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000-M44 - IBM SUT Advanced Level Technical Sales(R) Mastery v1.0 - Dump Information

Vendor : IBM
Exam Code : 000-M44
Exam Name : IBM SUT Advanced Level Technical Sales(R) Mastery v1.0
Questions and Answers : 60 Q & A
Updated On : February 20, 2019
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000-M44 IBM SUT Advanced Level Technical Sales(R) Mastery v1.0

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000-M44 exam Dumps Source : IBM SUT Advanced Level Technical Sales(R) Mastery v1.0

Test Code : 000-M44
Test Name : IBM SUT Advanced Level Technical Sales(R) Mastery v1.0
Vendor Name : IBM
Q&A : 60 Real Questions

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IBM IBM SUT Advanced Level

IBM Watson’s subsequent mission is to tiptoe into HR, and rent the right person | killexams.com Real Questions and Pass4sure dumps

India may emerge as the third-greatest market within the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region for IBM’s synthetic intelligence (AI)-powered staff automation solution, launched in November last 12 months. The Armonk-based mostly software capabilities enormous expects giant-sized and mid-sized organisations from sectors corresponding to banking, insurance and manufacturing to be among the many first adopters of the solution.

The solution, dubbed the talent and Transformation suite of features, is one amongst a few that have come out of IBM’s international AI platform, Watson.

“India is without doubt one of the greatest markets for the solution when it comes to chance after Australia and Singapore (in the APAC region),” Lula Mohanty, familiar supervisor for APAC at IBM global business capabilities, advised TechCircle. “best 5 per cent of chief govt officers (CEOs) suppose that they have got launched into a transformation experience, mainly when it comes to human elements core features and simplest 24% of CHROs (chief human elements officers) consider that they have loads of work to do in terms of enhancing their core functions. this is a good trade in terms of rising consciousness within the nation,” she added.

Mohanty declined to touch upon certain shoppers that have already signed on for the solution in India. but the company in a statement launched in November referred to that, globally, it had already partnered with consumers to comprehensive greater than 1,000 human substances transformation initiatives.

The world roster of purchasers for the answer comprises Ford, EY and residents monetary group.

earlier than launching the human elements answer final yr, IBM had already tried, confirmed and perfected it internally over a period of five years.

“we've been running the AI for our core human substances operations and we've accomplished five times greater efficiency or productiveness from the time we began,” she pointed out. IBM claimed in an announcement in November remaining 12 months that the solution drove more than $300 million in benefits for the company, of which $107 million changed into derived in 2017 alone.

How IBM’s answer is distinctive from opponents’ options

Mohanty claims that while most rivals’ solutions work as automation tools, IBM’s solution goes beyond and addresses bottlenecks for the enterprise or the branch it is being utilized to. 

as an example, the Watson-powered AI might bear in mind intrinsic statistics such because the employee’s social media posts, preferences, performance at work, workplace behaviour and pastimes, earlier than throwing up a effect. extra, the solution keeps on researching about the employee via diverse boards, checkpoints, social media use and different feedback mechanisms similar to 360-diploma feedback, and many others., with a view to create a persona for future references. These personas will also be used by way of the AI sooner or later as reference elements when hiring yet another worker in the same team or department.

“in line with the worker’s efficiency, self-appraisal, pursuits, and so on., Watson can verify a number of key metrics corresponding to how a great deal invested the employee is, how tons did the productivity range from one challenge to a different, how entire groups are performing, is variety having an effect on the group, does the worker need a undeniable working towards or orientation, and so on.,” Mohanty observed. This helps agencies to not handiest examine attrition however additionally understand why productiveness stops rising at a definite degree.

aside from IBM, there are rather just a few startups from India and expertise giants reminiscent of Microsoft that are working on AI and desktop learning-based mostly human materials items and functions. Gurugram-headquartered PeopleStrong final yr had launched a brand new product, Alt Recruit, which makes use of artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML) as a matchmaking device to imply possible candidates for job openings at an enterprise.  

Bengaluru-primarily based Belong, which become incorporated in 2014 and has purchasers similar to Amazon, Reliance Jio, Cisco, and ThoughtWorks, too, presents a predictive hiring platform.

different startups include Darwinbox, Mettl, Monjin and edge Networks. These startups are backed by way of a few mission capital investors comparable to Lightspeed Ventures, Kalaari Capital, Blume Ventures and Sequoia.

Darwinbox and area Networks possibly come closest to IBM’s solution as both the startups appear to offer conclusion-to-end human components options. Hyderabad-based Darwinbox, which has clients equivalent to Paytm, Spencer’s and Delhivery, presents a set of services similar to core human substances tactics, people management, efficiency administration and worker engagement. The AI infusion comes in the sort of a recruiting tool that gives a rating to all applicants in line with the place by means of matching keyword phrases.

Bengaluru-based facet Networks’ most solutions are AI-based mostly that aid no longer simplest to establish the right ability however also support in addressing complications reminiscent of body of workers planning and ability transformation.

Mettl gives an app for testing candidates and Monjin presents a video platform for interviews.

even so, Microsoft’s ability answer presents a collection of tools to accelerate hiring and onboarding, upskilling ability and team of workers planning.

interestingly, the Watson AI answer doesn’t stop at human substances and might be utilized to departments such as legal, advertising, finance and operations, where it can be customised for distinctive work approaches.

Go-to-market approach

however, deploying an AI-primarily based human elements answer to core processes could lead to the want for re-skilling employees with the intention to make them consider how AI can assist in their day by day work routines.

IBM is additionally providing its AI advantage Academy, a service providing and tutorial programme so one can support agencies plan, build and practice strategic AI initiatives across the commercial enterprise, like evaluating AI roles and competencies, constructing integral expertise, and growing an organisational structure in guide of an AI approach.

“Our new AI knowledge Academy incorporates 4 built-in accessories that e-book a client during the process of determining an AI probability, prioritising AI projects to pursue in response to predicted business cost, studying curriculum designed to tackle AI capabilities gaps and raise adoption of AI options,” Mohanty talked about.

speakme about IBM garage, which constitutes the fourth element of the advantage Academy provider, she stated that the programme is an agile strategy to popping out with AI-primarily based solutions. “As a part of garage, IBM, startups and the business customer come together to talk about an issue, launch a proof-of-theory after which dish out an answer,” she explained.

The solution could be deployed as a SaaS (software as a service) mannequin or might sit down both on-premise or public cloud, reckoning on the requirement of the consumer. The income mannequin was based on the start model.

in keeping with a contemporary document by way of international advisory, broking and options company Wills Towers Watson, simplest 12 groups in India consider that their human resources services are absolutely prepared for the altering requirements of automation. as an instance, human resources is least organized for opting for new ways to re-ability skill (forty three%), re-designing jobs and deciding upon which tasks can ideal be performed via automation (fifty four%), and re-configuration of rewards and merits for present and new workforce (31%).

“while our analysis does point out that businesses in India are beginning to take small but strong steps to tackle this paradigm shift, enterprise leaders, individuals managers and human elements need to collaborate to identify and mitigate dangers and take full talents of the many opportunities that the future of work gifts,” Sambhav Rakyan, head of skill and rewards, Willis Towers Watson India, stated as a part of the document.

