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Analytics minus data

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The use of analytics is critical in mapping consumer behaviours, but there is a key underlying question which is often not addressed: are marketers leaving important data out? DANNY DREW, Managing Director of Avaya South Africa goes on to explain.

The digitisation of business has spread the ‘customer experience’ (CX) right across organisations. Managing and understanding customers is no longer confined to frontline sales and contact centre staff, but requires constant attention from all employees in order to meet diverse expectations from increasingly-demanding consumers who have unprecedented options at hand.

Marketers, in particular, have become a prominent force in shaping and executing their company’s ‘s CX vision, with many now bearing significant responsibility for customer satisfaction throughout the entire sales cycle. However, the diversification of marketing has placed significant pressure on marketers who are, in many cases, relying on the same budgets and tools they were working with five years ago, if not earlier.

Fortunately, investment in marketing technology (martech) – specifically digital marketing analytics, lead management and multi-channel campaign management – to drive customer experience is increasing. While less than half of organisations use a combination of all three at present, analyst firm Gartner indicates more than 70 per cent of marketers intend to deploy the trio in unison.

The use of analytics from web, social media and CRM applications is critical in mapping consumer behaviours to individualise content and consequently generate meaningful funnels to CX. But there is a key underlying question which is often not addressed: are marketers looking in all the right places, or is important data being left out?

In reality, collecting, collating and analysing data from the three aforementioned sources is relatively simple as consumer interactions through these channels can be easily recorded and segmented. What’s more difficult, and therefore commonly neglected, is data generated in the contact centre. You know those disclaimers that contact centre agents read out about recording the call for quality and training purposes? While those are used as a fundamental component in the professional development of staff, the data collected in them is infrequently analysed or mapped, meaning CX is left fragmented due to the lack of available data.

When Avaya transformed its services delivery model to allow clients to create experiences that aligns to the needs of our clients, we recognised that it needed to be supplemented by an analytics engine capable of generating value from the data garnered through that platform. This would make marketers who were using our customisable tools prepared to proactively and reactively develop strategies based on real customer needs rather than guesswork. Using ‘Oceanalytics’, marketers can create insights and reports using preset or uniquely-developed templates that represented content from all channels. This information can be easily fed across the entire organisation so that contact centre agents were prepared to provide a seamless CX across any channel, and maintain a positive relationship with the customer while switching channels.

CX relies on omni-channel engagement where data is aggregated, contextualised and analysed holistically. This enables marketers – and their colleagues – to gain a broad-picture understanding of unique consumer requirements, and therefore tailor all engagements. Without incorporating data from all channels, organisations will rely on a level of assumption, allowing a disconnect between what customers want and what is being delivered. This jeopardises the relationship with the customer, and ultimately inhibits the effectiveness of marketing initiatives, therefore hurting the bottom line.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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By 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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How load-shedding is killing our cellphone signals

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Extensive load-shedding, combined with the theft of cell tower backup batteries and copper wire, is placing a massive strain on mobile network providers.

MTN says the majority of MTN’S sites have been equipped with battery backup systems to ensure there is enough power on site to run the system for several hours when local power goes out and the mains go down. 

“With power outages on the rise, these back-up systems become imperative to keeping South Africa connected and MTN has invested heavily in generators and backup batteries to maintain communication for customers, despite the lack of electrical power,” the operator said in a statement today.

However, according to Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive: Corporate Affairs, at MTN SA, “The high frequency of the cycles of load shedding have meant batteries were unable to fully recharge. They generally have a capacity of six to 12 hours, depending on the site category, and require 12 to 18 hours to recharge.”

An additional challenge is that criminals and criminal syndicates are placing networks across the country at risk. Batteries, which can cost R28 000 per battery and upwards, are sought after on black markets – especially in neighbouring countries. 

“Although MTN has improved security and is making strides in limiting instances of theft and vandalism with the assistance of the police, the increase in power outages has made this issue even more pressing,” says O’Sullivan.

Ernest Paul, General Manager: Network Operations at SA’s leading network provider MTN, says the brazen theft of batteries is an industry-wide problem and will require a broader initiative driven by communities, the private sector, police and prosecutors to bring it to a halt.

“Apart from the cost of replacing the stolen batteries and upgrading the broken infrastructure, communities suffer as the network degrades without the back-up power. This is due to the fact that any coverage gaps need to be filled. The situation is even more dire with the rolling power cuts expected due to Eskom load shedding.”

Loss of services and network quality can range from a 2-5km radius to 15km on some sites and affect 5,000 to 20,000 people. On hub sites, network coverage to entire suburbs and regions can be lost.

Click here to read more about efforts to combat copper theft.

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