Mobile Conversations

Conversational Mobile Experiences

 

Mobile Marketing.  Mobile Entertainment.

Mobile Learning.

 

What conversation do you want to start?

 

Extend your story from television, retail products or

print to Mobile, Tablets and Ultrabooks          

Connecting

Mobile Text Conversations

 

The essence of how we use our mobile devices.

The number 1 form of written communication...

 

...in the World.

 

Chat on mobile-web = no per message costs plus delivery

of rich media

Communication Design

At  heart, Mobile is a "Communicator"

contentAI studios are Communication Designers

 

Delivering compelling, real-time, 2-way Communication Experiences

2nd Screen Experiences

Sometimes "Location" = The Couch

 

2nd-Screen engagement now exceeds 50% of

Mobile and Tablet User Engagement.

 

Intuitively Extend Story & Ad Units Across Screens

With interactive scenes synchronized on the 2nd Screen

 

 

Keep The Front-End (REALLY) Simple – Mobile UX

It was really refreshing to read a post today by developer Christian Heilmann entitled:

ON SINGLE PAGE APPS

Which has been a primary focus for contentAI since the earliest days of designing the platform.

A few standout quotes:

The first load sends you the shell of the app and it stays in the browser – this means it can be a very quick experience

The experience is sticky – you stay in one interface and load content into it which is what “real” apps do

All of the complexity resides in the backend, away from the customer.  A clean interface is one which never forces the User to “hunt around.”

It’s why we’ve believed that Natural Language Processing for mobile web experiences is an excellent UX.  With the mad rush to create NLP “virtual assistants” who can Search across multiple APIs, we’ve remained focused on “brand agents” with specific knowledge pools and perhaps more importantly with brand specific “voices” (even in text) rather than a generic spokesperson who “speaks for many.”

We’ve continued to simplify our front-end design and UX over the past half-year, continuously “removing” visible elements in order to keep the interface as direct as possible.  While we could create more hyperlinked activity with the inclusion of graphics, video and audio, we are endeavoring to keep everyone on the “single page.”  From our analytics, we see this working exceptionally well.

Virtual Agents Designed for Mobile First

The contentAI platform was specifically designed for “mobile first” engagement – With virtual agents and characters who differ greatly from “online” bots and virtual agents.

That key difference is with our “proactive” (or, “motivated“) virtual agents/characters who view each engagement as if it’s a short scene that has a logical conclusion (contextual to the mobile location; even if that location is someone’s couch).

It was refreshing to read the analysis of Fred Wilson’s recent “mobile first” post on Venture Beat this morning:

http://venturebeat.com/2012/07/01/vc-fred-wilson-says-mobile-is-where-the-growth-is/

With some key take-away lines:

 …mobile doesn’t not reward “feature richness” but rather “light services.”

And:

 The companies that treat the mobile and web experiences differently are likely to prosper.

 

 

Expanding The Network – Chrome App Store

While it’s always been “on the to-do list,” we pretty much ignored packaging up our apps for release via the Chrome Browser Web Store — Until today.

The announcement from Google I/O — bummer, missing the party we had an invite to tonight ;( — Anyway, the announcement that Chrome is now available on iPhone and iPad moved the value and need to start migrating our apps to the Chrome Web Store immediately.

We’ve just dropped in our My Tooth Fairy Chat as our first app – And we’ll go about migrating our library over during the next few weeks; but, extending our reach to deliver paid apps into iOS (via Chrome) seems like a valuable approach — It’s also consistent with our “build once” strategy.

We were disappointed to read early reviews of the Chrome browser on the iPad – apparently, it is not using the most robust processing it could (SHOULD!) – but, for our applications, we still deliver an excellent end user experience, since we deliver very light data for browser processing.

We are in discussions with another Browser/store specific to international territories — Look for pending announcements on that front as well — But, today was a terrific day on the distribution front…

UPDATE – We’ve added our English as a Second Language Conversational Simulations to the CHROME WEB STORE:

CONVERSATIONAL ESL SIMULATION 1 – PIZZA

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ceeklmjonlihhnkincppdpimdhfhhdho

CONVERSATIONAL ESL SIMULATION 2 – PICNIC

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/oicincphmnemjodljkobkognlpiiachk/

The CHROME browser is now available for iPhone and iPad (we’ve not tested the store yet), but ideally this will provide faster and easier reach to our apps. As well, many educators are looking at the highly affordable ‘CHROME BOOKS’ which are specifically designed for Chrome Store apps.

