Smart Agriculture: seizing the opportunities of a growing sector

Technology shows all its destructive nature when applied to what has always seemed unchangeable. It is the case of agriculture, and its enormous possibilities for growth and development if interfaced with the latest innovations and technological solutions of Smart Agriculture

The value of this technology employment in 2019 in Italy was estimated at 450 million euros, with a growth of 22% compared to last year's value and with even more optimistic long-term development prospects.

The largest investments in the sector are dedicated to monitoring and control systems for agricultural vehicles and equipment (39%), management software (20%) and natively connected machinery (14%), followed by remote monitoring systems for land and crops (10%) and systems for mapping land and products (9%).

First of all, it should be noted that the technological field that seems to have the greatest application opportunities within Smart Agriculture is IoT (Internet of Things), obviously assisted by other technologies such as Drones, Blockchain, Machine Learning, etc.

Italy invests in Smart Agriculture about 20% of the total of the EU.

But what are the practical advantages of agriculture in adopting these instruments?

In this article we will explain the technological applications within the cultivation processes that can help the farmer manage processes, materials, machinery, human resources, and, of course, the crops themselves more efficiently.


Phytopathology often causes enormous economic losses to the farmer if not recognized in time. To limit the damage, it is essential to discover its onset punctually, while at the same time preventing its start by highlighting the conditions that increase its risk.

How? For example, through the implementation of sensors (IoT) in the fields, on the trees, on the individual fruits, in the drainage channels, and so on, thanks to which it is possible to recover qualitative information on the health of the plants, on the humidity of the soil, on the presence of harmful substances, insects, diseases, etc.

At the same time, by using drones, orthophotos, and 3D images, it is possible to highlight the different parts of crops, which receive less water, grow less, or appear less healthy or sick.

Precision Farming

Another application of IoT, drones, but also Machine Learning, is explained in the concept of “Precision Farming”.

Usually, resources are used according to the schedule or in any case homogeneously in a crop, without considering the intra-field variability and the real needs.

The new technologies make it easy to collect information to carry out selective treatments, saving time, and applied products. Through predictive analysis, made possible by Machine Learning algorithms, the farmer can predict when certain crops and areas will need to be sown, irrigated, or fertilized.

Other Smart Agriculture Applications

But now let's go into the various features, imagining a ready-to-use solution dedicated to Smart Agriculture. What are its practical applications? 

Plot mapping

Thanks to the solution, the operator can easily draw web maps of their plots using the orthophotos of the area as a background. The system also allows you to upload the cadastre maps. It would be possible to map not only the plots but also tare or parts of land destined for other uses.

Georeferencing plants or rows 

In addition to displaying the plots, when the information is relevant for each plant, it is possible to geo-report plants or rows, using the GPS in the field and reporting the information on the map.

Computerization of crop data 

Each plot drawn on the map can be associated with a multiplicity of useful information both during the evaluation and monitoring of the crop and during the sending of data for regulatory compliance

Interface with soil and plant sensors

The solution interfaces directly to IoT sensors positioned in the plots to provide important information about soil and plant response to weather conditions

Weather data display

The application provides weather data from fixed control units or IoT sensors installed directly in the plots. The sensors provide useful information about the microclimate that insists on a certain area, which is essential for the assessment of the possibility of occurrence of certain phytopathologies

Warehouse management for fertilizers and plant protection products

A specific section of the solution would be dedicated to the management of the fertilizer and phytosanitary warehouse. The system automatically displays a counter to monitor the presence of products in the warehouse.

Processing of graphs and statistics

Smart Agriculture produces numerous graphs and statistics that allow you to carry out a specific analysis for various factors, in particular:

  • Forecast modeling: the solution would be able to produce very accurate forecast models for each area, indicating the probability of generation, fertility, and mortality of a pest agent. This information allows knowing promptly the beginning of a phytopathology or the degree of infestation.
  • Optimize the use of products: the Smart Agriculture solution would allow optimizing the use of fertilizers, plant protection products, and irrigated water thanks to the use of distribution maps and soil parameters obtained from soil sampling.
  • Support in the choice of soil sampling points: the platform would support the farmer to choose sampling points through pedological data, orography, and previous sampling.
  • Highlight the presence of localized criticalities: the solution would highlight various criticalities, such as nutrient deficiency,  phytopathologies, or the presence of water stagnation in the soil through vegetation vigor maps. These maps are created from remotely sensed data by satellites or drones.


In summary, the Smart Agriculture solution that we have imagined allows you to:

- Improve and modernize crop management by replacing paper maps and data;

- Optimize data handling and loading times;

- Prevent the onset of disease and contain its spread;

- Optimize management choices;

- Save on the use of products (fertilizers, plant protection products, water);

- Contain the environmental impacts of activities;

- Produce higher quality goods;

- Conduct time comparisons for the management of criticalities in the plots. 

The time has come for agriculture to enter the era of digitalization.

The future is 4.0. also for agriculture: by developing new solutions for Smart Agriculture it is possible to benefit a growing market, which offers opportunities to companies that believe in an ecological and prudent approach to resources.

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Connected Health – Technology Shapes The Future of Healthcare


What do Google Apple and Amazon have in common? They are all betting on the business of the connected health. This new model for healthcare has a tremendous promise and is attracting millions of dollars in investments all over the world.

There is an ambitious goal at stake: the ability to exploit the potential of technology to provide a better service, improve the experience of the patients, and reduce the costs of quality healthcare.

