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Technology Featured ANZ

Creative agency Orchard amps up Hyundai AU’s FB CX with devt of AI keyword recognition

Australia – Hyundai in Australia has partnered with creative agency Orchard to enhance its customer engagement on Facebook. The new tech developed by the agency is an AI smart assistant keyword recognition on the brand’s posts on Facebook.

The new Facebook chatbot is customer experience and smart execution rolled into two key user journeys. Its direct to Messenger feature focuses on helping users discover the Hyundai vehicle they may be interested in and providing a direct line of contact with customer care through phone support or via the enquiry process.

In addition to this, when users comment on a Facebook post with specific questions, the AI capabilities of the chatbot are able to harness the power of keywords and respond in real-time. The keywords trigger the Hyundai Smart Assistant, inviting customers to discover valuable information about the model or post.

Furthermore, Orchard has implemented an auto-comment response on Facebook posts, which allows the public to see when other users’ comments have been acknowledged by Hyundai.

Kevin Goult, Hyundai’s director of marketing for Australia, shared that conversational UI is redefining community management, and they wanted to extend Hyundai’s offering by providing customers with a helpful experience on social channels. 

“We are confident the Facebook chatbot created by Orchard will deliver a higher level of customer satisfaction and engagement with Hyundai,” said Goult.

The new feature is an Australian automotive first for community management, which aims to assist current and prospective Hyundai owners to interactively find information about vehicles while on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Andrew Killey, Orchard’s practice lead, noted, “Customers love the convenience and can become easily frustrated by having to wait online for answers. We wanted to create a seamless UI experience that engages users with Hyundai right from the start of the customer journey until the very end.”

Paul Balbo, the client partner at Facebook Australia, commented, “We are confident that this Messenger project will help Hyundai increase customer satisfaction, lower costs and ultimately drive sales.”

Just recently, Hyundai has unveiled its newest ‘Tomorrow wants its car back’ campaign for its all-new car model, ‘Hyundai Tucson’. It features the car’s futuristic look with the appearance of robots coming from the future to steal back what is rightfully theirs from 2021.

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Platforms Featured Global

Shutterstock acquires three AI platforms as part of new subsidiary launch

New York, USA – Global creative platform Shutterstock has announced the launch of new subsidiary Shutterstock.AI, which aims to offer computer vision and predictive performance solutions with the goal of enhancing creative performance. To mark the launch, it has also acquired three artificial intelligence (AI) platforms to boost the offering.

Said platforms are marketing platform Pattern89, content personalization platform Datasine, and image intelligence platform Shotzr. All of the companies have an aggregate cash consideration paid among them by Shutterstock amounting to US$35m.

Through the new offering, Shutterstock.AI will continue to rapidly develop its own predictive performance capabilities to help creatives and customers accomplish their goals by making more data-informed content decisions.

In addition, Shutterstock.AI will commercialize data assets within Shutterstock’s immense content library, which includes over 400 million images, videos, music tracks, and 3D models, as well as partner with innovative companies to grow their capabilities in computer vision and content insights to power the next generation of AI models.

Stan Pavlovsky, chief executive officer at Shutterstock, said the offering will help their customers globally solve the biggest creative challenge they have: discovering and selecting the right content that is relevant, and that resonates with audiences. He added that they want their customers to ‘create with confidence’ based on their content.

“To complement this, Shutterstock.AI will also help new customer segments accelerate the development of artificial intelligence, by unlocking the power of the data associated with our vast content library. From autonomous vehicles, to content moderation, to AI powered process automation, Shutterstock.AI’s high quality data and services will enable companies to develop the next generation of technologies,” Pavlovsky.

The company also stated that they see the future of creativity through the lens of performance, as the engine that will transform customers’ ideas into accomplishments.

“With the acquisition of these three creative AI companies, and the creation of Shutterstock.AI, Shutterstock is redefining what creativity means, and helping solve our customers’ problems by expertly navigating the availability of content. Looking ahead, Shutterstock.AI will develop predictive creative AI models, leveraging cutting edge technology to help customers make more informed content choices, providing more confidence about the performance of what they produce,” Shutterstock said in a press statement.

