IBM is introducing several innovative partner startups at VivaTech 2017, the international tech event dedicated to developing collaboration between startups and global businesses, taking place in Paris on June 15-17. During the event, nine startups will showcase the solutions they have built with IBM Watson to deliver value in various industries.
France is one of the most dynamic countries in the international market, with a 30 percent increase in the number of startups created between 2012 and 2015*, and the second largest startup funding in Europe in 2016, amounting up to €2.2 billion**, boosted by the French Tech initiative.
When we talk to people about artificial intelligence, or AI, they’re often optimistic about how they think AI will improve their lives in the future. What they aren’t thinking about is sweaters. Specifically, how based on previous online behaviors an e-tailer knows that you’re in the market for a warm, blue sweater instead of a long-sleeved gray shirt. Historically, businesses required human interaction in order to understand exactly what a customer needed. Today, that’s no longer the case. Thanks to lots of data and AI, companies now know exactly what you want, when you want it and how you want it.
Some may fear AI, but I think of it as doing for minds what the Industrial Revolution did for muscles: machines taking on difficult and repetitive tasks and improving output. As in the case of an online retailer, AI will change the way marketing is done by turning to machine learning in order to discover patterns in data on human behavior. We don’t have to look far into the future to see how AI will make every marketing campaign smarter and more personalized; we’re already there.
IBM has introduced several initiatives in France to help business partners enable their technologies and capture business opportunities with Watson services:
– Since 2016, the IBM Bluemix Garage, established in the European Business Innovation Center of Nice Metropole, has helped dozens of clients, startups and enterprises each month accelerate the development and design of next-generation apps using the IBM Cloud, like Advansolar, a green tech startup, who quickly introduced a new electric bicycle rental service to his customers leveraging Watson IoT services and others from the Bluemix catalog.
– More recently, at the beginning of 2017, IBM announced the creation of Scale Zone, a dedicated area at IBM France headquarters near Paris where IBM experts work with startups to help them industrialize and deploy their most innovative projects. Eleven startups are currently participating in the first wave of Scale Zone, focused on Internet of Things (IoT) projects.
“IBM is leading in the cognitive era, empowering industries and businesses to achieve long-term value outcomes, and we are working with a strong ecosystem of startups and developers who are critical for driving the next era of innovation. The startups present at VivaTech will showcase Watson-based solutions that improve the lives of citizens and professionals globally, seizing the power of Watson and Cloud technologies to improve the way the world works,” said David Kenny, SVP, IBM Watson & Cloud Platform, who will be hosting a fireside chat on the impact of AI on the future of business at VivaTech 2017.
Among IBM partners, the following startups will showcase their Watson-based applications:
Skiply specializes in real-time client satisfaction measurement through buttons, SMS and web interfaces. Skiply’s “Smilio” connected sensors gather real-time customers feedback on their user experience: when they are using points of sale, when they leave a restaurant, when they are on the bus or in parking lots. The data is then analyzed in real-time with visualization tool such as Watson Analytics, and with Watson APIs such as Language Translator, Natural Language Classifier and Natural Language Understanding. Skiply gives its customers clear and real-time feedback on quality of service, and triggers appropriate actions when necessary. Skiply, created in 2015, designs and assembles its products in France. Skiply has customers in various industries such as banking, retail, restaurants, airports and facility management.
Myxyty is a 10-year old French startup engaged in developing smart home connected solutions. IBM and Myxyty have created MyxyPod and Myxy Voice, two smart home voice assistants which use Watson’s Natural Language Processing abilities, as well as the Speech to Text, Natural Language Understanding and Conversation APIs, combined with the highest data security levels.
Pop&link, a startup based in France and in the USA, has developed a worldwide patented technology that enables users to connect background physical objects to create new digital spaces and services. It provides the right information at the right place and the right time seamlessly for the end-users through a simple tap of their smartphone. Pop&link solutions offer a new experience between the physical and the digital world to help create more engagement and new revenue sources. This technology is based on Watson Conversation, Language Translator, Natural Language Understanding and Personality Insights.
Hoomano, a pioneer in social robotics, develops software that enables real-world interaction between robots and humans. With activities in France and Japan, Hoomano enhances social robots with artificial intelligence so that public and robots can interact instinctively arousing emotion.
Natural Talk, based in the Paris area and founded in 2016, specializes in artificial intelligence solutions based on cognitive matching. Used in client relationship centers, Natural Talk enables better understanding of customers’ personalities and emotions, allowing businesses to find the agent that will best fit the customers’ disposition and the engagement situation. Natural Talk’s solutions are based on various Watson APIs such as Personality Insights, Natural Language Understanding, Tone Analyzer, Document conversion, Twitter Insight, and Natural Language Classifier.
Victor and Charles has developed an artificial intelligence technology for hotel employees that provides real-time customer insights based on public data that can be used to personalize their clients’ experiences. Victor and Charles technology is based on a number of Watson APIs such as Personality Insights, Natural Language Understanding, Tone Analyzer, Document Conversion, Natural Language Classifier and IBM Insights for Twitter. The company was established in 2014 and is based in Paris.
