It's a Kind of Magic - using AI to predict the future of a customer's needs

It's a Kind of Magic - using AI to predict the future of a customer's needs.

Kunal Sinha thought it was some kind of a black magic, reports Economic Times. Chatting on WhatsApp, the 20-year-old asked his friend to join him at Domino's in North Delhi. Suddenly, a Zomato pop-up appeared on his chat screen, giving him an option of ordering online. He ignored it. The nearest Domino's outlet was 25 minutes from his place. So booking a cab was the best option, Sinha informed his friend. Again, a popup, offering him a cab ride, jumped on his chat window. Somebody, he presumed, was reading his mind.

Fortunately, for Sinha that 'somebody' was neither a human nor a spirit. It was Xploree - the smart mobile keyboard app in Sinha's Karbonn handset-which was performing 'magic.' "It seems as if there's a personal assistant in my mobile who understands my needs," grins Sinha.

Launched in June 2015, Xploree goes beyond the realms of a conventional keyboard to offer more than just next word prediction and auto correction. Powered by artificial intelligence and natural language processing, it doubles up as a discovery platform and augments predictions, not just that of words but also intent. It allows users to receive relevant suggestions and content while they chat or browse apps, says Sunil Motaparti, CEO of KeyPoint Technologies, the maker of Xploree.

Even before users realise, Motaparti points out, Xploree gauges user's intent and suggests recommendations based on who and what the users care about, current context and their likelihood to care about things when in a similar context. The app has had over 3 million downloads so far, has partnered with brands such as Zomato, Shopclues, Daily Motion, Snapdeal, Flipkart and Amazon, and comes pre-loaded on handsets of Coolpad, Lava, Infocus, Karbonn, Xolo, Panasonic, iBall, Celkon and Zen.

Motaparti contends that it's not only the smart features that give Xploree an edge over other mobile keyboards. Take, for instance, its cross-app reach. As keyboards are universal across apps, one gets seamless contextual recommendations across chat, email, texting or browsing, without the hassle of switching. Another feature is personalised keyboard for users, who can save new words to the dictionary or opt for themes. They can also get their unique user login to maintain keyboard preferences across all devices.

"The keyboard supports over 110 languages and does not capture, store or map users' data," claims Motaparti, adding that the recommendations shown on the app are purely contextual and is never stored beyond the keyboard session. Also, users will see the discoveries only when they wish to see them.

Marketing experts believe that in a digitally-enabled world, continuous innovation is needed to engage with consumers. Creating positive moments of truth has never been so important for marketer and Xploree manages to do that.

Xploree, says Ashita Aggarwal, head of marketing at SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, personalises the entire experience to converse on phone. It understands your language and moods using artificial intelligence, making the consumer feel as if 'someone is reading my mind'. Though everyone enjoys attention, if technology does it then it not only makes consumer feel special but also enhances their engagement experience. "Xploree not only saves time and effort, it also makes switching and searching easy," she avers.

However, the biggest plus could also be its toughest challenge. While Xploree is a hit because its gives certain additional value to the customer, the future innovation is its biggest challenge. "Any value addition will make this obsolete," she reckons.

Another challenge, points out Aggarwal, is the utilitarian nature of consumers, especially millennials. They seek performance and any additional feature leading to better performance can make them shift to new brand. "So there could be a boredom which may act as a catalyst to switch," she avers.

Motaparti, for his part, sounds confident. Xploree, he points out, is striving to add new features, improvise on intent detections, get more partners on board and integrate utility and transactional services within the keyboard. "It can disrupt and bring about a sea change in mobile usage and app download behaviour of the consumers," he says.

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