Comparing AI Virtual Assistants

23 Jan

Over the last year, artificial intelligence (AI) personal assistants have become BIG!! The leading ones are (alphabetically): Alexa from Amazon, Cortana from Microsoft, Google Assistant, and Siri from Apple. These AI options can answer questions, play music, give directions, tell jokes, and even play games (try Jeopardy on Alexa).

How good are they? For this stage in their development, they are very good and relatively accurate for the simple tasks in which they specialize — and they can be fun to use. But they do each have limitations and their evolving software updates will continue to get better. In addition, there may be security issues that occur now. [Read this article for more on security.]

Recently, Jeff Dunn, writing for Business Insider, did an excellent comparison of these four virtual assistants:

“As the Web diminishes and the Amazon Echo [Alexa] continues to be a runaway hit, all the big players are convinced that talking to an AI will soon become the dominant way we interact with our computers. So they’ve started building. Apple has Siri, Amazon has Alexa, Microsoft has Cortana, and Google has the new and refreshed Google Assistant. The tech has come a long way, but all of these companies openly admit that it’s very early days for this proposed future. As such, all of these assistants are far from polished. But they’re also things you can use today. So which one works best? I strapped in for eight hours of robot conversations to find out, testing each of the big four assistants across a variety of categories.”

“There is a ton of work to be done. The problems here are large and sweeping: Each assistant still feels like a fragile, thinly veiled web of loosely connected services — because that’s what they are. It’s almost impossible to tell when one of them won’t be able to do the thing you asked. You have to be OK giving up your location and loads of personal data to get the most out of them.  There are numerous instances where using a Web browser is simply faster for doing fundamental tasks. Each one is still wildly finicky when it comes to phrasing. They all think too much in black and white; one misplaced or forgotten word is often enough to discard an entire request.”

Here are some of Dunn’s comparative findings:

  • Best for travel — Google Assistant
  • Best for E-mailing — Google Assistant and Siri
  • Best for messaging — All four in different scenarios
  • Best for Music — Alexa
  • Best for weather — Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant
  • Best for social — Alexa, Cortana, Siri
  • Best for general knowledge — Alexa

 
Click the image to read a lot more from Dunn.

 

What Happened to The Limited?

19 Jan

After more than 50 years, youth-oriented women’s apparel retailer The Limited has announced that it is shutting all of its 255 stores and will focus on its online business going forward. Some experts, the retailer will be sold or shut in the not-so-distant future.

Click the image to see the sales now available online.


What happened? As reported by PYMNTS.com:

“According to Fortune, Sun Capital Partners sent a letter to investors explaining that it had invested 1.8 times its $50 million investment in Limited stores. The disclosure outlines how the private equity firm will still be able to garner a profit from the investment, despite the fact that the equity value of Limited has been written down to zero.”

“’We have worked very hard and made significant investments over nine years to improve operations and create a sustainable business at the Limited,’ Sun Capital told Reuters in an E-mailed statement. ‘In an increasingly challenging environment for mall-based retail and women’s apparel, we are very disappointed that the company has had to make the difficult decision to close its retail locations.’” 

“All brick-and-mortar locations of the Limited were closed effective Jan. 8. The Limited’s web site continues to display deep discounts and a change in the return policy: ‘All sales are final.’ However, it’s not clear how long the retailer will continue to sell items online.”

 

Getting People to Spend More Time on Your Web Page

17 Jan

Consider these observations from Vikas Agrawal, writing for CustomerThink:

“Did you know that humans now have shorter attention spans than goldfishes? A 2015 study conducted by Microsoft in Canada showed that the average attention span of humans has decreased by 4 seconds in the past 15 years. From 12 seconds in 2000, last year’s study showed that it is now at 8.25 seconds only, largely due to the advent of smartphones. This is actually a tad shorter compared to the attention span of goldfishes who are clocking in at 9 seconds.”

 

Now, consider the work on infographics by InfobrandZ:

“Pictures speak to us. They convey ideas that spark both our memories and our imaginations. Looking at a picture is indeed like reading a thousand words. More than that, it allows us to visualize relationships in a way that is not possible with words. And in that fact lies the power of Infographic Marketing.”

Ads on the Golden Globes Are Different!

12 Jan

The Golden Globe Awards were presented last Sunday. As more of a “party” show than others, the Golden Globe show attracts edgier ads. Here are two examples.
 
As reported by T. L. Stanley for Adweek:

“For fans who didn’t know that A-list movie star Drew Barrymore is shilling for a Weight Watchers-like program, surprise! And for those who didn’t know she’s playing a cannibal in her new Netflix show: double surprise!A new ad campaign that kicked off during Sunday night’s Golden Globes for the upcoming black comedy Santa Clarita Diet. The 10-episode show, launching Feb. 3 on the prolific streaming service, also stars Timothy Olyphant, who plays Barrymore’s real-estate broker (non-zombie) husband.”

“When she asks if you’re ‘ready to take your life to a whole new level of wow,’ with a crimson streak of blood dripping from her mouth, there’s no longer any question that this is a tongue-in-cheek (literally?) ad for a twisted piece of entertainment.”

 

 

And as Tanya Dua reports for Digiday:

“Just two months after Snapchat’s video-capturing Spectacles hit the market, they made their red carpet debut. L’Oréal Paris, the official makeup sponsor of the Golden Globe Awards, used Snapchat Spectacles to give viewers a sneak peek into the awards show.”

“The $130 devices were worn by its celebrity makeup artist Sir John as well as two other L’Oréal Paris brand ambassadors, who used them to stream behind-the-scenes content, from celebrities getting ready backstage to the walk down the red carpet.”

 

 

Self-Branding for Professional Success: An In-Depth Discussion

10 Jan

Want to learn more about branding and its features—including the evolution of branding and brand positioning? Want to learn more about how to create and nurture your own self-brand to enhance your professional growth opportunities? If you answer yes to either question, then this article is “must reading.”

The first part of the article (pages 1-10) covers the evolution of branding concepts, brand positioning, brand equity, the role of communications (including new media), and corporate branding.

The second part of the article (starting on the bottom of page 10) focuses on such aspects of self-branding as these: the factors impacting one’s professional self-brand, steps in self-branding, personal branding SWOT analysis, a career ladder approach to self-branding, self-brand management and re-invention, and creating and sustaining an online self-brand.

To enhance the discussion, there are several practical and colorful figures that illustrate the keys to superior professional self-branding.

[Click the IN logo at the bottom of the slideshow to access and download a PDF version of the paper.]

 

 

A Customer Service Infographic

9 Jan

Last week, we wrote about one aspect of customer service — the firm’s return policy — and its impact on consumer satisfaction.

Today, we are presenting a broad-based infographic on good customer service that was developed by  Exponential Solutions (The CUBE) Marketing. Thanks to Steve Hashman, one of the company founders, for providing the infographic.
 

 

2017 Global Economics Interview with Hof Prof

5 Jan

Hofstra University’s Zarb School of Business Distinguished Professor Joel Evans was recently interviewed by the award-winning Hofstra radio station WHRU about the upcoming 2017 global economy. Here is that EIGHT-minute interview. The views are those of Professor Evans and not Hofstra University.

[Please pardon all the sighs. Professor Evans is not in a state of distress, only in a state of bronchitis. 🙂 ]

 

 

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