We have all seen movies set in a dystopian future where Artificial Intelligence (AI) has sinister intentions to overrun humanity. While the scenarios depicted in these films are often far-fetched, the fact of the matter is that the fundamental building blocks of such technology already exist. There is, however, no need for alarm. The world will not be taken over by AI any time soon. In fact, the term “Artificial Intelligence” is often misapplied. Artificial Intelligence is actually the overarching category encompassing such technologies as Machine Learning (ML). This exciting field offers enterprising businesses across every industry, from retail to healthcare, the ability to enhance customer experience with near-real-time feedback and deliver a higher level of conversion and brand affinity.
Machine Learning is an application of Artificial Intelligence that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. In practice, Machine Learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it to learn for themselves.
Machine Learning allows businesses to provide a more personalized experience for their customers. As the system learns to study consumer habits, it provides eCommerce retailers the ability to analyze millions of interactions every day and ultimately target offers down to a single customer.
Leveraging Machine Learning, digital marketers are able to create customizable user experience paths based on browsing habits, previous purchases, and aggregated user data. If you have ever been browsing your social media feeds and come across an advertisement for products that you have previously Googled, there’s a good chance you are experiencing ML at work. These targeted advertisements can be the fruits of Machine Learning’s labor, giving marketers the ability to predict the demand for specific products based on searches and forecasts from the data aggregated by Machine Learning.
With the deployment of Machine Learning-driven marketing, businesses will need to further leverage their ML technology to ensure demand is met by sufficient supply. As demand inevitably increases, it is able to optimize the supply chain and order fulfillment using historical data ranging from orders to shipping and everything in between. It also offers the added benefit of refining key marketing messaging for “just-in-time” inventory management and purchasing based on product availability.
As it offers so much to gain, Machine Learning is sure to be a mainstay of successful businesses today and into the future. At PeakActivity, our Emerging Tech & Innovation team is developing and leveraging ML to provide added value to our clients. If you are interested in learning more on how PeakActivity can help you elevate your business with Machine Learning technology, fill out the contact form below.
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If you ask most people what they associate with Augmented Reality, chances are they will say Snapchat and Instagram filters, you know the ones. Day by day, Augmented Reality is becoming more commonplace, reaching well beyond the ability to superimpose puppy ears upon your grandma’s head. This emerging technology is steadily becoming more accessible for customers, as more companies adopt Augmented Reality through both “Windowed” and “Wearable” experiences. This begs the question, what do Windowed and Wearable mean in the context of Augmented Reality?
Wearable Augmented Reality
Wearable Augmented Reality, as its name would suggest, refers to devices that require the user to physically wear them. Using computer vision systems, Wearable AR devices are able to analyze environments and provide feedback in real-time using spatial computing. Wearable devices, such as Magic Leap or Halo Lens, offer hands-free AR activity without the drawbacks of vertigo and motion sickness often associated with Virtual Reality experiences.
The hands-free nature of Wearable AR technology naturally lends itself to highly interactive experiences. With these deeper, more meaningful interactions, including remote free hand-tracking, come a significant boost in cognitive performance. As we covered in a recent blog, Augmented Reality possesses the ability to imprint longer-lasting memories and cut through the noise that consumers are bombarded with on a daily basis. As a result of this enhanced ability to create memories, Wearable AR technology can provide more effective, impactful training experiences. The interactivity provided by this technology greatly improves the imprinting, retention of knowledge, and memories gained in a training setting. In a practical setting, Wearable AR experiences have been deployed in environments that range from warehouses to science labs for training sessions to drastically improve the effectiveness of memory retention rates.
Windowed Augmented Reality
The previously mentioned Snapchat and Instagram filters are, perhaps, the most widely known example of Windowed Augmented Reality. Using a camera-equipped smart device, Windowed AR uses the device’s screen (or, window) to overlay digital elements not present in the physical world, in real-time. Given that nearly everyone and their grandmother owns a smartphone, the barrier for entry to Windowed AR is inherently low. With no need to splash extra cash on a wearable device, this segment of Augmented Reality technology offers opportunistic businesses the ability to connect with consumers in uniquely effective ways.