The idea of connecting the new technologies and devices into a unified health platform has its roots in the telemedicine. However, it has gained new momentum in the last few years, with the advancements in connectivity and the spread of mobile devices, lead by the smartphone.

Connected health is a sociotechnical model for healthcare management and deliveryby using technology to provide health care services remotely (...) It uses technology - often leveraging readily available consumer technologies - to deliver patient care outside of the hospital or doctor's office.” (Wikipedia)

The new generations of smartphones, filled with sensors that can gather all sorts of data, have changed the personal behaviors of millions of people, fostering a new - more conscious - approach to health (i.e., the need to track all our daily activities and wear trackers).

From a business perspective, the increased mobile penetration has lowered the costs required to enter the market and has opened untapped opportunities for those willing to invest in the new frontier of healthcare. A few innovative startups paved the way, followed closely by the tech giants.

A huge push arrived in 2014 when Apple launched HealthKit, a dynamic platform designed to track and share with authorized stakeholders and apps a vast range of health and fitness data across multiple devices. A platform paired with the popular Health app included in the latest versions of iOS.

The most promising feature of HealthKit is the possibility to automate the recording of medical data from different sources and to interact with the electronic records systems of the hospitals or medical offices. In this way, the patient’s data would be always accurate and automatically included in personal reports.

In spite of all the startups already working on similar projects, Apple’s health platform has claimed most of the attention, and it is not the only one coming from top companies that have expanded their usual field of action.

Microsoft has created an enterprise Health Framework based on Azure; Google is making significant investments in health, wellness, and life sciences with Google Fit, G Suite for Healthcare, but also spin-offs like Calico and Verily.

Last but not least, Amazon is also looking to tap into this market, with a dedicated top secret lab dubbed 1492. The involvement of such names should not be surprising; we are talking about a market that is expected to reach a value of 50 billion dollars globally by 2020 (they will become 105.33 by 2022).


What seemed a sci-fi dream only twenty years ago, today has become a desirable - and more than achievable - perspective. We are surrounded by technologies which have potential healthcare applications.

Some are still nascent (i.e., nanobots in our blood), but many others are already playing a critical role in our lives (i.e., wearables, home kits like Amazon Echo), or entering clinical settings faster than you might imagine (i.e., the Internet of Things and the virtual reality).

It is evident that the core of the connected health is made of technology, but we are not talking about just tools and devices here. This topic is relevant also from a philosophical, ethical and business point of view.

The new health paradigm implies (and requires) a structural evolution in the organization of public and private healthcare service providers, and will bring to the disruption of the medical experience (in terms of behaviors, relationships, and interactions).

All in all, we are facing yet another revolution of the medical customer experience. This model, in fact, is built around the person: a patient that is conscious, empowered, and more engaged than ever. Connectivity enables genuine patient focus in the most efficient way possible.

We have all become active health players instead of passive receivers of medical cares, the very same logic that inspired Pegaso Fit For Future, the European project aimed at promoting a sustainable change towards healthy lifestyles for teenagers, leveraging technology with a holistic and multidisciplinary approach.

This brand new health ecosystem consolidates information from many different spheres of a person’s existence to give a complete picture that includes genetic, medical, lifestyle, and even sentiment data (the Psychographics influence what we do and how we do it).

This holistic view puts the patient at the center of the healthcare system, disrupting:

  • How medical centers operate (Internet of Things, remote assistance and surgery).
  • How patients control their health (quantified self, home domotics, health apps).
  • How doctors and patients relate (Big and Small data, virtual reality, medical chatbots).

In the next years, and in times of cost cutting measures in the public sector, these trends will have an enormous impact on the quality and timeliness of the treatments.

Yes, there are still substantial obstacles to overcome - regulatory control, data privacy, ethical doubts, adoption practices - but if we win the skepticism and solve the challenges, the future of healthcare will be brighter, and our life longer and healthier.

Photos by Biel Morro and Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

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What Are The Top Priorities When You Invest In Experience Strategy?


Customer experience is one of the most used keywords to define what is happening to business in recent years. Today, the DCX is clearly a priority, but you need to understand how to invest in it to prevent it has not a real impact on your strategy.

What are the top priorities when you start investing in the creation of the best possible experience? Tricky question, especially if your objective is to deliver relevant, personalized experiences. One hint? Start with improving the relationship.

Over the last two years, we have repeatedly referred to a series of statistics by Gartner, still valid today: 89 percent of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience, that will eventually overtake price and product as the primary pillar of differentiation between Brands.

By 2018, more than 50 percent of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations. Where should you start? One thing is sure: doing things the way you have always done them or relying on old marketing practices will not solve a completely new set of problems.

From the very first day Internet entered our houses and smartphone took its place in our hands, the experience has become “the experiences”. Digital technologies multiply the points of contact between a brand and a customer and disrupt the concepts of space and time when it comes to the buying process.

The DCX is the result of all interactions a customer has with your organization and its products or services over a specific period of time. The entirety of these different experiences defines the overall relationship, in terms of intensity, relevance, and duration.

When it comes to planning new investments, the focus is usually on the inside: policies, restrictions, roles, and everything that could put the sticks between the wheels. This is important to highlight some key relationships (i.e. with investors, employees, partners).

We know, however, that - in order to be successful - a marketing strategy must start with the customers, their journeys, and touchpoints. The ability to step into your customer's shoes and adopt a holistic approach to the experience strategy is essential to overcome the limitations of siloed departments.