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Technology Featured APAC

E-commerce enabler Awake Asia merges with ADA for market expansion

Singapore – Awake Asia, a regional e-commerce enabler, has announced that it will be now merging with data and AI company ADA, which will help both of the companies empower their services across 10 markets in Asia Pacific, particularly in the e-commerce sector.

Awake Asia’s integration under the ADA brand is effective 1 June this year, where they will serve the markets of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia, South Korea, and Vietnam.

The merger entails the combination of Awake Asia’s deep e-commerce expertise with ADA’s media, creative, and analytics solutions to drive online sales for brands. This is best applied through digital marketing deeply linked to e-commerce revenue generation; consumer data and analytics leveraged to uplift e-commerce sales; and reaching vast audiences in super-apps and marketplaces.

For Srinivas Gattamneni, chief executive officer of ADA, the merger brings together an integrated approach for brands to reach and convert digital consumers, which is best supported by the fact that more brands are forced to adapt to capture the ‘great migration’ of consumers from offline to online, and business owners still in the dark on how to navigate the challenges to maximize return on investment.

“At ADA, our belief is that e-commerce should not be a siloed execution but needs to be deeply integrated into the brand’s analytics, media, creative, and marketing technology investments – only then can we achieve superior performance,” he said.

Leading the new division is Simon Paterson who joins ADA as chief of e-commerce enablement and the former CEO of Awake Asia. 

Commenting on his new appointment, he said “Over the past 5 years, Awake Asia has built a formidable e-commerce enablement business in Southeast Asia. We are excited to embark on this new phase of growth with integrated analytics, media, and creative to boost e-commerce operations for all brands in the region.”

The merger opens a new market for ADA in Vietnam with over 150 e-commerce specialists currently serving more than 120 brands, driving e-commerce growth for clients such as P&G, Unilever, BMW, and Wyeth; and e-commerce partners including Shopee, Tokopedia, and Lazada among others.

ADA has recently been expanding its data and AI-oriented services across Asia Pacific, such as launching its martech service, an end-to-end e-commerce service, and its partnership with Insider for data-led enterprise marketing endeavors, as well its recent US$60m funding from Softbank.

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SME Featured South Asia

Sequoia India-backed Pencil launches video ad system for SMEs

New Delhi, India – Creative AI company Pencil, which has been supported by venture capital Sequoia India’s rapid scale-up funding Surge, has recently launched its latest video ad system catered to serve small businesses, as well as startups looking to gain access to the same ‘Machine Generated Creative’ (MGC) platform as larger brands, for the first time, to level the playing field. 

Pencil’s new service allows small businesses struggling to compete in an increasingly online world dominated by larger brands’ slick video ads and optimized ad spend. Pencil learns from historic ad performance to generate new video ads that help brands systematically improve Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS). This is done through Pencil’s ‘Generate’ feature, which utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to generate new video ad ideas.

Pencil is one of the first companies to launch a commercial tool using OpenAI’s GPT-3 to generate playful, effective ad copy that, combined with Pencil’s language model, enables MGC to generate entirely new narratives around a brand or product.

For context, the GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3) is an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. This then allows the AI model to create texts that are indistinguishable from those of human writing and thought.

Will Hanschell, co-founder and CEO at Pencil explains that the launch of the AI ad system corresponds to the dilemma of cash-strapped businesses with limited creative resources and ad budgets, who face long odds competing for consumer mindshare against larger, more established brands.

“Pencil evens the odds with Machine Generated Creative that enables marketers to take existing copy, imagery, and video assets and automatically generate batches of video ads that learn to perform week-on-week,” Hanschell stated.

Based on its proven performance, the company was recently accepted into Facebook Marketing Partners, a program that connects businesses to an ecosystem of specialists.

Alongside the launch, there are three tiers that advertisers can subscribe to based on their ad needs namely ‘Generate’ which creates copy and video ad ideas for startups and small businesses to test 10 ads a month for a single brand, the ‘Generate+ Learn’ plan which includes a patented machine learning loop that predicts outcomes and optimizes performance, and the ‘Enterprise’ plan which provides custom pricing, integrations, and features for large agencies and creative teams. Rate per ad ranges from US$25 to US$50 per ad. 

