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Banks and Retailers need to win in IOT

Banks and Retailers need to win in IOT
by Sudeep Kanjilal on 05-26-2016 at 7:00 am

In the runtime for the current mobile ecosystem – apps:

  • Average user has 21 apps on her smart phone, out of the total 1.5m apps on app-store
  • While apps account for more than half the time user spends on digital/smart platform, an average user spend more than 40% of that time on a single app
  • 2/3rd of all smartphone user did not download any new app last month
  • 25 most-used-apps did not feature a single bank or retailer app

The mainstream Fortune500 banks and retailers have totally lost the mobile ecosystem race. The key question to their CEO and board is – want to lose the next one (IOT) too?

The story of run-time…

All computing ecosystems are defined by their run-time, or, the user interface. Sure, we should, and will, take the ‘stack’ view. It’s the overall system that provides the full range of functionality and capability to the computing ecosystem. However, form, inevitability, follows function – and nothing defines function of the computing ecosystem as their runtime environment. That is the primary ‘constrain’.

We all know the standard chronology – Mainframe ecosystem, followed by PC ecosystem, followed by Web ecosystem, followed by the current mobile ecosystem. The runtime also evolved, and it shaped the ‘applications’ and the resulting capabilities of the system. What is often hidden from this view is that the productivity benefits are also defined (or constrained) by this runtime as well.

The next runtime, for the emerging new computing ecosystem – Internet Of Things – is also coming into view. And it will be BOTs!

BOTs are coming!

Why do we need a new runtime? Why can’t the runtime of our current mobile ecosystem – based on APIs – serve us for the next computing ecosystem?

The answer to that lies in the definition of IOT – A Network Infrastructure That Enables The Interaction Among Physical And Digital Capabilities

By definition, it is impossible for us to interact with 10 or 100 connecting ‘things’ – digital and physical – by using a user-initiated runtime. The only way to effectively do so will be a combination of Augmented Reality and AI-driven ‘command line’ – i.e., a bot

Now, tech leaders are already investing billions (yes, billions) into this. Remember, Facebook bought Oculus for $2B to own the new runtime/UI. It already uses AI techniques to identify people in photos, and to decide which status updates and ads to show to each user. Facebook is also pushing into AI-powered digital assistants and chatbot programs which interact with users via messages. And last week, it is opened up its Messenger service to broaden the range of chatbots.

Google is using AI techniques to improve its internet services and guide self-driving cars, and other industry giants are also investing heavily in AI driven bots. Microsoft also recently launched its own chatbots. And despite the embarrassment it faced when its chatbot turned racist, it also (ironically) demonstrated how powerful the deep-learning algorithm behind its chatbot really was, as it accurately picked up the filth (sadly abundant) on the internet.

The point behind collating all these public news here is to drive home a central fact – the new computing platform is coming – fast – and top tech leaders are working on the new runtime. So, will the history repeat itself (as with smartphone based ecosystem)?

How should the current leaders – Banks and Fortune 500 Retailers – position themselves?
Despite seriously lagging behind the tech giants/innovators in defining the AI standards, the banks and Fortune 500 retailers have an ace up their sleeves. Its called Context.

Put simply – if Context will be the king of bots, then Data is the king maker!
And who has the best data on consumers?

This race is for the banks and retailers to lose.

Also see: Designing Low-Power IoT Systems

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