Yet despite all the customer-centric statements and the alleged obsession for customers, few companies actually have a long-term vision that aligns the planning and management of the experience with a business strategy that connects the various departments into a coherent unity.

In a recent report, Altimeter unveiled this discrepancy between what the Brands think they are doing and what is ultimately perceived by the customer:

Experience is thus not about unicorns, rainbows, or soft fuzzy ideas. Instead, it is about a shared value proposition with customers that aligns to your business. (..) Experience is the mechanism through which your business strategy and brand value proposition are activated with customers.

A successful and relevant experience can happen only “when customer experience strategy focuses on and is measured by the strength and nature of the customer relationship. (...) In the end, you can only satisfy people if you deliver what it is that they want, at the time they want it, understanding what is relevant to them at that particular time and place.


In digital markets, the most precious resource is time. The smartphone enables new behaviors and unlocks access to a persistent source of information. “That little device is enabling new ways of doing and learning things. It is helping us discover new ideas and new businesses. It is helping us manage our to-dos, tackle our problems, and inspire our plans.” (Google)

Anything can happen anytime, anywhere, and the Micro Moments have become the new battleground. Be There - Be Useful - Be Quick: this is the karma for the new era of customer relationships. If you do not show up, you lose. If you do not deliver contents relevant to the context, you lose. If you are slow and reject the changes, you are wasting resources.

So, now that you are all set and ready to invest in the future of your business, what are the areas you should focus on? We see a few priorities that define the quality of your next generation experience strategy.


Customer experience defines the success of your organization. To build relationships that are relevant and drive sales, you must understand customers and connect with them on a personal basis. Understanding is the first step of the new marketing funnel, the ground where you build engagement and ongoing customer loyalty.

Today, there is no content without context. And the context implies not only the location or the devices used but also - and especially - the behavioral and emotional peculiarities of each customer. The psychographic profile will tell you everything you need to know to tailor experiences to the emotional preferences of your customers.


To develop a strategy you always start by understanding where you and your customers already are. Digital technologies generate an enormous amount of data that you can use to extract relevant insights about your Brand and how you preside the touch points of the customer journey.

The Big Data, however, can be overwhelming. They are often too abstract and unrelated to the context. The relations in data are more important than the data itself, so you should adopt a ‘Small Data’ approach and leverage on technologies (i.e. machine learning) to predict the evolution of markets and the results of your investments.


The demand for faster responses generates the need for automation. The spread of smart connected machines makes it possible to automate every aspect of your organization, from the internal and productive processes to the relationship with stakeholders, employees, and customers.

The Internet of Things, fueled by the advancements in the Artificial Intelligence, creates a network of smart objects that can communicate without the human intervention. The future of manufacturing (Industry 4.0) and retail lies in the automation, and so does customer support (just think about chatbots, conversational interfaces, and the New Voice of Customer).

Now it is your turn. What are your top priorities? What are the pillars of your customer experience strategy?

Photos byTodd Diemer and Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

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Internet Trends 2017 Report – The Major Takeaways

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The annual Internet Trends Report is easily one of the most anticipated presentations of the year. Compiled as usual by Mary Meeker, the report is the best way to keep the pace with the digital transformation and understand what is going on in the business world.

The Internet Trends 2017 Report comes in the form of a gigantic 355 slides deck, covering everything tech: global trends, online advertising, gaming, cloud computing, and digital healthcare. Ready to check the major takeaways?

Even though the report (that you can find below) may seem daunting at first glance, Mary Meeker, a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers, has the ability to provide a complete overview of the evolution of technologies, markets and organizations.

The first interesting insight: both the smartphone and the Internet penetration growth are slowing down, a sign that the market is finally reaching the saturation. The global smartphone installed base equals 2.8 billion, a +12% year over year (it was +25% in 2015).

The time spent using the Internet on mobile devices, however, keeps on increasing and confirms that the smartphone is not just a channel anymore. It is a proxy of the customer. Everything we do (search for information; make weighted decisions; purchase products or services; share experiences), we do it using our smartphone.

The second major takeaway is about advertising. Sometimes we hear dark prophecies that envision the death of online advertising, but the data tell another story. Online ads evolve, become more measurable and actionable, and still represent a growing market (+22% in revenues in 2016).

The most promising new formats are those that create a bridge between the user and the Brand, exploiting the qualities of the smartphone: product listing on Google search result page; targeted pins on Pinterest; contextual ads on Facebook; geo-targeted local ads on Google to drive foot traffic to stores; incentive-based video ads; dynamic in-app ads.

As a matter of fact, the evolution of advertising is driven by mobile and is eclipsing the share of TV and desktop advertising. The downside is that the growth has been captured mainly by two players: Google and Facebook (85%). We witness a concentration of power that leaves very few opportunities to the competitors. Take it or leave it.

The way the companies communicate evolves with technology, and so do the customers. In example how we use the mobile device: Voice is beginning to replace typing. In 2016, 20% of mobile queries were made via voice, thanks to an accuracy that has reached about 95% (Google voice recognition).

We are surrounded by smart devices that can communicate even without human intervention. They gather data and sometimes can anticipate our needs and requests. Being able to interact with these technologies will open a whole new world, both for the company (voice orders, notifications, and recommendations) and the customer (simplified experiences and fastest path to purchase).

Another takeaway is about social media and their power to improve the customer experience and support. We already know how valuable is the proper management of this channel in a world that is more and more ‘visual’. Social media can provide the opportunity to strengthen the relationship between people and Brands.

