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Generative Art: prospects and limitations of “creative” AI

Cover image: Dall-E Mini, “Generative Art About Empathy In Blue Tones”, digital medium, 2022 

From the bizarre juxtapositions of images created by Dall-E Mini to the NFT market: images generated by AI algorithms are increasingly becoming mainstream. At the same time, this close intersection between art and technology raises several questions.

Can a machine generate works of art autonomously? If so, what is the future of artistic production when it is no longer exclusive to humankind? What are the limits and risks, but also the potential, of this kind of art?

 

What is Generative Art?

Generative Art is a type of art, mostly visual, based on cooperation between a human being and an autonomous system. An "autonomous system" is by definition a software, algorithm or AI model capable of performing complex operations without the need for programmer intervention.

Randomness is a fundamental property of Generative Art. Depending on the type of software, the autonomous system is able to process different and unique results at every generating command, or it can return a variable number of results in response to user input.

The first experiments in Generative Art date back to the 1960s with the works of Harold Cohen and his AARON algorithm. Cohen was the first to use stand-alone software to generate abstract artworks inspired by Pop Art silkscreens. Cohen's works are now on display at the Tate Gallery in London.

Another attribute of Generative Art, although one that is becoming less and less of a prerogative, is the repetition of patterns or abstract elements provided by the programmer and implemented within the software code.

The development of increasingly complex neural networks that operate on text-image association has led to generative models capable of creating increasingly realistic and accurate images. The best known example of this type of Generative Art is Dall-E.

 

Dall-E and CLIP: a revolution in image recognition

Dall-E is a multimodal neural network based on OpenAI's GPT-3 deep learning model. This system is capable of generating images from a textual description based on a dataset of text-image pairs.

The first version of Dall-E, which was launched in January 2021 and remained the prerogative of a small number of professionals in the field, was a real revolution for this type of generative model, surpassing the innovations of GPT-3 itself.

Dall-E Mini

Dall-E is indeed capable of generating plausible images from a wide variety of sentences and textual prompts, even those characterized by a composite linguistic structure. OpenAI's model is shown to be capable of understanding and implementing:

  • The perspective structure of the image
  • The inner and outer structure of an object
  • Comparisons and sequences between different images
  • The spatial-temporal location of objects.

The accuracy of the results processed by Dall-E proved to be the perfect area of application for another OpenAI solution: CLIP (Contrastive Language-Image Pre-training), an image classification and ranking neural network trained on the basis of text-image associations, such as captions found on the Internet.

Thanks to CLIP's intervention, which reduces the number of results offered to the user per prompt to 32, Dall-E was found to return satisfactory images in most cases. However, the results obtained are low-quality and still show obvious limitations in processing certain types of logical associations between elements, such as their spacial location.

 

Dall-E Mini conquers the Internet

In the art world, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. OpenAI never published the code of DALL-E, but it only took a few months before a less refined version of the neural network appeared, based on the same principles of association and combination of images from a database of about 30 million elements.

Enter Dall-E Mini, by American developer Boris Dayma, released on the open-source hosting platform HuggingFace. Available to everyone in the form of a simple web app since the spring of 2022, Dall-E Mini has quickly become, according to Wired, "Internet's favorite meme machine."

The ability to generate 9 low-resolution images from any prompt, even the most bizarre ones, sparked the imagination of users, who had fun creating funny and surreal combinations and sharing them on platforms such as Twitter and Reddit.

Dall-E Mini

In just a few weeks, Dall-E found itself processing about 50 thousand images per day and attracted the attention of users normally uninterested in Artificial Intelligence developments, while providing experts with several insights into the application of these technologies on a larger scale.

 

Generative Art: limits and self-impositions

The degree of popularity achieved by Dall-E Mini has immediately raised questions about the possible risks that may creep into Generative Art and its outputs, especially those depicting real people and things.

Images processed by Dall-E Mini have an unmistakable appearance: the outlines of subjects are often poorly defined or distorted, and human faces are almost always deformed to the point that they are no longer recognizable. In most cases, therefore, the artificial nature of the generated images is well understood by the user, so as to minimize the likelihood of generating deepfakes with malicious intent.

Nonetheless, the open-source nature of Dall-E Mini and the vast amount of prompts entered by users soon shed a light on the need to regulate the results generated by the neural network. Dall-E's database blocks out the most explicit or violent keywords - a system that, although still imperfect, allows developers to control the results returned to the end user.

On the other hand, as is the case with any Artificial Intelligence, within Dall-E and its Mini version lurk social biases common to the humans who developed these technologies.

OpenAI's neural network, for example, reflects the most superficial stereotypes about the food or population of a place with geographic prompts; Dall-E Mini, on the other hand, only returns images of men at the "doctor" prompt and women at the "nurse" prompt.

Generative Art bias

Back to privacy issues: the possibility that Generative Art could jeopardize the safety of portrayed individuals gets more and more worrying considering the advancement of neural networks, which are now capable of returning higher quality results with more precise details than Dall-E.

Dall-E 2, the second generation of OpenAI's neural network unveiled in April 2022, seeks to reduce these kinds of risks by strengthening the system's filtering rules for training data and accepted keywords. The few professionals who have so far gained access to Dall-E 2 have to meet even stricter standards, at least while the capabilities and limitations of the new technology are still being tested.

 

Dall-E 2: towards a subscription-based model

As anticipated in the previous section, in a little over a year, progress in the area of Generative Art has been substantial, with Dall-E 2 being able to generate even more realistic and accurate images in four times higher resolution of the first generation.

The improvements in Dall-E 2 mainly focus on the combination of concepts, attributes, and art styles. The neural network can now make various changes to pre-existing images from a natural language description, adding or moving elements within a scene and creating variations from an original subject or artwork.

After an initial period of limited access, OpenAI is ready to release Dall-E 2 in beta to the first million users on the waiting list. Unlike its first version, however, the consortium founded by Elon Musk (among others) and funded by Microsoft is set to adopt a subscription-based model structured on a credit basis.

Specifically, each user of the Dall-E 2 beta will receive a predefined number of credits (50 at sign-up and 15 each following month), each of which will equate to an image generated by the neural network. Once they run out of credits, users will be able to purchase a 115-credit bundle for $15.

 

Generative Art: current and future applications

From the bizarre creations of Dall-E Mini, ironically shared on the Web, to actual works of art sold at auction for astronomical amounts of money, Generative Art has been reaching an increasingly large audience in recent years.

For the first time, clients will be able to use the generated images for commercial purposes as well as personal. Users on the waiting list, OpenAI explains, already plan to implement the images generated by Dall-E 2 in several types of projects, including some more traditional ones:

  • Children's book illustrations
  • Concept art and storyboards for video games and movies
  • Moodboards for design consultancies.

