Mar 11, 2021

Can micro segmentation improve telecom customer experience?

AI
micro segmentation
telecommunications
customer experience
Tilly Kenyon
3 min
Customer micro segmentation and AI can allow marketers to gain a deeper customer understanding and transform their experience
Customer micro segmentation and AI can allow marketers to gain a deeper customer understanding and transform their experience...

Personalised marketing is an important factor in trying to get the best out of your business, as it offers an improved user experience by serving relevant content. We are surrounded by personalisation every day, potentially without even realising it, from Netflix to Spotify. A personalised experience has become key to us - Accenture found that 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them.

What is micro segmentation and how does it help telecommunications? 

Micro segmentation is a marketing strategy that uses data to identify the interests of specific individuals and influence their thoughts or actions. It allows a company to divide up their customers into smaller precise segments based on different factors such as behavioural prediction. Marketers can then directly target each micro-segment with specific actions which then maximizes the effectiveness of every contact with each customer. 

Tracking and analysing how various marketing actions affect the behavior of each micro-segment allows companies to predict the effectiveness levels of the marketing actions of each segment. 

Micro segmentation allows businesses to market specific new offers to each segment which is suited to them, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. This strategy increases the chances of the consumer being interested in the offer and increases the chances of revenue. 

Can AI help? 

Artificial Intelligence is extremely beneficial in the telecommunication industry as it can improve the relationship between companies and consumers. 

Sanjog Misra, the Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing at Chicago Booth, said: 

“..Typically when we think about A.I. in the context of marketing, what we’re really referring to is this ability to get machines to learn something from large quantities of data. And in particular, what we’ve become reasonably good at is taking large amounts of data and essentially uncovering what people’s tastes, preferences, what their needs are, and then using those to build scalable algorithms that can deliver customized marketing intervention.”

AI can help marketers collect data, recognise new potential customers segments and create a more unified analytics system. It can also create more customer personalisation and precision in ways that did not exist before. 

A popular AI feature that many telecoms companies are using are chatbots. These are computer system programmes that can be incorporated into websites and social media sites to connect with online customers. They can be very beneficial to companies as it frees up workers to concentrate on different aspects of their job, and also allows customers to raise their issue or query 24/7. 

“Even in its earliest iteration, AI helped companies better understand how to be human,” says Brian Solis, author and principal analyst at digital analyst group Altimeter.

Telecommunications can definitely benefit from using micro segmentation and AI, as it will improve customer experience, which in turn should increase their profits. 

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Jun 17, 2021

Chinese Firm Taigusys Launches Emotion-Recognition System

Taigusys
China
huawei
AI
Elise Leise
3 min
Critics claim that new AI emotion-recognition platforms like Taigusys could infringe on Chinese citizens’ rights

In a detailed investigative report, the Guardian reported that Chinese tech company Taigusys can now monitor facial expressions. The company claims that it can track fake smiles, chart genuine emotions, and help police curtail security threats. ‘Ordinary people here in China aren’t happy about this technology, but they have no choice. If the police say there have to be cameras in a community, people will just have to live with it’, said Chen Wei, company founder and chairman. ‘There’s always that demand, and we’re here to fulfil it’. 

 

Who Will Use the Data? 

As of right now, the emotion-recognition market is supposed to be worth US$36bn by 2023—which hints at rapid global adoption. Taigusys counts Huawei, China Mobile, China Unicom, and PetroChina among its 36 clients, but none of them has yet revealed if they’ve purchased the new AI. In addition, Taigusys will likely implement the technology in Chinese prisons, schools, and nursing homes.

 

It’s not likely that emotion-recognition AI will stay within the realm of private enterprise. President Xi Jinping has promoted ‘positive energy’ among citizens and intimated that negative expressions are no good for a healthy society. If the Chinese central government continues to gain control over private companies’ tech data, national officials could use emotional data for ideological purposes—and target ‘unhappy’ or ‘suspicious’ citizens. 

 

How Does It Work? 

Taigusys’s AI will track facial muscle movements, body motions, and other biometric data to infer how a person is feeling, collecting massive amounts of personal data for machine learning purposes. If an individual displays too much negative emotion, the platform can recommend him or her for what’s termed ‘emotional support’—and what may end up being much worse. 

 

Can We Really Detect Human Emotions? 

This is still up for debate, but many critics say no. Psychologists still debate whether human emotions can be separated into basic emotions such as fear, joy, and surprise across cultures or whether something more complex is at stake. Many claim that AI emotion-reading technology is not only unethical but inaccurate since facial expressions don’t necessarily indicate someone’s true emotional state. 

 

In addition, Taigusys’s facial tracking system could promote racial bias. One of the company’s systems classes faces as ‘yellow, white, or black’; another distinguishes between Uyghur and Han Chinese; and sometimes, the technology picks up certain ethnic features better than others. 

 

Is China the Only One? 

Not a chance. Other countries have also tried to decode and use emotions. In 2007, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) launched a heavily contested training programme (SPOT) that taught airport personnel to monitor passengers for signs of stress, deception, and fear. But China as a nation rarely discusses bias, and as a result, its AI-based discrimination could be more dangerous. 

 

‘That Chinese conceptions of race are going to be built into technology and exported to other parts of the world is troubling, particularly since there isn’t the kind of critical discourse [about racism and ethnicity in China] that we’re having in the United States’, said Shazeda Ahmed, an AI researcher at New York University (NYU)

 

Taigusys’s founder points out, on the other hand, that its system can help prevent tragic violence, citing a 2020 stabbing of 41 people in Guangxi Province. Yet top academics remain unconvinced. As Sandra Wachter, associate professor and senior research fellow at the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute, said: ‘[If this continues], we will see a clash with fundamental human rights, such as free expression and the right to privacy’. 

 

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