The main objective is to drive accountability and foster real-time online conversations, and the emergence of conversational interfaces (chatbots) is the key technology. Machine learning and small data, connected to the social profile of customers, open the door to a deeper understanding of the customer, rooted in the psychographic dimensions.

We want to highlight one more insight, this time about the revolution in healthcare. There is no doubt that we are moving towards a digital-enabled healthcare. Again, the spreading of mobile devices (wearables) has paved the way for the rapid growth in sources of digital health data.

60% of customers are willing to share their health data with the likes of Google. The result is the proliferation of digitally-native data sets. A whole new market that generates scientifically relevant insights, and profoundly impacts on the delivery of therapeutics and healthcare.

Read the full Internet Trends 2017 Report:

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4 Mobile Technology Trends For 2017


Mobile is the future.” With these very words in 2010 Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google at the time and now Chairman of Alphabet, gave us a glimpse of what was going to happen. And he definitely hit the target!

Almost seven years later, mobile has disrupted the way we relate to the world. We are living a transformation far from being over. Many changes await us around the corner of the new year, and it is time to understand what are the main mobile technology trends for 2017.

The Internet has been certainly the primary catalyst for the revolution we have witnessed in the past decades, and yet there is no doubt that mobile technology is not just a small wave a sea storm.

When the Internet crossed the threshold of the house, to accompany us in all the activities of our daily lives, then we have entered a new era. We have gone through the mobile-mind shift, and the customer experience changed forever.

Mobile use overtook desktop use in 2010. Mobile search on Google overtook desktop search in 2015. As citizens and customers we live surrounded by dozens of different devices, and the screen of the smartphone has become the main reference for all our activities.

We check the phone within the first 15 minutes of waking up. Mobile is not just another channel, is a proxy of the customer, an entirely new lifestyle.

This fact alone states the importance of mobile, and tells us why - as marketers and digital leaders - we should always plan our business strategy starting from mobile devices.

The mobile revolution runs eight times faster than the Internet revolution, and that means essentially two things:

You are already late

It is a fact, customers are quicker than companies when it comes to adopting new technologies. If you do not have a mobile-first (if not mobile-only) strategy, you are probably already lagging behind your customers and your competitors.

Whether you are a small local business or a large global organization, you must act fast to employ innovative mobile technologies and face the consequences of the digital transformation.

Don’t rest on laurels

The essence of technology is evolution. If you believe that the dusty customer-facing webview application that you developed five years ago is still your top solution, then you might have a problem very soon.

The customer journey evolves every single day, a map that has multiple touch points and unravels across different channels and devices, online and offline. You must always be with eyes wide open, to recognize and implement new disruptive trends.

Now we are at that time of the year when we draw conclusions about what happened and turn the gaze to the future to see what will happen next. If 2015 was the turning point for mobile marketing, and 2016 has been critical (just think about the AMP), we can certainly say that 2017 is set to be a benchmark year.

New devices promise to enter the stage; new dynamics will change the foundations of your digital strategy. And you will have to find new meaningful ways to improve your customer experience, and to “Be there, Be useful, Be quick.

Here is our short list of the main mobile technology trends for 2017.


In the past few years, beacons, geofencing, and push notifications have had a relevant role in shaping marketing strategies, even more so for retail brands that have a physical point of sale. While the ‘M-Commerce’ is rapidly surging, the store will not disappear anytime soon. It will just evolve, and mobile technology will be crucial in this evolution.

82% of customers consult their smartphones while in a store deciding what to buy. ‘Near Me’ searches have increased twofold in the past year. Google has launched a separated search index dedicated to mobile results and contents.

Mobile devices will continue to be the most powerful tools that marketers can leverage to engage with their customers, increase foot traffic to their stores and encourage conversions. Location-based services will be more and more prominent, in the name of “the right answer at the right time.


The shift from desktop to mobile has had profound consequences for the customer journey. Today, the path to discovery and purchase is by no means linear. The dawn of the digital customer - called ‘supershopper’ by Google - clearly highlights how the funnel has changed.

In a multi-device ecosystem, customers move from one device to another, from one channel to the other without a predictable scheme. If you add that they also skip between the online and offline worlds, the journey becomes even more complicated.

There is one constant, however, in this brand new customer journey, and it is mobile technology. The ‘supershopper’ - and particularly the millennial supershopper - is driven by technology. Just take a look at these data collected by Facebook:



The enormous success of Super Mario Run (10 million downloads and 5 million dollars generated in 24 hours), coming in the wave of the Pokémon Go craze, demonstrates once again the power of mobile games. Games have become a serious business and represent the top preference in mobile app development, together with social networks.

Virtual and augmented reality already have a special place in the gaming industry. The evidence of maturity will be their integration with the business applications (i.e. virtual showroom) to boost the customer engagement with a future-proof approach.

When considering digital marketing, however, games do not mean only ‘Videogames’. It also translates into ‘Gamification’. The dynamics of games implemented in a business context, in other words, can be your best chance to improve your customer experience.

There are many ways to leverage gamification but they all have the same effects when included in an omni-comprehensive strategy: Increase sales through mobile and in-store; Strengthen customer engagement; Encourage retention and customer loyalty.


The evolution of the artificial intelligence does not only concern mobile but what is certain is that it will find its deepest application in the interaction with mobile devices. We might not see it fully deployed in 2017, but we already have all the seeds of revolution.

More and more developers are starting to embed Artificial Intelligence into their products, to communicate with apps (Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa), interact with other objects (the Internet of Things, Google Home), act as a personal tutor embedded in the smartphone (chatbots, conversational interfaces).