Take the eyeglass industry for example. With Windowed AR, users can “try it on” when shopping for new frames online quickly swapping between frames until they find the ideal fit, while never leaving the comfort of their bed. Another real-world use case for Windowed AR resides in the retail furniture industry. If you have ever shopped for furniture online, you will be familiar with the thought, “I love this piece of furniture, but how well will it actually fit in my living room?” With Windowed AR, this is no longer a worry. Using the camera on a smartphone, users are able to see the desired product superimposed on their living space. Using pre- and post-experience customer surveys, you can easily track the effect that Windowed AR has on such metrics as customer confidence.
Prior to COVID-19, industry trends indicated that Wearable AR devices were the flavor of the week. As the pandemic surged and turned the world on its head, there was a shift in focus towards Windowed AR experiences using personal devices. As this emerging technology becomes more accessible through both windowed and wearable experiences alike, there will be a steady stream of Augmented Reality hitting the market in an ever-expanding set of sectors.
Do you need help building Windowed & Wearable experiences that will surprise and delight internal teams and external customers?
As we have covered in our recent blog posts, the adoption of Augmented Reality is far ahead of schedule compared to expert predictions. With more AR experiences flooding the marketplace, the competition for valuable real estate in a customer’s mind will reach an all time high. The highly interactive nature inherent to AR experiences will present a unique opportunity to create lasting imprints in the minds of your customers. In other words, you can create memories designed specifically for your target market. To understand how to best capitalize on this innovative emerging technology, one must first come to understand how AR influences cognitive performance.
Duration, Path, Outcome
Our brain is divided into two distinct sectors: conscious and unconscious. The conscious side is continuously processing information, looking at possible outcomes, developing predictions, and assessing the world around us. The information it perceives as “non-prioritized” is sent to the unconscious sector.
This process of Duration, Path, Outcome is constant now more so than ever via the seemingly endless scrolling through social media feeds. Our brain is actively passing actions to automation mode while searching for a dopamine fix.
This brain process is simply broken down to Signals vs Noise.
Memory Creation & Plasticity
Emerging Technology allows for a further push on brain plasticity, or the ability for the brain to be shaped and molded. When looking at AR, VR, Spatial Computing, or any form of interaction with technology, there are significant signs that the brain is stretched and able to rewrite former engrained paths and their outcomes.
The goal of every experience should be the creation of new memories. Using this as our foundation and core Key Performance Indicator (KPI) creates the desired interaction between technology and the user. If our desired effect is to create a memorable moment, the brain is at the focal point of our interactions. Immersive and impactful experiences will be tied directly to the Signals, rather than more Noise.
Tying It All Together
Creating Signals is the key to obtaining valuable brain real estate. While creating more Noise will further distance a company from its desired outcome.
But, we have always done it this way…
Consumers are currently on Noise overload. They are being bombarded from all angles, whether it be from mobile apps, social media, or eCommerce websites. Experiences are all the same and what was once amazing is now normal. Everything is blending together.
Creating experiences that push past the brain’s dismissive functions is the core of our team’s purpose. Creating memories will be realized through the use of Emerging Tech. At PeakActivity, we help you build Signals that will allow you to own the most valuable real estate in the world: inside a consumer’s mind.
Want to learn more about the implementation of Augmented Reality and how it can help your business?
As the third quarter came to a close, SnapChat (Snap Inc). released a report detailing the quicker than expected adoption of Augmented Reality (AR) experiences. With such massive growth in this space, continued heavy investment in AR is inevitable. This report underscores the fact that Augmented Reality and Emerging Technology are here to stay and it will have an enormous impact on businesses that are quick to adopt and implement this game-changing technology. Augmented Reality is no longer simply a tool to fix a flower crown or dog ears on the user. Its potential impact on education, experiential marketing, retail, and data visualization cannot be understated.
Education & Training
“There is significant evidence that indicates that the grades obtained in the learning unit that was taught using AR are better than the grades obtained in the unit that was taught using traditional methods four weeks after the initial assessment” – The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology
What is the benefit of faster, longer-lasting, and more intuitive training to your business? Augmented Reality allows end-users to understand complex data and training modules with a longer rate of retention of knowledge. This understanding of a product or process will ensure a longer stickiness in your end-users mind driving a higher cognitive recall.
Marketing & Experiential
“Traditional electronic commerce (e-commerce) is limited because it cannot provide enough direct information about products…The technology presented in this paper shows how Augmented Reality (AR) can be used to help overcome the limitations and enhance e-commerce systems.” – International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction
Creating Signals above the Noise for customers is more important now than ever. With the average American adult spending 3 hours, 43 minutes on a smartphone device per day we are more apt to disregard traditional marketing efforts within social media, websites, and installed apps. Creating Interactivity within AR experiences delivers a more immersive experience which will drive up a higher usage and retention of information. Spikes in browsing interactivity must be triggered by “new” experiences that a user has not come across yet.
