Internet of Things + Artificial Intelligence = Predictive Customer Engagement

As I was preparing for yet another epic journey to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, I spent several days researching the Internet of Things (IoT) and Internet of Everything (IoE) and their potential to change the future of mankind. Lost in thought with the notion that products and services could seamlessly communicate and stay ahead of human behavior, I stepped on a plane and realized that I did not lock my house, turn off the lights, set the thermostat, program the cable box or unlock the dog door before I left.

Never fear, the handy smart phone is here! Excitedly, I used my ADT Pulse, Nest, Lutheron, Charter Cable and AT&T Home apps, yet was annoyed that I had to login and authenticate each app individually. Suddenly, I recalled the article about the IoT and the rumors that Samsung may be proposing open standards across devices—and that’s when it hit me!

We are on the cusp of a new age of artificial intelligence (AI).

But to truly understand this notion, we have to first understand AI and look past the pop culture images of Johnny #5, The Terminator or the Jetson’s robot housekeeper. To start, AI has been in existence for quite some time. The thermostat, an intelligent system that perceives its environment and takes actions to achieve its predefined goals, is the perfect example and the textbook description of artificial intelligence, per Wikipedia.

AI manifests when technology seamlessly integrates to stay ahead of human needs, and it has been a part of our personal ecosystems for quite some time. Look at the Netflix algorithm for recommending digital entertainment, Amazon’s product recommendation engine utilizing insights about our purchasing habits, or something as simple as wall-plugged light sensors, illuminating a path from the bed to the bathroom at 3 am.

The IoT is the missing ingredient that will define this predictive model and will significantly change our relationship with technology. No, we are not going to turn into chubby blobs, drinking Slurpees while hovering in our cruise spaceship chairs, like they did in the movie Wall-E—or at least not if you are a fitbit user.

In the meantime, smart beds, fridges, parking meters, sprinklers, cars, drones, clothes and, yes, even smart yoga mats are in a state of transformation and all striving to find a common ground while personalizing, adapting and staying ahead of our needs (a common thread at this year’s show). This will create a new economy, as linked personal data rapidly becomes the currency brands leverage to deepen engagement with their customers. Not a new concept, as Tim Berners-Lee predicted this trend in his 2009 Ted Talk on the subject of linked data.

As an advertising executive, my teams and I are heavily focused on digital transformation and predictive customer engagement to build loyalty. However, if marketers look at all this magic and technology from the customer’s perspective, they will notice that consumers are looking for “things” that make their lives easier, save time, money, and provide value.

At this year’s CES, the IoT gave us a glimpse into a world in which technology adapts to us (the customer) and predicts our needs, while the cyclical relationship between human behavior and technology changes yet again.

View the Rosetta Consulting white papers “Customer Engagement from the Marketer’s Perspective” and “Customer Engagement from the Consumer’s Perspective.”

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