Voice search, machine learning, instant apps, smart commerce, connected cars, enhanced security protocols, virtual insurance agents, domotics: connect the dots and you will have a groundbreaking platform that will lead you to the next generation customer experience. Online and offline, mobile and in-store.

Which of these trends do you think will have the greatest effect on your business?

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5 Disruptive Technology Trends For Your Retail Experience


What are the most disruptive technology trends that await around the corner? How will these trends affect the way you engage and monetize your customers from 2017?

It is a common opinion that in the next months the tech revolution will bring to completion the lines of development that we have seen born and grow in the recent years.

In the decades that preceded the advent of the Internet, we were convinced that every change in the economic paradigms comes in slowly and gradually. Then, with the spread of mobile devices, we have been forced to reconsider our position.

Today, the world is spinning so much faster than in the past. If you lag behind, the risk is that you will not be able to recover the lost ground. All to say that we expect more connection and more significant impact in business than ever before.

You need to keep your eyes wide open and be willing to question your certainties. Every single new (or not so new) technology, in fact, will have a huge impact on your digital customer experience.

Not that right now we have a shortage of technologies to choose from. In 2016, we have overseen a number of major technological developments, all of which are having a significant impact on our everyday life - and on the business strategy of thousands of brands across all industries.

Constant motion, however, is the karma of digital leaders. We live in an age where the focus on what’s coming next is always more critical - and interesting - than what you have already done or accomplished.

When disruption happens, it always generates threats but also opportunities for those who can catch them. In our world, technology acts as the main catalyst for the revolution of customer behaviors, desires, and needs.

Markets and society do evolve together. The dawn of a new generation of digital customers is the evidence that things are moving fast. The smartphone is at the heart of a complex ecosystem of technologies. Some we already know, some are ready to enter the game.

At stake, we find the future of customer experience, the most important business differentiator that will attract 50 percent of consumer product investments by 2017, according to Gartner.

"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future", as once said by Niels Bohr, Nobel Prize for Physics in 1922.

Knowing that prediction is a tricky play, we have scanned throughout the web in search of the technologies that most attract the interest (and possibly the investments) of brands and organizations.

Then, we have matched what we have found with what we already knew about the future of digital transformation. The result is the list of the five disruptive technology trends for 2017.


Technology is not so scary as it seems when it is driven by intelligence. We are still very far from the post-apocalyptic vision of The Matrix or The Terminator. To unleash the true (business and social) potential of the AI, though, we need to get from mere learning to real smartness.

A switch from technologies that can learn from the environment to technologies able to personalize contents and communicate with human beings. We are at the dawn of the conversational paradigm, anticipated by Siri, Cortana, IBM Watson, Google Allo, and chatbots.


The wide range of smart devices that surround us is shaping a new ecosystem where machines do not need human intervention to act (IoT, Internet of Things). The Internet that connects people is swiftly becoming the Internet that connects all kinds of objects (IoE, Internet of Everything).

While mobile technology will continue to rule the way we communicate, share and purchase, the Internet of Everything has the potential to alter from the foundations “how consumers interact with enterprises and how enterprises interact with their supply chain and distribution partners.” (Forbes)


The digital customer’s life transcends any barrier. It is not limited to the physical world, blurring the lines between online and offline experiences. In the last couple of years, virtual reality and augmented reality have become a serious business topic (again).

The spread of VR headsets and - above all - the incredible success of Pokemon Go testify the potential of this type of technology. From 2017 we will witness an increase in investments dedicated to VR and AR, not just to develop game dynamics but also to enhance the overall store experience.


Talking about the retail customer experience, there is no doubt that retail brands have seen their identity under siege by the new technologies and customer behaviors. Relevance and personalization are the keywords to understand this epochal change.

Just take a look at what Netflix, Spotify or Amazon are doing. They deliver exactly what the single customer wants, every time, on any device. How can you replicate the same level of service if you are working in industries like fashion, beauty, or even financial services?

You need to find a whole new way to create compelling experiences, also in-store, and communicate one-to-one with your customers. You need to find a way to build The Next Generation Store.


Computers have always had one huge flaw. They do not see, and so they cannot perceive the emotions of those that are interacting with them. Technology might soon bridge the gap, opening the doors to a new era for marketing.

The marketing of empathy is a new paradigm where the cold machines become more human interlocutors. Whether we are looking for information, contacting a company, or buying a product, we will always have someone to help us right away.

Conversational Commerce will offer the invaluable opportunity to realign your business model around what really matters: the customer and the experience.

Download The Mobile Engagement Playbook, a collection of relevant insights based on many years of Neosperience's expertise that'll help you to overcome the challenges of the digital transformation and grow your business exponentially.

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2016 Internet Trends Report: 5 Key Takeaways


One of the fastest ways to learn what is going on in the tech world is to read Mary Meeker’s annual report. The 2016 Internet Trends Report comes in the form of a 213 slides presentation, covering a wide range of topics from the eternal battle between iOS and Android to the emergence of new markets and customers.

Below you will find the full 2016 report. Here we will focus on five major takeaways, based on eye-opening stats and facts, that will help you better understand what lies beneath the forces of the digital transformation.

The most evident quality of Mary Meeker, a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers, is the ability to provide a complete overview of the threats and opportunities that will guide the evolution of technologies, markets and organizations.

