iPhone X – the future of smartphones unraveled

The wait has ended. iPhone X – the future of smartphones has arrived amidst much fanfare. Unveiled at an event at the newly opened Steve Jobs Theatre (Apple Campus – Cupertino, California), the iPhone X has been subjected to both bouquets and brickbats. In this post, we explore why.

First things first, the specifications.

iPhone X comes with a host of new features, the most important ones being Facial Recognition, Augmented Reality support, Super Retina Display (Apple’s moniker for OLED display, a first for an iPhone). The home button has bid us goodbye, as the phone now responds to swipe up.

Let’s look at the specs:

Features  Details
Capacity 64 GB, 256 GB
Display 5.8” all-screen OLED, HDR
Resistance Water, Dust
Chip A11 Bionic Chip, Neural Engine
Camera 12-megapixel wide-angle and telephoto cameras, Optical zoom; digital zoom up to 10x
Video 4K video recording, Optical zoom, 6x digital zoom
Id Face ID, enabled by TrueDepth camera
Siri Improved Siri who can be activated with voice
Battery Wireless charging, lasts up to 21 hours
OS iOS 11

 

Fantastic Four Features

While the specifications are excellent as in any iPhone what is the extra special feature that makes this iPhone a fitting one to mark Apple’s tenth anniversary?

Could it be a body made entirely of smooth glass and polished stainless steel? The Facial Recognition capability that promises to adapt to changing human features? The absence of the home button? Or the impetus for Augmented Reality that is expected to be a game changer for app and gaming experience?

All are strong contenders, but perhaps it is these four that will be making waves for a while:

Facial Recognition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Facial Recognition technology, called Face ID, captures several images of facial features with The TrueDepth camera system (a combination of light projectors and sensors), using Infrared light. Akin to the fingerprint security system that scanned our fingerprints, compared with the control set and unlocked the phone, FaceID will be comparing images to provide our gateway pass. Imagine just glancing at the phone to unlock it – simple, isn’t it?

Augmented Reality

Pokémon Go got us started on the AR rage where people were capturing monsters in red and white balls at school, near the dumpster and even at a temple entrance. Apple, too, has gained considerable advancement in AR. We saw a few applications at the event, one by Major League Baseball, where the feature lets spectators attending a live game see player statistics when they hover their phones over a particular athlete.

The technology is still at an infant stage and slowly, AR will gain momentum in smartphones.

Wireless Charging

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iPhone X supports wireless charging. In fact, Apple is going full-fledged in this sphere – launching a wireless charging mat that charges all kinds of Apple devices from watch to phone to pod, all at the same time!

Animoji

Emojis are a loved feature of the internet and smartphones. Almost everyone uses them while texting, updating Facebook status and posting tweets. So why not create custom emoji? No no, we are not talking about emoji characters that look like you, but those that mirror your own expressions and movements!

Why brickbats?

Botched by Notch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The feature that has been receiving a lot of flak from a range of designers, developers and general tech aficionados is the now infamous ‘top notch’.

This section hosts a lot of cameras and sensors and is present right at the top of an otherwise all-screen phone. This might be a problem as the UI is affected while browsing sites.

While designers are expressing their consternation around the world, Apple has suggested in its Human Interface Design to:

Don’t mask or call special attention to key display features. Don’t attempt to hide the device’s rounded corners, sensor housing, or indicator for accessing the Home screen by placing black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.

FaceID is not proven

While Touch ID is a proven security measure, not many are ecstatic about using FaceID for securing their phones. It is entirely possible that identical twins might be easily able to crack the code and use your phone for hilarious or nefarious (if you have an evil twin!) reasons. Not kidding!

Final Word

The iPhone X is indeed a path breaking phone with a bevy of interesting features. It is pricey at $999, but tech aficionados will surely not give it a miss.

Watch the official film here

AI Regulations

AI regulations – the need of the hour in an automated world?

In July 2017, an epic rebuke created waves on the internet, as two tech titans clashed. Yes, we are talking about the now infamous Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg cyber spat. The bone of contention was AI, and its impact on humanity in the future.