 

Why Mobile Content Producers Need NFC

Today was a very good day for the (possible) standardization of NFC (near field communication) as an interface for mobile engagement.

The Windows Mobile Summit (WinMo8) announced that all new Windows Mobile phones will be enabled for NFC, for both payments and non-payments (payments tends to get the press).  But, it’s the non-payments we’re focused on – The seamless way Users will tap and intuitively engage with objects in the world around them.

When coupled with Google/Android (and it’s Motorola prospects) for NFC, this creates a fairly daunting “standard,” within mobile, which generally is the land of fragmentation and no-standards.  Apple is the lone hold out at this time (we’ve given up on RIM).

NFC matters because it allows for a near thoughtless, unfocused gesture that can be repeated easily by individuals.  It doesn’t require someone to pause, open an app, or focus.  It’s a gesture that can (literally) open door locks, make a payment in a restaurant – Or, open up apps or mobile web sites (or, launch media files) — That range  of uses is what makes it fascinating….it’s what makes it…perhaps…ubiquitous.

Hopefully, Microsoft will release their promo video they used at today’s presentation of “an average family in a restaurant” where NFC was heavily featured — The other area that is wide-open and unexplored territory will be creative uses to use NFC between NFC tablets (such as the SURFACE device) and mobile screens – Imagine being able to encode segments of an online video with NFC triggers for 2nd screen (or,maybe this is 2nd-to-3rd screen) engagement?

So, while Windows Phone has a tiny market share today, the SURFACE announcement earlier this week, plus the WinMo8 announcement today shows that Microsoft are not just trying to tread water, they are trying to regain a position they lost sometime ago…when coupled with other companies making commitments to NFC, that “trigger” should start to become commonplace within 12-18 months.  At which time, a whole new world of mobile content engagement and experiences will be required.

Some will say this was or is possible with QR codes.  We “believed” in QR codes about 2 years ago, then saw them applied in such haphazard ways that we believe consumers gave up on them before they even had a chance (Noting, even Microsoft TAG started segueing to NFC about 6 months ago).  The industry thought and effort that’s going into NFC is far more substantial than what happened with QR (in the West)…we’re very bullish on NFC…we think it opens up a range of opportunities for mobile content that (sorry…can’t help it)…to date, has gone untapped.

More Numbers on 2nd Screen Apps and Engagement

In a recent article on The Wrap “Meet the Wild West of Television focused on 2nd Screen Apps, some Nielsen analytics were notable:

 

That said, these are “tablet” numbers and we’re not quite as Bullish on tablets being mass-market devices for sometime – But, these numbers would appear to be relevant to concurrent mobile phone/television 2nd Screen engagement.  As people are less and less disconnected from their mobile device (yes, it’s a cyborg’ish appendage at this point), it’s quite possible that concurrent engagement stats for a mobile phone are much higher than the above tablet numbers.

Anthropomorphize Digital Engagement – Why Bots Work

There is a well-worth-reading article titled:

Virtual coaches keep overweight people on track

On HEALTH CARE IT NEWS:

http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/virtual-coaches-keep-overweight-people-track

The core concept that was proven in the study was that humans will anthropomorphize their engagement with a “virtual coach:”

 58.1 percent of the participants using a virtual coach indicated it motivated them to be more active, and 87.1 percent reported feeling guilty if they skipped an online appointment.

Guilt?

Only arises when there is an emotional connection.

We see this kind of emotional engagement with our virtual characters and agents.  We haven’t done formal studies, but, the referenced article is consistent with how we feel human End Users respond to virtual agents — It’s an overwhelmingly personal experience.

Just as HAL 9000 was a believable “character” to movie audiences, we suspend disbelief in our direct engagement with (good) bots.

Past, Present & Future – Automating Customer Service & Social Media

The article by analyst @jowyang on Techcrunch today:

http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/07/brands-start-automating-social-media-responses-on-facebook-and-twitter/

Took us back in time, about 2 years, when we first tested automated “human’ish” responses with our platform, via Twitter (and, even into Facebook, via IM).

We discussed with Brands about the cost and scaling of “humans” v. automated bots (as well as consistency and the instant response we provide), but, 2 years ago, I guess we came across sounding like Science Fiction fans, not mobile and social marketers!

So, today, it’s official, we in the “nascent, but growing” stage of seeing this engagement format move into the marketplace.  Our two years of building our platform and testing our “creative” and interactive narrative positions us well ahead of anyone just starting to dabble in this space.

