Adobe announced at its annual Adobe Summit conference that in separate projects it has integrated its cloud technologies with Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant and its analytics technologies with Microsoft’s HoloLens virtual reality/augmented reality solution to enhance the use cases and capabilities of both products.
The integration of Adobe Experience Cloud technologies with Amazon’s open APIs for Alexa allows Alexa to tap into customer profiles and other user-specific data to drive greater levels of personalization. Under the project with Microsoft HoloLens, retailers can visualize analytics details on shopper behavior and foot traffic patterns in their stores with the help of a virtual reality overlay created with data derived from in-store Internet of Things sensors.
Adobe also said at the conference that it is using its Sensei artificial intelligence and machine learning technology along with its cloud, analytics and other technologies to enable new applications in virtual reality advertising, geo-based audience targeting and intelligent website personalization.
Just how hot are technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality and Internet of Things? Well, the “Summit Sneaks” portion of the conference during which these innovations were announced was hosted by "Saturday Night Live" star performer and scene-stealer Kate McKinnon — and in the headline of the press release announcing the news, McKinnon got only fourth billing behind VR, AR and IoT. Maybe she just needs a better agent.
Still, Adobe needs to show retailers it's handy with sector-transforming technologies like those mentioned above. The company lately has been refining its approach to the retailer market, in January announcing other efforts focused on personalization that now seem like an appetizer to the entrée of partnering up with Amazon and Alexa. The integration with Amazon’s Alexa could work just as well with any other virtual assistant, however, and you have to wonder if that's where Adobe is headed. The data held in the Adobe cloud and easily accessible by devices through APIs could bring some added value to the entire virtual assistant market and especially to voice search applications.
The Microsoft HoloLens integration is a nod to the ongoing, perhaps increasing demand for analytics. It's a science retailers are starting to believe in, and numerous companies have been lining up to provide them with ever more detailed snapshots of foot traffic and shoppers' in-store movements.
The Summit also proved to be a showcase for Adobe's Sensei, the artificial intelligence and machine learning technology that is a component across many of Adobe's innovations for retail. There are a lot of companies now developing AI for different purposes across a number of industries. The list of companies doing it for retail is shorter, and the list of companies with their own AI and the scale to work with many of the largest retailers is shorter still, but Adobe makes that list.