connecting the dots in mobile and digitalGranted, the advance of digital, the explosion of social and our own addiction to mobile have come together to make ‘mobile-first’ a must. But smart brands and businesses are building the cognitive capabilities to interact with us in ways that are people-first, not just mobile-first, placing mobile at the center of an approach that connects the ‘data dots’ in our mobile, social, digital, and real-world actions and behaviors in order to us give personalized and frictionless experiences.

It’s time for a rethink — and to shift to what I call a more ‘mobile-holistic’ approach in order to deliver people what they want, when and how they want it, based on a deeper understanding of the information and context we provide through the online, offline, mobile, social and digital ‘sessions’ that define our daily routine.

It’s a point I argue in my latest eBook (Mobile: The Great Connector) and discuss in depth during a hard-hitting yet humorous exchange with Jaume Lahoz —entrepreneur, tech lover, early adopter, geek , co-founder & Editor in chief of @andro4all, a combination blog and YouTube channel that offers a mix of tech reviews and user tips.

We connected for the first time at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in his hometown of Barcelona to debate the place and purpose of mobile apps and the increasing importance of personalized experiences — across all platforms and devices , not just mobile.

MobileIdeas video

By way of background, Jaume and I were among a handful of influencers chosen by IBM and its digital marketing agency Ogilvy & Mather to be part of a new kind of influencer campaign, one that captured our conversations about mobile’s present and future in MobileIdeas— the perfect name for the van that brought us to the MWC venue and allowed us the opportunity for an edgy exchange of ideas and opinions.

In the first video we discuss mobile innovation trends, the increasing opportunity for local content, and what women, in particular require in the way of ‘mobile-holistic experiences. There are many more clips from MobileIdeas in the pipeline, so look for companion posts I’ll feature here on MobileGroove (timed to the launch of each video) to provide context and perspective.

During our discussion we also agree that context, based on a deep understanding of our personalities, passions and social profiles, is essential to deliver on the promise of what Gartner has aptly dubbed ‘Me Marketing’ — and much, much more.

Our expectation that marketing (and communications) should be a match with what matters most to each and every one of us dovetails with recent developments in IBM’s Watson, the cognitive technology that has ‘learned’ to process information more like a human than a computer.

As I learned on the #IBMMobile booth at MWC apps powered by Watson — which has ‘grown up’ and become a cloud-based technology platform offering developers dozens of APIs to help them bake cognitive capabilities into apps and services — are paving the way for a new phase in business transformation and a new era of customer experience.

(FYI: The World of Watson Hackathon will be taking place in New York City on May 21-22.)

A great example is Nao, the small humanoid robot powered by Watson that communicates in a ‘human-like’ way — complete with realistic intonation, appropriate hand gestures and a good amount of good humor.

Nao, I learned, will be making its debut at hotels (as the perfect digital and decisional assistant and concierge) beginning this year.

Indeed, this year will see advances in cognitive technology and natural language processing (powered by Watson and embodied in Nao) begin to totally transform business and service.

Expect to see the emergence of human and sensitive customer service.

Nao shows future of service

The driver here is not technology, although the immediate connectivity, communication and gratification offered by mobile and digital is a big part of this.

The real motor behind this innovation is what I call our ’emerging sense of entitlement’.

Smart brands and businesses that have catered to our requirements with everything from mobile apps to make ordering, tracking and picking up purchases a breeze, to self-checkout registers and in-store technology aimed at reducing time and frustration waiting on line, has created the consumer expectation that everything should be so simple.

Companies aren’t there yet. But their increased realization that the conversations that connect brands and consumers must be people-powered and customer-focused is an important first step.

It’s why the capabilities to mining social data and discussions, extracting insights from the vast amounts of unstructured data and information we freely offer when we engage in social media conversations, tops my list of mega-trends that will transform marketing.

My own demo of this technology — though ‘tongue in cheek’ — doesn’t just reveal that I have lots in common with celebrities including rapper and actor Snoop Dogg, adrenalin powered entrepreneur and trend-spotter Jeremy Gutsche; and hard rock guitarist Slash. (“We’re not worthy!” LOL).

social media profile

It speaks volumes about how and why understanding my cohorts can potentially power more engaging exchanges with brands and businesses.

Content, context and, now, cognitive. It’s a ‘perfect storm’ of capabilities coming together to equip brands and businesses to deliver engaging, amazing and personally relevant experiences designed specifically to satisfy our emerging sense of entitlement and our collective demand that tech should blend the digital and physical worlds and then begin to disappear.