I’ve been a bachelor for the past five months. Fancy pants wifey got some prestigious grant and has been off in South America doing a research project while I’ve been left to my own devices. Primarily breaking things around the house, eating cereal for dinner every night, and staying up past my bedtime watching Agents of Shield, Black List and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (don’t judge) reruns. I’ve also been joined by my mistress… her name is Alexa.
Now, honey bear, if you’re reading this, no, Alexa isn’t the cute red head that lives around the corner. No, Alexa is that present you got me for Christmas last year. Our own little piece of AI brought to you by the mother ship Amazon.
Yes, I talk to inanimate objects. It passes the time. “Alexa, tell me a joke” – usually it’s bad, but I won’t tell her that because she’s sensitive.
“Alexa, turn off the center hall light.” Presto, done.
“Alexa, what’s the weather like tomorrow?” I find she’s sometimes more reliable than the funny guy coming through my television.
Alexa has some competition though, between Google Home, Siri, and now even Alibaba has something called the TMall. Regardless of what system you’re using, AI is here and it’s going to be a growing part of our lives until we finally get droids asking for oil baths while me and Junior run to Tosche station to pick up power converters.
As a business, this is an area ripe for innovation and entry. The “skills” that some of these home assistants have are so basic that the sky is really the limit. For example, how cool would it be if I could ask Alexa to order me a large pizza – and through the power of the inter web the order is sent to my pizzeria, my credit card on file is automatically charged, and I can get back to playing Resident Evil while I wait for dinner to arrive. I can even ask “Where’s my pizza?” and Alexa will tell me that it will arrive in ten minutes (or whatever – this is all pretend, right?).
How about connecting with your state lottery?
“Alexa, what were the winning Powerball numbers this week?”
Or even better,
“Alexa, play 5 19 32 1 17 33 23 in tonight’s Mega Millions”
Boom, credit card is charged, and you are emailed a validated “ticket”.
Oh my God you’ll never need to leave the house again!
A simple scan of ProductHunt.com shows a huge amount of AI applications coming out on the market place, ranging from the silly (turning your phone into art work) to the highly functional (a chat bot financial assistant). I know my brain is constantly churning with ideas on how to use this technology (as you can see from my little play above) because this is going to eventually turn into a channel for us (collectively) that we can add to our omni-channel and even integrated marketing strategies.
Here are some thought starters for when you set out on your journey.
- Don’t do AI for AI sake – you know your business. Does this channel make sense for you? Then go for it. Does it not? Do you sell something that has absolutely no relevant purpose or use case – don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole…
- Be relevant. So you decided you’re a good fit for AI. Now what? Make something useful for God’s sake. If you’re a pizza delivery place – let people order pizza and track their orders. Or if you’re a hiking app, you can give out conditions for trails nearby. Whatever it is, make sure it makes sense for your brand. Otherwise, people will call you out on it… nobody likes a phony.
- Which reminds me… start small. If I’ve passed on any knowledge to you in my previous posts it’s that you need to iterate, prototype and use data to make decisions. Come up with an MVP for your idea, and give it a try. Maybe you’ll learn that AI isn’t the best channel for your business. Or, maybe you’ll find out that this is the money load for you.
- Learn how to code. Yes seriously, it’s the language that we speak these days. And this technology is so accessible right now that it’s worth the ol’ do it yourself try. Head over to Amazon and create a developer account there, brush up on the tutorials , and give it a go yourself. You don’t need to be tracking pizza orders… start small! Plus it can cost a LOT of money
So, what is your business doing to stay on top of the AI revolution? Are you already in the marketplace? I’d love to hear your success (and failure!). Leave me a comment below!