Amazon Web Services (AWS) has added a handful of notable new features to its Amazon Connect contact center platform, including a voice ID tool to expedite customer authentication. Amazon Connect Voice ID leans on machine learning (ML) to authenticate callers in real time. This not only speeds up the user authentication process by eliminating traditional security questions (e.g. What’s your date of birth and your mother’s maiden name?), it also goes some way toward identifying fraud by comparing a caller’s voice with recordings of known bad actors. Besides monitoring voice characteristics, Voice ID looks at carrier network metadata to further assess the legitimacy of the caller and whether they pose a low or high fraud risk. Contact center agents must first request and receive the caller’s consent to use Amazon Connect Voice ID. But in all future exchanges, customers who have previously consented can be verified almost instantly. The second feature to exit preview today is Amazon Connect Wisdom, which connects disparate data sources, such as documentation, FAQs, knowledge articles, and more to serve agents with instant access to the answers they need to field questions. This includes prebuilt connectors for applications such as Salesforce and ServiceNow. Using real-time speech analytics and natural language processing (NLP), Wisdom also strives to identify issues a customer is having during a call and proactively surfaces suggestions and recommendations for the agent.
Cybersecurity startup SenseOn, employs cloud-based, AI powered techniques for its so-called “triangulation” approach to the challenge of cybersecurity covering endpoints, networks and microservices. The problem that SenseOn has identified is that the world of securityhas evolved to contain a plethora of point solutions, as well as differing approaches within those point solutions, to address different aspects of the cybersecurity challenge. While some of these are very effective, they are only taking on some of the battle, and if an organization wants to adopt the most secure policy, it might use a number of these in tandem, which in turn can slow down systems and response, or create other issues within them. SenseOn’s solution has been to build a system that essentially aims to do everything together, with some parts of the solution built by itself, and some parts integrating with other products. The approach is not unlike “how a human analyst thinks” which is why the AI aspect of the service, balancing different streams of information, is central to the approach. SenseOn is building not just weapons that security specialists can use to do their jobs better — the platform and the apps — but also ammunition — in the form of data that SenseOn picks up and organizes — to use with those weapons.
The food and beverage stand operator Delaware North is working with Mastercard to bring its Shop Anywhere platform to a checkout-free convenience store at the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars’ TIAA Bank Field. Located near the stadium’s Section 2, the store is stocked with a variety of prepackaged, grab-and-go food and drink items. The new store, dubbed MRKT, is “the world’s first commerce experience within a sports venue to feature Mastercard’s Shop Anywhere platform, which allows fans to shop and pay without waiting in line or stopping to check out.” Supported by the artificial intelligence (AI) company Accel Robotics, the Shop Anywhere platform provides insights and analytics that lets retailers create personalized shopping experiences based on customers’ needs without sacrificing privacy. Before shopping at MRKT, visitors will register with a QR code that will link to a form of mobile payment. Once inside, they can select products and exit without checking out, with their cards billed automatically.
Claro, the financial coaching app, encourages the British public to reduce their reliance on Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) schemes by launching a series of eye-catching billboards at key landmarks in the capital. Claro is on a mission to help everyone develop an intelligent money mindset and a healthy relationship with money to achieve their goals. It has launched “Bye Now Pay Later”, a series of digital billboards which feature shocking statistics on the financial habits of society, at major sites in London, including Oxford Street, London Bridge, Canary Wharf and Westminster. The digital financial coaching app’s campaign encourages the public to claim one of 1,000 free one-to-one personal finance coaching calls. They can help create a financial plan and build sustainable financial habits to drive lasting change in how society manages money. The recent Woolard Review and subsequent Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) plans for regulating BNPL schemes means changes will be made to the sector; however, their rapid rise over the pandemic means that reforms will be too late for many. Claro is also inviting BNPL providers and retailers to a meeting to explore ways to promote considered spending among the public and educate people on unsecured credit products. The financial coaching app believes there is a place for BNPL products in the market; however, it should be used occasionally rather than relied on.
Walmart has decided to scrap its layaway program completely before the 2021 holiday season, replacing it with a buy now, pay later financing option. The retailer is now using the company Affirm, to replace layaway. Instead of having stores hold items from late August through mid-December while customers make payments until paid in full, shoppers can now take the item home immediately and pay it off with Affirm. Unlike layaway, purchases made with Affirm can rack up interest over time. Although Affirm does not charge any hidden or late fees for using its services, customers can have an APR rate on purchases of 10-30% depending on their credit and 0% for select promotional items on Walmart.com. Not all Walmart customers may be eligible to use Affirm depending on their prequalification status. Affirm’s services operate alternatively to a credit card. Customers will purchase the item immediately, and pay for the items over a three to 24 month period. Customers can select their own payment plan and Affirm will match them with a lender who will provide them with a loan for the financed item. Walmart shoppers can return any purchases made with Affirm for a refund, but the amount they paid in interest will not be refunded. Partial payments or late payments may impact a consumer’s credit score or ability to receive new loans with the company.
Hugo Boss has introduced its second collaboration collection with Russell Athletic to the Australian market, in a phygital launch experience. The partnership with Russell Athletic helped the business firm its position in the casual space and attract a younger customer. With a huge focus on digital, the show was closed by TikTok star Khaby Lame. Joining the proceedings in Milan were 200 digital and social media stars in the crowd watching the spectacle. The whole event was live-streamed globally on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn and is Boss’ debut social-first event. Across Instagram and YouTube the livestream clocked up 21,000 views, while content from the event on Boss’ TikTok has been seen by almost 30 million users. Complementing the digital nature of the show is the accompanying TikTok campaign. Five unique Boss x Russell Athletic NFT collegiate jackets are up for grabs on TikTok and fans are invited to participate in the hashtag challenge, showing off their #BossMoves for a chance to receive one, as well as a redeemable twin of each design and a wearable filter. Currently, the #BossMoves hashtag has 1.4 billion views on TikTok while the #BossxRussellAthletic tag has 8.7 million.