Retail & Conversions
“AR-based product presentations generally provide effective communication benefits compared to web-based product presentations and the positive relationship between interactivity/vividness and usefulness/enjoyment is mediated by a sense of immersion.” – Journal of Interactive Marketing
Augmented Reality experiences are currently impacting customers’ shopping habits that drive higher engagement and conversion. Options such as “see before you buy” allows customers to place any product where they want and interact. In a similar vein, AR features allow consumers to “try on” clothes before buying them without the hassle of actually putting them on.
Data & Visualization
“The main benefit from the implementation of the MR approach is human experience improvement…visualization allows convenient access to huge amounts of data and provides a view from different angles…Furthermore, it ensures actionable insights that improve decision making.” – Journal of Big Data
Creating interactive data and seamless interactions within digital objects allow users to understand and grasp complex findings unseen in the 2D world. Placing the most essential data in the central area of the human visual field in Mixed Reality would allow one to obtain the presented information in a short period of time without significant data losses. Improving visualizations by using cognitive psychological principles and by implementing the most natural interaction with visualized virtual objects is destined to yield the best results.
Augmented Reality is changing the landscape of customer engagement. Its adoption is far more rapid than experts had previously predicted. Its ability to create effective and meaningful experiences for your target audience is undeniable. Augmented Reality is here and it is not going anywhere anytime soon.
Want to learn more about the implementation of Augmented Reality and how it can help your business?
It can be a daunting task to keep up with the ever-growing list of acronyms and trending buzz words in the technology space. With the more rapid and widespread adoption of spatial computing and mixed reality technologies, we thought it would be helpful to dive into what they mean and how they differ from each other.
Types of Experiences
○ AR – Augmented Reality – Digital objects within your real-world setting
○ XR – Extended Reality – Less often used term for AR
○ VR – Virtual Reality – Fully Immersive experience where you see none of the real-world
○ MR – Mixed Reality – The encompassing spectrum related to AR/VR/XR
○ Marker Based – Within the real-world a QR code or some other real-world marker, or point of reference, is needed
○ Non Marker-Based – No real-world marker is needed
○ Windowed AR – Using AR via a Smart Device
○ Immersive AR – Using AR via a Headset / Wearable
○ Room Scale – An experience the size of the room
○ Table Top – An Experience that is the size of a…table top
○ Spatial Computing – An umbrella term for the more immersive kind of digital experiences within the digital world, it is the engine that drives the core of the experiences, input and output of data from both the processing unit to the users’ vision
○ API – Application Programming Interface, is a computing interface that encompasses interactions between various software intermediaries.
○ CDN – Content Delivery Network
○ Wearable – Something that a user will wear
○ Tethered – A device that needs to be connected to another unit and or power source.
○ FOV – Field of View, how much a user can see
○ Hologram – Interactive 3D object that appears in front of the user
○ Light Field – The ability to capture the depth of a space
○ Spatial Mesh – The visual representation output of a light field that can be seen by the user/computer system
○ Digital Twin – Creating a 3D Model replica of a space or object
○ SDK – Software Development Kit
○ Eye Tracking – Tracking of eye movement on a headset
○ Hand Tracking – Tracking of the hands via a headset
○ Controller – Device held to interact with objects
○ TPU – Tensor Processing Unit – Processing AI-based information such as photos or video
○ A.I. – Artificial Intelligence
○ Machine Learning – Teaching a computer to learn a task
○ Visual Search – Uploading photos and finding similar photos
○ Voice SEO – Conversation Based experience that provides value to business/user
○ WebXR – an API that allows developers to create XR experiences;
○ React360 – a coding framework for the creation of interactive 360 experiences that run in your web browser
○ Unity3D – Unity is a cross-platform game engine used to create AR Experiences
3D Object / Viewers
○ OBJ – 3D File Format
○ GlTF – 3D File Format
○ USDZ – 3D File Format
○ STL – 3D File Format
○ Model Viewer – Google’s 3D viewer for Web pages
○ Unity to WebGL – The process to move unity experiences to Web Pages
Cloud Storage Options
○ AWS S3 – Amazon Storage
○ GCP Cloud Bucket – Google Storage
○ Azure Blob Storage – Microsoft Storage
○ DigitalOcean Spaces – 3D Party Storage
AR Content Delivery Networks
○ AWS Cloudfront – Amazon
○ GCP Cloud CDN – Google
○ Azure CDN – Microsoft
○ DigitalOcean CDN – 3D Party
○ Magic Leap 1 – Augmented Reality Headset from Magic Leap
○ Holo Lens – Augmented Reality Headset from Microsoft
○ Oculus Rift – Virtual Reality Headset from Oculus/Facebook
○ Oculus Quest – Virtual Reality Headset from Oculus/Facebook
○ Oculus Go – Virtual Reality Headset from Oculus/Facebook
○ HTC Vive – Virtual Reality Headset from HTC
Want to learn more about the terminology discussed in this blog and how it can help your business?