One of the most fruitful commercial outlets for this type of "digital native" art, however, is undoubtedly the NFT market.

The images generated by neural networks, combined and reprocessed by multimedia artists or proposed as the algorithm generated them, can be uploaded to blockchain and sold on marketplaces such as OpenSea or on platforms for the independent management of own non-fungible tokens such as our NFT Commerce.

On the other hand, the results obtained from neural networks such as Dall-E assume great importance not only for their aesthetic value, but also for their use in a variety of practical applications. It is precisely on image search and recognition that Google has focused its efforts, announcing the development of two AIs that function similarly to Dall-E, Imagen and Parti, neither of which has yet been shared with the public.

 

Generative Art (?)

The incursion of Artificial Intelligence has opened within art history a chapter that is largely yet unwritten.

In the past decades, Pop Art has brought the seriality of industrial processes within the visual arts, while postmodernism has untied the knots of mass society in an ironic game of combination. Even earlier, Dadaism opposed creative intention with the playful randomness of free associations.

From a cultural perspective, Generative Art inserts another fundamental variable to this chronology: the autonomy of the tool from the author. This raises questions about some essential points.

Authorship of the artwork

Authorship is an open question in the contemporary art world. This is demonstrated by the recent lawsuit filed against Maurizio Cattelan by Daniel Druet, a sculptor who created some of the artist's most famous installations without ever appearing in the credits or catalogs.

If a work of visual art is generated by an AI, does the authorship belong to the AI, the professionals who developed it, or the digital artist who provided the prompt? Indeed, can a dataset of text-image associations be an adequate counterpart to the faculty of imagination?

 

Subscription models

The production of Generative Art itself also involves business models that are still being defined. The subscription-based model is currently the most widely used in content creation and distribution, but it is also the one that most limits the independence of the medium and the freedom of creators.

With a pen and a sheet of paper an artist can freely create what they want: that is not the case when in order to give voice to his or her creativity the artist must pay monthly or "by use" to a Generative Art platform, which moreover can be restricted and censored by those who manage it.

Subscription models are complex to manage properly precisely because they involve a continuous exchange of value and freedom between the user and the company. We at Neosperience, having carried out projects on the subject with some of the most important companies nationally and internationally, offer our expertise on the subject through both business design work and the development of dedicated digital products.

 

Unbiased Artificial Intelligence

As we have seen, in order to enhance the potential of Generative Art, we need to make the best use of the specificity of this medium in all its fields of application. More than that, it is essential to design artificial intelligences in an empathetic way. Is it possible to untie our biases as human beings from the code that gives life to the Artificial Intelligences we are developing?

Achieving this goal requires a thorough understanding of the hybrid nature of Generative Art, which calls into question both culture and technology. It will therefore be necessary to bring data scientists and humanists together at the design stage, in order to provide AIs with datasets capable of producing results that are unbiased, yet accurate and representative at the same time.

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Dario Melpignano at the 51st National Conference of Young Entrepreneurs of Confindustria

PaesEuropa – Time for a new globalization

Dario Melpignano, CEO of Neosperience, spoke on Friday 24 June at the 51st National Conference of Young Entrepreneurs of Confindustria in Rapallo with a speech entitled "The Intelligent Enterprise".

Together with journalist Davide Parenzo, Dario discussed the prospects that artificial intelligence offers for the health and economy of the country in front of an exceptional parterre, composed of prominent personalities of Italian politics, institutions and entrepreneurship.

Intelligent enterprise, according to Dario Melpignano, is able to adapt to change, survive and prosper:

If today the primacy of intelligence is in the so-called "emotional intelligence", our companies must first learn to be empathetic, that is, capable of adapting to the changing time of the new globalization.

Empathy is also at the heart of Neosperience's commitment in the field of health.

On Rapallo's stage Dario Melpignano successfully demonstrated how Neosperience Health uses Artificial Intelligence to improve the performance of pre-analytical and diagnostic processes.

 

Watch the panel

Instead, below you can download the ebook on the 6 key qualities for an empathic enterprise, that is the continuum of Dario's intervention on Italo Calvino's American Lessons.

Discover
 

Towards a new business model

The era of the new globalization has begun: today's and tomorrow's CEOs will have to overcome the Taylorist-Florist approach to work as soon as possible and integrate technology into their baggage of experiences.

Only by bringing emotional intelligence into play and leveraging empathy will it be possible to create greater business value than the sum of the parts, capable of harnessing the potential of digital.

The Mediterranean, Melpignano stressed, citing personalities of the caliber of Federico Faggin and Giulio Tononi, is a hotbed of entrepreneurial talents. Precisely from this context, in fact, an alternative company model to the Californian technological oligopoly comes to life.

And it is precisely from an author very far from Silicon Valley that Dario has taken inspiration to outline the qualities of the intelligent enterprise of tomorrow, which Neosperience already puts into practice day after day: Italo Calvino.

As his American Lessons suggest, now more than ever we need lightness, speed, accuracy, visibility, multiplicity and coherence to face the future.

Italo Calvino lezioni americane

Look again at Dario Melpignano's speech at the 51st National Conference of Young Entrepreneurs of Confindustria at this link and discover the solutions that Neosperience offers companies for a digital transition to the power of empathy:

Our solutions

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Furniture and Design: opportunities to continue growing

In this article we will talk about the opportunities for growth and innovation in the furniture and design sector.

Today, the context in which operators in the sector are moving is complex, but in strong recovery. Although rising raw material costs and delays in sourcing have delayed deliveries and increased costs for the final consumer, the market is currently reacting positively, more than expected especially with regard to B2C.

Many entrepreneurs in the sector have said that - between this year and last year - they have seen a  flow of purchase 50% higher than in the previous period.

Although it is positive news, which demonstrates the unassailable value of the sector, it is still necessary for companies to continue to face and integrate the changes that have occurred in this last period, both in terms of the relationship with the B2C market, and especially for B2B.

It is also interesting to note how this difficult situation has helped to raise awareness of its potential and has generated new opportunities that can be seized even at a long distance.

In this article we will tell you what are the best solutions to face the months and years to come.

Value China: the bridge between the West and East

Thinking about the growth of the sector from a global perspective, it becomes essential to consider a country in profound transformation like China: a market, that of Chinese furniture, which in recent times has evolved rapidly, so much so that it represents a great opportunity for international brands.

In fact, young Chinese consumers today fully embrace Western influences in design, especially Italian ones.

This “tasteful” evolution is a reflection of a change by Chinese consumers, who now require a wider variety of styles and aesthetic influences, in addition to local ones.

