Nara, the service that to date has leveraged its neural networking technology to automate, personalize and curate web dining experiences for users, is making good on its previously-stated intentions to help users find and take action across various consumer lifestyle categories. (See our original story on the company here.)
The company today is adding personalized hotel recommendations to its portfolio. Consumers now will be able to find hotels conforming to their’ “Digital DNA” – the sum of what its technology learns of what they do and don’t like – in 50 high-volume cities in the U.S. and Canada. It’s entered into a non-exclusive partnership with Expedia to take care of booking on the back-end and TripAdvisor for its reviews, with both capabilities available to users without their having to leave the Nara site. The company expects to add additional locations in North America in the future, as it did for its restaurant recommendations.
Users who already have accounts on Nara, with their Digital DNA built out, will find that that will act as a baseline to help influence the hotel options recommended for them, taking into account their preferences around things like noise levels, styles or atmosphere.
“From the structured data point patterns you can see in restaurants, we can start to infer in our algorithms [what will be appropriate] over on the hotel side,” says Nara CEO Tom Copeman. “The algorithm is dynamic like that. These things don’t live in silos. We can draw across different categories and use that information for new categories.” New users can get their Digital DNA fired up for hotels through up-and-down thumbing up and down [choices] so Nara learns what you like and don’t, he says. Right now the hotel service is available only on the web, but a mobile version should be available soon.
“Consumers are starting to see the bigger promise of Nara and where we are going as a destination-travel-leisure lifestyle portal,” Copeman says.
The Enterprise Angle
But that’s just half the picture, as Nara has ambitions to service enterprises, too. They’re starting to be revealed in partnerships like the one it entered into last month with telco giant SingTel. Copeman says expect in the early fall to see how that customer will be hitting Nara’s API to power a big product the telco is building for its customers.
He can’t provide details but notes that you may “infer that what we are able to do with our platform itself is to serve many masters.” While SingTel is the first example of that, he says that financial services and ecommerce players also are looking to tap into Nara, leveraging its next-generation artificial intelligence to learn about the nature of and connections between entities in the real world to deliver personalization services appropriate to their customer bases.
Copeman says Nara’s algorithm was built to grow and scale as the company does, as was its infrastructure. Nara relies on the Amazon cloud, and its own proprietary form of Hadoop, as Copeman describes it. “You can imagine that always behind the scenes our systems architects are building out scale both from the server load and our databases, and we have a whole team always making sure we don’t bottleneck,” he says.