Why Voice Computing Standards are Needed Now: Interview With Jon Stine

THE RISE OF VOICE COMPUTING opens a range of innovations for consumer commerce. It not only impacts how consumers interact with digital retailers and services, but also how business decisions are made.

In this debut edition of HyTalk, we meet Jon Stine, founder of the Open Voice Network. OVN is spearheading the effort to define both technical standards and ethical use guidelines for voice assistance technologies.

Jon shares his fascinating outlook for the future impact of voice computing. We discuss its effect on every-day consumer experiences and AI-empowered commercial applications. He describes some fundamental principles and “blue sky” scenarios.

Voice Computing in the Enterprise

Most of us are growing more familiar using with smart voice devices like Alexa, Siri, and Hey Google for simple tasks. Interactions with voice assistants in the business environment are more novel, however.

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The Five Yeses of Retail Tech Marketing

five yeses tensers tirades

IF YOU HAVE a great retail technology solution to offer, five yeses control your future.

You already know – more or less – who the decision-makers are at each target account: the CIO, the head of store operations, the head of merchandising, the CFO, and the CEO.

Each of these individuals has the power to say “no.” If your solution doesn’t seem to align with one of their objectives, the game may be over. You need all their heads nodding to close the sale. Is your story designed to be persuasive to all five yeses?

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What Amazon and Whole Foods wish they knew about in-store fulfillment

MINDS WERE BLOWN last week when Amazon announced its intention to acquire Whole Foods Markets 461 locations in a $13.7B cash buyout. A media and analyst frenzy followed that has kept the world of retail business on edge for many days.

As it happens, your intrepid storyteller was already deeply involved in a project focused on the in-store fulfillment of online orders. Click & Collect has been coming on strong for many months. It seems like Amazon’s serial adventures with AmazonFresh Pickup, AmazonGo, Prime Now and Prime Pantry have been a primary catalyst. Obtaining a portfolio of physical stores is its most audacious experiment to date. Now the competition gets interesting.

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A Little Problem With Big Data

Courtesy RetailWire.comA STIMULATING DISCUSSION in RetailWire.com this morning led me to once again think deeply about how retailers are confronting so-called Big Data and applying it to their businesses.

The question posed was an intriguing one, given the continuing hype and mysticism ascribed to Big Data over the past several years.

What is your take on the advancements (or not) retailers are making in the use of data capture and analysis? Is it all leading to significantly improved customer experiences down the road, or something less?

The responses mostly seemed to accept two tacit assumptions: One, that all store data is Big Data. Two, that the primary goal of Big Data analytics is the creation of targeted promotional offers. I have a little problem with that.

When did retail POS data suddenly become Big Data? We’ve been collecting it (and mostly discarding it) for decades. Now that storage costs have finally declined, we can capture and hold it long enough to run a few queries and design a few models. Shopper in-store data really hasn’t changed much, but our ability to mine its potential has certainly advanced.

Certainly data flows from the POS and frequent shopper programs continue to expand. There are even some new sources, like in-store shopper tracking, entering the mix. Yes there’s lots of data. But is this really Big Data?

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