Emily Rose McRae, a senior predominant with guidance expertise analysis and advisory company Gartner Inc., in a document about team of workers automation, also said that human elements leaders should be aware of, given the increase in AI, what competencies their enterprise has now, what it will need sooner or later and how they will put together for day after today’s needs.


right here's What happened When IBM's superior AI laptop Challenged a global Debate Champion | killexams.com Real Questions and Pass4sure dumps

IBM's most advanced AI computing device challenges a checklist-setting human debate champion.Gallo Communications

Aristotle broke ground with the aid of claiming that the paintings of persuasion—rhetoric—can also be discovered. besides the fact that children Aristotle turned into appropriate, he may additionally never have expected a day when a machine may also be taught to argue. It took 2,300 years for it turn up, nevertheless it came about.

On Monday, February 11, I had a entrance row seat for the first reside debate between human and laptop. For six years, scientists at IBM analysis were working on the subsequent huge milestone for artificial intelligence (AI). First, Deep Blue beat a chess champion in 1996. Watson beat a champion game-display contestant on Jeopardy in 2011. Would an AI laptop beat a world list-holding debate champion in 2019?

The a whole lot of invited viewers individuals gave the win to…the human. however IBM’s “project Debater” nevertheless made historical past as the first AI desktop to make a persuasive argument about a given an issue it had not been programmed to gain knowledge of.

Harish Natarajan holds the area checklist for most foreign debate victories. Monday’s debate turned into the most extraordinary—and perhaps the most difficult—he’s ever had. in any case, mission Debater had entry to 10 billion sentences in a whole bunch of tens of millions of files. Natarajan had no entry to the web. He simply had a pen, his notepad and his mind.

both sides—human and desktop—had quarter-hour to prep for the talk. They were each and every offered with an issue: "should we subsidize preschools." undertaking Debater had to argue in assist of it. Natarajan needed to argue against it. as soon as once more, he had best his brain, persuasion advantage and a wonderful human potential to join with an viewers.

IBM’s AI laptop went first. She offered a reasoned, logical 4-minute case to aid her opinion. She concentrated on three areas: preschool boosts a baby's tutorial achievement, it helps to conquer poverty, and it outcomes in a decrease in crime. The desktop scanned hundreds of thousands of files, retrieved the relevant messages to guide its opinion, and introduced scores of stories and empirical analysis to again its argument.

according to scientists who labored on the assignment, the fulfillment is nothing in need of wonderful. challenge Debater structured an argument, simplest introduced evidence to support its case, listened to Natarajan’s argument and fashioned a rebuttal.

during this video, which you could watch IBM's AI computer open her speech.

Natarajan used a extra nuanced variety of persuasion—one that would resonate with fellow humans. Natarajan advised me that great persuaders discover common ground with their opponents. And that’s precisely what he did.

“First, I’d like to focal point on what agree on,” he began. “Poverty is awful. it is also horrific when individuals don’t have running water or healthcare to cover their baby…”

Natarajan used his time to argue that, while funding preschool is a laudable goal, we are living in the real world of financial constraints and there’s a limit to how much we can spend. He argued that project Debater’s place would harm the very people it intends to aid with the aid of re-directing scarce components from different invaluable initiatives.

at the conclusion of the controversy, the reside viewers of 800 visitors had been invited to vote. seeing that more individuals noted that Natarajan had became around their pre-formed opinions, he became declared the winner. after all, the element of debate is not to score probably the most points. It’s to sway a person’s opinion.

IBM’s AI desktop wasn’t developed to "win" or replace people. It changed into built to enrich human decision-making. according to the analysis group that developed the computer, it’s meant to boost communication with proof and intent. No, AI doesn’t have emotion. it could actually’t study an viewers or connect to people on an emotional level. nevertheless it can structure cost-efficient arguments backed by millions of studies, files and empirical facts.

undertaking Debater’s arguments have been “properly phrased and contextualized…improved than most humans,” Nataraji advised me after the debate. “It has astounding power to enrich the human."

Aristotle believed that with a purpose to convince individuals to exchange their minds, a speaker need to have a mixture of ethos (character), logos (good judgment, cause, and proof) and pathos (emotion). Aristotle argued that all three aspects needed to be latest for persuasion to turn up. IBM’s undertaking Debater is brief on emotion. It would not have the imagination to even dream itself up—that’s the unique area of the people who developed her. however she does have whatever useful to offer human determination-makers—evidence, purpose and common sense.


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February eleven, 2019 Timothy Prickett Morgan

If nothing else, the IBM i platform has exhibited superb longevity. One may even say legendary durability, if you wish to take its background the entire means lower back to the system/3 minicomputer from 1969. here's the precise starting factor in the AS/four hundred family tree and here is when big Blue, for extremely sound criminal and technical and advertising motives, decided to fork its products to address the enjoyable wants of large companies (with the system/360 mainframe and its observe-ons) and small and medium companies (starting with the system/3 and relocating on in the course of the system/34, system/32, gadget/38, and gadget/36 within the 1970s and early Nineteen Eighties and passing through the AS/four hundred, AS/400e, iSeries, equipment i, after which IBM i on power techniques structures.

It has been a protracted run certainly, and a lot of shoppers who've invested within the platform begun approach lower back then and there with the early types of RPG and moved their purposes ahead and changed them as their groups evolved and the depth and breadth of corporate computing changed, relocating on up through RPG II, RPG III, RPG IV, ILE RPG, and now RPG free form. Being on this platform for even three decades makes you a relative newcomer.

there is a longer run forward, due to the fact that we believe that the companies which are nevertheless working IBM i techniques are the authentic diehards, those who haven't any intention of leaving the platform and that, at least in keeping with the survey data we have been privy too, are aspiring to continue investing in, or even expand their investments in, the IBM i platform.

up to now, we don't seem to be in a recession and heaven willing there aren't one, so the priorities that IBM i shops have aren't those that they had a decade ago all the way through the top of the extremely good Recession. lower back then, as changed into the case in very nearly all IT businesses, IBM i retail outlets had been hunkering down and have been trying to reduce costs in all methods possible, together with deferring device improvements and migrations in addition to slicing lower back on other projects. best 29 p.c of the 750 IBM i retail outlets that participated in the 2019 IBM i industry Survey, which HelpSystems did back in October 2018, had been concerned about reducing IT spending. here is a remarkably low stage, and that i suppose is indicative of how exceedingly powerful the economic system is – excepting one of the suits and starts we saw at the conclusion of 2018 and right here in early 2019 that make us apprehensive and could start putting pressure on things. listed below are the properly concerns as culled from the survey:

coping with the growth in facts and in finding out the analytics to bite on that facts ranked a little bit greater on the 2019 IBM i marketplace Survey than did decreasing expenses, and that i suppose over the lengthy haul these concerns will become more essential than modernizing functions and coping with the IBM i capabilities shortages which are a perennial be anxious. both of those issues are being solved as new programmers and new tools to make new interfaces to database functions are getting greater usual and as technologies similar to free kind RPG, which appears greater like Java, Python, and php, are being more extensively deployed and, importantly, may also be picked up extra instantly via programmers experienced with these different languages.

