• John Ennis

Eye on AI - August 9th, 2019


Welcome to Aigora's "Eye on AI" series, where we round up exciting news at the intersection of consumer science and artificial intelligence!

It was a big week for technologies improving the customer experience. Today we pay particular focus on advances in consumer interactive packaging and AI-assisted ordering.



Advances in Consumer Interactive Packaging


We begin with news out of Beveragedaily.com, which recently outlined how Böen, a California wine brand, part of Cooper Cane Wines and Provisions by Joseph Wagner, recently launched one million near-field-communication (NFC) connected wine bottles to the U.S. market. Customers literally tap-the-cap of wine bottles with their smartphone to be transported to a brand-focused interactive experience designed for customers with the product at hand.


“By ‘Tapping our Cap’ (tapping a smartphone to the wine bottle cap)...,” says Joseph Wagner, founder of Cooper Cane Wines & Provisions, “Böen drinkers will be transported to the vineyards where our grapes are grown… We know from experience that brands who leverage connected packaging to drive engagement can learn more about what their consumers want and keep up with emerging trends.”

Augmented-reality based products seem to be a growing trend among advertisers, one that Mauricio Ruiz, Chief Technology Officer of Grey New York, thinks is only going to get bigger.


“It’s because online commerce is winning the convenience game that physical shopping has to be about providing experiences,” writes Ruiz, in his article on MediaPost titled “Amping Up The Power Of Packaging With AR”. “While all the elements of an in-store purchase need to evolve to rise to this challenge – from the environment design to the purchase process to the data customization of your experience – it’s product packaging that may provide one of the most evolved, immersive, empowering creative opportunities within your future brand experience.”


Ruiz points to three particular ways for companies to get into the augmented reality packaging game, from unfold the brand story and uniting brand communities to unlocking physical restrictions imposed by traditional packaging.


Touring a whiskey distillery in Scotland recently, – one of the many highlights I detailed in my recent review of the Pangborn Symposium – I was reminded first-hand how important story and history are to so many brands. In many cases, the stories are as important as the products themselves. Nothing can ever compare to in-person interaction, but where distance is prohibitive, augmented reality is a nice alternative that could really enable brands and customers to better connect.


For a great example of what I mean, watch this short video Jack Daniel’s released a few months back:


AI-assisted Ordering


Next up, on the AI-assisted ordering front, The Colorado Sun yesterday released an article outlining how Holly, the fast-food bot, has progressed since taking over drive-thru responsibilities at Good Times Burgers out of Denver, Colorado.


“It gives us time to focus more on what we need to focus on so we’re not as far behind,” said Melissa Deffenbaugh, an assistant manager who started at Good Times a year before Holly. “It makes the day go a little bit smoother.”


Since being implemented in January, Holly still occasionally misunderstands orders. And she’ll always require a monitor. But the amount of time she saves is unquestionable, and the technology itself will only improve in time.

“... ultimately for us or any company building a truly enterprise-grade conversational AI system, it’s going to have to do the actual thing,” says Rob Carpenter, founder and CEO of Valyant AI, which partnered with Good Times to perfect a virtual ordering system. “It will help check you into a hotel room, it might help you fill out a home loan application, maybe it’ll check you into your doctor’s appointment, you name it. I think over the next decade we’ll see the services start proliferating. This is purely the tip of the iceberg.”

Lastly, let’s close with a look at how customer-tracking technology is evolving. Reporter Britta O'Boyle, in her article “Artificial intelligence is coming to a bar near you - to help you get served faster” on Pocket-link, details how A.I Bar, a motion-tracking bar technology on trial in London's 5cc Harrild & Sons bar, could help bartenders and customers manage the age-old problem of bar overcrowding.


“The A.I Bar uses facial recognition to put punters in an ‘intelligent queue’,” writes O’Boyle, “designed to eliminate queue jumping and help speed up serving times. The technology can also speed up ID checks.”


A live video feed is shown to both bartenders and patrons, indicating who’s up next in the que, estimated wait times, which customers need an ID check and more, with other potential uses coming soon – an intriguing solution, though not without privacy concerns. I’m really curious to see how companies will begin to utilize this technology to their advantage.


To see A.I Bar in action, check out this video:


Other news:



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