Cognitive engagement: Nowcasting achieves what mass personalization aspired to

Posted by Nitin Mittal on April 13, 2017

Intelligent agents and avatars are no longer figments of sci-fi writers’ imaginations. They’re real manifestations of cognitive computing. And they’re here to stay.

Why should you care? Because cognitive is changing consumer experiences and expectations at light speed. Every time we ask Siri or Cortana to find a restaurant, instruct Google Home to adjust the temperature, drive a car equipped with an insurance company’s data-tracking device, or shop on Amazon, we engage with cognitive computing. We’re already wondering how we ever did without it. It’s becoming the new norm, and at Deloitte, we call it cognitive engagement. We’re using cognitive computing to interpret data and deliver real-time information—that’s cognitive engagement in action.

Through cognitive engagement, we are identifying patterns in big data, small data, and unstructured, fragmented “dark data” in near real time. Then we’re refining the underlying algorithms to interpret human behavior and suggest options—while the customer interaction is taking place.

The result of this is what we call nowcasting: giving marketers the ability to create flexible customer journeys that are continually defined, tweaked, and adjusted through feedback. We’re shifting rapidly beyond the notion of mass personalization, which relied on historical data analysis, forecasting, and prediction (and which ended up having many limitations) to true, in-the-moment customer engagement.

Many tools power cognitive engagement to achieve nowcasting: machine learning and natural language processing, machine-to-machine communications, probabilistic inference, semantic computing, reinforcement learning, handwriting and image recognition, augmented and virtual reality, textual entailment—the list goes on and on.

The power of nowcasting is being unleashed all around us. Deloitte clients in the automotive, airline, health care, retail, and wealth management industries are already adopting these capabilities. Several major financial services firms are employing cognitive personal wealth managers to guide individuals through basic financial planning exercises based on their specific financial conditions and life events.  This form of nowcasting brings traditional wealth management services to a much broader spectrum of individuals, regardless of net worth, and helps equalize access to financial planning tools.

How do you think your organization could put cognitive engagement to work? I’d like to hear from you.


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