Chinese artists and designers have created a mix of Chinese and Western elements to create sophisticated and contemporary environments in the style defined as "contemporary Chinese minimalist".

Brands that want to expand in China have the primary objective of clearly defining and identifying a target audience. It is of paramount importance to fully understand the target audience by successfully delineating their lifestyle interests.

It becomes easier at this point to identify and adapt the product to push into the market and work on an intelligent online and offline development strategy, including both physical and digital retail. In addition, finding the right communities and KOLS to collaborate with is essential to better communicate your brand to the right consumers.

To achieve this goal and expand its market in the Far East, Value China represents the best consulting, marketing and digital transformation agency for China, able to support companies in enhancing their market presence, improving their visibility, awareness and KPIs.

Mixed Reality for forniture and design

The furniture industry must be able to get customers to touch the products themselves. However, this does not mean that most of the public - at a stage prior to purchase - decide to inform themselves through digital channels.

Usually, after searching on Google or browsing through some design magazines, interested users inevitably end up visiting the brand's website, eager to see and learn more about the products. At that moment, on that touchpoint, the possible buyer makes a decision: go to the store to maybe buy, or continue the search.

It is therefore essential that the brand offers an engaging and effective virtual product vision experience, which stimulates the user's interest and convinces them to head towards the store.

This applies to B2C, but also - especially today - to B2B.

Mixed Reality  is a solution for virtual experiences that brings together two similar technologies conceptually, but very distant as modes of use: Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.

The first uses a tool - mainly the smartphone - to place 3D models of objects, including animated objects, with which the user can partially interact, in the surrounding environment.

The second, on the other hand, requires a dedicated viewer, which, once worn, projects the user into a totally virtual reality, where they can move freely and interact with the environment.

What are the applications of these technologies for furniture?

As Ikea Place has taught us over the years, there is no better tool than Augmented Reality to allow users to test how furniture is positioned within living spaces. The success of the experience proposed by the Swedish giant shows, if therewas still a need, that the public is ready and wants such an offer.

With regard to Virtual Reality, this technology has proved particularly effective for B2B, as it is able to offer buyers an engaging virtual experience, which is not limited to the physical presence at trade fairs.

For example, by sending the visors directly to the interested parties, they will be able to discover and interact with the new collections. Open a sofa bed to see what's inside? It can be done. Put the extension cord on a table? Also. Today this technology has reached unimaginable quality levels.

Enriching the pre-purchase stages has become essential. 

The value given to the customer experience, today increasingly focused on digital, is the discriminating between success and failure.

Customer Data Platform

Without going into technicalities, in this section we will explain what are the advantages of adopting a Customer Data Platform (CDP) and implementing strategies to acquire the contact and personal information of users and customers.

Often companies that sell furniture, both B2C and B2B, make a mistake: they forget to retrieve customer data.

Why?

As for B2B, the motivation is only one: as medium-small buyers (architects, restaurateurs, etc.) turn directly to third parties, their data remains with retailers and does not reach the brand.

With regard to B2C, on the other hand, in addition to the discussion on retailers (equally valid), there is another very simple reason: those who buy a kitchen, a sofa or sanitary ware are unlikely to repeat the purchase in the short or medium term; for this reason many companies decide not to retrieve customer data to contact and retain it. The common view is that this is an overly costly and dispersive activity, which does not bring any real benefits.

In doing so, the company loses an opportunity to establish a link with the customer who, although perhaps not in the immediate future, will undoubtedly bring advantages.

Let's imagine that a lawyer - an amateur but passionate cook - has to renovate his house. He shows up at a retailer and buys the kitchen of his dreams. The brand retrieves the data of the new customer. He asks him to activate the kitchen guarantee on his website. It then stores its data and inserts it into its Customer Data Platform.

A few days later he sends an email to the customer offering a discount on a cooking class.

After a month, however, he gives him a discount code for the purchase of professional cooking utensils.

The second month he writes to the customer to invite him to participate in a competition: by completing the questionnaire he will be able to win a dinner cooked at home by a three Michelin star chef.

As time goes by, a link will be created between brand and user.

When the customer will have to recommend to friends which kitchen to buy, he will recommend his own. When he has to change his kitchen in the beach house, he will always buy from the same brand.

The same applies to B2B: perhaps the manufacturer in this case - after the purchase - will offer discounts for the tiles of a partner, or architects a masterclass with a famous international designer. The more benefits the brand offers, the more professionals will return to purchase.

In any case, the discourse is always the same: creating a relationship with customers is what allows a company to grow over time, with the awareness of being able to count on a solid base of enthusiasts.

The Customer Data Platform serves precisely this purpose: to create relationships, to make contact with the public easier, thanks to automation and customization, and to facilitate the management of customers and their data.

Conclusions

Ultimately, for the furniture and design sector it is time to change some operational and strategic paradigms, to continue to grow and bring the quality of Made in Italy throughout the world.

If you are interested in exploring the applications of Neosperience technologies in the sector, please contact us by clicking on the link below.

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Artificial Intelligences and Gender. Why we need to fight stereotypes

artificial intelligence and gender

From last November until next June 6, at the Futures Festival organized by the Smithsonian Institute, an event where you can admire the innovations that are destined to change the world, we can hear a very special voice: Q.

Introduced in 2019 as the first genderless virtual voice, Q was created to be used by virtual assistants to spark a debate on gender in Artificial Intelligences.

In fact, as Ryan Sherman, one of the co-creators of the project, says: "Q was designed to initiate a conversation between insiders and the public about why Artificial Intelligence technology - of a genderless nature - was gendered." To design Q a team of linguists, sound engineers and creatives collaborated with non-binary individuals sampling their voices, to create a unique sound range neither female nor male.

Does the gender in Artificial Intelligence favor stereotypes and discrimination?

When Q was announced several years ago, it was hailed as "the genderless digital voice that the world needs right now," recognizing the potential harm that today's virtual assistants, in their quintessential feminine being, perpetuate in proposing misogynistic stereotypes, representing women as performers without decision-making autonomy.

Project Q was highlighted and recognised in a UN report on gender divisions in digital skills. "Almost all the assistants have been feminized in name, voice, models and personality" you can read in this report entitled I'd Blush If I Could, that is the answer that Siri originally provided to users who apostrophe her with vulgar or sexist epithets.

Today's context: how the relationship with virtual assistants is changing

Today the situation is fortunately changing: at the beginning of 2020 Apple eliminated the default "female" option for Siri, and now allows you to choose a male voice from a set of items called 1, 2 and 3 (in Italy there are 1 and 2). Only at the end of February 2022 Apple added another voice, number 5: this, the company said, was recorded by a member of the LGBTQ+ community and sounds much more gender-neutral. We keep in mind, of course, that these kinds of updates are very often not distributed in the same way and at the same time around the world, so in fact even today the scenario is different from country to country.

