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Sitecore Trendspot 2017

Missed out on Sitecore Trendspot 2017? Never fear, we’ve captured the top highlights from the keynotes and strategy sessions right here in this handy little blog post.

Did you know the average human attention span is now 8 seconds? That’s one second less than a goldfish. We’re basically designing and building for the human equivalent of a goldfish. Hopefully your attention lasts until the end of this post!

“A wealth of information has created a poverty of attention.”

Jane Headon from Avanade kicked off the conference with a thought provoking talk entitled “Personalisocean”.

She described the perfect storm we’re currently experiencing:

  1. Real time data
  2. Human centred design
  3. Systems of intelligence
  4. Liquid expectations

The key to successful personalisation is to have a single view of the customer. 

On average people have:

3.4 devices

7+ channels

Key takeaway: be transparent about how you’re using customer data and keep the privacy policy simple and accessible.

Be aware of not creating the ‘filter bubble effect’. This is over personalisation based on what people click on, thereafter been served items related to this which impacts the diversity of content being shown.

Who's getting personalisation right?

Trump! Like him or loathe him he had smart people behind him during his campaign. The team utilised psychological information to develop a profile for each person within his constituent. This combined with a wide range of methods including door knocking and reviewing Facebook data and lookalikes allowed the ability to deliver highly targeted messaging.

On the eve of the election they bought out YouTube for an undisclosed sum (reportedly 8 figures) and tailored different messages to people based on the individual profiling they had done.

Sitecore Trendspot Old Clare Hotel

This is a great example of personalisation at the opposite end of the scale. A low tech/ no tech approach.

Next up was Mark Zablan, Chief Revenue Officer at Sitecore.

His talk from Product to Purpose posed the question, where will your business be in 10 years?

He challenged that it’s not all about selling product and not just about competing on price.

The differentiator in increasingly saturated times becomes purpose.

Companies that don't have purpose ultimately fail. Today businesses last on average 15 years. People are loyal to on average 3-6 brands. That's a tough inner circle to crack. 88% of companies listed in the Fortune 500 in 1955 have either gone bankrupt, merged or still exist but have fallen from the 500.

People don't buy into people's product and services, they buy into why you do it.

What's coming next?

Wearables talking to wearables

Smart sensors in your sneakers talking to your Fitbit to help you understand your running style, how it might be better, and what products might support you, where the nearest physiotherapist is etc.

  • 55% of consumers now own wearable devices
  • 49% of consumers own fitness devices
  • 37% of consumers own smart watches.

Smart mirrors are also just around the corner, this is the next step in the delivery of IoT.

Sitecore Trendspot Smart Mirror

The key to successfully cracking into a customer’s inner circle? Create relevant content delivered in context.

  • 56% of consumers believe that brands should know their purchase history.
  • 62% of consumers are willing to provide data to brands in order for them to personalise their experience.
  • 36% of marketers cite inability to personalise the purchasing experience for customers during and after a sale.
  • 33% report a lack of insight into the purchasing during and after the sale.
  • 33% report difficulty implementing the marketing features they desire.

Are you old enough to remember Knight Rider? You may not have realised it at the time but this was one of the first examples of artificial intelligence. But beyond the movies, voice activated engagement hasn’t moved very fast. We have seen it within phones but this doesn’t reflect the natural interface that voice offers, it feels counter intuitive.

However in 2014 the launch of Amazon Echo created a brand new category called 'voice first'. This has broken the shackles of the screen and created a completely open framework that allows third party developers to build their open voice applications on top.

  • 50% of all searches will be made via voice query by 2020- Commscore 2016
  • By 2018, 30% of our interactions with technology will be through ‘conversations’ with smart machines- Gartner, 2015
  • By 2020, a third of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen- Gartner 2016.

There are 10-12 million Amazon Echo devices in market across USA and the UK and new competitors are now entering the market, including Google Home who launched in November 2016. 

Samsung is not yet in market but has purchased a company called VIV and will be launching Samsung VIV. The difference, and exciting part about VIV is that it will be a self-learning system and will be going into all future Samsung appliances and devices. This is also an open development framework.

Microsoft will also be launching before the end of the year with Invoke. This will also be an open framework. So all the competitors are following in the footsteps of Amazon taking an open community minded approach.

Apple haven't communicated what they are doing in this space yet but an announcement is expected soon.

Voice in the car

All the big car manufacturers are currently looking into this as one of the early use cases for the technology, when people are "hands and eyes busy" voice is the key medium.

Voice AI as a service. The Democratization of AI

The open frameworks means it’s going to be much more accessible to agencies and companies who want to start designing and delivering voice experiences. 

It’s the natural language understanding of these systems where the real magic occurs. Allowing people to say commands in multiple ways and using natural language intelligence to deliver the right result back to customers. It's early days for voice but it's changing very quickly and could become ubiquitous. 

What comes next?

From GUI to VUI, the advent of voice designers and conversation designers is nigh which will create new jobs in the market. 

Voice commerce, identification via speaking. No pass codes required. People will be able to transact purely with voice and do everyday tasks such as ordering takeaways.

That’s a wrap! Hopefully that provides some insight into the talks that I got the most out of. Sitecore did a great job of bringing together like minded people and high calibre speakers. Importantly, it was not all about the product, it was about the future and getting excited and motivated for what is coming next.