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AI: Increasing the Intelligence on Smartphones

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Artificial Intelligence is the backbone for many groundbreaking applications in industrial, automotive and video gaming. Now, AI is taking center stage in smartphones, and it goes far beyond applications like digital assistants. The emergence of Edge-AI technology allows moving many of the backend profiling AI capabilities to the phone itself.

Apple, Samsung, and Huawei have all introduced smartphones with powerful AI chips that can perform up to 5 trillion operations per second and use significantly less power to accomplish tasks. With AI, these phones provide features from Face ID to Augmented Reality. AI is even used to improve photo quality, with an AI-recognition of depth that enables digital image postproduction editing of blur and sharpness.

According to Gartner Inc., “Artificial intelligence (AI) features will become a critical product differentiator for smartphone manufacturers that will help them to acquire new customers while retaining current users. As the smartphone market shifts from selling technology products to delivering compelling and personalized experiences, AI solutions running on the smartphone will become an essential part of vendor roadmaps over the next two years.”

The smartphone AI market is poised to grow along with smartphone ownership, which is expected to grow to 3.8 billion by 2021, according to market researcher Newzoo. While many phone manufacturers are building in expected AI features like user authentication, emotion recognition and device management, the true potential of AI-enabled smartphones are in understanding user behaviors.

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Companies spend billions every year in mobile advertising to better understand their customers’ behaviors. While more companies are investing in mobile advertising, these companies are still searching for better user data and the ability to better target consumers with contextual offers.

AI is poised to help, now making it possible to allow the smartphone itself to create an accurate and rich offline profile of its owner. Moreover, and perhaps surprisingly, it can be done without sharing any personally identifiable information (PII) outside of the phone. This is possible by smart interpretation and fusion of the signals generated by on-device multiple sensors such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, barometers, accelerometers, GPS and more.

Currently, there are applications that are optimized to work with all sensors types to gain a more thorough and comprehensive understanding of the user via his or her smartphone. This new offline 360-degree understanding of the user can help with more accurate targeting while also contributing to the existing 360 degrees online profiling. And in an age when consumer privacy is more important than ever, it offers greater benefits to privacy protection.

Armed with information AI can provide help to industries such as retail, banking and automotive to better understand their customers. By recognizing a customer’s location and movements, retailers can provide relevant and contextual offers that will entice consumers more than standard pop-up ads.

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For example, with AI-inspired applications, retailers can improve engagement and reduce churn on an individual consumer basis. Retailers can predict when a customer may need a service or product based on his or her profile and usage data. Or better understand share-of-wallet and identify high-value customers who are shopping at competitors based on behavior and movement patterns. This enables retailers the ability to provide timely, relevant messages and promotions that target individual needs. With AI, the days of mass-market promotions are numbered.

AI-powered applications also provide a wealth of analytics to help advertisers capitalize on CAPEX and OPEX expenditures. Edge-AI applications that sit on a mobile phone can assess customer foot traffic of a retailer’s business or its competitors and decide where to open the next store branch and then promote it to a specific audience. Or Machine Learning applications can compare data versus nearby competition using the same metrics and provide incentives to a retailer’s service.

In an era where data privacy is compromised hourly, the best way to target consumers and protect their identities might be by keeping their private data in their own hands. As smartphone Edge-AI technologies and sales continue to grow, more advertisers will look to mobile marketing to entice current and potential customers without having to know all of their personal details.

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