Intesens, located near Toulouse, deploys connected maintenance solutions for industrial applications. Their solutions are based on a cloud solution reporting the states and events of the physical industrial assets, using a connected and autonomous sensor and a wireless connection with an IoT network.
MediaWen designs secure and modular on-line solutions for multilingual video and audio content processing. Mediawen technology includes Watson APIs such as Speech To Text, Language Translator, Text To Speech and Conversation to allow captioning, subtitling, dubbing in synthesized voice and broadcast through web, mobile and television. Based in Paris, the company was founded in 2014.
To understand how AI will change the role of the marketer, we have to first look at what it does well. AI finds patterns in data, which we humans do poorly by comparison. Here’s why: first, there’s too much data to pour through, and second, we’re biased. We only ask what we know to ask for. By contrast, machines aren’t necessarily looking for something—they’re just looking.
By looking through massive amounts of information, AI discovers its own design as it goes. The machine finds surprising information in patterns, and not just in individual shopping patterns. It’s able to capture large and impactful trends like social patterns that define a community’s habits.
So why is the time for AI now? Only in recent years do we have the volume of data needed to find these patterns, and the economies of scale to be able to store it.
Marketing has traditionally been linear and deterministic. But with AI, journeys become intelligent and dynamic, and marketing can be predictive for each customer. The ability to capture, store and retrieve a boundless amount of data opens up avenues to reach customers with personalized messages and experiences. And, since the system learns, it gets smarter and more accurate with further iterations.
Let’s take a look at the famous auto company Peugeot and how it has been able to use AI to drive impressive marketing ROI. Of the millions of people who come through its doors, visit its websites, even look at an ad on the open web, only thousands of them buy a car. We can ask what sequences of events people followed to buy, or not. There are thousands of ways in, from downloadable content to walk-ins. Using data and AI, Peugeot created 800 micro-segments that enabled content personalization across 2,200 microsites. By following the buying journey of those who did buy, Peugeot saw how each path was different. With the power of AI, companies like Peugeot can tease out the many different variations to sell and market accordingly.
What about the creativity and art in marketing and advertising? Design remains a huge component of successful marketing. AI certainly has the power to help determine what sorts of digital ads, for example, a consumer is likely to click on—from color preferences to style and price. Many experiments with AI-created trailers, tweetbots and other interaction experiments have taught us that we still need both human and machine. The AI algorithm can interact, iterate and optimize for success, but design still lies in the art of human creativity.
AI removes the tedium and guesswork of running a marketing campaign, which includes creative, email, social media and more, by generating insights from haystacks of data. But the marketer still designs and runs the campaign. What I see is people and AI working together to be more efficient than either one alone.
Creativity aside, the beauty of AI is that even if marketers don’t have specialized IT skills, they can still act on high-level insights. For example, iteration cycles start to become much faster as AI kicks in, so I think of this process as a layer cake.
The first layer is a huge quantity of data that AI uses to figure out what to probe for insight. If you perform a large-scale data-driven experiment with a piece of content to test engagement (like A/B testing), you’re going to get a lot of data back. This is the second layer. AI can then process that information quickly, and the iteration cycle gets shorter. In the third layer, AI works through nuances in the data so that it’s not just A or B, but a mix of both. By the fourth layer, AI has optimized the system, working out inefficiencies, maximizing speed and providing a clearer picture of customer preference and behavior.
Everything I’m describing here—the massive data gathering, the importance of trust, the ability to analyze, iterate and predict, and intelligent journeys—are separate pieces of what is already shaping up to be a seamless experience.
As marketers work hard to get ever closer to the customer at every touch point, AI gives them the total view of what’s possible and what makes sense, reducing the friction to customer satisfaction even as their expectations are constantly rising.
Umanlife, established in 2012, has developed an app dedicated to health and wellness improvement. Part of their technology are built with Watson Conversation, Speech to Text and Weather integration APIs. It aims to influence healthy behaviors by tailoring the user’s personal and relevant recommendations.
Watson represents a new era in computing called cognitive computing, where systems understand the world in a way more similar to humans: through senses, learning, and experience. Watson continuously learns from previous interactions, gaining in value and knowledge over time. With the help of Watson, organizations are harnessing the power of cognitive computing to transform industries, help professionals do their jobs better, and solve important challenges.
As part of IBM’s strategy to accelerate the growth of cognitive computing, Watson is open to the world, allowing a growing community of developers, students, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts to easily tap into the most advanced and diverse cognitive computing platform available today. Watson solutions are being built, used and deployed in more than 45 countries and across 20 different industries.
Viva Technology Paris, is an international event organized by Publicis Groupe and Les Echos Groupe. It is dedicated to the growth of startups in the areas of digital transformation and innovation. The event connects startups and large companies under one roof, to showcase the latest innovations and help develop the networks of attendees.
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