Artificial Intelligence: Changing the future of promotions
Industry 4.0, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has arrived. First we had steam power, followed by electricity, then computers and now we have Artificial Intelligence. AI is the power behind the Internet of Things, it is a cyber-system that can make decisions on its own and it is beginning to change our lives from self-driving cars to Alexa in our living room. But how far will it go and how will it affect Brands and Agencies? We look at some recent advances that will take promotions into the future.
As independent winner verification experts, PromoVeritas check and verify entry data for thousands of promotions each year. In addition, we oversee online voting shows, such as the National Television Awards, looking for unusual volumes and patterns, removing entries from bots or duplicates and ensuring that all fraudulent and scam entrants are eliminated. Although currently we use custom software to help us there is still a large human element to the checking and it takes time. Companies like Intel are developing sophisticated AI programmes such as Saffron AI, a quality and decision programme, to analyse data and find hidden patterns and trends in a way that would speed up and simplify the process for all of us.
Sky News recently launched an app for Harry and Meghan’s wedding that used facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify guests and serve up facts about them to users – a sort of AI version of an Oscar’s red-carpet reporter. And stock photo company, Shutterstock have developed an artificial intelligence powered search that not only knows what is in a photograph, but how it is laid out. It is used to provide accurate results for those searching for a ‘boy with puppy on his left side’ or images with specific amounts of copy space in them.
These types of developments will make photo competitions much easier to moderate and judge. In fact, Artificial intelligence could eventually disqualify photo entries that break the rules – e.g. if they contain copyrighted brands or explicit content, a head shot instead of a full body image, or black and white instead of colour. This would save a lot of time for promoters and allow humans to get on with judging only valid entries.
Proof of purchase
Many instant win promotions require the winner to send in receipts or proof of payment to be checked by the promoter before a prize or refund is awarded. Receipt bot and similar apps use AI to automatically recognize, capture and interpret high volumes of data from scans or images of receipts – eliminating the need for costly manual checking. Data can then be classified and extracted to ensure only genuine purchasers are eligible for the prize or reward.
One of the most incredible AI developments is Google Duplex which was unveiled at a recent developer conference – it’s an artificial intelligence assistant that can call up people and interact in a natural, human manner. Their demo revealed highly realistic conversations with human-like inflections and plenty of ‘umms’ and ‘ahhs’. Aside from concerns about ethics, privacy and scams, this technology could revolutionise winner management for promoters, automating contacting of large numbers of winners and capturing additional details from them – ground-breaking when you have masses of winners to get through and a short prize deadline.
Easier fulfilment of prizes
PromoVeritas believe that the user experience of an entrant is important at every stage of the promotion – and that a happy winner is the ultimate goal. Unfortunately, many promoters overlook the importance of sending out prizes that are on time and in good order. Artificial Intelligence will make this stage much easier to manage in the future. For instance, global logistics giant UPS have already developed a chatbot to respond to customer queries and have also created a system that allows customers to decide how, where and when home deliveries occur. Harnessing this type of technology to a promotion would mean that winners could be sure that their prizes were dispatched with consideration and improve the promoter’s reputation.