The 4 Cornerstones of a Digital Business Transformation

Business transformation: two words that can mean all or nothing, and yet together they synthesize a trend - and a necessity - that is fundamental for companies.

 

A revolutionized market

In 1859 Charles Darwin published his masterpiece "The Origin of Species". His ideas subsequently expanded to many different fields, including Economy.

In the past, large industrial groups seemed unbeatable because of their economic and material strength. Today, the same assumption is no longer valid. It is not the most powerful subject that gets the best from the market, it is the one that manages to adapt faster.

The Internet has completely changed the paradigms of business: the democratization of ideas and products distribution has stimulated a formidable competition within different fields. Small companies that once managed to reach only local audiences are now able to get to the other side of the world, thus threatening large producers.

What the great realities have experienced directly, in these stormy and dynamic years, is the same lesson that the dinosaurs have learned. Too big to adapt to a new situation, they ended up leaving the planet to small and flexible mammals.

 

The new paradigm of Business Transformation

Adaptation: that is the key concept of a successful Business Transformation. But how can a large company, with the difficulties deriving from its human and production apparatus, follow the continuous renewal of market trends?

In order to answer this question we need to analyze what these trends are. Luckily, they can be summarized in two different but mutually dependent aspects: the focus on the uniqueness of the individual and the digital transformation.

The first concept refers to all the trends that in recent years have focused on improving the customer experience, placing people at the center of corporate interests. Nowadays, the Internet allows the user to exercise enormous power over the market.

The latter concept, on the other hand, is expressed in the renewal of the products and services offer, and in the business and private operations, which today are carried out mainly through digital channels.

These two aspects come together as a single concept: the Digital Customer Experience, also called DCX. It consists of all those activities aimed at giving value to the experience of the single person on every digital channel or touchpoint.

The ideal business, thanks to the new tools made available by technological progress, should implement projects on the DCX, both for the benefit of its customers and to improve the efficiency of its managers, employees and business strategies in general.

Digital media are the facilitators par excellence; avoiding to use them would mean losing the opportunity to facilitate the establishment of an engaging and profitable relationship between all the subjects.

 

The four cornerstones to remember

So, what are the four tips to transform and keep your business relevant, thanks to the Digital Customer Experience?

Simplicity. There is nothing more important. If a company intends to survive and prosper in today's market, the first goal to be achieved is the simplification of its operations, both for the customer and for the company. Waste reduction, better management of the work of employees and facilitation of operations to improve the customer (and employee) experience; the means to achieve these goals is the digital and the tools that this makes available.

Consistency. No lie lives forever. If you are not consistent in your relationship with the public and stakeholders, you can only get two things: lack of trust and confusion. Today, thanks to digital technology, it is possible to manage a strategic transformation to face the different aspects of communication and content in a simple, effective, and above all organic way. If you don’t have the expertise to solve your business problems ask for a transformation consultancy.

Empathy. People are not numbers, they are subjects with individual needs. Today, companies must respect their customers by offering them experiences that improve their lives, especially in the digital environment. At the same time, companies need to sustain an empathic relationship with their employees, so that they do not feel part of a mechanism, but members of a large family that takes care of them.

Fun. There is no such a powerful tool as gaming to make people happy. Offering your audience or your employees a moment of leisure will make the company a friend, not a seller or an employer. Gamification practices, implemented on digital channels, are a powerful tool for gaining involvement and loyalty.

 

The best practices of DCX are therefore able to deeply change the relationships between large companies and individual players. Thanks to personalized and valuable experiences, offered both to the public and the stakeholders, the image and efficiency of the company can improve exponentially, maintaining the advantages of a small company.
You don’t have any more time; start your corporate transformation now!

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RF-Pose: a motion capture technology that sees beyond the walls

Buildings

 

Compared to other animal species, our senses are not particularly developed. They have slowly dimmed thanks to our mental and intellectual development over the last 10,000 years. But what is wonderful about our continuous evolution is the insatiable desire to enhance the senses and abilities we already possess, returning to primitive abilities, or borrowing new ones from other animal species.

