No one wants to be a “user”. We are all unique individuals with different experiences and expectations of the technology we choose to use. One of the first attempts at personalizing our digital experiences brought the creation of user profiles. Create a profile and be greeted by name the next time you login – neat! The profiles that we’ve all created have now been augmented by big data. Every social network “like”, every purchase, and every search builds the digital information around each of us, so the experience feels like a real, even human-like interaction. While there are privacy concerns at play here, we are seeing evidence that people will give some of this information away in exchange for highly personalized, and thus useful, experiences.
Take retail subscriptions for example. Big data and artificial intelligence algorithms can determine exactly when my wife and I are two diapers away from a minor household catastrophe. When the delivery of a new case of diapers arrives at our door the very day that we’re about to run out, I am not only delighted, I have become a raving fan of that service. The e-commerce site seems to know me. That’s true personalization.