@jowyang’s “future” looks like this:

“Human-like Relationships:  While on the distant horizon, artificial intelligence agents will simulate human behavior and be a guiding agent, conversationalist, and act like a real world concierge, “

Well, that’s what our “today” looks like.  Brand Agents who guide.

Our blog posts haven’t used the CATEGORY “AI and Twitter” in a heck of a long time.  Nice to dust that off again!

Now, we do respect that there are diverging opinions on this topic, really just specific to use of automation within “social media,” as if it’s a “pure” landscape that should be reserved for “humans only.”  (See the OPINIONS section of the Techcrunch article).

We have the ability to clone or create the “best” customer service bots, who respond instantly, around the clock – and can manage high volumes of concurrent users (and each receives a personalized response).  Compare that to most “human” customer service representatives?  Perhaps most who work  a Brands Twitter account are a bit hipper than those in the Call Centers, but, well, we can add “hip” to our bots.  Do people really care if it’s human or silicon, provided they get what they need?  Quickly?

As humans, we’ve adapted and evolved to accept Human::Machine interaction quite well.  At the grocery, if the line is shorter at the automated check-out, that’s where we go.  Yes, I like a brief chat with the human check-out person, but, nine times out of ten, I head to the automated check-out, who is always friendly and gets me out the door quickly (And I never find someone has put the fresh strawberries at the bottom of the bag).

 

Why is “Mobile First” a “Second Screen?”

Folks who work in digital/interactive started the “mobile first” meme about a year and a half ago.  I believe it was Google who really made the phrase popular?

But, what is often overlooked is that for the mainstream, average human being (e.g. consumer), “television” remains the #1 screen in their lives:

http://www.appmarket.tv/news/1727-report-americans-still-love-tv-more-than-anything-else.html

Posts from a month or so ago (below) include studies that indicate strong “second screen” use of mobile devices (throwing “tablets” into the mobile category; but, smartphones as well), as being used concurrently with television (with use of all devices peaking during Prime Time).

The opportunities to “bridge” those screens, through so-called “2nd Screen” apps and extended story experiences is what we at contentAI feel is an extraordinary opportunity.   In fact, this entire engagement format was why we started building our platform about 2 years ago….we didn’t know if or when the market would catch up…but, we’re pleased that it has (in a big way).

Is the money shifting to this area?

http://www.appmarket.tv/news/372-tv-applications-and-widgets-market-worth-over-1-billion-euro-by-2013.html

There are still structural issues with regard to ACR (automated content recognition) to more intuitively sync the screens – We have a few ideas on how that will evolve.  But, we’re technology agnostic in that regard as well, as we can adapt our platform to integrate with 3rd party APIs quite easily (Actually, we really like the YahooCTV SDK; though whether they’ll get a significant user base is the obvious question).

So, “stay tuned.”  On all of your screens.

Interactive Scene Engine (Another Way of Looking At Us)

Introducing our platform to an ad agency executive over the weekend, we spent a fair bit of time “defining” the applications that are built as “interactive scenes.”

Interestingly, that phrase is not one we’d used before, but, it helped (let’s call him “Bob”) Bob quickly understand the contentAI  platform in relation to his other work.

We often talk about “motivated characters” or “virtual characters,” but, what we really do is create “scenes” that both the virtual character and the End User play-out.

So, are we really a “scene engine?”

Yes, in part.

But, we’re still a “virtual character” engine as well.

There are both simple and complex avenues to apply our platform.  We think of “character only” as being akin to chatbots who access a database of deep information via Natural Language Processing.

But, our interactive scenes are 3-dimensional, including  depth (same as “character” – deep data and knowledge), coupled with width (alternative paths) and length (all “scenes” have a beginning, middle and end)

I suspect we’ll start using “interactive scene engine” in some of our description phrasing more frequently.  It seems easier  to grasp than “motivated characters.”

“My Tooth Fairy Chat” App Released

Based on the success of our annual MY SANTA TALK app (mobile web, Android and AppUp), we decided to add a year-round children’s app to our library…

MY TOOTH FAIRY CHAT is now on Android, with Updates to additional devices posted below.

Now in the Google Play Android Store

Also in INTEL’s AppUp Store: http://www.appup.com/app-details/my-tooth-fairy-chat

And in Amazon’s App Store plus Kindle Fire: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0084F1PHK

If you review children’s apps, please CONTACT US for free access.