First things first: In 2016 we have reached 3 billion global Internet users. Today, 42% of the world population is online, using desktop computers or - preferably - mobile devices. The smartphone has become the first screen, the primary reference for our daily activities.

It is not all roses, however. The report records a slowing both in connectivity growth (+9% versus +9% year on year) and smartphone adoption (global smartphone shipments from 28% to 10% year on year). The biggest hurdles to the spread of technology right now are the infrastructure issues and the incentives to get online.

If we had to sum up the consequences of all trends described in the Internet report, these would be the most critical for all businesses

  • Digital customers have taken center stage, demanding new approaches and personalized contents, mobile first.
  • Digital competition has become a worldwide affair, with your fierce competitors likely coming from emerging countries.
  • Digital customer experience has replaced products as the most critical business differentiator in digital markets.

Put these trajectories together, and you will find one key rule to overcome the challenges of the digital transformation: To engage and monetize digital customers, and stay top of mind, you must deliver meaningful (contextual, innovative, personalized) customer experiences in every moment of truth.

With adoption rates going flat, the experience becomes even more important to build a distinctive presence through customer engagement. Customers’ decisions are mostly based on the expectation that they can get what they want with ease and speed, wherever they are and whatever device they are using.

When people are connected 24/7, they expect that you can assist and engage them across the entire customer journey, online and offline, on any device.


As said, the smartphone adoption growth is slowing. This is true both for iOS and Android, a sign that the market is saturating, and the emerging countries can’t compensate. Looking at a broader picture, though, there is a huge difference between the two rivals.

Meeker finds, in fact, that over the past six years iOS has seen just a 2% increase in market share, while Android has exploded from a 4% presence in the industry (2009) to 81% (2015). Projections say that this pattern is going to continue in the next years, with Android becoming the standard for digital business projects.



This is the continuation of what we have seen last year: The Internet growth is facing a steady slowing, and this time this is not due to external factors (macroeconomics trends like the financial crisis) but structural factors. The Internet needs a complete revamp, as it continues to ramp as a retail distribution channel (10% of retail sales).

The Internet of Things, messaging apps (Messenger For Business), social commerce, real-time user-generated broadcasts (Facebook Live) and artificial intelligence assistance (Chatbots) reinvent the Internet to appeal the new breed of digital customers.



We talk a lot about this new generation of customers called Millennials. While we wait for the Generation Z - those that are now less than 20 years old - to acquire purchase power, Millennials right now are your digital customers. Today, commerce is changing rapidly for this generation, and also brands need to evolve with it.

Millennials make the most powerful force on markets, with a spending power destined to rise significantly in the next 10 or 20 years. Submerged in a mobile ecosystem, they have different core values and expectations. Their behaviors help change marketing and retailing channels, together with the evolution of technology.



When technology and customer behaviors evolve, the retail industry evolves accordingly. What we face today is the strong, increasing intertwine of technology, media, and distribution, so that physical retailers become digital retailers, and digital retailers become data-optimized physical retailers.

The pervasiveness of the Internet activates the reinvention of the store (at the micro level) and the disruption of the industry (at the macro level). Products and brands are both bolstered by always-on connectivity, hyper-targeted marketing, personalization, and the power of visual.


Last but not least, we want to talk exactly about the power of visual. The 2016 report confirms that visual usage continues to rise: Video and images are way more relevant than any other content, when you want to engage digital customers. This trend will be more and more decisive when the Generation Z will be properly shaped.

Already today the online engagement translates into visual engagement (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook Live, Periscope, messaging apps). This leads to an evolution in the way brands communicate and engage digital customers: New channels, new touchpoints, new advertising models.

Most important, we are moving towards a new paradigm in the human-computer interaction. A paradigm that is driven by voice. Typing text into a search bar is becoming old-fashioned. In five years, at least 50% of all searches are going to be either images or speech (Chatbots, anyone?). So we will say goodbye to the Internet as we know it.

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Neosurance Wins The Insurance IoT Europe Award 2016 In London


While we prepare to salute the arrival of summer, we can add a new prize to Neosperience and Digital Tech boards: Neosurance, the scalable and secure Digital Snack Insurance Platform, has won The Insurance Nexus IoT Europe Award 2016.

The award, hosted as a part of the Insurance IoT Europe Summit in London, has brought together the leading companies at the forefront of the connected insurance industry to celebrate innovation and exemplary performance.

The aim of the Summit was to connect the leading insurers with the innovative companies that master technology to shape the future of insurances by connecting people and things.

Submerged in a world gone mobile, we live in symbiosis with devices that gather and analyze information about our habits and behaviors. Our smartphone, smartwatch, activity tracker, the Internet of Things, different sources of data that tell everything you need to know about health.

In a business perspective, these data can be used to predict the quality of our lifestyle, and tailor-cut the products to fit the needs of customers better. Insurance firms must welcome and embrace this evolution, to overcome the challenges of their digital transformation.

The Insurance Nexus IoT Europe Award 2016 attracted over 150 nominations, divided into five categories designed to put a spotlight on the achievements of companies that are “pushing the envelope in digital innovation, customer engagement, and service differentiation.”

Neosperience and Digital Tech, with their Neosurance participated company and product portfolio, have been selected as the leading Insurance IoT Newcomer, whose idea lays a solid foundation for future growth in InsurTech and Insurance IoT.

This award joins the list of recognitions gathered by Neosperience over the last few years, including 2015 Italian and Alpine Corporate Venture Forum Award. Health Insurance Aviva Award. Top Innovation Award Italy - appointed by the President of the Italian Republic to the best tech company. Mobile Marketing GrandPrix. Gartner Cool Vendor. Red Herring Top 100 Global. The most prestigious global awards in the technology world.