Musk has repeatedly sounded the alarm bells on AI and the havoc it could cause if not put on leash. He impressed upon these points in the National Governors Association Meet held at Providence, Rhode Island, earlier in July. Post this, Zuckerberg, in his Facebook Live chat, dismissed Musk’s claims and called him a naysayer. In fact, he called the Tesla Motors’ founder ‘irresponsible’ for such a negative outlook.

Not one to be left behind, Musk posted this response on Twitter:

While the spat will soon vanish from our memories, the spark remains ignited: are Musk’s claims well-founded? Do we need AI regulations?

First things first. What is AI?

To most of us, AI is a robot from the future that can do incredible things, including shape shifting. Thank you, Terminator, for that glamorous image of AI. But seriously, AI is not just a robot. Robots are containers for artificially-intelligent systems working in the background, making high-quality decisions.

According to AI researchers, there are three types of AI:

  • Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI)

These perform only specific tasks, like the Google AI that beat the world’s current champion in the ancient Chinese game, Go. It can do this and this task alone. Another example is the self-driven car that will hit the roads soon (and has already caused a death during trial phase).

Quite recently, the first loan that the BRICS Development Bank — a financial institution set up jointly by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — has approved for Russia is meant to fund a project that includes the use of AI in Russian courts to automate trial records using speech recognition.

  • Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)

Artificial General Intelligence thinks on par with humans. Imagine having a sane conversation with machines? Today’s chatbots might soon achieve that (with copious amounts of training, of course.) AGI is incredibly beneficial for us – building smarter homes, performing complex medical surgeries, eliminating loss of humans in wars, and much more.

  • Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI)

Creating something that’s much more intelligent than us? How will you control that one? Imagine having an army person who is incredibly strong that even tanks and missiles can’t harm, and is well-versed with all defence secrets. What happens when this commando goes rogue? Now imagine this in a real-world level.

Apocalyptic AI?

It’s not just Elon Musk that’s warning us about ‘summoning the demon’ with AI. Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates are telling us to be cautious too. We might empower computers to take high quality decisions that may be right from a machine perspective but incorrect from a human perspective.

Remember the Midas story? The greedy king asks for a boon by which all that he touches becomes gold. The wish is granted, not counting the human loss (Bacchus, the Roman God who grants the boon wants to teach Midas a lesson. When Midas accidently turns his daughter into gold, Bacchus reverses it).  Apply this situation in today’s world. A super-intelligent system, that doesn’t possess the emotions that we do, and can thwart all our schemes to defeat it, is in fact a demon! Think Skynet gone live.

It is possible that AI research may go out of hand and create self-evolving intelligent system that may prioritize its survival over humans. While a total human extermination may or may not happen, the encroachment of AI on predominantly human jobs is expected.

Already, the self-driven cars are taking centerstage, which will put cab drivers out of work.

Alibaba’s Jack Ma believes that excessive application of AI will lead to widespread chaos as unemployment will soar. He views a future of increasing divide among Haves and Have Nots, and geopolitical discord, as AI will cause power to be consolidated in the hands of a few. He goes on to say that the rise of AI will lead to a World War III. His reasoning is simple – “The first technology revolution caused World War I. The second technology revolution caused World War II. This (Artificial Intelligence) is the third technology revolution.”

Do any AI Regulations exist at the moment?

AI researchers are divided on the need for regulations. Some feel the regulations would prove to be detrimental to important technical advancements, as mentioned in this Stanford University report. They urge for tough transparency requirements and meaningful enforcement, as against narrow compliance that companies answer to in letter but not in spirit.  Some are working towards building base AI principles that would guide researchers towards building safe and beneficial AI, and are backed by the likes of Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, to name a few.

Partnership on AI

The big names of Silicon Valley have come together to form the Partnership on AI that provides a platform for researchers, scientists, policymakers and public to share knowledge. The group has thematic pillars which root for safe and accountable AI.

Asilomar AI Principles

 

In Feb 2017, leading AI researchers convened at the 2017 Beneficial AI conference, Asilomar, California. The group discussed the advancement of human-friendly AI and suggested regulatory principles.

