would appreciate if you could enable and rate the skill. Thanks in advance.

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Find BlackFin360 via Amazon Alexa

Scaling Voice Plus Visual Experiences

Tom Edwards, Ad Age Marketing Technology Trailblazer and Chief Digital Officer, Agency @ Epsilon discusses the rapid evolution of voice based experiences towards voice plus visual paired experiences and how to scale beyond current hardware such as the Amazon Echo Show.

Understanding to develop for voice first, mapping experiences that take advantage of the existing footprint of devices such as the Echo & Dot through responsive web paired experiences is key to scaling voice plus visual.

In this video you will also see a live demo of a first of it’s kind voice plus visual browser supported prototype built by my innovation team.

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Artificial Intelligence & The 4P’s of Marketing

Tom Edwards, Ad Age Marketing Technology Trailblazer and Chief Digital Officer, Agency @ Epsilon discusses how the 4 P’s of marketing; Product, Price, Place & Promotion will need to evolve as intelligent systems redefine how we advertise and connect with consumers.

Understanding Psychographics, Predictive APIs, working through Proxy’s and Pervasive intelligent environments represent a new framework for marketing in the near future.

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68 Top Trends So Far in 2017

Over the past six months, my team and I have evaluated the top emerging technology trends that will fundamentally reshape how marketers will connect with consumers.

Here is a brief preview:

The full analysis includes 68 trends categorized by our trend framework of Empower, Enhance, Feel & Ambient Computing. This will replace our original framework of Connection, Cognition & Immersion.

Empower to create content, engage and connect through new interfaces and touchpoints.

Enhance your daily life activities and responsibilities through intelligent systems and proxy’s.

Feel emotional experiences like pleasure and excitement delivered through immersive computing.

Ambient computing is the alignment of all three behavioral drivers.

Download the 2017 Midyear Trend Deck Today!

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Symposium 2017

I had the privilege to speak and host Epsilon Symposium 2017. With hundreds of clients in attendance, I was tasked with discussing the role of artificial intelligence across Epsilon and Conversant as well as tease examples of emerging technology that my team and I are working on.

Here are the key highlights I discussed during Symposium 2017. Part of my role is evaluating and embracing the latest innovations and determining how they connect to our Epsilon and Conversant solutions.

Whether that’s through conversational and voice based experiences such as Alexa Voice Services, Google Assistant & Siri, or the amazing artificial intelligence work happening here at Epsilon and Conversant or immersive computing such as augmented & virtual reality, that’s bolstered by our data, insights and creative execution.

So the last ten years I have talked about how disruption is the new normal. How emerging technology can impact consumer behavior and what it means for marketers.

Today we are at an inflection point. Where we are seeing the shift from mobile first to AI first. It’s less about disruption and more about acceleration through intelligent systems.

That’s where Epsilon and Conversant’s heritage of aligning data and technology and driving innovation is the key to leveraging whatever the future may bring and where consumers will be.

Within the agency business, we are using Machine Learning to categorize the data of culture along with our data of identity to fuel our creative approach.

From a product perspective, We are also achieving harmony (Pun intended ;) through machine learning and AI through a centralized intelligence hub for decisioning across channels.

Finally, Conversant is at the forefront of integrating AI through machine learning and image recognition to create world-class speed and scale where every 5 minutes, consumer actions across 160M individual profiles lead to over a billion model updates.

The key moving forward is empowering consumers, enhancing solutions through artificial intelligence and creating immersive experiences

Regardless of how the future state shifts and evolves… be it through bots becoming agents on our behalf, the evolution of consumer based journey’s expanding to include system based journey’s or a hyper connected augmented reality future. All of those elements will be highly dependent on Data and decisioning as the foundational element.

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Apple WWDC 2017 Full Recap

When I think of Apple, 3 things come to mind: Industrial design of it’s hardware, interoperability across products, and of course millions of apps. After WWDC 2017, I need to add artificial intelligence (AI) enabled experiences, device level privacy and a new focus on augmented reality.

Here is the Full Recap:

AI was a the key theme of WWDC (mentioned 20 times in 2.5 hours). Apple highlighted how both machine learning and deep learning are now integrated across multiple products. From Apple Watch, Siri, facial recognition in photos and even hand written notes in iOS11. AI integrated experiences were one of the more important areas discussed during WWDC. 

WWDC also saw a new hardware launch in the form of the HomePod. HomePod is Apple’s entry into the Smart speaker market. While Siri is integrated into the device it’s to be determined the role it can play for brand marketers as the skills and actions we have begun to depend on in other product ecosystems was surprising absent.

Apple is also investing heavily into enabling augmented reality experiences through hardware and software. With the launch of ARKit, their strategy is to empower the millions of developers to take their AR building blocks and create immersive experiences that are closely mapped to the real world via world tracking for both 2D and 3D elements.

Apple is building a foundation for the future built on device level privacy, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and multimodal computing through evolving Siri beyond handsets into cars and the home with Homepod.

Here is a quick reaction video following the WWDC Keynote.

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