Focussing on messaging platforms instead of mobile apps could help a new brand grow faster. Real-time, two-way conversation with D2C brands could be the most effective way to turn a prospect into a loyalist. Consumers often make small purchases from a variety of brands for everyday requirements. However, they may not have too many apps on their phones due to storage/memory constraints or other issues. So, unless a brand is among the top 10 in its category, people are not likely to download the app. That is why the app-first approach may not boost conversion rates. If a messaging app allows customers to enquire and purchase without additional downloads or extra clicks (typical of a website), it should result in higher conversions. Every conversation on a messaging app is a one-to-one interaction. This enables a brand to personalise its communication for a better customer experience and offer customised discounts, thus driving customer loyalty. Building a superior customer experience through personalised dialogues and hassle-free shopping may lead to revenue growth and retention. Brands can opt for automated chatbots that can learn and adapt to customer behaviour patterns so that they can converse with humans. There are four key offerings that a messaging app-based D2C brand must look into to create a useful and engaging customer experience. These include:
- Live chat support: A crucial feature that may turn prospects into paying customers. Most people prefer to have a thorough understanding of the product before making a purchase. So, real-time conversations with customers for answering their queries are bound to make a difference for a brand.
- Personalised deals: As every one-to-one interaction elicits a customer’s expectations from a brand, companies need not spam them with offers that rarely resonate. With a data-driven approach, brands can easily understand each customer’s interests and create specific deals to drive their buying decisions. Again, staying off spammy marketing practices helps build trust and boosts conversion.
- Product discovery: Helping customers find the most relevant products based on their queries and recommending similar items without overwhelming them with information overload are key to building value.
- Incentivising sharing and referrals: Enabling a one-click option to share a product and incentivising it with a reward can quickly start a word-of-mouth promotion, given the high footfall in messaging apps.
Twitter’s new tip wallet and forthcoming NFT verification are game-changers – and a bulwark against attempts to co-opt a movement. This will be the largest integration yet of crypto with an existing, mainstream digital service. Twitter has never prevented posting public crypto addresses to profiles, so in some sense it’s more an upgrade than an entirely new option. NFT verification, however, will be a step change. It will provide some way of confirming and visually conveying that an NFT displayed in a Twitter profile is authentic, and that it is owned by the same person as the Twitter profile. NFTs are a novel and powerful way to flex and show community affiliations online, but this integration will make those claims vastly clearer and more powerful. Finally, it’s very good news these features, which use truly public blockchain infrastructure, will make it to market before Facebook’s weird, still-floundering attempt to create a knockoff pseudo-crypto called diem. Diem has always, in part, been a gambit to leverage Facebook’s size to ensnare users and advertisers in a payment system over which Facebook would have substantial influence. Twitter’s embrace of a system it doesn’t control demonstrates that a better future is possible.
- As cryptocurrency companies seek to reach mainstream audiences, some platforms are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to sponsor sports teams, stadiums and even leagues in a bid to woo new fans. com struck an eight-figure deal with the Philadelphia 76ers to sponsor the jersey patch and have visibility in the arena. The crypto trading app will also work with team management to develop non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and create a way for fans to use cryptocurrency to pay for tickets and other products. The Hong Kong-based company will also show up elsewhere alongside the NBA franchise—including on TV broadcasts and various other digital platforms. Crypto.com in order to build the brand, has also educate consumers about this new asset class.
- The 76ers deal is just one of many that Crypto.com has landed in the past year while it’s on an aggressive sponsorship spree totaling more than $400 million in deals. Earlier this month, the company became the first official crypto platform partner for the famous French soccer team Paris Saint-Germain. Crypto.com is also a sponsor of a wide range of teams including the NHL’s Montreal Canadians, Fox Sports’ college football midday coverage, UFC, and Aston Martin’s Formula One team—just to name a few. Each of these also includes various other integrations far beyond a logo.
- FTX—a two-year-old startup also based in Hong Kong—announced a $20 million ad campaign starring football legend Tom Brady and his wife, the model and businesswoman Gisele Bündchen. And like Crypto.com, FTX is sponsoring a wide range of teams and leagues in rapid succession including a five-year deal with the Major League Baseball announced this summer. FTX asked for ideas of how do something “that’s big.” Someone then came up with the idea to buy the naming rights for a stadium, and a few months later they won the rights to rename the Miami Heat’s arena FTX Arena in a $135 million deal approved in March.
Panther Protocol who is leading the race for enabling interoperable blockchain privacy for DeFi and the open web, announces a new fintech platform offering a cross-chain, end-to-end solution to protect privacy on the blockchain. Panther Protocol differentiates itself by proposing a balance between privacy and compliance that gives users a choice to transact privately, while also being able to voluntarily disclose transactional data with select counterparties and trust providers. It also offers a novel type of financial disclosures called Zero Knowledge disclosures, where users can prove they are compliant without having to actually provide any underlying data. This technology could turn the compliance industry on its head and provide an end to the data breach nightmares that plague modern societies and cost institutions billions of dollars every year. This is a critical feature for financial institutions, providing a compliance ready approach for entering the DeFi space while not losing sight of the privacy preferences of end users of financial services. Currently, Panther is building on public blockchains such as Ethereum, Polygon, Flare, Near and Avalanche with the ambition to privately connect all EVM compatible smart contract platforms and become the private, scalable infrastructure for the internet of blockchains.