Among the five senses, the best we have to offer is undoubtedly sight. There is a reason if we give such a great symbolic value to our eyes. Now we can see in the dark or perceive infrared and thermal characteristics, as some animals can already do. The next evolution, according to many, will be the ability to see through objects.

As we already know, some animals, such as bats, use highly developed radars to move, allowing them to see their prey even at great distances and through trees and fronds.

Humans have used radio frequencies for about a century, but only in recent years we have been able to create a portable and sufficiently precise device to recognize a person or an object through the walls using this technology. Nowadays, the cost of the radar device and the lack of precision represent the biggest problem, but the latest developments in machine learning and artificial intelligence are progressing significantly.

 

The MIT project

About a year ago, MIT published the results of a study on the use of low-frequency radio waves for people movements’ recognition through walls. The AI developed on a deep neural network, called RF-Pose is capable of creating 2D models.

Initially, they added a camera to the wireless device, to help it during the first phases. Thanks to visual recognition, the "radar" was able to find a correlation between radio signals and people's images.

When the RF-Pose began to work independently, the researchers noted that, surprisingly, it was able to perceive people through the walls, with a drop in accuracy of only 10%. It is surprising that the precision of the results between the visual system and the one based on radio waves, is comparable.

Another skill that the RF-Pose can claim is the ability to recognize the single person, thanks to his physical characteristics and movements, with an accuracy of 80%.

 

Privacy compliance 

One of the most interesting aspects of this tool is the possibility to track people's movements without affecting their privacy. The use of radio frequencies, in fact, allows only to collect each person’s silhouette, not to identify them through their facial features or individual characteristics. 

This way, it is possible to develop commercial applications of RF-Pose that are totally safe and compliant with the privacy normative, which is becoming more and more restrictive.

 

The practical outcomes

The possible practical outcomes of this technology are endless, also thanks to the fact that the system has a low development cost and is easy to use. 

MIT researchers say that initially it will be tested in the medical field, to recognize or follow the development of certain diseases, such as Parkinson's and ALS, through micro signals and physical characteristics. At the same time, it is planned to use it in rest homes or private homes of individuals with mobility problems, as a safety device that, in the event of a fall or risky situation, can alert the healthcare professional.

Other possible areas of use are gaming, in which the recognition of the player's movements would no longer depend on a video camera; security and robotics, with the enhancement of movement capabilities and mapping of the interiors, just like Apple and Google are already doing with their Indoor Maps Program and IndoorMaps, developing different technologies that make use of personal devices' Wi-Fi and physical layout of the buildings.

 

Neosperience’s solution for physical retailers 

Over the years, at Neosperience we developed a solution for Customer Experience in physical retail that is based on an innovative and revolutionary technology for this field.

People Analytics, in fact, uses cameras positioned in the store equipped with our AI tools, to recognize customers' movements and to highlight places of greater or lesser interest thanks to a heat map. A system of this type makes it possible to become aware of very interesting insights and to notice problems or strengths in the disposition of the products or the performance of the employees.

Obviously, this technology could be enhanced with the MIT RF-Pose to overcome the store's environmental limitations, which a camera is not able to do.

 

Another application 

Another possible application is the implementation of the RF-Pose system in the online and offline poster advertising. 

Some advertising agencies, such as Grandi Stazioni Retail, are already using totems capable of reading the public's facial expressions through cameras and, more in general, of keeping track of the number of people passing by, besides calculating their position in space.

However, this system is very expensive and hard to apply anywhere. A tool based on the RF-Pose system, instead, could be able to count the passers-by and their position. It would be decidedly less demanding and could also be applied to traditional signage without significant implementation costs. 

Furthermore, it would be possible to use the same system to send notifications to the customers who pass in front of the ad, in the case the customer gave the authorization to receive them.

Finally, RF-Pose is a system that promises to improve our way of understanding user movements and activities, always bearing in mind that privacy is the most important thing to protect.

 

Photo by Joe Yates on Unsplash

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Crisis Management: how the AI can take part on it successfully

In a progressively dynamic, technological and globalized world, companies may encounter more and more potential or real crises. Just think about cyberattacks: in recent years they have multiplied in every field, putting sensitive data and IT systems at serious risk. 