European Union and US Government say yes to AI regulation

The European Union, too, published a document in 2016, with the intention of putting AI regulations into place by 2018. Similarly, the US Government has also stressed on the need for AI regulations.

The essentiality of AI Regulatory bodies

With businesses around the world investing heavily in AI without heeding precautions or repercussions, AI regulations, are indeed the need of the hour.  But, excessive regulation that is misguided will only stifle innovation. Thus, it is essential for lawmakers and researchers to work hand-in-hand to form an AI regulatory body that would:

  • assess the goal of the AI project,
  • understand its benefits/disadvantages,
  • provide for any countereffects and ensure public safety

Having a law does not prevent cybercrimes, nor will it prevent antisocial elements from using AI for self-serving avarice.  Effective enforcement is crucial, and it is best if the regulatory body is formed as early as possible, because – Artificial Super Intelligence is coming, we just don’t know when.

defining new normals in CRM - 4 trends in spotlight

Defining the new normal in CRM – 4 trends in the spotlight

Do you remember the times we used to go to our neighborhood mom and pop stores for some quick errands? The shopkeeper recognized and greeted us, enquired about our family’s well-being, offered the product we regularly bought, and if the product was unavailable at that moment, offered to deliver it at our house at no additional cost.

And he did that for all his regular customers.

An excellent way to establish rapport and nourish a healthy relationship with customers, through personalization.

That’s exactly what CRM is about in 2017, only businesses do it these days with the help of computers and internet, for millions of such customers. Today, customers not only knock business’ brick-and-mortar doors, but also, online – via social media, apps, websites, and the latest addition to the CRM kitty, chatbots.

What drives CRM in 2017?

Rise of the bots

Chatbots are perhaps the next big thing after apps. Every brand now has one in place – whether on its website or on social media sites such as Facebook Messenger. These bots act as lead generators, capturing customer queries and providing them quick information.

Here’s the Adidas Women UK Chatbot that promotes fitness among women and helps them book fitness sessions.

CRM

We spoke more about bots in our previous blogs, ‘Chatbots – a botched play or a game changer?’, and ‘Batman or Superman – What should your business’ chatbot be?

Smarter Mobile CRM

Mobile CRM is no longer just providing data on salesperson’s smartphones, online and offline. Some of the new features in Mobile CRM apps are:

  • Geolocation – Enables salesperson to identify which customers are in their vicinity, allowing them to drop by for quick, meaningful visits. This leads to effective usage of the salespersons work hours.
  • AI – Smart assistants pull customer data from their social profiles to glean a deeper understanding of customers. This helps the salesperson stay informed on the customer and personalize the pitch better.

Data-driven Personalization

Personalization is more than a “Hi *|FNAME|* ” in your mass mailers these days. Brands are leveraging machine learning to analyze customer data and identify patterns in behaviour. This helps them recommend the right products at the right time to the right customer.

For example, brands can use geofences to identify customers in store vicinity, pull their data from the CRM to analyze past purchases and push customized offer messages to their smartphones.

Leveraging Crowdsourcing

Business are deepening engagement with customers via crowdsourcing. Customers, ranging from various demographic segments are pulled together for surveys, polls, discussions, and online forums to provide feedback on new products, services and more. This helps customers feel more invested in the process, while it enables businesses to directly engage with customers and gain insights for their product roadmap.

A company that put crowdsourcing to good use is perhaps Lego Ideas. It is a website that acts as a forum for Lego fans to come together and suggest new Lego set ideas and designs. Have a look at their portal!

Lego Ideas - crowdsourcing

CRM has undergone a sea change in the last few years, and with technological advancements in AI and machine learning, the transformation will occur at an exponential rate. Businesses, globally, are recognizing the benefits of leveraging these advanced CRM features to create exceptional customer experiences, and widen mindshare as well as wallet share.

 

Automated CRM, powered by machine learning that helps your salespeople do what they do best. Score more deals. Contact AgilizTech to learn more.