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Technology Featured APAC

Midea ropes in MediaMonks to launch lineup of future-oriented CX

Shanghai, China Midea, the global appliance manufacturer headquartered in China, has announced its upcoming state-of-the-art virtual factory – the Midea Thailand Smart Factory – and it has partnered with creative technology company MediaMonks to create an innovative immersive experience for Midea’s customers.

MediaMonks was named partner during this year’s Midea RAC (Residential Air Conditioning) Online Canton Fair, with the aim to deliver richer, and more interactive experiences to consumers, and to give greater clarity and understanding on its brand, vision, and products. The smart factory is only one of the two main projects that the two are working on, with the other being the Midea Vision or what is also called the M-Vision project, a digital interactive platform. Both aim to demonstrate Midea’s strong vision for the future. 

Midea
The Midea Thailand Smart Factory

On the smart factory in Thailand, MediaMonks utilized a WebGL experience to provide customers with all aspects of its construction. To give them a comprehensive view of the innovative construction process, MediaMonks came up with the idea to create a virtual tour to this ‘future factory’. Customers are able to freely explore the facets of the factory online and get a deep understanding of its key features and highlights.

According to Technical Director for MediaMonks Shanghai Ron Lee, the virtual factory environment was achieved with the combination of aerial and ground photography footage built upon a 3D modelling technique called photogrammetry. 

“On the fly through experience, we enabled our digital visitors to navigate across a 3D modeled factory represented in the clean, modern aesthetic of minimalism,” Lee said. 

Lee further explains that visitors can now explore interactive hotspots. Alongside the archived time lapse videos, customers can choose to watch a live camera feed for a real-time look at the factory’s construction, and finally, a dedicated news tab keeps customers up to date with relevant information.

Ramzi Chaabane, also a head of strategy for the Shanghai team, said, “The factory of the future is characterized by the integration of digital technologies into manufacturing processes. The ‘smart factory’ – or Factory 4.0 – aims to achieve further competitiveness and will rely on the convergence between the industrial and digital worlds.”

“This is hinged on existing tools and creativity – sensors, automation, big data, IOT, cloud computing – being propelled, and the arrival of new activities in energy, green products, robotics, molecular biology, genetics adding value and innovation to marketing. This thinking will empower Midea and its partners and help future-proof and create lasting business impact,” Chaabane adds.

The Midea Vision

Meanwhile, the Midea Vision, which is under the air conditioning line of Midea, is a digital interactive platform, which will be the integrated home to all the latest RAC and Light Commercial Air-Conditioner (LCAC) products, as well as core technologies, branding, manufacturing and company information. It will also be including the RAC Canton Fair virtual center, enabling Midea RAC to connect all global business customers closely by utilizing a cutting-edge AR product launch event, interactive live streaming and immersive product experiences. 

“Midea is a category leader when it comes to R&D, manufacturing, and shipping to name a few. The ambition is to build a solution to solve ongoing business challenges and pave the path for the future. The core of what we try to deliver is to allow users to have more discovery moments and information touchpoints to create a seamless experience,” said January Zhang, head of marketing department at Midea RAC OSC.

As part of the efforts with Midea Vision, MediaMonks will also be building Mia – Midea’s holistic AI solution – which will help solve a host of business challenges. In the near future, Mia is targeted to be a tech that helps achieve a variety of things not seen before, such as knowing customer insights and applying them on behalf of every user to improve R&D, and engaging directly with customers and managing manufacturing, shipments, logistics and production lines to improve the sales experience.

Midea Vision is already live and Mia 1.0 has already been launched this month. Meanwhile, the Thailand Smart Factory is slated to open in October 2021.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Credit bureau CIBI partners with ADVANCE.AI to give AI-driven biz intel to PH firms

Manila, Philippines – CIBI, a local credit bureau agency, has announced a partnership with AI and data company ADVANCE.AI to use innovative AI and computer vision technology to expand business intelligence support and services for local businesses in the Philippines.

CIBI, which was first established in 1982, provides data, credit reporting, and information management services and analytics for consumers and business entities. Meanwhile, ADVANCE.AI aims to solve digital transformation, fraud prevention, and process automation for enterprise clients.