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The Future of Retail – 5 Customer Experience Trends


The retail landscape is evolving, whether you like it or not. The disruption of mobile devices acts as the catalyst for a massive change, and there is no sign of slowing down. This is an era of digital transformation (and digital darwinism, to quote Brian Solis).

If you are a retailer, technology is not your enemy. It gives you the invaluable opportunity to deliver powerful and meaningful customer experiences. This is the key to succeed in digital markets, where the quality of your product is not enough. What are the customer experience trends that will shape the future of retail?

You may think that the wave is already gone but what we see now are only the first signs of a revolution that will completely disrupt the retail customer experience. The merging of the physical and digital worlds will accelerate in the next years:

"The retail value chain is unbundling, and even remapping. To compete effectively, traditional retailers should reimagine how they create and capture value, thinking past omnichannel positioning to examine, and find the best uses for, their assets." (Deloitte)

The arise of the smartphone has brought the world to new - and somewhat unexpected - directions. In a business perspective, the main effect of the mobile mind shift is the replacement of traditional consumers with empowered digital customers.

Digital customers show peculiar behaviors and go through a distinctive customer journey, moving back and forth from the online to the offline experience. The ability to reach them in the most critical micro moments of truth is what separate a random brand from a memorable brand.

Mobile commerce is estimated to rise to $62 billion dollars in the next five years, and it is already among the fastest growing segments in retail. Retailers need to adapt their strategies for the new customer, relying on technology as the key to generate engagement and loyalty.

As stated by Google's recent changes to the search engine algorithm, clients have a better opinion of companies that offer a great experience on all channels, mobile-first. At the same time, they are ready to turn to a competitor when they don’t get what they want, when they want it, their own way.

Retailers warned: If you think that the retail customer experience is limited to the physical layer of the store, then you are destined to lack behind. At the same time, Amazon's recent opening proves that the physical store is all but doomed. It just needs to be reinvented to appeal digital customers.

In a recent article on Harvard Business Review, Werner Reinartz, Professor of Marketing at the University of Cologne, states that in the next future we will never not shopping. A paradigm shift in customer behaviors apparent in three ways:

Instant Purchasing - Customers want to fulfill their needs and desires right when they appear. They do not want to wait; they do not need to, because the answer is in their hands, one tap away. Amazon Prime Now, targeted actionable notifications and the buy buttons on social networks are few examples of how brands can react to this change.

Automated Purchasing - Intelligent tools that can take action, even before the customers becomes aware of the problem, they do not come from the pages of a sci-fi novel but from the labs of innovative companies. One example, the fridge that can auto-refill, ordering products based on previous purchasing patterns. This will affect online and retail sales.

Subscription Purchasing - Subscription based services are also undermining the role of brick-and-mortars. We usually connect this type of relationship to entertainments-focused services like Netflix, Spotify, but the idea of membership is spreading across all kind of businesses. Even traditional retail must face it, as we will see in a moment.


The assumption is that people expect retailers to deliver an amazing customer experience - compelling yet easy - across all stages of the customer journey. The path to the future of retail starts with the need to reinvent the identity of the store.


In a mobile ecosystem, the presence of multiple touchpoints mean that retail brands already extend way beyond the concrete walls of the store. If the digital customer journey has been completely reinvented by the smartphone, retailers need to connect with customers across different channels simultaneously and seamlessly.

For example, everyone should be able to browse products in-store, check the features online, purchase the product on the e-commerce and finally pick it up at the shop, receiving post-purchase services via Facebook Messenger (maybe by a chatbot).


The path is evident: the only way for retailers to keep customers in their stores is to revolutionize the concept of physical location, digitalizing the real world and taking advantage of disruptive technologies to adapt their identity (i.e. digital signage).

The interaction - virtual and physical - between the customer and the product is essential to create an immersive and personalized in-store experience. The Internet of Things, digital screens, beacons and other tools offer new opportunities to build customer engagement and say goodbye to the old store layout.


In the digital era, retailers may never beat the e-commerce giants on the ground of price and instant availability, but they can rely on one critical element to differentiate themselves: the experience. They should step from selling products to selling experience.

The focus here is on the creation of long-lasting relationships, built across all steps of the product discovery and purchasing. The membership economy is changing the logic of customer engagement, and loyalty is not a matter of cards anymore. Part of the answer lies in personalized and contextual contents, game mechanics and social connections.


Though we will not put cash and traditional credit cards away any time soon, mobile payments are already changing the way we make purchases. The industry has gone beyond mobile wallets to implement new technologies like NFC, fingerprint recognition and wearables.

"Kill the checkout", this is the imperative. A seamless one-touch payment is on the horizon, thanks to the wearables revolution and the upgrading of mobile devices. According to Forrester Research, mobile payments will amount to $90 billion in the coming years, and retailers must be ready for this huge shift.


How can you understand how customers' tastes and needs evolve? How can you use this knowledge to take better decisions? Amazon is the clear demonstration of the power of machine learning and smart data. Know what your customer wants before he knows.

As retailers become able to track how users interact with the product, the website, the app and the store, new powerful metrics emerge to help them improve efficiency. Smart Data is an opportunity but also a threat: balancing data and privacy concerns will be vital because the future of retail lies in the hands of customers.

