Sunday, August 17, 2014

Viv - Global Brain or Gold Digger?

This week a silicon valley start up Viv Labs announced their new artificially intelligent digital assistant Viv. While the former Apple engineers (who helped develop Apple's Siri) launched a media blitz to announce Viv it's interesting to me that their website has very little information about this new product.

They link to a Wired Magazine article about Viv for visitors to "learn more about Viv's team, technology, and vision.

It's a bit striking that a digital product like this would have so little promotional material. After all, if you have a vision, why don't you share it? Why have someone else deliver that information? I've worked in advertising and PR and I know what it takes to get your message out. Most successful PR campaigns are driven by the vision of the company and not by the press.

They have a nice tag line: "The Global Brain - Viv radically simplifies the world by providing an intelligent interface to everything." However, what does that really mean?

Perhaps the reason why there is so little information is that Viv Labs doesn't want people to know what they are trying to accomplish. In my view this is where the technology industry often fails.

In an NPR interview with Wired Magazine writer Steven Levy, Viv is described as "a more complex Siri." That seems more realistic to me. Levy describes the potential of this new digital assistant by talking about how you could use Viv on the way to a dinner party to help you find the best bottle of wine to pair with the menu. Viv can access store information, locations, and available supplies of products. Viv accesses the contact information on your phone and begins to collect information about your interests, habits, lifestyle and so forth.

There it is, e-commerce is the goal of Viv. "They are going to make money . . . not so much by serving you ads, but in taking a cut in all the transactions you are going to make" using Viv. The more Viv knows about you, the better Viv can "assist you" in your daily life -- and purchases.

I believe it'a about time technology companies begin to say exactly what they are doing with the development of their products. Viv is not a global brain. It's a way for people to use technology to find the best deal on the best products they are looking to purchase.

No comments: