Microsoft’s Cortana Assistant Gains IFTTT Integration, Supports More Smart Home Products

Microsoft's Cortana Assistant Gains IFTTT Integration, Supports More Smart Home Products

In a bid to expand into the growing home automation market, Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana will now support more smart home devices and integrate with IFTTT – a free web-based platform that helps users connect their apps and services together, the company has announced.

Cortana now supports devices from ecobee, Honeywell Lyric, Honeywell Total Connect Comfort, LIFX, TP-Link Kasa and Geeni.

Cortana running on Windows 10 Operating System (OS), iPhone, Android and the Harman Kardon Invoke speakers, can be used to control these devices.

“Say ‘Hey Cortana, set the living room thermostat to 72 degrees’ to control your ecobee, Honeywell Lyric, or Honeywell Total Connect Comfort thermostat. With vivid colours from your LIFX Wi-Fi connected light bulbs, you can set the mood just right for movie night,” the company wrote in a blog post late on Friday.

To set up their connected home with the digital assistant, users need to open Cortana on Windows 10 or go to the Cortana app on their phone, click Notebook and then click Connected Home.

“From there, you can connect your favourite smart home accounts and control your devices from anywhere you use Cortana,” the post added..

The tech giant also announced Cortana’s support for IFTTT.

IFTTT (If This Then That) is both a website and a mobile app that was launched in 2010.

“Using IFTTT, you will be able to customise your experience by creating your own phrases to use with services on IFTTT. You can also use Applets on IFTTT with Cortana to trigger multiple actions with one phrase,” Microsoft said.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Smart Master Data Management Will Power Your Customer Analytics And Insights

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It’s supposed to be a post omni-channel world. A time when personalization is the norm, but as customers we know this is not the case. When customers contact companies, the companies often don’t recognize who the customer is, and they certainly don’t know what the customer’s preferences are. The truth is customers rarely get the personalized and tailored experiences they desire.

Well it’s not a shortage of data about those customers.

So why is it that when customers contact companies, most companies seem completely unaware about anything specific regarding that customer, let alone tastes and preferences. The reason is delinquency when it comes to the aggregation and management of the customer’s data inside the company.

Companies have many challenges when it comes to using customer data, particularly data that is supposed to help the company make better decisions in real-time.

David Rowley, CTO of IAC Publishing Labs, and former executive at customer experience software vendor Sprinklr, said, “the notion of a centralized repository for key business data is an important aspect of providing a more comprehensive customer experience.”

But many companies don’t have this today.

This information is called master data. “Master data” can be about products, employees, materials, suppliers but also may include documents and sales. Rowley said, “A centralized master data store (the repository for the master data) can improve real time decision making and analytics, if information about the entities (e.g. customers) is stored centrally. This provides you with a single trustworthy source of truth about the customer.” Rowley added that you can report directly on that data, rather than having to aggregate customer data from separate systems. He said, “A central view of the customer, for example, keeps various systems in sync with what the customer has done.”

Vic Bhagat, CIO of Verizon Business Services, said, “master data is more important now than ever – the amount of data being generated today will pale in comparison to what will be generated in just a few more years.” He added, “Having a master data management strategy clearly defined — early on — enables a faster approach to analytics to deliver a more proactive, predictive, prescriptive outcome that customers expect today.”

As we established, companies struggle with their current state of their customer data management, but what happens when the business becomes a little complicated, such as with a merger or acquisition. How does the company merge all the new data with all the historical data? Master data management can also help with this.

We addressed the fact that many data systems that aren’t integrated. Sometimes data problems include the actual data sources, data duplicates, no data governance and no standards. Data is not always shared efficiently within the organization. Many of the world’s biggest companies operate like separate islands. Customer service and sales do not share a crm. The company does not collaborate around the customer to ensure a powerful customer experience. The company’s various departments operate in silos. More often than not the people working inside the companies do not even know one another in different departments, let alone use data that spans across the organization.

This is a challenge for organizations who need to create easy and elegant experiences for customers. Companies need to leverage data in real-time to make better decisions. Customer analytics are not helpful when one can’t trust the accuracy of the data. And with many companies today data is often too little too late.

“Leveraging Master data enables enterprises to clean, integrate, and supplement their data to ensure a complete 360 view of their customer. With this view, companies can make informed decisions, align different departments, and create world class online and offline customer experiences leading to sales growth,” says Rishi Dave, chief marketing officer at Dun and Bradstreet, a data and analytics company who provides master data.

End-to-end master data management helps clients make marketing campaigns 30% more efficient, improve upsell and cross-sell rates by 60% and increase loyalty members’ spending by 20%, according to Informatica.

Neopost Uses Master Data For A Transformation Initiative

Neopost, a market-leading global provider of mailing solutions, digital communications and shipping services, found that master data was critical for a transformation initiative. The company wanted a way to more competitively know and serve their customers. As Neopost focused on modernizing its offerings and delivery for the digital age, strong data management has played a key role.

“Besides developing the actual software we sell our customers, we’ve got to build an infrastructure where data quality is paramount,” says Steve Rakoczy, Neopost’s North America CIO. “You can make a mess really quickly in the electronic age if you don’t have your data right.” After using master data, Rakoczy said, “We can successfully manage our Salesforce environment for the first time in over a decade.”