But to overcome gender stereotypes, more needs to be done than simply adding a male or gender neutral vocal stamp. In fact, even the idea of a "genderless" voice reveals some of the misconceptions we still face when we think of ways to avoid reinforcing the stereotypes themselves.

Returning to Q, for example, its use could reinforce the stereotype that non-binary individuals are neither men nor women, but “something in the middle” rather than “outside it.” In fact, it is not a question of fighting for "neutrality" but rather of starting to face much deeper reasoning, which goes from the very roots of the construction of the relationship between human beings and digital

A step in this direction was taken by Yolande Strengers, associate professor at Monash University and co-author, with Jenny Kennedy, of The Smart Wife: Why Siri and Alexa Need a Feminist Reboot.

In this text the authors state that they do not think that the solution is to completely remove the gender from the equation of Artificial Intelligences, because "this excessively simplifies the way in which these devices treat the gender, which does not only concern the voice, but also the type of things they say, their personality, their form and their purpose".

Queering: a possible solution to the problem

So Y.Strangers and J.Kennedy propose to "queerize the intelligent wife". What does it mean?
Queering the smart wife means offering virtual assistants different personalities who more accurately represent the many versions of femininity and masculinity that exist around the world, as opposed to the pleasant and servile personality that many companies have chosen to adopt for their assistants.

Artificial Intelligence Gender

An example could be Jibo, a robot introduced in 2017 that uses male pronouns and has been marketed as a social robot for the home. Jibo is characterized by a "sweet and effeminate" masculinity: for example, Jibo answers questions politely, with a flirtatious look, and often rotates and approaches people in an extravagant way.

Queering virtual assistants can also mean fighting stereotypes with irony. This is the case of Eno, the bot of Capital One Bank, launched in 2019 which, if asked about its gender, jokingly answers: "I am binary. I don't mean I'm both, I mean I'm actually just one and zero”.

“A bot is a bot is a bot”: providing a specific gender to Artificial Intelligence

Another approach, perhaps more courageous, is that of Kai, an online banking chatbot developed by Kasisto, an organization that builds artificial intelligence software for online banking. Kai completely abandons human characteristics, and rather assumes a specific identity of the robot.

When asked if he is a real person, Kai responds, “A bot is a bot is a bot. Next question, please", thus indicating to users its non-humanity, not even claimed, given also the no-sense of the answer itself.

That's also why Jacqueline Feldman - the bot's creator - said she designed Kai to be able to deflect and stop harassment. For example, if a user repeatedly harasses the bot, the bot responds with a phrase, like, "I'm imagining white sand and a hammock, please try later!"

This example then raises another problem of humanized bots. According to Feldman, when companies that design bots make them too human, making it difficult for users to understand whether they are talking to a machine or a person, it creates a point of friction with the often frustrating experiences that bots themselves offer. Simply put, if you are thinking of talking to a human, and the experience is not up to it, it inevitably generates a negative reaction in the user.

artificial intelligence gender

For example Google Duplex, a technology now integrated into Google Assistant, imitates the human voice to perform activities such as making restaurant reservations or making an appointment to get a haircut: this technology has often been called misleading to the user.

For this reason in 2019 California became the first state to require bots to identify themselves as such and, although the law has been described as imperfect, it can certainly be defined as the first step of a new path in the context of the rules governing communicative relationships.

Conclusions

To redefine the future of the relationship between digital assistants and human beings, companies and society must be willing to face deep reflections, with significant impacts in various work and private environments.

Reflections that we at Neosperience are also pursuing regarding the identity of our virtual assistant, Sofia. Although it has a feminine name, in choosing it we have been guided by the desire to refer to Σοφία, wisdom, in its ancient meaning, which derives from the adjective saphés ("clear", "manifest", "evident", "true"). Sofia the wise and the true, then.

Sofia is also fully customizable, in appearance and personality. It can assume any kind and style of communication, depending on the wishes and needs of users and customers. In addition, although the virtual avatar is extremely convincing, the voice is deliberately made more mechanical than other virtual assistants, so as not to risk deceiving the interlocutor about the real nature of Sofia.

But our intention is to continue to evolve Sofia, so that it is suitable to be used by everyone always, without putting in difficulty or creating damage to the sensitivity of people.

Only thanks to the heterogeneity and the approach of realities that deal with developing an advanced Artificial Intelligence will we be able to carry out truly inclusive digital developments, starting from a correct representation of gender.

Progress comes only from the acceptance and appreciation of differences, and the technological field is no exception. 

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Technological trends and new challenges in the sport sector

Foto copertina articolo sport

In a context where the world of sport is constantly growing, but at the same time in need of change, the emergence of innovative technologies, the diffusion of new tools and their use have become factors of enormous importance for the growth and evolution of the sector.

If we take the economic and social situation of the world's richest and most popular sport - football - then it is clear that, between scandals and crises, the need for innovation is urgent. A change must be made, and the technology in this game can play a leading role.

Today more than ever, it is vitally important to face the continuous evolutions thanks to long-term solutions and strategies that involve all the stakeholders of the system, with the aim of making the online and offline interaction between company/team and customer/fan unique and relevant.

In this article we will illustrate the technological trends that will be able to revolutionize engagement, relationships and experience with fans in sport.

 

Technological trends on the methods of involvement of sports fans

Tifosi allo stadio

A sport, in order to continue to exist, needs two things: people who practice it and enthusiasts who follow it. Teams and federations therefore have every interest in stimulating the engagement of fans, creating a sense of belonging and loyalty to strengthen the relationship with fans/customers/stakeholders and obtain a concrete return from a long-term business perspective.

In recent years we have witnessed a great change in the relationship between society and fans. New technologies for the use of sporting events have become increasingly important, and the recent pandemic years have given a further boost to this phenomenon.

The imposition in Italy of Dazn and Amazon Prime Video as providers of sports content in live streaming is the best example. The transfer from the television medium to the digital one opens the way to new possibilities of involvement. It is demonstrated by numerous use cases that the technology is able to increase business opportunities, creating new sources of revenue, and at the same time improving the satisfaction of the fan/stakeholder.

Of course, there are still considerable limitations (for example the frequent problems encountered by Dazn and Amazon with the quality of streaming), but no one doubts that the future is digital.

Involvement, challenge and sharing are the objectives of an entire sector, which must regain the trust and love of its audience. Let's see some examples of new technologies that can play a leading role in this revolution:

 

Blockchain

Blockchain technology has seen remarkable development in recent years. From the first dubious approaches, today the public and businesses have learned to know and appreciate it. The uses of this technology are growing, and its potential is not yet fully expressed.

