Saturday, 25 February 2017

Beginner's guide to Chatbots - a driver for Digital Transformation

We are living in a century where technology dominates lifestyle; Digital Transformation with Big Data, IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI) are such examples.

Over the past six months, Chatbots have dominated much of the tech conversation, the next big gold rush in the field of online marketing.

Chatbots are built to mimic human interaction, making them seem like an actual individual existing digitally. It could live in any major chat product (Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Text Messages, etc.), powered by basic rules engine or NLP and AI.

Chatbots have helped in conversation commerce in real time such as booking a cab or ordering a bouquet of flowers or pizza. Consumers will benefit from chatbots through personalization, and this is where social media plays a big part.

Here are a couple of other examples:

·       Weather bot: Get the weather whenever you ask like Poncho
·       Grocery bot:  Help me pick out and order groceries for the week like Yana, MagicX
·       News bot:  Ask it to tell you whenever something interesting happens like TechCrunch, CNN
·       Personal finance bot: It helps me manage my money better like Abe

A chatbot for an airline will function fundamentally differently from a banking bot.

People are now spending more time in messaging apps than in social media and that is a huge turning point. Messaging apps are the platforms of the future and bots as over 90% of our time on mobile is spent on messaging platforms like Facebook messenger, Whatsapp, Wechat, Viber etc.

Typically business need to answer following questions to create a bot:

·       Do you need a constant communication back and forth with the consumer?
·       What are customers’ expectations for the interaction?
·       How will the bot act?
·       What happens when the bot fails?

Chat bots have to be great at answering questions, this is usually how they are challenged, and IBM’s Watson is probably the best question and answer system.

There are several advantage of Chatbots:

·       24×7 availability – A bot exists digitally unlike a human being, and can thus be pressed into service continuously without any interference
·       Faster response time than humans, coupled with an AI, chatbot’s machine learning and multi-tasking abilities make it a highly efficient virtual assistant
·       Bots allow for a two-way, personalized interaction between the consumer and a brand
·       Saves Resources – Employing a chatbot to handle basic customer interactions can free up valuable human resources without a decline in productivity

Tacobot Allows to order Taco Bell even more quickly.

KLM has a customer service bot that's able to check your flight status and let you know if it's been delayed.


Interacting with software at a human level is becoming more mainstream from digital assistants like Google Home, Google Now, Apple Siri. 

Going forward people will not be able to tell the difference between human and machine.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

What is the difference between Consumer IoT and Industrial IoT (IIoT)?

Internet of Things (IoT) began as an emerging trend and has now become one of the key element of Digital Transformation that is driving the world in many respects.

If your thermostat or refrigerator is connected to the Internet, then it is part of the consumer IoT.  If your factory equipment have sensors connected to internet, then it is part of Industrial IoT (IIoT).

IoT has an impact on end consumers, while IIoT has an impact on industries like Manufacturing, Aviation, Utility, Agriculture, Oil & Gas, Transportation, Energy and Healthcare.

IoT refers to the use of "smart" objects, which are everyday things from cars and home appliances to athletic shoes and light switches that can connect to the Internet, transmitting and receiving data and connecting the physical world to the digital world.

IoT is mostly about human interaction with objects. Devices can alert users when certain events or situations occur or monitor activities:
·       Google Nest sends an alert when temperature in the house dropped below 68 degrees
·       Garage door sensors alert when open
·       Turn up the heat and turn on the driveway lights a half hour before you arrive at your home
·       Meeting room that turns off lights when no one is using it
·       A/C switch off when windows are open

IIoT on the other hand, focus more workers safety, productivity & monitors activities and conditions with remote control functions ability:
·       Drones to monitor oil pipelines
·       Sensors to monitor Chemical factories, drilling equipment, excavators, earth movers
·       Tractors and sprayers in agriculture
·       Smart cities might be a mix of commercial and IIoT.

IoT is important but not critical while IIoT failure often results in life-threatening or other emergency situations.

IIoT provides an unprecedented level of visibility throughout the supply chain. Individual items, cases, pallets, containers and vehicles can be equipped with auto identification tags and tied to GPS-enabled connections to continuously update location and movement.

IoT generates medium or high volume of data while IIoT generates very huge amounts of data (A single turbine compressor blade can generate more than 500GB of data per day) so includes Big Data, Cloud computing, machine learning as necessary computing requirements.

In future, IoT will continue to enhance our lives as consumers while IIoT will enable efficient management of entire supply chain.


Friday, 10 February 2017

Digital Transformation and high-tech Robo-Advisor - do you need one?

How many times you have listened to the advice of your friend/colleague or someone you know, to invest in stock market? Many people have gained and lost their fortune with this guess work and now younger generation is more scared to hand over their hard earned money to someone for investing.

Until recently, you had 2 options for investments - either hire a human financial advisor or do it yourself. Human advisors charge substantial fees starting minimum 1% of value of assets to manage your portfolios. Do it yourself option requires lot of time and energy and you may lose your money due to result of overtrading, panic-selling during downturns, and trying to time the market as the issue for many individuals is they aren’t cut out to go it alone

This is where robo-advisors have scored more over humans.

A robo-advisor is an online, automated wealth management service based on data science algorithms with no or minimal human interventions that allocate, deploy and rebalance(spreading your money in stocks, mutual funds, bonds to balance risks) your investments.

The robo-advisor industry is in its infancy. Online life is migrating from persona desktop computing to laptops to tablets and finally to mobile.

Here are some of the advantages of using a robo-advisor:
·       Cheaper fees or free compared to traditional financial advisors
·       Automatic diversification into various options
·       Easy online access as we all are accustomed to shiny apps on mobile
·       Safer than picking your own stocks
·       You don’t need a degree in finance to understand the recommendations.

Big data and advanced analytics can help broaden the scope of robo-advice dramatically, incorporating financial planning into broader retirement planning, tax planning, vacation savings, higher education planning.

Robo-Advisors have typically targeted millennials segment because these young investors want to save & multiple money faster and often don't have enough patience & wealth to warrant the attention and interest of a human advisor.

High Net worth Individuals also think, online and automated investment tools can positively affect their wealth manager's advice and decision-making.

Overall, robo-advisors provide a good user experience with latest digital technologies such as slick apps and fancy interfaces. These platforms make sure that they fit right in with your daily online browsing,  and are great options for novice investors who are just starting out and want to dip their toes in the world of investments, or for people with a simple financial plan who just need an affordable, straightforward place to start their retirement plans

Wealthfront & Betterment are two popular commercial fee based robo-advisors available today. In the Free category WiseBanyan & CharlesSchwab are making the ground.

But it won’t be long before Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple get in on the robo-advisor industry.

Robo advice is certainly here to stay, and it has its place in the wealth management landscape of tomorrow. But what's missing most, with robo-advisers is the personal touch.  In this age of hyper-personalization, the lack of a human element is one area where robo-advisors may fall short.

The robo-advisor can't replace a trusted age old adviser, your elders have worked with, who lives nearby and can rush right over in case of need, who knows you and your family.


With the pace of improvement that Artificial Intelligence and machine learning bringing up, robo-advice has the potential to become highly personalized and specific over time.

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