Marlo R. Cruz, president and CEO of CIBI said, “As a forward-looking and digital-first organization, CIBI always looks to be one step ahead. This partnership with ADVANCE.AI facilitates our mission to give Filipino businesses easier access to a range of business intelligence services, including credit and data reporting through a more efficient internal system. This marks the beginning of more opportunities for CIBI, as our partners enrich our capabilities and innovations.”

ADVANCE.AI’s holistic suite of products covers three key areas: digital identity verification and eKYC customer onboarding, risk management and digital lending solutions. It is now expanding into markets such as Mexico, UK, Europe, and the US.

Meanwhile, Dong Shou, CEO of ADVANCE.AI, commented: “Our market-leading AI and computer vision technology will allow CIBI to expand its range of critical business data and intelligence reporting solutions, with the ultimate aim of better supporting underbanked and underserved businesses in the Philippines.” 

He added, “This is more important than ever in the current COVID landscape, as we help accelerate the digitalization of the economy, and in doing so, help millions of Filipinos and businesses gain access to new financial products and services.”

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Technology Featured ANZ

AU-based conversational agency Versa launches global-first navigation-less website

Australia – Global digital and conversational agency Versa in Australia has launched a navigation-less and bot-activated website – https://versa.agency, which utilizes AI-powered conversational bot technology, allowing visitors to ask for what they want using voice or text, without having to search for it.

Versa.agency is the first website to dynamically present relevant content based on an ongoing conversation with the website visitors. It delivers a human-centered experience through a digital concierge, which puts the power of search into the users’ hands and immediately creates a two-way conversation by asking visitors to type in their questions as soon as they arrive via chat or voice-enabled platform. 

According to the agency, the benefits of a navigation-less website include eliminating drop-down menus and tabs, and endless scrolling, making it easier for users to find what they want quickly by directing them to the information they are looking for. Brands can also deliver hyper-personalized experiences, content, and information, as well as deals without the need for users to login. 

Kath Blackham, the CEO of Versa, shared that AI-powered conversational tech addresses the challenge of impatient website users who have become conditioned to expect instant access to information.

“People now expect a seamless experience from websites, apps, and products. Navigation-less websites give brands the ability to create two-way conversations with customers and allow brands to collect and mine better data to address their customers’ needs more accurately. Voice navigation also has the potential to reach more people through the greater accessibility by being able to simply ask for what you want in your own words, regardless of language, literacy or ability,” said Blackham.

The website experience developed by Versa enables targeted and accurate recommendations through AI’s ability to interpret, understand, and provide relative content instantly, to further increase accuracy as the user clarifies their needs throughout the duration of the conversation.

The rich data and insights are continuously gathered and refined, allowing analysts to better understand what users are searching for rather than aggregating irrelevant data. The SEO is also enhanced by replacing rigid drop-down menus and tab structures with the ability to deploy new content and unlimited pages quickly, all with unique SEO strategies.

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Technology Featured APAC

ADA, Insider to drive data-led growth marketing initiatives for enterprises

Singapore – Data and artificial intelligence (AI) company ADA and growth management platform Insider have announced a new partnership to aid enterprises in achieving a greater return on multichannel personalization and marketing campaigns through AI and data analytics.

The partnership entails unifying ADA’s newly formed MarTech-as-a-Service offering and Insider’s AI-powered Growth Management Platform (GMP) which will empower enterprises to scale up and predict customer behavior in real time. Marketers can also seamlessly personalize and streamline campaigns to acquire, activate, and retain customers.

“We’re really excited to be working with Insider. We believe this partnership will help our clients realise more value by allowing us to offer an end-to-end solution that covers the full marketing and sales funnel. We have big goals to continue to expand our business in Asia; so, ADA and Insider’s strong MarTech proposition will help us achieve our ambitious targets,” said Chris Wiseman, head of marketing technology at ADA.

For Patrick Steinbrenner, managing director for APAC at Insider, he believes that with the right recommendation algorithms powered by AI, enterprises can deliver precise individualized cross-channel recommendations and uncover full revenue potential. 

“ADA’s digital and data maturity models’ expertise combined with Insider’s platform capabilities will take marketing to the next level. We’ve enjoyed collaborating with the team at ADA to bring more value to our end customers,” Steinbrenner stated.

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Technology Featured APAC

ADA launches new end-to-end e-commerce solution in APAC

Singapore – Data and AI company ADA has announced a new business line in APAC that combines data-driven marketing strategies with end-to-end e-commerce solutions. 

