3 Use Cases for Image Recognition You Should Know in 2018

A few years back I published a video with my team to describe a vision how a data driven digital customer journey will look like. Especially the scene of taking an photo on the go when seeing a product or style I like and want find out the fastest way to order it.

I had my through back Thursday moment during a underground ride in London shortly, where I saw this rucksack below. Mind the shopping gap 😉

Use cases for image recognition in 2018 powered by MDM

There are multiple use cases for device-enabled image recognition, which go way beyond the omnichannel customer experience. My three examples look at image recognition in the context of master data management (MDM).

1. Augmented Return Management
Product returns are retails enemy number one. It was enough said and written on the impact of product information quality on returns. But making sure the return product is the right one and where it has to go can be supported by mobile driven image recognition to augment the barcode or EAN tracking. This will improvs process quality and reduce inefficiencies.

2. Augmented MRO (Maintenance Repair Operations)
This basically applies to a large variety of industries. Think of a building construction worker on site, missing an accessory or a maintenance worker on the railroad or the broadband cable provider. S/he needs to understand what is the matching item s/he has to order. Is it compatible with the thing s/he is looking at. Where is it available?

The potential of the internet of things (IoT) will level this up, but will require to access high volumes of information (often master data) in real-time.

3. Omnichannel Search
Tech startups like Fashwell, social platform Pinterest and retailers like Asos have announced new offers to solve it. Have you successfully used it as a consumer? My trials as a consumer so far did not lead to the expected outcome as a consumer. Please let me know your experience. A key question to solve is the visual identification of the “thing” but then to map it to correct record of master data and offer the correct product, alternatives and accessories. In my case I found out that the rucksack costs more than 2000 Euro. What if this is to much for my budget? What if the retailer or brand knows the typical range of spend I do? Many, many questions. But the time for answers has come.

What will 2018 bring?

What is your experience? What is your need in your business? What other use cases are you expecting to happen? Clearly there is more in the context of augmented reality, smart cities, smart driving and the challenge of teaching machines to see.

We are happy to take your questions from our team of Riversand MDM experts.

Stay tuned what 2018 will bring. Big pictures on the horizon.

Smokey Customer Experience: Me & My Kitchen Hood

We moved into our new house four years ago. Now, for the second time in four years, our extractor fan/ hood collapsed and we had to call the maintenance service. Here comes the tricky part: The fan is one of the new types – without an extractor hood. What a great invention for style and comfort for people of my height!

Sadly, there is a downside to it. The entire kitchen, with all equipment we purchased from a kitchen installer and carpenter house. (A local one, not a large chain.)

The kitchen installer pushed my request to the manufacturer of the fan. After 2 weeks of cooking without the fan, the fan manufacture managed to come by our house, only to find out that they cannot access the fan motor without opening the installed kitchen. So we had to arrange a second party, this time with three people: the kitchen installer, the fan manufacturer and me.  You need to know that the service manager from the fan manufacturer was not the same person from the earlier dates.


What do you know about your customer?

This is our my recent dialog in my kitchen went, when a service manager came by our house:

  • Service manager: I have no information about your problem. What’s not working?
  • Me: Well I called your service center several times and a colleague was visiting me two weeks ago.
  • Service manager: I have no information. I don’t have all spare parts with me.
  • Me: I cannot believe this, I already told your colleagues what my issue is.

Dear readers of my blog, I don’t want to bother you with my kitchen and home stories. This supply chain relationship clearly showed me that both companies have room to improve in a key area: Collecting information and sharing information, to ensure the happiness of their clients (in this case, me.)

In the time digital and data, is it this complicated to store information about me – my customer profile, my purchase history, my warranty? Why can’t they have a consistent 360 view of their customer, Ben Rund, across their touch points (call center, service manager, and retail partner?)

Recommendations make all the difference 

According to this MyKinsey article, 35% of Amazon.com’s revenue is generated by their recommendation engine.  At the end of the day, recommendations and ratings matter – Offline, online or omni-channel. I was very happy with the kitchen installer in the early days, and even recommended them to a friend who went and made a purchase there. Same for the fan brand. But, with the service level going down, I will now think twice before recommending them again.  What if both companies could see the potential within my network? What if they could leverage this potential for influencer marketing?

Connected kitchen 

IDG predicts that there will be 200 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020. (I am sure it will be even more!) I have to admit, my kitchen is not yet connected to the internet of things, but I am sure it will be soon. Did you know that post organisations are working with manufacturers of dish washers to develop a thin envelope or box which can carry 10 dish washer tabs and fit in an average post mail box? With the dish washer being connected to the internet (which makes it a IoT device) it can trigger an order to ship a now box of 10. This is digital transformation and even cooler than Amazon Dash, in my view.

What stays?

Having the service manager ring twice at my home annoys me. Having me ring them up more than two times annoys me even more. What if they were able to have single view of me, my household, my products, my retail partner and my next logical purchase?

PS: It has now been five weeks and the issue remains unsolved. We have stopped cooking. Master Data Management (MDM) can be your engine to make customer experience and maintenance services work smart, be connecting the dots across things, parties and places.