Spatial Computing is an umbrella term for the more immersive kind of digital experiences within the digital world. Spatial Computing uses input from both the user and the environment that they are in. In order to do this, more intuitive interaction tools are required, especially in comparison to more traditional tools like a keyboard and mouse. This includes processing natural human responses, such as speech, head motion, body movement, and eye-tracking. The data from these responses is used to create 3D-like environments that are overlaid onto the real world. These overlays are more commonly referred to as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR).
Virtual Reality is exactly that – virtual. By wearing a VR headset, you are immersed in an entirely digital world, completely separate from the physical environment that you are currently in.
Augmented Reality merely supplements the real world that you’re in. Think of apps like Pokemon Go and Snapchat that overlay filters onto the real world to augment what is seen on-screen versus what is there in reality.
Mixed Reality Spectrum
The best way to understand the range of technology used in spatial computing is to visualize how that technology functions on something called the virtuality continuum, as defined in a research paper by Paul Milgram and Fumio Kishino called “A Taxonomy of Mixed Reality Visual Displays.”
This virtuality continuum defines a spectrum, with the physical world on one side and the digital world on the other. Technology is placed upon it depending on how it interacts (or doesn’t) with the physical world and where it “places” the user. With that definition in mind, tech like Augmented Reality is placed on the side closest to the physical world because it takes the user’s environment and merely augments it. Virtual Reality is found on the opposite side, in the digital world. This is because the actual interaction of VR with the physical world of the user is non-existent due to its very nature of existing in a virtual reality.
So, Where Exactly Does Mixed Reality Fall on This Spectrum?
This may be a slightly misleading question. Mixed Reality (MR) essentially is the spectrum, as MR interacts with both the physical and digital worlds- hence the term, mixed reality.
How Exactly Does MR Interact with Both the Physical and Digital Worlds?
Basically, given that MR itself exists on a spectrum, its use of the physical and digital worlds can vary. What makes it different, however, is that although it has the ability to transport users to the virtual world, it also takes into account the physical environment that the user is currently in and uses that to create a digital experience. A common example of this is if a user has a desk in the room, the MR tech would take this into account. If there was something hidden under that desk, the user would have to physically look under that desk in the real world to be able to access whatever is hidden in the digital world.
Given that MR operates on that spectrum, the extent to which it actually transports users to the digital world or augments their physical environment will differ for different systems. It is predicted that headsets that can cover the entire spectrum will be a reality in the near future.
On the most basic of levels, those are the fundamental differences between VR, AR, and MR. Virtual Reality transports its users to the virtual world without consideration for their physical world. Augmented Reality only takes in the physical world to augment it for the user. Mixed Reality combines the functions of both VR and AR. At the same time, all of these fall under the overarching term of Spatial Computing, given that they enhance how users interact and receive data from their computational devices and make them more intuitive and natural to humans.
Want to learn more on Spatial Computing and Mixed Reality and how it can help your business?
As people around the world continue to live in the virtual era due to the public health crisis, we are adjusting to the new way of conducting business. We’re now in a world where virtual meetings are the norm and handshaking is a thing of the past. Some retail businesses have closed their doors, restaurants shifted their models to delivery and curbside pickup only, and the hospitality and airline industry took a hard hit due to travel restrictions. Just exactly how do we conduct business during this shift in normalcy? At PeakActivity, we have outlined a digital initiative called “Low-Touch” Commerce that will allow you to gain an advantage over your competition through innovation. The best part is that you can start implementing this strategy to start seeing success now.
