Tag Archives: Blackfin360

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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5 Midyear Trends to Watch in 2017

2017 has seen a rapid acceleration of technology trends. Of the 50+ trends observed from CES, MWC, SXSW, F8, Google I/O and more, here are the top 5 midyear trends that I am closely monitoring heading into 2018.

1) MOBILE FIRST TO AI FIRST

For the past few years, Facebook, Google and other industry heavy weights have proclaimed to be mobile first organizations. Now at the midpoint of 2017 we are seeing shifts from mobile first to AI first. Google recently announced their intent to redefine their core products around AI research, tools and applied AI.

Through 2017 Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial intelligence (AI) are rapidly transforming business, products and services. A primary fuel for ML/AI is data. Understanding how to create actionable data centric AI experiences is critical to drive growth in 2017 and beyond.

2) MULTIMODAL INTERFACES

Conversational experiences have been a primary topic of discussion in 2017. From bots to voice based experiences, to computer vision and object recognition, expanding solutions beyond mobile and desktop has been a major trend through the first part of the year.

The shift towards AI first means text and visual tied to mobile and desktop are not enough to evolve the future of interaction.  As 2017 continues to unfold, we will see more voice + paired visual experiences come to market where voice is driving a visual companion experience to further enhance Alexa Skills and Google Actions.

3) CAMERA AS A PLATFORM

As marketers begin to shift their attention from Millennials to Gen-Z, strategies in the first half of 2017 are shifting towards leveraging the camera as a platform.

From Snapchat’s ever evolving lenses to Facebook’s newly announced Frames & AR studios, major industry players are taking a core native behavior that is all about empowerment for the consumer and building new solutions that will integrate real-time data, location and object recognition to create new forms of effect based marketing.

4) RISE OF THE PROXY WEB

The first part of 2017 has shown the first major steps towards the rise of the proxy web. The proxy web is predicated on systems taking over core day-to-day human functions and becoming agents on our behalf. One of the big steps towards this in 2017 was the recent launch by Google of Google Lens.

Google Lens combines the power of Google Assistant and provides the ability to overlay computer vision, which will serve as the basis for contextual augmented reality that links to various services, from purchasing, to content, to predictive reservations based on traffic and other environmental factors. Voice has led the way in 2017, 2018 will be the year of computer vision powered experiences.

5) DEMOCRATIZATION OF IMMERSIVE COMPUTING (VR/AR)

One of the drawbacks to mass adoption of virtual reality has been tied to how isolating an experience can be with limited abilities to share “what’s happening” Both Google and Facebook realize that adoption is closely to accessibility and the ability to share experiences. 2017 has seen a major shift towards the driving the democratization of virtual reality.

The key to driving adoption at scale is to empower consumers, developers and other 3rd parties to create experiences. From empowering the creation of user generated 360 degree content to co-viewing, casting, capturing and sharing VR content. It’s important for brand marketers to pay attention to how consumers interact with these experiences and the rate at which they are creating their own virtual content.

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10 Years of BlackFin Blogging

April 22nd, 2007 marks the date of the first blog post under what was then TheBlackFin.com. Now 10 years and 456 posts later the blog has morphed into what it is today.

Here is a shot from the old TheBlackFin blog. 

Starting and maintaining a blog has proven to be one of the most important decisions and invaluable assets in my career development and progression over the past decade.

By the simple act of formulating perspectives on various industry topics, it served as a foundational knowledge base to capture trends and evaluate shifts tied to consumer behavior.

Over time it served as a timeline to measure and gauge key technology inflection points and the impact of disruptive and emerging technologies.

Knowing that I had to create content changed my curation behaviors tied to industry news and new technology. My focus shifted from simply consuming content to analyzing topics and looking for connections as the foundation for digital strategy.

I joined Twitter the same month I started my blog in 2007.

Now, the role of my blog has shifted to sharing thought leadership with agency clients, a reflection of industry media commentary, and speaking engagements. But regardless of how much the focus evolves over the next ten years at it’s core the blog will still be about aligning experience + perspective + prediction.

My strategic approach developed through blogging was a key component to recently being named by Advertising Age as a Marketing Technology Trailblazer. 

Beyond blogging, here is additional advice for those just starting their career.

Have a POV – Regardless of platform have a spot to capture your thoughts and focus on 2-3 territories in your industry of interest and begin commenting and creating your voice and perspective.

Build a Network – Your most valuable professional asset is your network. Be diligent in meeting movers and shakers in your industry and seek out those who are crafting a narrative in their industry and emulate their approach until you refine your own.

Mentor & Sponsor – Having an internal advocate is incredibly important when it comes to career advancement. It’s not enough to keep your head down and work hard. You need to work hard and have an internal sponsor who will champion your advancement.

You will also need a mentor, preferably someone who is not in your current organization but knows your industry to provide a bigger picture perspective and guide you through the challenges that will inevitably be a part of career advancement. I have been incredibly lucky and thankful to those who have sponsored and mentored me over the years.

Thank you to the thousands of visitors over the past 10 years. I write to openly share thoughts about the industry and to unravel the connection between emerging technology and it’s impact on human behavior.

Here’s to the next 10 years!

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360