In the sports field, the use of blockchain for public engagement is linked to a sub-branch of this technology: NFTs. These are digital "objects" that - purchased on the blockchain - are unique and therefore not copyable. For this reason, they are sold by companies as collectibles, stimulating the involvement of fans.

Take the case of the NBA Top Shot. This passionate initiative is based on a blockchain platform, where users can buy, sell, and exchange “moments”, or NFTs in the form of official video highlights of the best NBA games.

It is a similar experience to the traditional physical sports card market, but instead of the image of a player with statistics on the back, we collect videos of a specific play represented on a cube, whose faces contain all the data and statistics relating to that moment.

banner nft eng

 

5G

As we have already said, the use of live content has been shifting for years towards the digital medium. 5G - once it has become widespread - will be the technology that will definitively transform the way we follow sport. 5G networks are spreading around the world, delivering speed, increased capacity and ultra-low latency.

In addition, 5G allows you to enrich the user experience with live interactive content. BBox - for example - develops engaging Augmented Reality (AR) content that fans can access via their smartphones, such as the ability to take photos with players, 360° stadium tours and infographics on player performance.

For today's fans, it's not enough to have the game in front of their eyes: they want analysis, statistics and additional information about the players and opponents of their favourite teams.

 

Personalization and loyalty

The use of new technologies allows the development of deep loyalty and fan engagement programs. As organizations in the industry manage to connect all points of a single fan's journey, they will be able to drive personalized connections and experiences that will increase the lifespan value of fans.

An example of this is dynamic advertising during matches. Virtual advertising within stadiums is in fact making giant strides, and promises to become a crucial element to allow brands and leagues to structure revenues in a more organized way, and to offer content more in line with their audience. Thanks to this technology, the physical spaces dedicated to sponsors and present in the stadiums with the side panels of the field, during the course of the games can be replaced by virtual video content, produced in real time and customizable.

 

Live Initiatives

During a live streaming match, the possibility for the user to intervene live to participate in contests, initiatives and actions is unlimited. Receive digital autographs from your favorite character, win a prize if you guess who the next marker will be, choose the camera from where to follow the match: anything is possible.

 

Crowdfunding for fans

Some crowdfunding platforms allow fans to invest in projects proposed by their favorite team. In this way, companies can receive funds to grow the club, and at the same time fans can invest safely and become part of the company itself, receiving benefits and prizes in return.

 

E-Sport

Another trend - now consolidated - is that of E-Sports. Suffice it to say that there is a corresponding Serie A TIM championship, simply called eSerie A TIM, dedicated to matches on FIFA and PES video games. Sports clubs must, however, stimulate this use more, with their own direct active involvement. In fact, many of the youngest fans relate to their favourite sport first and foremost thanks to gaming: starting in the creation of their future fan base through E-Sports has now become essential, also because it is a market that now moves billions of euros every year.

Organizing and highlighting championships for teams, proposing prizes, investing in common games rooms are just some of the most interesting uses of this medium.

 

Technological trends on sports performance analysis

Atleta che sorride

Technology, of course, also plays a focal role in training activities. Digital and new technologies provide - first and foremost - new data, and thus a new approach. For example, applications of Artificial Intelligence for the analysis of data collected during training sessions are already in place in many realities: working on individuals, with more analytical and personalized strategies (ad hoc), is the path that many are following. The study of training and match videos, the continuous evaluation of health, the study for the prevention of injuries are only some of the possible applications.

To do this, wearable IoT technologies are used, through which the athlete's physical parameters (heartbeats, efforts, etc.) are monitored. Nowadays, smart cameras are also increasingly used, in this case to record movements and actions in order to turn them into data to be interpreted.

 

AI for sport

Once the physical and behavioural data have been collected, the next and necessary step is to translate them into useful information. At the moment there are tools that combine data analysis and artificial intelligence to study behaviors, understand mistakes and opponents, and identify the most useful corrections. Thanks to sophisticated algorithms and models, this technology helps give athletes and teams an extra boost in terms of performance.

 

Conclusions - Technology for the need of change in sports

Campo di atletica

Sport and the relationship of societies with enthusiasts is changing. Offering new and engaging experiences is what will allow the sector to grow again and overcome the economic and image crisis that many realities have experienced in the last two years of the pandemic.

Investing in new technologies, already used by its audience, and creating a relationship of respect and trust with fans are the tools available today to look to the future of sport.

After all, sport is a game and a passion that unites almost all the people in the world. Playing sports and following it is a way to return children: impulsive, reckless and happy even in fatigue. Sports clubs should not forget this when deciding their business plans: without fun, involvement, it is no longer sport. 

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5 tips for an effective Lead Generation

5 tips lead generationThe great salesmen of the past have now become legendary characters, whose stories feature films and television series. In fact, we are all bewitched by the skills of a good salesman, who alone can make a business prosper.

Although it is still important for companies to have a talented sales department, many companies are tempted to give up the human component in commercial activities in favor of digital solutions that promise the moon, but ultimately are very ineffective.

In fact, although they are cheaper and faster than any vendor, Social Selling or Account Based Marketing platforms are far less effective than human activities.

The reason? They lack an essential component: empathy.

Communicating the right message at the right time is complex: it is necessary to analyze the context and a whole set of subjective factors that a machine is not yet able to take into account.

However, this does not mean that digital is not helpful. Today you can find thousands of potential customers using platforms like LinkedIn, or simply browsing the web. Problems arise when a machine is asked to operate independently in the “contact phase”. The risk of passing for spam is more than real: for a company, this is the worst thing to do.

How is it possible to carry out digital sales activities without risking being irrelevant, ineffective, or even harmful?

 

5 Tips for Effective Lead Generation

In this article, we will show you the 5 tips that our sales department has always followed, and we will explain how our solution for Social Selling and Account Based Marketing works and how Neosperience Customer Generator can help your business grow.

  • To sell your products you need to know how to sell yourself

A trivial statement that it is often not put into practice.
Usually, those who contact us on social media or through our website are complete strangers: this obviously makes us think that their communications are spam. Getting noticed before contact is the first step to getting a response, hopefully positive. Create a relationship before direct contact. Like and comment on what is shared. Discuss, show yourself, and hear.

  • You need to examine

Before contacting potential prospects, you need to find out their role in the company and what their interests are, what their company does, and the trends and risks of their sectors. In business, you don't have to assume, but know how your company and services can be useful to that particular person.

  • Be personal

Today companies continually receive copied and pasted messages sent from poorly programmed bots: no wonder the results of these operations are virtually nil. A good sales activity must in fact be as “personal” as possible. So don't just talk about the product, but focus on your personal experience and that of your interlocutor: be “personalized”, tell who you are and what you do in the company, and find points of contact with your interlocutor.