Given the nature of the consumer base, it looks unlikely to me that security and high availability will no longer proceed to be primary concerns, although that the IBM i platform is among the most comfy systems on the planet (and never just since it is obscure, but since it is exceedingly tricky to hack) and it has a number high availability and disaster restoration equipment (from IBM, Syncsort, Maxava, and HelpSystems) accessible for people that are looking to double up their techniques and protect their functions and information. The bar is frequently higher than primary backup and recovery for many IBM i shops within the banking, assurance, manufacturing, and distribution industries that dominate the platform. These companies can’t have protection breaches, and that they can’t have downtime.

there is a amazing volume of steadiness within the IBM i consumer base that we suppose, at this point, is reflective in the steadiness of the IBM i platform and big Blue’s personal belief that it needs a fit IBM i platform to have an normal fit vigour systems company. all of us comprehend that the power programs hardware company has just grew to become in 5 quarters of earnings increase – something we discussed recently in constructing our personal earnings model for the vigour techniques enterprise – however what we did not know, and what be sure you know, is that within the 2nd and third quarters of 2018, the IBM i component of the company grew greatly sooner than the usual energy methods enterprise, and the only cause that this did not happen in the closing quarter of 2018 is that income of IBM i equipment in q4 2017 turned into rather potent and represented a extremely tough evaluate. The element is, the IBM i company has been raising the vigor techniques classification ordinary. (These tips in regards to the IBM i company come compliments of Steve Sibley, vp and offering manager of Cognitive techniques at IBM.)

IBM’s own monetary balance of the energy platform – which has been bolstered through a stream into Linux clusters for analytics and high performance computing simulation and modeling in addition to by way of the adoption of the HANA in-reminiscence database through SAP purchasers on big iron machines together with Power8 and now Power9 techniques – helps IBM i purchasers suppose extra assured in investing within the latest IBM i platform. The fresh proof from a few different surveys, now not just the one carried out via HelpSystems every year, suggests that agencies are by means of and big either carrying on with to make investments within the platform and even in some circumstances are planning to enhance their spending on the IBM i platform in 2019.

As you can see, the sample of investment plans for the IBM i platform, as proven in the chart above, has now not modified very an awful lot in any respect in the past four years. it is a remarkably sturdy sample with but a bit wiggling right here and there that may no longer even be statistically enormous. just below 1 / 4 of IBM i stores have pronounced during the past 4 years that they plan to boost their funding within the platform in each 12 months, and simply below half say that they're keeping regular. This does not imply that the identical corporations, yr after 12 months, are investing more and other companies are staying pat, 12 months after year. it is far more probably that each handful of years – greater like four or five – purchasers upgrade their methods and expand their capability, and they then sit down tight. The wonder is that the split isn’t displaying far fewer companies investing and far greater sitting tight. That greater than a tenth of the stores don’t comprehend what their plan is as each and every prior yr involves a detailed is just a little demanding, nevertheless it is honest and shows that a significant portion of shops produce other priorities other than hardware and working equipment upgrades. we have noted this earlier than and we are able to say it once again: We think that the individuals who respond to surveys and browse weekly publications focused on the IBM i platform are the most active stores – those more more likely to stay tremendously current on hardware and utility. So the tempo of adoption for brand spanking new applied sciences, and the price of funding, may still be greater than within the exact base, plenty of which does not alternate a whole lot at all.

So if we had to adjust this statistics to tackle the whole base, there might be a ways fewer websites that are investing extra funds, far more agencies that are sitting tight, and maybe fewer sites that are contemplating relocating off the IBM i platform. I think the distribution of statistics is doubtless whatever like 10 p.c of retailers have no concept what they're doing investment smart with IBM this yr, 5 p.c are considering relocating some or all of their functions to one other platform, maybe 10 % are investing greater this year, and the ultimate seventy five percent are sitting tight. here's only a guess, of course. so far as we can tell, the cost of attrition – how many websites we truly lose each 12 months – just a tad over 1 %. So the expense of circulate of purposes off the platform, or incidences of unplugging IBM i databases and functions, can also not be any place near as high within the usual base as the records above suggests. what's alarming, perhaps, is that the price of moving some or all applications off the platform is balanced towards people that say they will enhance investments. in all probability these are hopeful survey takers, and people who believe it's handy to flow locate it isn't and those that consider they're going to discover the cash to invest will not.

What we do understand is that if the rate of application attrition become anywhere close as high as these surveys indicate, then the IBM i business would no longer be turning out to be, however shrinking. And we understand it is not shrinking, so we believe there is a disconnect between planning and fact, both on the upside and the downside.

in case you drill down into the facts for the 2019 IBM i market Survey, there were 13 percent of retailers that pointed out they might be relocating some functions to a new platform, and an additional 9 % that talked about they had been going to flow all of their applications off IBM i. (This number is in step with the fresh ALL400s survey completed by way of John Rockwell.)

Anyway, decent luck with that.

Porting applications from one platform to one other, of buying a brand new suite on that new platform, is an incredibly complex assignment. It is not like trying to alternate a tire whereas using down the street, as is a common metaphor, but fairly like trying to take the tire off one motor vehicle relocating down the toll road and setting up it on an additional motor vehicle riding beside it within the adjacent lane with out crashing either car or smashing into any individual else on the road. Optimism abounds, however when push involves shove, very few agencies are trying such a maneuver, and after they do, it is always as a result of there's a company mandate, more times than not led to by means of a merger or acquisition, that pits any other platform against IBM i operating on energy methods. companies that say they are making the sort of circulation off IBM i are sanguine for their own very own causes, most likely, but they are not necessarily practical about how long it might take, what disruption it's going to cost, and what optimum benefit, if any, could be realized.

if you do the math on the chart above, eight-tenths of the base has no idea how long a circulation will take, an extra 1.7 p.c thinks it is going to take more than five years, and 3 percent say it is going to take between two years and 5 years. most effective 3.four p.c of the entire base say they could do it in under two years. We suppose all of those numbers are optimistic, and the businesses who may readily depart OS/four hundred and IBM i already did a long time ago and people that are remain have a harder time, no longer a simpler time, moving. If this have been no longer real, the IBM i base could be a hell of a lot smaller than the one hundred twenty,000 customers we feel are obtainable, in response to what big Blue has advised us during the past. here is the change between concern or force or lifestyle and the truth of attempting to move a enterprise off one platform and onto one other. These strikes are always lots harder than they seem to be on the entrance conclusion, and we suspect most of the advantages also don’t materialize for people that do jump platforms.

at the usual attrition rate counseled through this survey facts – 9 percent flow off the platform in somewhere between 365 days and more than 5 years, with most organizations not being able to see greater than five years into the future that is a neat trick – the put in base would reduce dramatically. it is hard to assert how a long way on account of the big selection of timeframes within the survey. If it become 9 percent of the bottom within two years – name it 4.5 % of the base per 12 months – then within a decade the standard base would decrease from a hundred and twenty,000 IBM i websites worldwide right down to about seventy two,000. this would dramatic indeed. but at a 1 percent attrition price per 12 months, the base is still at 107,500 wonderful clients (not websites and never installed machines, both of which are higher) by using 2029. We believe there is every opportunity that the attrition rate will in reality sluggish and drop beneath 1 % as IBM demonstrates dedication to the vigour systems platform and its IBM i working system. There are always some new consumers being brought in new markets, to make certain, but the bleed rate (in spite of the fact that it is small) continues to be likely an order of magnitude larger than the feed expense.

once they do believe about making the flow, IBM i stores comprehend exactly where they want to go, and this reply has been gradually altering over the years: Linux as a substitute for IBM i is on the upward push and home windows Server as an alternative is on the wane. in the newest survey, fifty two p.c of the groups that referred to they had been relocating all or some of their purposes to yet another platform talked about they had been opting for home windows Server, while 34 percent selected Linux. This reflects the relative popularity of home windows Server and Linux in the datacenters of the realm at large, and may be tipped just a little more closely against Linux compared to the relaxation of the world. apparently, 10 percent of these polled who talked about they have been moving had been looking at AIX systems, and one other four p.c had been going upscale to gadget z mainframes – as not going as this may seem to be. platforms tend to roll downhill; they do not constantly defy gravity like that.