If you want more insights on this topic, take a look at The Future of Retail 2016 - How To Reinvent The Customer Experience.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in November 2014 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy with the latest trends and advancements of mobile technology and retail customer experience.

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

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Customer Experience And The Future of Retail Bookstores


The bookstore is dead, long live the bookstore. As the years pass by, we hear endlessly sad premonitions about the imminent death of the physical books shop. Today, the entire retail industry is facing a digital revolution but somehow bookstores seem to lag behind.

When online shopping offers choice, competitive prices and constant availability, why should you care to search for an actual store? What happens for clothes, furniture and design, is even more true for music, movies and books. And their only chance to survive could be the digital customer experience.

The experience has always been a huge part of retail success in the past decades. The very idea of a ‘favorite brand’ in customers’ mind has always been related to a sense of participation of people in peculiar values and narrative. The purchase decision, however, was ultimately influenced by external factors such as quality, price, advertising.

Then, the Internet came in and opened the business competition to the global arena: with the avalanche of E-Commerce firms, the traditional marketing levers have lost a great part of their appeal. In digital markets, the customer is the core of any business strategy, and the experience the key to create genuine engagement and loyalty.

Innovative brands are already at work to change the whole idea of customer experience, from something abstract and generic to something immersive and personal(ized). While other retailers are evolving to adapt - implementing tech innovations in their customer journey - bookstores are failing to accomplish this task.

We can highlight three main trends in this evolving scenario:

  • The growth and expansion of digital retailers, that have made book selling a worldwide competition, based on the quality of service more than the catalogue.
  • The arise of e-books, that are replacing printed ones, offering exclusive benefits: they are cheaper, easy to carry along and more immersive with extra features.
  • The revival of audio books, formerly known as books on tape: the most unlikely challenger that is outselling paper books and is set to compete with e-books.

Statistics say that digital books are expected to outsell print titles by 2018 (at least in U.S. and U.K.), but it does not mean that printed books are destined to disappear anytime soon - and bookstores with them.

Books and ebooks are not necessarily enemies: they are different and can work together to help editors and authors survive the digital transformation. The same way, shelves and new technologies can work together to reinvent the store as we know it. In the name of the experience.


Is it true that an innovative digital customer experience could revamp the future of retail bookstores? Recently, we have witnessed something unexpected and - in many ways - pivotal: Amazon’s decision to open its first brick-and-mortar store in Seattle, an interesting example of business development that also tells a much more interesting story.

Many analysts have seen this move - in a simplistic way - as the extreme attempt by the E-Commerce giant to kill the competition in both digital and physical worlds. On the contrary, we see it as the demonstration that the retail store is not doomed; it just needs to evolve, embracing the technological disruption to involve customers in more meaningful ways. It is the same lesson that Starbucks has taught to any single coffee retailer out there.

To remain successful, retailers must improve the experience of buying books. They have to stop refusing innovation and review their entire marketing funnel. Just like any other company involved in the digital age, they have to find new methods to engage and monetize digital customers, delivering compelling experiences in any moment of truth.

The inebriating smell of paper alone will not help them to compete with the giants of digital commerce. In a world redesigned by mobile devices and social networks, there must be something more: a whole new customer experience, easy, amazing and powerful.

The connection between the experience and the future of retail is everlasting. You ‘just’ need to find a way to convey it in a unique, exclusive branded essence.

Here are few ideas book shops should consider to use disruptive technologies to win the challenge of digital darwinism.


Small and indipendent bookstores usually think that they do not need a digital presence. The reason is that they mistake digital with E-Commerce. When the smartphone becomes the first screen, there is no business strategy without ‘digital’, even when you do not want to sell books online.

As stated in a recent research by Google about Micro Moments, we find out that ‘Near Me’ searches have grown 2x in the past year. You need to be there when people are looking for a local business or are considering buying at a local store. And ‘being there’ means a strong online, mobile, and social presence to connect the digital life to the physical world.


Retaining a customer is 6x cheaper than acquiring a new one. Customer retention is one of the key factors of an healthy business growth. It is a fact. But how can you convert random users into loyal customers? When you connect with empowered customers, you cannot rely on traditional fidelity cards, offers and discounts.

That is old times engagement that will never work in the ‘membership era’. What you need to do is to set-up a strategy that encourages customer engagement; to tranform existing clients into brand advocates; to focus on different dynamics of in-store and mobile involvement (beacons, push notifications, contextual contents, gamification).


The personalization is the main trait of a successful marketing strategy. No bookstore can live without shelves, a critical touch point of the retail customer journey, both in the digital and physical worlds. Just, the shelves do not have to be necessarily tangible. They could also be 'tappable'.

In the mobile era, though, there are many more points of contact that you must involve in your journey map. Attraction, engagement and delight happen in-store and - more often - online. The personalization of the shopping experience (through creative contents and tech applications) is the only way to stay relevant: the book store is not only a place where books are sold.


Every path described till now brings to one inevitable conclusion: to survive the retail revolution, the book shop must to be reinvented. This is not just a suggestion, this is the rule. Even the digital presence is important but not enough to engage digital customers and convince them to buy.

The old dusty shops are fascinating but not ineffective. Technology - the one they fear so much - is the only life vest: multimedia interfaces that allow for digital purchasing, reading and other sensory experiences; the Internet of Things; with interactive shopping windows; digital shelves; augmented reality and 3D environments to boost the customer experience.

The bookstore is dead, long live the bookstore.

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in November 2014 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy with the latest trends and advancements of mobile technology and retail customer experience.

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