  • Get organized and keep track of everything

The activity of a salesman must be organized. Keep track of what you write and who is your prospect. Take notes on what your prospects do and how they "are", and try changing your strategies to see which ones work best.

  • Supports your direct contact strategy

Sometimes it's the same prospect that finds your company. In fact, value-specific content for different targets is a natural “magnet” for new contracts: articles, whitepapers, ebooks, webinars, or videos, the important thing is that they are interesting and show the value of your business.

Neosperience Customer Generator

 

Neosperience Customer Generator

This is "Neosperience Customer Generator" by Neosperience on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.


What is interesting about this drawing of “empathic” advice is that all the activities described can be supported by our Lead Generation platform, Neosperience Customer Generator, based - among other things - also on Lead Champion, a digital marketing solution that we acquired just a few months ago.

The Neosperience Customer Generator allows you to:

  • Identify

Choose your target audience by combining information from all departments;

  • Discover

Recover the firmographic data of your ideal clientele - company size, location, sector, market position, and annual revenues - as well as strategic factors such as market influence, the likelihood of repeated purchases and the expected profit margin;

  • Save

Automatically load profiled leads and relevant information into the Customer Data Platform (CDP) of the Neosperience Customer Generator. Fill out notes and tags on Lead profiles; reuse this information later to boost your business;

  • Interact

Attract your potential customers and dialogue with them by generating Qualified Leads. View the profiles of your potential customers, identify their skills, follow their activities and send personalized messages automatically;

  • Engage

Create targeted content for each of your leads, dedicated to the specific offers you want to promote. Combine the effects of two strategic approaches: Account-Based Marketing (ABM), to communicate in a personalized way with each corporate actor, and Inbound Marketing, to generate new leads offering relevant and quality content;

  • Measure

Each marketing activity must produce measurable results. Thanks to Neosperience Customer Generator you can always know the conversion rate of your activities, the increase in the number of Leads over time, and their economic value.

Conclusions

Neosperience Customer Generator is a facilitator. It is the union of the best of digital - intelligent and empathetic - with the immeasurable value of the human relationship.

Digital is a tool, not the solution to all problems: for many years to come, the human factor will be indispensable. Our 5 tips are the foundation for a “human” and effective Lead Generation, and the guidelines on which we have developed our solution. If you want to learn more, read the article What is Lead Generation: the definitive guide to acquiring customers online (in 2021), by Lead Champion!

Only by combining digital and physical we can survive in today's ultra-competitive market, governed by digital intermediaries and made even more complex by the crisis that companies are experiencing today.

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Digital Opportunities for Furniture and Design Industries

In this article, we will talk about the opportunities for growth and innovation in furniture and design industries 

Today, the environment in which the furniture and design sector is moving is complex. Although major trade fairs have been postponed, and many key market sectors, such as tourism and catering, are in difficulty, the rebound has been more positive than expected, especially as regards B2C.

Many entrepreneurs in the sector have said that - after the lockdown - they witnessed a flow of purchases 50% higher than the previous year. 

Although this is good news, which demonstrates the industry's unwavering value, it is nevertheless necessary for companies to address the changes that have taken place in the last period, both for the B2C  and - especially - the B2B markets 

In this article, we will tell you what are the best solutions to deal with the months and years ahead.

Online Lead Generation for B2B and B2C

As we said before, B2B sales to key furniture and design sectors are still in difficulty. Tourism, events, and catering were important items for the budget of many producers. Today these revenues have practically disappeared. 

It is, therefore, necessary to find - with the courage to look in unexplored “places” - new sources of income. 

Neosperience Customer Generator is the ideal tool to achieve this goal. 

The platform allows sales and marketing departments to automate and optimize the search for new leads. 

How? 

  • Keeping note of identity, company, and other characteristics of those who visit social profiles (LinkedIn) and the company website.
  • Analyzing their unique characteristics, such as interests and personalities (thanks to the Artificial Intelligence).
  • Automating the search for people and companies potentially interested, such as sector influencers (architects, designers, etc.) or companies operating in the sectors of tourism, catering, construction, events, etc.
  • Automating contact with these users and companies with personalized messages.
  • Collecting all this information on a dedicated platform, easily integrated with the systems already in use by the company.

At the same time, the Neosperience Customer Generator allows you to implement the same dynamics also for a B2C audience; for this purpose, it is interesting to mention the possibility of finding and contacting people potentially interested on major social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, as well as LinkedIn.

Finding new sources of income has become essential: traditional lead generation strategies, such as participating in fairs to talk vis a vis with prospects, are no longer feasible. Sales and marketing departments must move their activities online, using a tool that allows them to achieve quality and efficient work, and that brings certain and measurable results.

The physical store 

The physical store remains the most important touchpoint for the furniture industry. Being able to see and touch furniture and finishes is essential.

Today, the pandemic has forced brands to rethink the customer's visit to the store: it is essential to be able to offer safe experiences, but no less effective or engaging. 

When customers decide to buy new furniture for their own home, they are emotionally involved: it is an important choice, which will accompany them for many years to come. In light of the moment we are experiencing, it is important to remember the value of this experience, so as not to betray the most intimate and authentic side of our customers. 

The Neosperience People Analytics solution helps the sales network give the right weight to the customer experience, enhancing their purchasing behaviour, and ensuring that today's health regulations do not preclude the success of the Customer Experience.

How does it work? 

The solution requires high-resolution cameras in the strategic points of the store. The recovered images are then analyzed by Machine Learning algorithms that allow you to highlight the behavior of visitors.  

What information does it provide? 

  • How many people walk past the store
  • How many people stop in front of the windows
  • How many people go in and out of the store
  • How people move around different areas of the store
  • How customers behave, for example when interacting with products and promotions

Also highlights: 

  • Whether or not people wear the mask, and whether or not they wear it correctly;
  • If the maximum number of store presences has been reached;
  • Possible assemblies.

Thanks to the data retrieved, the retailer is able to find out which products, promotions, showcases, and physical dispositions work - and which do not. As a result, he can change - for example - the layout of the store to meet the visitor's natural behavior. 

In addition, real-time information on compliance with health regulations allows the store manager to intervene promptly to avoid situations of danger not appreciable for the customer experience.

Neosperience People Analytics can be implemented on its sales network or even in multi-brand stores.

Mixed Reality for Furniture and Design

As we have already said, the furniture sector must be able to make customers feel the products themselves. However, the majority of the public - at a pre-purchase stage - decides to inquire through digital channels

Usually, after searching Google or browsing some design magazines, interested users inevitably end up visiting the brand's website, eager to see and learn more about the products. At that moment, on that touchpoint, the potential buyer makes a decision: go to the store to - perhaps - buy, or continue the search. 