The service is aimed at clients seeking comprehensive solutions to drive traffic, manage customer experience, optimize conversions throughout the funnel, and create engaging content on digital marketplaces as well as owned e-commerce sites.

“E-commerce is a strategic priority for ADA and our clients as businesses emerge from the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re excited to be expanding our footprint by bringing our unique heritage in data-driven marketing to empower the next generation of e-commerce champions,” said Srinivas Gattamneni, chief executive officer at ADA.

Anurag Gupta, chief operating officer and chief of agency at ADA explained that through XACT, ADA’s proprietary data management platform, and with the help also from first-party customer data, a global luxury skincare brand has adapted itself from an offline selling platform to e-commerce.

“The resulting campaigns far exceeded targets, with 490% growth achieved in e-commerce monthly sales versus pre-pandemic, 275% growth versus promotional months and 24.5% return on ad spend,” Gupta added.

ADA had noted a report from Google, Temasek and Bain & Co. showing that the e-commerce market in Southeast Asia continues to surge as COVID-19 accelerated online purchases, with gross merchandise value expected to jump to US$172B by 2025.

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Huawei’s newly-launched DIGIX Lab to empower app developers

Singapore – DIGIX Lab, operated under the services of the Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), has officially been opened in Singapore to help app developers drive idea exchange, business growth and collaboration.

The innovation hub works in the way that it offers a space for developers to connect and experience the full range of HMS developer resources, ranging from augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), HMS Core kits and other open technological capabilities. The DIGIX Lab services can also be accessed online, allowing developers across the region to make use of the resources virtually.

DIGIX Labs also operates under a so-called ‘1+8+N’ Seamless AI Life strategy, which is defined when the smartphone serves as One (1) centre, and Huawei’s ecosystem partners connect across Eight (8) supporting Huawei devices to create a fully connected IoT environment consisting of Endless (N) services.

Huawei-Mobile-Services-DIGIX-Lab-Tech-Developer-Inside
HUAWEI DIGIX Lab @ Singapore’s “Experience Zone” showcases Huawei all-scenario products. Developers, partners, and tech enthusiasts can look forward to a series of Residency Programmes like developer workshops, knowledge sharing sessions, and onsite consultation with tech experts hosted by Huawei online and offline. (Photo Courtesy of Huawei)

For Shane Shan, director for Asia Pacific at Huawei Consumer Cloud Service, the strategy system aims to empower tech developers and partners in the Asia Pacific in the mid of 5G rollout.

“The new DIGIX Lab serves as an all-encompassing innovation hub to give developers the boost they need to succeed. Huawei will continue to strengthen our collaboration with partners and institutions in the community and cultivate a resilient, evolving pool of tech talents in the Asia Pacific region,” Shan said.

The DIGIX Lab is divided into three main zones where partners and developers can communicate within the community:

  • Experience zone: An area for visitors to experience Huawei’s “1+8+N” all-scenario ecosystem. This area displays the latest smartphone models, and eight different types of Huawei devices including tablets, PCs, smart wearables and VR smart glasses. In addition, third party IoT home products supported by HUAWEI HiLink are also exhibited here.
  • Engage zone: A multipurpose zone with a collaborative area and training rooms to support community building. Developer programmes such as training, workshops, industry and networking events will be held in this area. Meanwhile, tech enthusiasts or individual developers can also book the space to host community events related to mobile app development.
  • Enable zone: This zone consists of three meeting rooms where developers who are facing challenges while developing an app can meet with Huawei engineers or business teams to get hands-on support. Four debug terminals are also available at the lab to support developers with the resource requirement.

HMS has also recently launched the HUAWEI Developers app, an official open platform for Huawei developers to manage their apps backend system, access the latest developer activities and receive event notifications on the go.

Three community programs are also slated to launch this year, namely the HUAWEI Student Developers (HSD), the HUAWEI Developer Groups (HDG) and the HUAWEI Developer Experts (HDE) to help developers of all levels grow with the HMS ecosystem. Developers in APAC will also be able to sign up for training courses to learn how to deploy HMS development tools into their apps and receive the ‘Huawei Developer Certification’ upon course completion.