Defining “Low-Touch” Commerce
“Low-Touch” Commerce combines social distancing, digital-first interactions, best-in-breed technology, and innovative ideas to drive conversions in our virtual environments. “Low-Touch” Commerce will likely extend well beyond the next 8-12 months. With this in mind, PeakActivity is focused on helping every industry get back on its feet with minimal investment dollars and maximum returns.
With our daily lives being affected due to the pandemic, we are seeing large swings in public policy, as well as shifts in person-to-person communication, like limited face-to-face contact, travel restrictions, and hygiene requirements. In addition to these social changes, we’re seeing more businesses shift to a focus on remote work, virtual healthcare, and eCommerce.
There has been a massive change in how customers consume everything from information to food and entertainment. Some of the most affected industries have been retail, health, fitness, entertainment, restaurants, grocery stores, and education. However, it’s not hard to notice the boom in technology related to “Low-Contact” Commerce, as we have seen rises in virtual meetings, contactless payment systems, AR & VR experiences, and virtual shopping assistants.
How To Start Seeing Success Now
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20 Apps for Peak Productivity in 2020
A new year offers a fresh start, with 365 opportunities that could change your life!
1. Slack (Communication)
2. Mindly (Mind Maps)
Track your creative ideas with Mindly, a tool for mind mapping. Formulate topics and subtopics effortlessly, then print or share from the app.
3. Trello (Team Management)
Trello visually organizes your projects, much like a whiteboard full of sticky notes does. You can create boards and add cards to help you keep track of what’s done, in progress, or to-do.
4. Spotify (Music)
Spotify makes the list because it’s no secret that listening to music can help increase productivity. Check out a pre-made playlist for productivity (or whatever mood you’re in), then get to work!
5. Todoist (To-Do List)
6. Strides (Goal & Habit Tracker)
Strides allows you to track anything from habits to SMART goals, with helpful reminders to hold you accountable and charts to keep you motivated.
7. Pind (Task Manager)
8. Otter (Voice to Text)
9. Fabulous (Daily Motivation)
10. Flora (Team Focus)
The Flora app helps you (and your team) stay focused by planting ‘seeds’ that potentially flourish into healthy trees of progress. It’s simple. Plant a seed when it’s time to focus. Stay on task, and the seed will grow. But, should anyone use their phone, the tree dies.
11. Adobe Scan (Document Scanner)
12. Fiverr (Freelance Work)
Need help with projects outside your wheelhouse? Use Fiverr to find someone to help! Fiverr is the largest marketplace for digital services, making it easy to commission the right person for the right job. Transparent pricing and helpful reviews are also a plus.
13. Toggl (Time Tracker)
14. Acorns (Investments)
15. Mindvalley (Personal Growth)
16. Grammarly Keyboard (Writing)
17. Robokiller (Call Blocker)
18. TimeTree (Shared Calendar)
19. Asana (Project Management)
20. Evernote (Note Taker)
Any other Apps for Peak Productivity in 2020?
Want to learn more?
Come back next week for more awesome content as we’ll examine more upcoming posts.
Container organization allows developers to package applications to be deployed more easily and quickly. Containers are enveloping the world of software development for companies of all sizes, from small startups to Fortune 100 companies. The momentum behind Kubernetes, as the future of infrastructure, will not be slowing down any time soon.
What is Kubernetes?
Kubernetes is a platform first developed by a team at Google. The goal of Kubernetes is to provide a container management system. Kubernetes has rapidly become the most popular among the engineers at Google, with many other companies actively contributing to the project. By leveraging Google’s extensive experience of running software on a large scale, Kubernetes can now help run software in a modern cloud environment.
How does Kubernetes work?
Let’s say an application environment is your lunchbox. The contents of the lunchbox are all made and assembled before you put them in, and changing one item in the lunchbox does not impact the other. Each piece is isolated in its own container. The Kubernetes system is like a lunchbox that allows for the expansion of certain contents (scaling), with the isolation of every unique item and the ability to remove any item without affecting any of the other contents (immutability).
Kubernetes eliminates many of the manual processes involved in deploying and scaling applications in containers.
Kubernetes is an open-source platform that automates container operations. With containerization as a trend that’s taking over the world, Kubernetes allows people to run all kinds of different applications in a variety of different environments. If you need to keep track of many different containers, schedule them, and orchestrate them, Kubernetes is your solution.
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