It is therefore essential that the brand offers an engaging and effective virtual product viewing experience, which stimulates the user's interest and convinces them to go to the store. 

This is true for B2C, but also - especially today - for B2B markets

The Salone del Mobile of Milan has been postponed until next year: many brands, large and small, have not been able to present their products. But there is a solution to this problem, and it's called Mixed Reality

The term groups two technologies that are conceptually similar, but different as modes of use: Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.

The first uses a tool - the smartphone mainly - to position 3D models of objects, even animated, in the surrounding environment.

The second instead needs a dedicated viewfinder, which - once worn  - projects the users into a totally virtual reality, where they can move freely and interact with the environment. 

What are the applications of these technologies for furniture? 

As Ikea Place has taught us over the years, there is no better tool than Augmented Reality to allow users to test how the furniture is positioned within living spaces. The success of the experience proposed by the Swedish giant demonstrates that the public is ready and wants such an offer.

Regarding Virtual Reality, this technology has proved particularly effective for B2B market. As we said, fairs and events are currently off-limits: why not offer buyers a virtual experience within the showroom?

By sending viewers directly to the interested agents, they can discover and interact with the new collections. Open a sofa bed to see what it's like inside? It can be done. Today, this technology has reached unimaginable levels of quality.

Enriching the pre-purchase stages has become essential. 

The value of customer experience - now increasingly focused on digital - is the discriminator between success and failure.

Customer Data Platform

Without going into technicalities, in this section we will explain the benefits of adopting a Customer Data Platform (CDP) and implementing strategies to obtain personal information of users and customers. 

Companies selling furniture, both B2C and B2B, often make a mistake: they forget to retrieve customer data. 

Why? 

As far as B2B is concerned, the motivation is only one: since medium-small buyers (architects, restaurateurs, etc.) turn directly to third parties, their data remain with retailers and do not arrive at the brand. 

As for the B2C, on the other hand, in addition to the talk about retailers (equally valid), there is another very simple reason: those who buy a kitchen, sofa or toilet hardly repeat the purchase in the short or medium-term; for this reason, many companies decide not to retrieve the customers' data to contact and retain them. The common view is that this is too expensive and dispersive. 

In doing so, however, the company misses an opportunity to establish a bond with the customer that, although perhaps not immediately, will undoubtedly bring advantages. 

Let's imagine that a lawyer - an amateur but passionate cook - has to renovate his home. He shows up at a retailer and buys his dream kitchen. The brand retrieves the new customer's data asking him to activate the guarantee on the corporate website. 

It then stores its data and inserts it into its Customer Data Platform. 

A few days later the brand sends an email to the client offering him a discount on a cooking course.

After a month, however, it gives him a discount code for the purchase of professional cooking utensils. 

The second month the brand writes to the client to invite him to participate in a contest: by filling out a questionnaire he can win a dinner cooked in his own home by a three-Michelin star chef.  

As time passes, a link will be created between the brand and the user.

When the customer has to advise his friends about which kitchen to buy, he will advise his own. When he has to change the cuisine in the beach house, he will buy it from the same brand. 

The same is true for B2B: perhaps the manufacturer in this case - after the purchase - will offer discounts for a partner's tiles, or to architects a masterclass with a famous international designer. The more benefits the brand offers, the more professionals will go back to buying. 

In any case, creating a relationship with customers is what allows a company to grow over time, with the knowledge that it can rely on a solid base of enthusiasts. 

This is precisely what the Customer Data Platform is for: to create relationships and make contact with the public easier, thanks to automation and customization, and to facilitate the management of customers and their data.

Conclusions

In short, for the furniture and design sector it is time to change some operational and strategic paradigms, to continue to grow and bring the quality of Made in Italy worldwide.

If you are interested in exploring the applications of Neosperience technologies in the sector, please contact us by clicking on the link below.

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Virtual Exhibition: Neosperience and Value China for your B2B event

virtual exhibitionWe have trust in the future of B2B International Events

We know that the last months were the lowest point ever reached by this sector.  

However, according to us, there are a lot of tools and options to overcome this period and to build a new way to think about International Exhibitions

Today Problem

One concern is the impossibility of traveling around the globe. 

This is mainly a business problem

If you can’t present your products and services in person, how is it possible for you to reach the far market? 

The Solution: Neosperience Virtual Exhibition

It is possible thanks to new technologies. We have a vision: empower the strengths in your fair with an innovative, best-in-class digital platform. 

Neosperience Virtual Exhibition (for the chinese market Smart Exhibition) is a vertical solution that can help Italian businesses to create and manage their own international events. It is specifically designed to build a bridge between the Italian e Chinese markets

Why? Because we are convinced that there is not a future for the occidental industry without collaboration with Asian countries. For this reason, we welcomed Value China in the Neosperience family. Our common goal is to create and develop business partnerships between our great countries and economies. 

Your Goal

We have outlined what we think are the essential goals to create a successful event in our post-digital world.  

  • Develop a fair digital ecosystem to forge relationships and invent new ways to involve the exhibitors’ and visitors’ community;
  • Create and deliver engaging experiences that surprise and capture visitors;
  • Leverage the ability to connect, influence, build trust with target audiences, across any platform, or any device.
  • Broaden customers’ data creation sources and increase the level and quality of data;
  • Develop new revenue streams based on the sale of virtual stands with many sources of revenue: positioning and visibility, services activated and used, advertising pre, during and post the events.

 

What We Offer

Let’s talk about our solution. Our Virtual Exhibition and Event Management System is based on the Neosperience Unbreakable Community and provides a set of powerful services, yet easy to use:

  •  A space to make the exhibition topic fun and relevant: keynotes with insights and narratives aimed at both professionals and the general public, one-to-many, one-to-few, and one-to-one sessions;
  • A matching engine to suggest the most profitable meeting opportunities between buyers and sellers;
  • A virtual reality discovery and visit system of factories or regions accompanied by technical specialists that allow both businesses and consumers to live the experience with an extraordinary emotional impact and memorability;
  • An eCommerce Platform to create new streams of revenue for exhibitors and organizers. 

Our goal for your Exhibition is to establish a global destination dedicated to the digital experience. The attractiveness for the product enthusiasts and the global stakeholders’ community will be based on the ability to bring meetings, tests, and in-depth sessions to the virtual world, to promote knowledge of the product and the vendor community.

From a business perspective, the aim is to create the first pole of attraction of the product sector, aimed mainly at the international buyers' community.

Virtual Exhibition: why us?

Neosperience and Value China: together we deliver the best solution combining our "empathy in technology" vision with our knowledge of the Chinese market.

