Posts Tagged ‘Yelp’

Microsoft Talks Up What It’s Calling The First Truly Virtual Personal Assistant

Microsoft cortanaAs The Semantic Web Blog discussed yesterday here, the Virtual Personal Assistant is getting more personal. Microsoft officially unveiled Cortana as part of the Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone software at its Build event yesterday, and the service effectively replaces the search function on Windows smartphones, both for the Internet and locally.

This statement served as the theme from corporate vice president and manager Joe Belfiore: “Cortana is the first truly personal digital assistant who learns about me and about the things that matter to me most and the people that matter to me most, that understands the Internet and is great at helping me get things done.”

The Bing-powered Cortana is launching in beta mode, and was still subject to a few hiccups during the presentation. For example, when Belfiore asked Cortana to give him the weather in Las Vegas, it reported the information in degrees, and was able to respond to his request to provide the same information in Celsius. But he couldn’t get her to make the calculations to Kelvin. But, he promised attendees, “Try it yourself because she is smart enough to tell you the answer in Kelvin.”

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Power To Your Own Data: Haggle Helps You Make Deals

haggleFormer Personalized Media CEO Rajiv Salimath hosts a launch party March 1 for his latest venture, Haggle. What Haggle’s about, he says, is letting people use their own data to show venues – starting with restaurants – how they’re a valuable customer, and turn that to their purchasing advantage.

Users can apply today for their shot at getting personalized pricing via the Haggle mobile app through realtime digital interactions with businesses that have also signed onto the platform. By launch that should include some 75 restaurants in New York, with the goal of hitting 100 to 150 there and another 150 in the San Francisco area in the spring.

How it works, Salimath says, is that users give the app access to their social data, which it crunches and gives back to them. “We take all your social and digital data and convert it to real-world metrics that matter,” he says. “We give you the data to negotiate with businesses.” It calculates four scores including social influence, loyalty to a particular spot, history of going to places of that type generally (seafood restaurants, for instance), and purchasing power, and based on those scores a screen swipe for the locale reveals the personalized discount that venue is willing to give the user – which he or she may attempt to further negotiate online. All the user needs to do is show the screen to the wait staff for the discount to be applied to the bill.

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Text and Sentiment Analytics Team In Servicing The Customer Experience

Did you ever take a survey and wonder if anyone actually was paying attention to your input? Here’s a tip: If it’s more than 20 questions, ignore it, advises Sam Keninger, director of product marketing at customer experience vendor Medallia.

“That’s the old market research way of doing things, and [the resulting big report compiled by market researchers] ends up in a binder on someone’s desk and no one will read it,” he says. A shorter survey – about a page long, and generally with a question about whether you’d recommend the product or service – signifies that attention will be paid.

Why? “The survey is an extension of the customer experience itself, so the shorter it can be the better,” Keninger says. And surveys can be shorter – and more effective at telling the company what it needs to know in real-time – when they can depend more on free-form text responses. They can do that when they can leverage both text and sentiment analytic engines to understand which topics are trending and to identify emerging issues, and ideally route those in real time to the front-lines where workers understand and can take action to fix the underlying problems.

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Querying the Whole Web of Data: a vision

Internet Splat MapThe holy grail of the Semantic Web is to have intelligent agents that will be able to do all types of stuff for us, similar to what Siri is starting to do. Imagine my Semantic Web agent knows that I’ll be traveling to Bonn, Germany and will make a reservation at a restaurant that it thinks that I would like and that a friend has recommended. Theoretically, this is possible if all the data on the Web was published as Linked Data. Just imagine TripIt data linked to Facebook and to DBpedia which in turn is linked to Yelp and OpenTable. My Semantic Web agent would be able to query all of this data together and pull it off. Technically, the technology exists to allow this to happen. The only things that are missing are:

  1. data published as Linked Data on the Web, including links between data from different sources, and
  2. a way to query everything together. I’m personally excited about the second issue: querying the Web as if it were a gigantic database.

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