It’s become essential to be able to foresee and solve the problems affecting your brand reputation. If you develop the right skills within your company and you provide yourself the expertise, you’ll be ready to deal with every situation.

On the other hand, if even small problems affect your work, then your business risks to go belly up if an internal or external event occurs.

Recalling the admonition of Ian Mitroff, perhaps the most influential crisis management expert: "You don't have to ask if a critical event will happen but when, where and with what consequences".

Deloitte’s innovative research

In 2018 Deloitte conducted an innovative research on the perception of managers on crisis management. The results were surprising.

What the examiners noticed was a managers' strong self-confidence, as they often think their company will be ready to face unexpected and dangerous events, whereas many of them do not have empirical data to confirm their convictions.

For example, 88% of respondents said they could cope with a corporate scandal, while only 17% had ever experienced it personally or during a simulation.

That's the point. When experiencing a crisis directly, managers' perception changes considerably. 

The research showed that among those who had experienced a dramatic business situation in the two previous years, the need to invest in prevention and training was considerably higher than the priorities highlighted by the colleagues who hadn’t faced a crisis yet.

So what’s the right thing to do?

Getting ready for your business in advance. First of all, it is necessary to draw up a list of possible problems that the company may face. Framing a consistent risk assessment is the first step towards not being caught unprepared. 

Subsequently, a task force should be appointed and organized. It is quite common to involve the subjects that deal with public relations, the highest management of the company, which will have to be the subjects media and institutions will interact with. Moreover, the legal department will have to unravel and explain potential issues within the law.

It is also essential to plan crisis simulations based on the risk assessment previously prepared. Experience is the only useful tool to deal with a crisis in the best possible way, but it is also the magnifying glass on corporate weaknesses.

It says that a person shows his true nature when he’s in danger. The same happens with companies. We must never underestimate the power of simulation for the growth and consciousness of employees and managers.

What are the existing tools for crisis management?

One to be mentioned is In Case of Crisis by RockDove Solutions, an App available for company executives. This device promises to help companies to deal with crises using operational protocols, intra-App messaging systems, customized notifications and activity reports.

However, the real question is: what more can we do?

It is interesting to start from the well-known definition that Timothy Coombs, Associate Professor in Communication Studies at Eastern Illinois University, made of corporate crisis. 

"A crisis is the perception of a not predictable event that endangers the expectations of stakeholders, and that can seriously compromise the operational capacity of an organization with negative consequences".

We will try to identify which solutions, based on AI, would make this definition obsolete.

AI-based solutions 

Let's start with the unpredictability.

We have already seen that the possibility of forecasting risky situations grows - considerably - when managers are properly trained and equipped with the right tools. Now, imagine that we can implement within the tool an AI able to help those responsible for assessing risks, recognizing operations and company size, its geographical position and external macro factors that could influence processes.

Once this has been done, the app's own AI could develop ad hoc training programs for each manager, imagining plausible situations and implications, even on a probabilistic basis, and independently linking questions to best practices and behaviours to be adopted.

Moreover, it could simulate a real crisis, involving all managers at the same time, measuring reaction times and effectiveness of choices and operations, relying on crisis already solved.

Concerning the losses of the company's operational capabilities, its benefits would be to facilitate communication between every member of the task force and to keep crisis parameters under control.

To be more specific, when a crisis is undoubtedly in progress, those who are aware of it could send an alert to all the other managers, with the most crucial data provided by the system.

Specific functions

Furthermore, Artificial Intelligence could keep track of company-related keywords on the Internet and social media, like any other web listening tool, to keep the crisis evolution under control. It is also possible to monitor the work of customer service and task force members in one place.

This way, the risks of seeing business operations compromised would be significantly reduced, thanks to these new technological opportunities. Besides, the AI would learn from its own and others' mistakes, continuously improving and limiting the unfavorable consequences of the crisis.

In conclusion, the possibilities for further improvement exist and must be pursued. Predicting a crisis and limiting its damage is an issue that concerns the life and work of thousands and thousands of workers and citizens. Artificial Intelligence precisely serves this purpose: to help humans live better and more safely.

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