We can help your company extract maximum value from its positioning, supporting the Virtual Exhibition setup and sales 360° from the vision to roll out, thanks to the performance of our team and best-in-class Neosperience Cloud and Solutions.

Moreover, we can leverage our cross-border operating model to serve your company everywhere in Asia and the Pacific area, accelerating the path to connect Chinese buyers to your company more effectively.

The challenge that we face while creating your “unbreakable customer community” is attracting enough members to create value and offering full benefits from the first sign-up.

Thanks to our ready-to-use solutions, we will start with a robust and simple virtual exhibition architecture, and capitalize on viral growth.

Are you interested in our Virtual Exhibition vertical solution? Do you want to be a forerunner on the digital events market?

We will show you all the concrete benefits related to the adoption of the Neosperience Virtual Exhibition.

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Sentient Technology: feelings through sensors

tecnologia senziente

By Sentient Technology we want to highlight the applications of Artificial Intelligence that can read, interpret and respond to human stimuli. 

Man is an emotional animal; for this reason, humans  search for emotions within what they create .

In recent years, we have witnessed a wave of technology development  that seeks to imitate, or rather decrypt, human emotions.

A practical example to explain sentient technology is the case study of the Emotional Art Gallery, a Clear Channel Sweden project from 2019. 

The concept consisted of broadcasting some works by international artists on 250 digital totems inside the subway stations of the Swedish capital. The artworks were selected because they could reduce the stress level of passengers

For this project, developers created an algorithm that could recognize people's emotional state through the study of online and social analytics. Thanks to this "sentient" capacity of technology, users’ physical and psychological well-being improved.

Another example of Sentient Technology is the Ada project, an intelligent sculpture - made up of thousands of tiny LEDs - that Microsoft USA, with the collaboration of the architect and designer Jenny Sabin,  decided to create inside the Microsoft Research Building 99. 

For the project, cameras and sensors able to recognize people's emotions (for example by facial expression or tone of voice) were inserted inside the building. Ada can react to these stimuli through the continuous change of colors and patterns on its surface.

Over the years, sentient technology has also been applied to personal care. In a world where loneliness and depression are endemic, this has been proposed as a possibility to help solving the problem.

The examples are numerous, both for the support of young people and the care of the elderly. Interesting is the case of Lovot, a pet robot for every age produced by the Japanese company Groove X.

Designed to combat loneliness, Lovot can recognize emotions and interact in real-time with the stimuli it receives from the outside. Its surface is also soft and responsive to the touch.

Another interesting example, especially for its underlying software developed in Italy, is Zeno Robot. Behavior Labs, a Catania start-up engaged in the field of social robotics, had the brilliant idea of ​​using a robot, produced by an American company, to help children with autism to communicate and relate with the world around them.

Not all applications of sentient technology are related to the artistic or human cases, such as the two we have just mentioned.

In general, two different uses of this can be defined: one empathic and one analytical.

This technology was primarily born as the core feature of sentiment analysis platforms, used to recover significant insights about services and products, and to manage and recognize possible corporate crises.

Through natural language processing (NLP), enhanced - in the most advanced tools - by Machine Learning, these platforms can read in real-time thousands of posts on social media or web, recognizing the topic of conversation and, above all, the sentiment of the writer.

However, a simple grammatical error, a statement of context or a hint of sarcasm is enough to weaken the reliability of the analysis. The technology used is still limited and limiting due to the complexity of human language and the interpretation of emotions. 

Humanity suffers by nature from emotional illiteracy, especially in this digital and virtual age. We are unable to name the emotions we feel and to recognize the feelings of those around us; so how can we hope to teach an algorithm to be empathetic?

The sentient technology, if not used responsibly, risks becoming cynicism.

The following example can be interpreted in this way.

Not long ago, a Korean broadcaster streamed a show called Meeting You, telling the dramatic story of a mother who lost her seven-year-old.

During the transmission, the authors decided to recreate the 3D model of the daughter in a virtual environment.

The girl was built with the look, voice, movements and real feelings of the deceased girl. In the end, the mother was invited to play with her in this fictional world, to say goodbye one last time. 

A problem appears: a sentient technology that proposes itself as empathetic creates numerous questions from an ethical point of view.

How far can we go? We will find out over time.

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash

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Oculus Rift, a Game-Changer for Digital Customer Experience

Sometimes we can find traces of the future of marketing and business not in essays, numbers and researches but in novels and fictions. Take digital transformation and gamification. In 2044 Parzival escapes from the exhaustion of Earth's fuels thanks to OASIS, a virtual reality network simulation. It’s the beginning of Ready Player One, a novel written in 2011 by Ernest Cline.

Back in 1992: Neal Stephenson, a science fiction guru writer, creates his masterpiece Snow Crash and the Metaverse, as a successor to the Internet as we know it. The Mataverse is a ‘collective virtual shared space’ in which both physical and virtual space could converge. In Snow Crash, Hiro Protagonist - his name reminding us the importance of archetypes in storytelling - is a freelance hacker living in a ‘meta universe’, a sum of virtual reality, 3D virtual space and augmented reality, all fueled by a super-fast Internet. How do both Parzival and Hiro get into their brand new virtual worlds? By using and wearing virtual reality peripherals and devices. Is it just science fiction? Could it be the future of business and digital customer experience? Just ask the

Oculus Rift

Since the 60’s sci-fi authors have dreamed about a future where their characters could enter a new reality thanks to technological appendices, an extension and optimisation for their limbs and senses. Bear in mind that virtual reality and games have always been strictly linked (OASIS is nothing more than a universe large MMO game). From novels to marketing, the story doesn’t change. Digital customer experience is more and more focused on gamification, an easy way to connect with customers and leverage engagement and sales.

Virtual technology plays a vital role in how companies are changing their digital strategies. The Oculus Rift could become the next step in this path full of opportunities. Talking of games, the Rift is a game-changer for digital customer experience. It is a virtual reality head-mounted display using head tracking, positional tracking, high resolution and speed wireless connection to enhance the experience of a parallel virtual world in a 3D perspective.

Games and software developers have shown great interest in this new technology since the very beginning, but they’re not the only ones. If games are designed to mimic real-world fighting, in Norway the Army has started using Oculus Rift to drive tanks and simulate a real warfare. Just game and war, as usual? Not really, because there are still lot of opportunities to explore.

Why not create a customer-facing app to shift from static e-commerce website to virtual concept store, offering an amazing digital customer experience while you sell your product or service? You’re are a retail, fashion and luxury, automotive firm? Why not offer a digital showroom that your customers can visit to explore, search and even touch your products? The only limit is your imagination.

Stay focused if you look for useful tips to leverage your digital strategies. The future might be already here: more real than real.

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