The component about such surveys is that they reveal intent, not motion. We commonly intend to do a lot more than we in reality can accomplish, and relocating structures after spending many years of build up skills is not continually a really smart stream until the platform is in precise predicament – like the Itanium techniques from Hewlett Packard enterprise operating OpenVMS or HP-UX or the HP 3000s running MPE or the Sparc programs from Oracle working Solaris. These have been once exquisite structures with big installed bases and massive income streams, but now, IBM is the closing of these Unix and proprietary platforms with its power techniques line. And it's with the aid of a ways the largest and for certain the just one displaying any boom.

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3. Improvements ahead: How humans and AI might evolve together in the next decade | killexams.com real questions and Pass4sure dumps

Other questions to the experts in this canvassing invited their views on the hopeful things that will occur in the next decade and for examples of specific applications that might emerge. What will human-technology co-evolution look like by 2030? Participants in this canvassing expect the rate of change to fall in a range anywhere from incremental to extremely impactful. Generally, they expect AI to continue to be targeted toward efficiencies in workplaces and other activities, and they say it is likely to be embedded in most human endeavors.

The greatest share of participants in this canvassing said automated systems driven by artificial intelligence are already improving many dimensions of their work, play and home lives and they expect this to continue over the next decade. While they worry over the accompanying negatives of human-AI advances, they hope for broad changes for the better as networked, intelligent systems are revolutionizing everything, from the most pressing professional work to hundreds of the little “everyday” aspects of existence.

One respondent’s answer covered many of the improvements experts expect as machines sit alongside humans as their assistants and enhancers. An associate professor at a major university in Israel wrote, “In the coming 12 years AI will enable all sorts of professions to do their work more efficiently, especially those involving ‘saving life’: individualized medicine, policing, even warfare (where attacks will focus on disabling infrastructure and less in killing enemy combatants and civilians). In other professions, AI will enable greater individualization, e.g., education based on the needs and intellectual abilities of each pupil/student. Of course, there will be some downsides: greater unemployment in certain ‘rote’ jobs (e.g., transportation drivers, food service, robots and automation, etc.).”

This section begins with experts sharing mostly positive expectations for the evolution of humans and AI. It is followed by separate sections that include their thoughts about the potential for AI-human partnerships and quality of life in 2030, as well as the future of jobs, health care and education.

AI will be integrated into most aspects of life, producing new efficiencies and enhancing human capacities

Many of the leading experts extolled the positives they expect to continue to expand as AI tools evolve to do more things for more people.

Martijn van Otterlo, author of “Gatekeeping Algorithms with Human Ethical Bias” and assistant professor of artificial intelligence at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, wrote, “Even though I see many ethical issues, potential problems and especially power imbalance/misuse issues with AI (not even starting about singularity issues and out-of-control AI), I do think AI will change most lives for the better, especially looking at the short horizon of 2030 even more-so, because even bad effects of AI can be considered predominantly ‘good’ by the majority of people. For example, the Cambridge Analytica case has shown us the huge privacy issues of modern social networks in a market economy, but, overall, people value the extraordinary services Facebook offers to improve communication opportunities, sharing capabilities and so on.”

…we need to be thoughtful about how these technologies are implemented and used, but, on the whole, I see these as constructive.Vint Cerf

Vint Cerf, Internet Hall of Fame member and vice president and chief internet evangelist at Google, said, “I see AI and machine learning as augmenting human cognition a la Douglas Engelbart. There will be abuses and bugs, some harmful, so we need to be thoughtful about how these technologies are implemented and used, but, on the whole, I see these as constructive.”

Mícheál Ó Foghlú, engineering director and DevOps Code Pillar at Google’s Munich office, said, “The trend is that AI/ML models in specific domains can out-perform human experts (e.g., certain cancer diagnoses based on image-recognition in retina scans). I think it would be fairly much the consensus that this trend would continue, and many more such systems could aid human experts to be more accurate.”

Craig Mathias, principal at Farpoint Group, an advisory firm specializing in wireless networking and mobile computing, commented, “Many if not most of the large-scale technologies that we all depend upon – such as the internet itself, the power grid, and roads and highways – will simply be unable to function in the future without AI, as both solution complexity and demand continue to increase.”

Matt Mason, a roboticist and the former director of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, wrote, “AI will present new opportunities and capabilities to improve the human experience. While it is possible for a society to behave irrationally and choose to use it to their detriment, I see no reason to think that is the more likely outcome.”

Mike Osswald, vice president of experience innovation at Hanson Inc., commented, “I’m thinking of a world in which people’s devices continuously assess the world around them to keep a population safer and healthier. Thinking of those living in large urban areas, with devices forming a network of AI input through sound analysis, air quality, natural events, etc., that can provide collective notifications and insight to everyone in a certain area about the concerns of environmental factors, physical health, even helping provide no quarter for bad actors through community policing.”

Barry Hughes, senior scientist at the Center for International Futures at the University of Denver, commented, “I was one of the original test users of the ARPANET and now can hardly imagine living without the internet. Although AI will be disruptive through 2030 and beyond, meaning that there will be losers in the workplace and growing reasons for concern about privacy and AI/cyber-related crime, on the whole I expect that individuals and societies will make choices on use and restriction of use that benefit us. Examples include likely self-driving vehicles at that time, when my wife’s deteriorating vision and that of an increased elderly population will make it increasingly liberating. I would expect rapid growth in use for informal/non-traditional education as well as some more ambivalent growth in the formal-education sector. Big-data applications in health-related research should be increasingly productive, and health care delivery should benefit. Transparency with respect to its character and use, including its developers and their personal benefits, is especially important in limiting the inevitable abuse.”

Dana Klisanin, psychologist, futurist and game designer, predicted, “People will increasingly realize the importance of interacting with each other and the natural world and they will program AI to support such goals, which will in turn support the ongoing emergence of the ‘slow movement.’ For example, grocery shopping and mundane chores will be allocated to AI (smart appliances), freeing up time for preparation of meals in keeping with the slow food movement. Concern for the environment will likewise encourage the growth of the slow goods/slow fashion movement. The ability to recycle, reduce, reuse will be enhanced by the use of in-home 3D printers, giving rise to a new type of ‘craft’ that is supported by AI. AI will support the ‘cradle-to-grave’ movement by making it easier for people to trace the manufacturing process from inception to final product.”

Liz Rykert, president at Meta Strategies, a consultancy that works with technology and complex organizational change, responded, “The key for networked AI will be the ability to diffuse equitable responses to basic care and data collection. If bias remains in the programming it will be a big problem. I believe we will be able to develop systems that will learn from and reflect a much broader and more diverse population than the systems we have now.”

Michael R. Nelson, a technology policy expert for a leading network services provider who worked as a technology policy aide in the Clinton administration, commented, “Most media reports focus on how machine learning will directly affect people (medical diagnosis, self-driving cars, etc.) but we will see big improvements in infrastructure (traffic, sewage treatment, supply chain, etc.).”