Master data management can help your company create more compelling customer experiences, but first the company must decide on a strong data approach.

For more from author Blake Morgan sign up for her weekly customer experience newsletter here.

[“Source-ndtv”]

Women’s Day: T-Hub, Anthill Launch Smart Women Angels Network in India

Women's Day: T-Hub, Anthill Launch Smart Women Angels Network in India

T-Hub on Tuesday said it along with Anthill, a speed scaling platform for early-growth stage startups, has launched a international startup initiative in India – the Smart Women Angels Network (SWAN).

T-Hub is a startup incubator set up by the Telangana Government to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit in women and create awareness about investing and recognising the need for women investors, T-Hub and Anthill have launched SWAN, a release said.

SWAN, which has its roots in Barcelona has now spread its wings to reach India to create a network of women angel investors who will then collaborate with their counterparts from across the world to interact with and invest in startups, it said.

Jay Krishnan, CEO, T-Hub said, “To encourage women to be active members of the ecosystem, T-Hub in collaboration with Anthill, has launched SWAN in India. We truly believe this reputed programme will not only suffuse the culture in the country, but change the dynamics of the community to make it more inclusive.”

Prasad Vanga, founder and CEO, Anthill said, “With the launch of SWAN, we want to boost the presence of more women investors in India.”

Cristina Ventura, president of SWAN and an Angel and Fund-of-Funds Investor, said, “The percentage of women investors around the world is very less. For example, in the US just 20 percent of the investors are women, in Europe it is 5 pe cent, in the UK it is 14 percent while in Spain it is just 8 percent. In India, the numbers are very low.”

“SWAN believes in creating an inclusive network that can make a positive difference,” added Ventura.

Tags: T Hub, Anthill, SWAN, Women’s Day, India
[“Source-Gadgets”]

Dropbox Brings ‘Unlimited Storage’ With Smart Sync, Collaboration With Paper And New Web Design

Dropbox Paper 2Dropbox is rolling out a number of new features aimed at making its business product as easy to use as its consumer version.

Smart Sync (formerly Project Infinite) and Dropbox Paper are now out of beta and have been released alongside a redesigned Dropbox web interface.

“It’s amazing how far technology has come in the last 10 years, particularly in the consumer realm, in our personal lives,” said Drew Houston, Dropbox CEO, speaking in San Francisco. “But what’s surprising to me, is a lot of this progress hasn’t really made it into our working lives.

“We’re redesigning Dropbox to be fundamentally designed for teams. We’re reinventing sync, bringing a modern collaboration experience to all your files, and launching Paper, a new way to work together that goes beyond the document.”

Smart Sync

First introduced as Project Infinite last April and now available to all Dropbox Business users, Smart Sync gives businesses and individuals access to all of their cloud files without having to download them onto their desktop or laptop.

The files appear on a user’s computer exactly as any others and work in exactly the same way, while taking up virtually no local disk space until it is needed. It works across both Windows and Mac computers and all different file types.

image: http://www.silicon.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Dropbox-Project-Infinite.png

Dropbox Project Infinite

“Companies today have a tremendous amount of information, and it’s growing by the day” said Dropbox CTO Aditya Agarwal. “Most companies have way more knowledge than they can fit onto any one computer so we wanted to migrate the file server into the cloud so we can get all of your company’s knowledge in one place.

“Smart sync is more than a huge technical breakthrough, it solves a very real and acute pain point for our customers. With smart sync you’ll never run out of space again.”

Dropbox Paper

So, you now have constant access to all of your documents, but Dropbox also wanted to “move beyond the document” and that’s where Paper comes in, moving out of Beta mode and now available in 21 languages.

Paper is a flexible workspace that enables teams to work together on documents, using text, images, videos and even code. It’s essentially a ‘live’ environment, giving users a real-time view of any changes that have been made. It can be described as Dropbox’s answer to Google Docs and Box Notes.

image: http://www.silicon.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Dropbox-Paper-2.jpg

 

Users can add due dates for certain actions, assign people to tasks and then keep track of the project as it progresses. Team leaders can see who’s currently viewing file, who viewed it recently and, perhaps most importantly, who hasn’t viewed it yet. Other new features also include a presentation mode, improved search functionality and smart meeting notes with Google Calendar integration.

“Now that we’ve got all your teams files in one place, there’s a lot we can do to make them more collaborative,” said Todd Jackson, Dropbox’ VP of product. “We’ve been working really hard to bring your files to life and you can talk about the work, right next to the work itself.”

“Paper is a space where thinking meets doing,” added CMO Carolyn Feinstein. “We believe deeply that when people work together in a more human and connected way, they grow better ideas.”

New web design

As well as the product updates, Dropbox revealed a new design to its web interface, aimed at helping user to stay focused on tasks while providing easy access to relevant and related content.

It provides a unified feed of updates for a team’s Dropbox files and Paper docs, such as presence avatars to help teams stay up to date on who has viewed shared documents and when. It provides a “real time view of what your team is doing,” Jackson said, where “every action you see is specific to the folder or file you’re working on.”
Read more at http://www.silicon.co.uk/cloud/dropbox-teams-smart-sync-paper-203957#wr19JSzKCxgiHWez.99

[“source-smallbiztrends”]