Intel’s drive to redefine the customer experience is all about technology

For years, Intel has played a pivotal role in the evolution of customer experience tech, and the company continues to take a guiding role in the implementation of diverse technologies in new and innovative products that engage and delight customers.

Recently, Christie Rice, director of the worldwide global digital signage and interactive kiosk segment for the Internet of Things Group at Intel, sat down with ICX Association Director Christopher Hall to talk about her company’s work with so many of the technologies that enable interactive customer experiences of today — and tomorrow.

Q. Hi, Christie. Can you start off by telling me a bit about yourself and your role at Intel?

A. Thanks for having me! I have been at Intel for over 20 years in various technical, product and strategic marketing roles, as well as business development roles.

My current position is in the Internet of Things Group, and I’m responsible for driving Intel’s digital signage, kiosk, and interactive white board business in the Americas. This means that I work with our partners to ensure that they can provide to their customers the best possible customer experience using Intel processors.

People always ask me, “What is Intel doing in digital signage?” and the answer is simple: We are the processor that enables the great experiences. We enable the rich media content, interactivity, analytics, and ultimately the customer’s experiences while also providing business insights to the signage owner.

We are inside the media players that sit inside, behind, beneath or beside the majority of digital signs and kiosks worldwide.

Q. Can you talk a bit more broadly about Intel’s envisioned role in creating engaging customer experiences?

A. A few years back digital signs could only provide very basic functions — they could play simple videos or PowerPoint slide shows.

Technology, driven by Intel, now enables so much more. We can now engage the customer in interactivity driven by rich media and on multiple screens operating in conjunction with each other.

We can collect information from the environment to provide more personalized and relevant experiences to the customers. Digital signs are morphing into kiosks that provide additional services like wayfinding and a ton of different self-service options.

The processing power provided by Intel CPUs gives our customers a multitude of options for how they want to engage their customers and how they want to provide an ever-increasing level of customer experience to meet the ever-increasing demands of the consumer.

Q. Obviously, Intel is involved in everything from smart mirrors to self-driving cars to AI; how do these disparate fields come together for Intel and customer-facing brands?

A. Intel is a very large company with resources working on all of these capabilities — as well as several areas many of us don’t even know about! The work we are doing in big data, analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are applicable to many different markets — and driving an enhanced customer experience is just one of them.

We see things like analytics and AI helping our customers provide the ultimate in customer experience by catering content to their likes, understanding their needs, and enhancing their experiences.

Analytics on edge devices — like cameras, signs, kiosks, etc. — have the ability to provide real-time feedback and adjust to the environment immediately, making sure that the experiences meet the demands.

The ability to gather information from, and act on, local IoT devices also provides a more personalized and interactive customer experience.

Q. What do you see as some of the key challenges and opportunities in this space?

A. The industry continues to work through challenges in justifying the ROI for digital experiences. So many customers are still looking only at the initial capital expense and aren’t able to look forward to the returns.

Part of this is an artifact of how companies’ expenses are judged by the market. This is why many companies are looking at ways to move some of the expenses to operating expenses.

Service models are starting to emerge that might be able to overcome some of these challenges. … The retail, finance, and hospitality environments still have so many untapped opportunities. Now is the time to provide the customer experiences that your customers are demanding.

Q. Some of the things you and I talk about with Intel probably seem to many people like they comes straight from the realm of science fiction; what does the near future look like in terms of using these technologies in the marketplace?

A. While self-driving cars and the sci-fi things are very cool, the underlying technologies are already available now and are already driving customer experiences and providing business insights.

We are only touching the surface on what we can do with edge computing and analytics. We are just starting to look at machine learning and artificial intelligence in this space. I would expect that in 10 years we will be doing things we haven’t even envisioned today.

Rice will lead a panel discussion, Delight Customers and Drive Innovation with AI, at the upcoming ICX Summit, June 12–14, in Dallas.

Registration is now open for the ICX Summit, and also for the Bank Customer Experience Summit, Sept. 12–14, in Chicago.

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