Gary Arlen, president of Arlen Communications, wrote, “After the initial frenzy recedes about specific AI applications (such as autonomous vehicles, workplace robotics, transaction processing, health diagnoses and entertainment selections), specific applications will develop – probably in areas barely being considered today. As with many new technologies, the benefits will not apply equally, potentially expanding the haves-and-have-nots dichotomy. In addition, as AI delves into new fields – including creative work such as design, music/art composition – we may see new legal challenges about illegal appropriation of intellectual property (via machine learning). However, the new legal tasks from such litigation may not need a conventional lawyer – but could be handled by AI itself. Professional health care AI poses another type of dichotomy. For patients, AI could be a bonanza, identifying ailments, often in early stages (based on early symptoms), and recommending treatments. At the same time, such automated tasks could impact employment for medical professionals. And again, there are legal challenges to be determined, such as liability in the case of a wrong action by the AI. Overall, there is no such thing as ‘most people,’ but many individuals and groups – especially in professional situations – WILL live better lives thanks to AI, albeit with some severe adjustment pains.”

Tim Morgan, a respondent who provided no identifying details, said, “Algorithmic machine learning will be our intelligence amplifier, exhaustively exploring data and designs in ways humans alone cannot. The world was shocked when IBM’s Deep Blue computer beat Garry Kasparov in 1997. What emerged later was the realization that human and AI ‘centaurs’ could combine to beat anyone, human or AI. The synthesis is more than the sum of the parts.”

Marshall Kirkpatrick, product director of influencer marketing, responded, “If the network can be both decentralized and imbued with empathy, rather than characterized by violent exploitation, then we’re safe. I expect it will land in between, hopefully leaning toward the positive. For example, I expect our understanding of self and freedom will be greatly impacted by an instrumentation of a large part of memory, through personal logs and our data exhaust being recognized as valuable just like when we shed the term ‘junk DNA.’ Networked AI will bring us new insights into our own lives that might seem as far-fetched today as it would have been 30 years ago to say, ‘I’ll tell you what music your friends are discovering right now.’ AI is most likely to augment humanity for the better, but it will take longer and not be done as well as it could be. Hopefully we’ll build it in a way that will help us be comparably understanding to others.”

Daniel A. Menasce, professor of computer science at George Mason University, commented, “AI and related technologies coupled with significant advances in computer power and decreasing costs will allow specialists in a variety of disciplines to perform more efficiently and will allow non-specialists to use computer systems to augment their skills. Some examples include health delivery, smart cities and smart buildings. For these applications to become reality, easy-to-use user interfaces, or better yet transparent user interfaces will have to be developed.”

Technology progression and advancement has always been met with fear and anxiety, giving way to tremendous gains for humankind as we learn to enhance the best of the changes and adapt and alter the worst.David Wells

David Wells, chief financial officer at Netflix, responded, “Technology progression and advancement has always been met with fear and anxiety, giving way to tremendous gains for humankind as we learn to enhance the best of the changes and adapt and alter the worst. Continued networked AI will be no different but the pace of technological change has increased, which is different and requires us to more quickly adapt. This pace is different and presents challenges for some human groups and societies that we will need to acknowledge and work through to avoid marginalization and political conflict. But the gains from better education, medical care and crime reduction will be well worth the challenges.”

Rik Farrow, editor of ;login: for the USENIX association, wrote, “Humans do poorly when it comes to making decisions based on facts, rather than emotional issues. Humans get distracted easily. There are certainly things that AI can do better than humans, like driving cars, handling finances, even diagnosing illnesses. Expecting human doctors to know everything about the varieties of disease and humans is silly. Let computers do what they are good at.”

Steve Crocker, CEO and co-founder of Shinkuro Inc. and Internet Hall of Fame member, responded, “AI and human-machine interaction has been under vigorous development for the past 50 years. The advances have been enormous. The results are marbled through all of our products and systems. Graphics, speech [and] language understanding are now taken for granted. Encyclopedic knowledge is available at our fingertips. Instant communication with anyone, anywhere exists for about half the world at minimal cost. The effects on productivity, lifestyle and reduction of risks, both natural and man-made, have been extraordinary and will continue. As with any technology, there are opportunities for abuse, but the challenges for the next decade or so are not significantly different from the challenges mankind has faced in the past. Perhaps the largest existential threat has been the potential for nuclear holocaust. In comparison, the concerns about AI are significantly less.”

James Kadtke, expert on converging technologies at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the U.S. National Defense University, wrote, “Barring the deployment of a few different radically new technologies, such as general AI or commercial quantum computers, the internet and AI [between now and 2030] will proceed on an evolutionary trajectory. Expect internet access and sophistication to be considerably greater, but not radically different, and also expect that malicious actors using the internet will have greater sophistication and power. Whether we can control both these trends for positive outcomes is a public policy issue more than a technological one.”

Tim Morgan, a respondent who provided no identifying details, said, “Human/AI collaboration over the next 12 years will improve the overall quality of life by finding new approaches to persistent problems. We will use these adaptive algorithmic tools to explore whole new domains in every industry and field of study: materials science, biotech, medicine, agriculture, engineering, energy, transportation and more. … This goes beyond computability into human relationships. AIs are beginning to understand and speak the human language of emotion. The potential of affective computing ranges from productivity-increasing adaptive interfaces, to ‘pre-crime’ security monitoring of airports and other gathering places, to companion ‘pets’ which monitor their aging owners and interact with them in ways that improve their health and disposition. Will there be unseen dangers or consequences? Definitely. That is our pattern with our tools. We invent them, use them to improve our lives and then refine them when we find problems. AI is no different.”

Ashok Goel, director of the human-centered computing Ph.D. program at Georgia Tech, wrote, “Human-AI interaction will be multimodal: We will directly converse with AIs, for example. However, much of the impact of AI will come in enhancing human-human interaction across both space (we will be networked with others) and time (we will have access to all our previously acquired knowledge). This will aid, augment and amplify individual and collective human intelligence in unprecedented and powerful ways.”

David Cake, an leader with Electronic Frontiers Australia and vice-chair of the ICANN GNSO Council, wrote, “In general, machine learning and related technologies have the capacity to greatly reduce human error in many areas where it is currently very problematic and make available good, appropriately tailored advice to people to whom it is currently unavailable, in literally almost every field of human endeavour.”

Fred Baker, an independent networking technologies consultant, longtime leader in the Internet Engineering Task Force and engineering fellow with Cisco, commented, “In my opinion, developments have not been ‘out of control,’ in the sense that the creation of Terminator’s Skynet or the HAL 9000 computer might depict them. Rather, we have learned to automate processes in which neural networks have been able to follow data to its conclusion (which we call ‘big data’) unaided and uncontaminated by human intuition, and sometimes the results have surprised us. These remain, and in my opinion will remain, to be interpreted by human beings and used for our purposes.”

Bob Frankston, software innovation pioneer and technologist based in North America, wrote, “It could go either way. AI could be a bureaucratic straitjacket and tool of surveillance. I’m betting that machine learning will be like the X-ray in giving us the ability to see new wholes and gain insights.”

