Cool Tech Isn't Just for Big Brands

Last week Betaworks hosted an event in New York called Future Tech for Brands. Four industry leaders shared their points of view largely oriented around building for the curve.  The dialogue included Suzana Apelbaum, Head of Creative at Google, Dan Bennett, Worldwide Chief Innovation Officer, Grey Group, Alex Magnin head of revenue at GIPHY and Richard Ting, R/GA’s global experience design lead.

The introductory remarks focused on the plague of synthetic media and fake news. This quickly led to reveal that Venmo is rapidly becoming the best, and most trusted social network.  While neural networks creating synthetic memes and deep fake videos might be a turn off, Venmo offers candor and transparency as users put their money where their mouth is.  But what about trends as far as how brands are engaging with tech today?

The first is around the rise of live formats like HQ and Twitch.  Arguably brands are still struggling to work out the best ways to integrate onto these channels, but is there a way for entrepreneurs​ to play in this space?  Suzana from Google placed her bets on assisted experiences and voice experiences, citing the success of Aiden, the chat bot created for Westworld and HBO. You can talk to Aidan via Google home from the comfort of your sofa.  From Aiden to the Johnny Walker guided tasting experience, voice will become the most natural way brands are communicating.  How are you leveraging it?

Giphy’s Alex Magnin celebrated the notion of searching for gifs and sending gifs to your friends as a force in the cultural zeitgeist.  With Giphy, this allows brands large and small to target based on sentiment and translates into gif search.  Incidentally, 70% of all giphy usage is through 1:1 messaging apps. On New Years the Facebook user community sent over 400 million GIFs.  Could this be a fun way to communicate with or respond to your customers?  After all, Giphy is a visual search engine reaching 300 million people per day.

Richard from RGA was emphatic about computer vision and chat bots.  Clarify, a computer vision company, incubated by RGA connects computer vision to objects in the real world such as sneakers, clothing, cars, etc…This is one of many firms making computer vision more accessible. Best-in-class chatbots recognized were, the rose bot, for Cosmopolitan Hotel in Vegas and, Erica, Bank of America’s chatbot.  Beyond computer vision, chatbots, and voice, Apply.AI was also mentioned. This company, in private beta, was designed to help developers of applicant tracking systems (ATS), human capital management software (HCM), and job boards manage their prospects and applicants using AI.

Dan from Grey was enthusiastic about ambient computing, and a world where everything has sensors in it.  The ambient offers an example of products and services in this space along with what to use them for.  While Dan’s mentions of near field radiation technology and 5th Wave computing may be irrelevant to your business, it might be time to consider how your company is using technology to engage both internally and externally.  

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