Mobile Mobile Buzz

Facebook’s Instant Articles, Google Voice 5.2, Alexa’s new role and more: mobile buzz of the week

The lines between digital, mobile, technology and apps are blurring in today’s world. We at Robosoft are keen followers of developments in this arena. Here’s a quick summary of what’s buzzing:

45% of retailers will adopt AI within 3 years

In its Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Benchmark Survey, management consulting firm BRP found that 45% of retailers intend to begin using Artificial Intelligence within three years to enhance the customer experience.

Perry Kramer, vice president and practice lead at BRP, stated “The customer experience in a unified commerce world is much more complex than it is in a pure play e-commerce or brick-and-mortar retail environment and we are seeing retailers map out the entire customer journey to design the optimal customer experience, This complexity expands exponentially as the proliferation of social media, IoT, AI and Machine Learning, influence the retail world and more specifically, the customer journey.”

With more consumers preferring mobile retail, it has become critical for retailers to look beyond brick and mortar stores and create meaningful e-commerce experiences for the consumers. One of the major challenges faced by retailers as pointed out in the report is to provide real life in-store experience on e-commerce portals.

Many retailers have already started adopting e-commerce portals, they will have to leverage technologies like AR, AI, shopping assistant bots etc. to provide an in-store personalised shopping experience to customers, segments like beauty are already making this shift. In fact, a lot of brands realise that one-to-one personal messaging approach is more consumer-friendly and these brands are likely to use chatbots as a customer service platform to provide personalised attention to their customers.

Alexa’s new role: Financial Adviser

UBS Group AG has partnered with Inc to use their virtual assistant ‘Alexa’ as a financial adviser. Some of the clients from UBS Group AG will be able to pose any economic question to a machine like: “Alexa, how would a Fed rate increase impact the U.S. economy?” and hear the view of UBS’s chief investment office without having to call their financial adviser or check online for a report.

For now, due to security reasons, UBS clients won’t be able to access their portfolios or buy and sell stocks or contact their adviser through Alexa. However, in future UBS will try to make Alexa more secure for clients.

The financial sector is going through a digital disruption and technologies like AI, IoT, Mobile Telematics, chatbots etc. are completely changing the modus operandi of the industry.

However, as Scott Smith, director at Cerulli Associates, a research firm that specialises in asset management said “People want to connect with others” technology acting as a substitute for human interaction does not seem to be happening in the near future. But technology definitely stands to play a bigger role in coming years in the financial industry.

Facebook updates Instant Articles to work with Google AMP, Apple News

Facebook updates Instant Articles to work with Google AMP

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Recently Facebook in its blog post announced the update of software development kit for its Instant Articles (IA) platform with an extension to make publisher content compatible with both Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Apple News for iOS devices.

According to Facebook, during their Facebook Journalism Project Hackathons, media executives pointed out the challenge they face in using multiple platforms to share their stories and asked for a way Instant Articles could support other major publishing formats. The update to the Instant Article SDK is a step from Facebook towards addressing the aforesaid issues. This new update will also allow publishers to use custom style templates to match the formats of different platforms. The Google AMP format is available now, and the Apple News version will be releasing shortly.

Although Facebook is trying to make Instant Articles compatible across platforms, the format as such hasn’t gained much interest from publishers. Publishers find it difficult to source revenue or gather subscriptions from Instant Articles and according to a report by Digiday, reputed publishers like Forbes, The New York Times etc. have backed out of the mobile-optimized format entirely.

While, Facebook at this point of time is trying to sort out the technical hurdles of the Instant Articles format, making it an attractive medium for the publishers and finding out revenue opportunities remain bigger challenges as of now.

Google Voice 5.2 with 3 new widgets and more

There have been some major updates to Google Voice after its relaunch in January. The latest version of Google Voice (Version 5.2) has three new widgets and some other minor features. These new widgets act as a control panel for key settings and options in Google Voice. The first button helps in controlling outgoing calls, the middle toggle enables/disables Google Voice’s do not disturb mode, while the last button is a shortcut that takes users directly to the compose screen to create a new message.

According to a 9to5Google report, the third widget is the most useful and is basically a miniature version of the app that shows your inboxes. The bottom bar is interactive and allows users to switch between messages, calls, and voicemail. Meanwhile, the controls up top are fully expanded with text descriptions. This widget can be fully expanded to span your entire home screen.

The new version also adds the ability to “hear a caller’s name when you pick up.” This update is rolling out now via the Play Store.

Google Voice

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Also read: Google I/O 2017 – beyond Android, focus on machine learning, AI and more

Surabhi Ghosh Chatterjee
Surabhi Ghosh Chatterjee is our soft spoken Marketing Communications Manager with an extensive experience in B2B marketing in the tech domain.

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