Perry Hewitt, a marketing, content and technology executive, wrote, “Today, voice-activated technologies are an untamed beast in our homes. Some 16% of Americans have a smart speaker, and yet they are relatively dumb devices: They misinterpret questions, offer generic answers and, to the consternation of some, are turning our kids into a**holes. I am bullish on human-machine interactions developing a better understanding of and improving our daily routines. I think in particular of the working parent, often although certainly not exclusively a woman, who carries so much information in their head. What if a human-machine collaboration could stock the house with essentials, schedule the pre-camp pediatrician appointments and prompt drivers for the alternate-side parking/street cleaning rules. The ability for narrow AI to assimilate new information (the bus is supposed to come at 7:10 but a month into the school year is known to actually come at 7:16) could keep a family connected and informed with the right data, and reduce the mental load of household management.”

John McNutt, a professor in the school of public policy and administration at the University of Delaware, responded, “Throwing out technology because there is a potential downside is not how human progress takes place. In public service, a turbulent environment has created a situation where knowledge overload can seriously degrade our ability to do the things that are essential to implement policies and serve the public good. AI can be the difference between a public service that works well and one that creates more problems than it solves.”

Randy Marchany, chief information security officer at Virginia Tech and director of Virginia Tech’s IT Security Laboratory, said, “AI-human interaction in 2030 will be in its ‘infancy’ stage. AI will need to go to ‘school’ in a manner similar to humans. They will amass large amounts of data collected by various sources but need ‘ethics’ training to make good decisions. Just as kids are taught a wide variety of info and some sort of ethics (religion, social manners, etc.), AI will need similar training. Will AI get the proper training? Who decides the training content?”

Robert Stratton, cybersecurity expert, said, “While there is widespread acknowledgement in a variety of disciplines of the potential benefits of machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies, progress has been tempered by their misapplication. Part of data science is knowing the right tool for a particular job. As more-rigorous practitioners begin to gain comfort and apply these tools to other corpora it’s reasonable to expect some significant gains in efficiency, insight or profitability in many fields. This may not be visible to consumers except through increased product choice, but it may include everything from drug discovery to driving.”

A data analyst for an organization developing marketing solutions said, “Assuming that policies are in place to prevent the abuse of AI and programs are in place to find new jobs for those who would be career-displaced, there is a lot of potential in AI integration. By 2030, most AI will be used for marketing purposes and be more annoying to people than anything else as they are bombarded with personalized ads and recommendations. The rest of AI usage will be its integration into more tedious and repetitive tasks across career fields. Implementing AI in this fashion will open up more time for humans to focus on long-term and in-depth tasks that will allow further and greater societal progression. For example, AI can be trained to identify and codify qualitative information from surveys, reviews, articles, etc., far faster and in greater quantities than even a team of humans can. By having AI perform these tasks, analysts can spend more time parsing the data for trends and information that can then be used to make more-informed decisions faster and allow for speedier turn-around times. Minor product faults can be addressed before they become widespread, scientists can generate semiannual reports on environmental changes rather than annual or biannual.”

Helena Draganik, a professor at the University of Gdańsk in Poland, responded, “AI will not change humans. It will change the relations between them because it can serve as an interpreter of communication. It will change our habits (as an intermediation technology). AI will be a great commodity. It will help in cases of health problems (diseases). It will also generate a great ‘data industry’ (big data) market and a lack of anonymity and privacy. Humanity will more and more depend on energy/electricity. These factors will create new social, cultural, security and political problems.”

There are those who think there won’t be much change by 2030.

Christine Boese, digital strategies professional, commented, “I believe it is as William Gibson postulated, ‘The future is already here, it just not very evenly distributed.’ What I know from my work in user-experience design and in exposure to many different Fortune 500 IT departments working in big data and analytics is that the promise and potential of AI and machine learning is VASTLY overstated. There has been so little investment in basic infrastructure, entire chunks of our systems won’t even be interoperable. The AI and machine learning code will be there, in a pocket here, a pocket there, but system-wide, it is unlikely to be operating reliably as part of the background radiation against which many of us play and work online.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “While various deployments of new data science and computation will help firms cut costs, reduce fraud and support decision-making that involves access to more information than an individual can manage, organisations, professions, markets and regulators (public and private) usually take many more than 12 years to adapt effectively to a constantly changing set of technologies and practices. This generally causes a decline in service quality, insecurity over jobs and investments, new monopoly businesses distorting markets and social values, etc. For example, many organisations will be under pressure to buy and implement new services, but unable to access reliable market information on how to do this, leading to bad investments, distractions from core business, and labour and customer disputes.”

Mario Morino, chairman of the Morino Institute and co-founder of Venture Philanthropy Partners, commented, “While I believe AI/ML will bring enormous benefits, it may take us several decades to navigate through the disruption and transition they will introduce on multiple levels.”

Daniel Berninger, an internet pioneer who led the first VoIP deployments at Verizon, HP and NASA, currently founder at Voice Communication Exchange Committee (VCXC), said, “The luminaries claiming artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence and promoting robot reverence imagine exponentially improving computation pushes machine self-actualization from science fiction into reality. The immense valuations awarded Google, Facebook, Amazon, Tesla, et al., rely on this machine-dominance hype to sell infinite scaling. As with all hype, pretending reality does not exist does not make reality go away. Moore’s Law does not concede the future to machines, because human domination of the planet does not owe to computation. Any road map granting machines self-determination includes ‘miracle’ as one of the steps. You cannot turn a piece of wood into a real boy. AI merely ‘models’ human activity. No amount of improvement in the development of these models turns the ‘model’ into the ‘thing.’ Robot reverence attempts plausibility by collapsing the breadth of human potential and capacities. It operates via ‘denialism’ with advocates disavowing the importance of anything they cannot model. In particular, super AI requires pretending human will and consciousness do not exist. Human beings remain the source of all intent and the judge of all outcomes. Machines provide mere facilitation and mere efficiency in the journey from intent to outcome. The dehumanizing nature of automation and the diseconomy of scale of human intelligence is already causing headaches that reveal another AI Winter arriving well before 2030.”

Paul Kainen, futurist and director of the Lab for Visual Mathematics at Georgetown University, commented, “Quantum cat here: I expect complex superposition of strong positive, negative and null as typical impact for AI. For the grandkids’ sake, we must be positive!”

The following one-liners from anonymous respondents also tie into AI in 2030:

  • An Internet Hall of Fame member wrote, “You’ll talk to your digital assistant in a normal voice and it will just be there – it will often anticipate your needs, so you may only need to talk to it to correct or update it.”
  • The director of a cognitive research group at one of the world’s top AI and large-scale computing companies predicted that by 2030, “Smartphone-equivalent devices will support true natural-language dialog with episodic memory of past interactions. Apps will become low-cost digital workers with basic commonsense reasoning.”
  • An anonymous Internet Hall of Fame member said, “The equivalent of the ‘Star Trek’ universal translator will become practical, enabling travelers to better interact with people in countries they visit, facilitate online discussions across language barriers, etc.”
  • An Internet of Things researcher commented, “We need to balance between human emotions and machine intelligence – can machines be emotional? – that’s the frontier we have to conquer.”
  • An anonymous respondent wrote, “2030 is still quite possibly before the advent of human-level AI. During this phase AI is still mostly augmenting human efforts – increasingly ubiquitous, optimizing the systems that surround us and being replaced when their optimization criteria are not quite perfect – rather than pursuing those goals programmed into them, whether we find the realization of those goals desirable or not.”
  • A research scientist who works for Google said, “Things will be better, although many people are deeply worried about the effects of AI.”
  • An ARPANET and internet pioneer wrote, “The kind of AI we are currently able to build as good for data analysis but far, far away from ‘human’ levels of performance; the next 20 years won’t change this, but we will have valuable tools to help analyze and control our world.”
  • An artificial intelligence researcher working for one of the world’s most powerful technology companies wrote, “AI will enhance our vision and hearing capabilities, remove language barriers, reduce time to find information we care about and help in automating mundane activities.”
  • A manager with a major digital innovation company said, “Couple the information storage with the ever-increasing ability to rapidly search and analyze that data, and the benefits to augmenting human intelligence with this processed data will open up new avenues of technology and research throughout society.”
  • Other anonymous respondents commented:

  • “AI will help people to manage the increasingly complex world we are forced to navigate. It will empower individuals to not be overwhelmed.”
  • “AI will reduce human error in many contexts: driving, workplace, medicine and more.”
  • “In teaching it will enhance knowledge about student progress and how to meet individual needs; it will offer guidance options based on the unique preferences of students that can guide learning and career goals.”
  • “2030 is only 12 years from now, so I expect that systems like Alexa and Siri will be more helpful but still of only medium utility.”
  • “AI will be a useful tool; I am quite a ways away from fearing SkyNet and the rise of the machines.”
  • “AI will produce major benefits in the next 10 years, but ultimately the question is one of politics: Will the world somehow manage to listen to the economists, even when their findings are uncomfortable?”
  • “I strongly believe that an increasing use of numerical control will improve the lives of people in general.”
  • “AI will help us navigate choices, find safer routes and avenues for work and play, and help make our choices and work more consistent.”
  • “Many factors will be at work to increase or decrease human welfare, and it will be difficult to separate them.”
  • AI will optimize and augment people’s lives

    The hopeful experts in this sample generally expect that AI will work to optimize, augment and improve human activities and experiences. They say it will save time and it will save lives via health advances and the reduction of risks and of poverty. They hope it will spur innovation and broaden opportunities, increase the value of human-to-human experiences, augment humans and increase individuals’ overall satisfaction with life.

    Clay Shirky, writer and consultant on the social and economic effects of internet technologies and vice president at New York University, said, “All previous forms of labor-saving devices, from the level to the computer, have correlated with increased health and lifespan in the places that have adopted them.”

    Jamais Cascio, research fellow at the Institute for the Future, wrote, “Although I do believe that in 2030 AI will have made our lives better, I suspect that popular media of the time will justifiably highlight the large-scale problems: displaced workers, embedded bias and human systems being too deferential to machine systems. But AI is more than robot soldiers, autonomous cars or digital assistants with quirky ‘personalities.’ Most of the AI we will encounter in 2030 will be in-the-walls, behind-the-scenes systems built to adapt workspaces, living spaces and the urban environment to better suit our needs. Medical AI will keep track of medication and alert us to early signs of health problems. Environmental AI will monitor air quality, heat index and other indicators relevant to our day’s tasks. Our visual and audio surroundings may be altered or filtered to improve our moods, better our focus or otherwise alter our subconscious perceptions of the world. Most of this AI will be functionally invisible to us, as long as it’s working properly. The explicit human-machine interface will be with a supervisor system that coordinates all of the sub-AI – and undoubtedly there will be a lively business in creating supervisor systems with quirky personalities.”

    Mike Meyer, chief information officer at Honolulu Community College, wrote, “Social organizations will be increasingly administered by AI/ML systems to ensure equity and consistency in provisioning of services to the population. The steady removal of human emotion-driven discrimination will rebalance social organizations creating true equitable opportunity to all people for the first time in human history. People will be part of these systems as censors, in the old imperial Chinese model, providing human emotional intelligence where that is needed to smooth social management. All aspects of human existence will be affected by the integration of AI into human societies. Historically this type of base paradigmatic change is both difficult and unstoppable. The results will be primarily positive but will produce problems both in the process of change and in totally new types of problems that will result from the ways that people do adapt the new technology-based processes.”

    Mark Crowley, an assistant professor, expert in machine learning and core member of the Institute for Complexity and Innovation at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, wrote, “While driving home on a long commute from work the human will be reading a book in the heads-up screen of the windshield. The car will be driving autonomously on the highway for the moment. The driver will have an idea to note down and add to a particular document; all this will be done via voice. In the middle of this a complicated traffic arrangement will be seen approaching via other networked cars. The AI will politely interrupt the driver, put away the heads-up display and warn the driver they may need to take over in the next 10 seconds or so. The conversation will be flawless and natural, like Jarvis in ‘Avengers,’ even charming. But it will be tasks-focused to the car, personal events, notes and news.”

    Theodore Gordon, futurist, management consultant and co-founder of the Millennium Project, commented, “There will be ups and downs, surely, but the net is, I believe, good. The most encouraging uses of AI will be in early warning of terror activities, incipient diseases and environmental threats and in improvements in decision-making.”

    Yvette Wohn, director of the Social Interaction Lab and expert on human-computer interaction at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, said, “One area in which artificial intelligence will become more sophisticated will be in its ability to enrich the quality of life so that the current age of workaholism will transition into a society where leisure, the arts, entertainment and culture are able to enhance the well-being of society in developed countries and solve issues of water production, food growth/distribution and basic health provision in developing countries.”

    Ken Goldberg, distinguished chair in engineering, director of AUTOLAB’s and CITRIS’ “people and robots” initiative, and founding member of the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, said, “As in the past 50+ years, AI will be combined with IA (intelligence augmentation) to enhance humans’ ability to work. One example might be an AI-based ‘Devil’s Advocate’ that would challenge my decisions with insightful questions (as long as I can turn it off periodically).”

    Rich Ling, a professor of media technology at Nanyang Technological University, responded, “The ability to address complex issues and to better respond to and facilitate the needs of people will be the dominant result of AI.”

    An anonymous respondent wrote, “There will be an explosive increase in the number of autonomous cognitive agents (e.g., robots), and humans will interact more and more with them, being unaware, most of the time, if it is interactivity with a robot or with another human. This will increase the number of personal assistants and the level of service.”

    As daily a user of the Google Assistant on my phone and both Google Home and Alexa, I feel like AI has already been delivering significant benefits to my daily life for a few years.Fred Davis

    Fred Davis, mentor at Runway Incubator in San Francisco, responded, “As daily a user of the Google Assistant on my phone and both Google Home and Alexa, I feel like AI has already been delivering significant benefits to my daily life for a few years. My wife and I take having an always-on omnipresent assistant on hand for granted at this point. Google Home’s ability to tell us apart and even respond with different voices is a major step forward in making computers people-literate, rather than the other way around. There’s always a concern about privacy, but so far it hasn’t caused us any problems. Obviously, this could change and instead of a helpful friend I might look at these assistants as creepy strangers. Maintaining strict privacy and security controls is essential for these types of services.”

    Andrew Tutt, an expert in law and author of “An FDA for Algorithms,” which called for “critical thought about how best to prevent, deter and compensate for the harms that they cause,” said, “AI will be absolutely pervasive and absolutely seamless in its integration with everyday life. It will simply become accepted that AI are responsible for ever-more-complex and ever-more-human tasks. By 2030, it will be accepted that when you wish to hail a taxi the taxi will have no driver – it will be an autonomously driven vehicle. Robots will be responsible for more-dynamic and complex roles in manufacturing plants and warehouses. Digital assistants will play an important and interactive role in everyday interactions ranging from buying a cup of coffee to booking a salon appointment. It will no longer be unexpected to call a restaurant to book a reservation, for example, and speak to a ‘digital’ assistant who will pencil you in. These interactions will be incremental but become increasingly common and increasingly normal. My hope is that the increasing integration of AI into everyday life will vastly increase the amount of time that people can devote to tasks they find meaningful.”

    L. Schomaker, professor at the University of Groningen and scientific director of the Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Engineering (ALICE) research institute, said, “In the 1990s, you went to a PC on a desktop in a room in your house. In the 2010s you picked a phone from your pocket and switched it on. By 2030 you will be online 24/7 via miniature devices such as in-ear continuous support, advice and communications.”

    Michael Wollowski, associate professor of computer science and software engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and expert in the Internet of Things, diagrammatic systems, and artificial intelligence, wrote, “Assuming that industry and government are interested in letting the consumer choose and influence the future, there will be many fantastic advances of AI. I believe that AI and the Internet of Things will bring about a situation in which technology will be our guardian angel. For example, self-driving cars will let us drive faster than we ever drove before, but they will only let us do things that they can control. Since computers have much better reaction time than people, it will be quite amazing. Similarly, AI and the Internet of Things will let us conduct out lives to the fullest while ensuring that we live healthy lives. Again, it is like having a guardian angel that lets us do things, knowing they can save us from stupidity.”

    Steve King, partner at Emergent Research, said, “2030 is less than 12 years away. So … the most likely scenario is AI will have a modest impact on the lives of most humans over this time frame. Having said that, we think the use of AI systems will continue to expand, with the greatest growth coming from systems that augment and complement human capabilities and decision-making. This is not to say there won’t be negative impacts from the use of AI. Jobs will be replaced, and certain industries will be disrupted. Even scarier, there are many ways AI can be weaponized. But like most technological advancements, we think the overall impact of AI will be additive – at least over the next decade or so.”

    Vassilis Galanos, a Ph.D. student and teaching assistant actively researching future human-machine symbiosis at the University of Edinburgh, commented, “2030 is not that far away, so there is no room for extremely utopian/dystopian hopes and fears. … Given that AI is already used in everyday life (social-media algorithms, suggestions, smartphones, digital assistants, health care and more), it is quite probable that humans will live in a harmonious co-existence with AI as much as they do now – to a certain extent – with computer and internet technologies.”

    Charlie Firestone, communications and society program executive director and vice president at the Aspen Institute, commented, “I remain optimistic that AI will be a tool that humans will use, far more widely than today, to enhance quality of life such as medical remedies, education and the environment. For example, the AI will help us to conserve energy in homes and in transportation by identifying exact times and temperatures we need, identifying sources of energy that will be the cheapest and the most efficient. There certainly are dire scenarios, particularly in the use of AI for surveillance, a likely occurrence by 2030. I am hopeful that AI and other technologies will identify new areas of employment as it eliminates many jobs.”

    Pedro U. Lima, an associate professor of computer science at Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon, Portugal, said, “Overall, I see AI-based technology relieving us from repetitive and/or heavy and/or dangerous tasks, opening new challenges for our activities. I envisage autonomous mobile robots networked with a myriad of other smart devices, helping nurses and doctors at hospitals in daily activities, working as a ‘third hand’ and (physical and emotional) support to patients. I see something similar happening in factories, where networked robot systems will help workers on their tasks, relieving them from heavy duties.”

    John Laird, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan, responded, “There will be a continual off-loading of mundane intellectual and physical tasks on to AI and robotic systems. In addition to helping with everyday activities, it will significantly help the mentally and physically impaired and disabled. There will also be improvements in customized/individualized education and training of humans, and conversely, the customization of AI systems by everyday users. We will be transitioning from current programming practices to user customization. Automated driving will be a reality, eliminating many deaths but also having significant societal changes.”

    Steven Polunsky, director of the Alabama Transportation Policy Research Center at the University of Alabama, wrote, “AI will allow public transportation systems to better serve existing customers by adjusting routes, travel times and stops to optimize service. New customers will also see advantages. Smart transportation systems will allow public transit to network with traffic signals and providers of ‘last-mile’ trips to minimize traffic disruption and inform decision making about modal (rail, bus, mobility-on-demand) planning and purchasing.”

    Sanjiv Das, a professor of data science and finance at Santa Clara University, responded, “AI will enhance search to create interactive reasoning and analytical systems. Search engines today do not know ‘why’ we want some information and hence cannot reason about it. They also do not interact with us to help with analysis. An AI system that collects information based on knowing why it is needed and then asks more questions to refine its search would be clearly available well before 2030. These ‘search-thinking bots’ will also write up analyses based on parameters elicited from conversation and imbue these analyses with different political (left/right) and linguistic (aggressive/mild) slants, chosen by the human, using advances in language generation, which are already well under way. These ‘intellectual’ agents will become companions, helping us make sense of our information overload. I often collect files of material on my cloud drive that I found interesting or needed to read later, and these agents would be able to summarize and engage me in a discussion of these materials, very much like an intellectual companion. It is unclear to me if I would need just one such agent, though it seems likely that different agents with diverse personalities may be more interesting! As always, we should worry what the availability of such agents might mean for normal human social interaction, but I can also see many advantages in freeing up time for socializing with other humans as well as enriched interactions, based on knowledge and science, assisted by our new intellectual companions.”

    Lawrence Roberts, designer and manager of ARPANET, the precursor to the internet and Internet Hall of Fame member, commented, “AI voice recognition, or text, with strong context understanding and response will allow vastly better access to website, program documentation, voice call answering, and all such interactions will greatly relieve user frustration with getting information. It will mostly provide service where no or little human support is being replaced as it is not available today in large part. For example, finding and/or doing a new or unused function of the program or website one is using. Visual, 3D-space-recognition AI to support better-than-human robot activity including vehicles, security surveillance, health scans and much more.”

    Christopher Yoo, a professor of law, communication and computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, responded, “AI is good at carrying out tasks that follow repetitive patterns. In fact, AI is better than humans. Shifting these functions to machines will improve performance. It will also allow people to shift their efforts to high-value-added and more-rewarding directions, an increasingly critical consideration in developing world countries where population is declining. Research on human-computer interaction (HCI) also reveals that AI-driven pattern recognition will play a critical role in expanding humans’ ability to extend the benefits of computerization. HCI once held that our ability to gain the benefit from computers would be limited by the total amount of time people can spend sitting in front of a screen and inputting characters through a keyboard. The advent of AI-driven HCI will allow that to expand further and will reduce the amount of customization that people will have to program in by hand. At the same time, AI is merely a tool. All tools have their limits and can be misused. Even when humans are making the decisions instead of machines, blindly following the results of a protocol without exercising any judgment, can have disastrous results. Future applications of AI will thus likely involve both humans and machines if they are to fulfill their potential.”

    Joseph Konstan, distinguished professor of computer science specializing in human-computer interaction and AI at the University of Minnesota, predicted, “Widespread deployment of AI has immense potential to help in key areas that affect a large portion of the world’s population, including agriculture, transportation (more efficiently getting food to people) and energy. Even as soon as 2030, I expect we’ll see substantial benefits for many who are today disadvantaged, including the elderly and physically handicapped (who will have greater choices for mobility and support) and those in the poorest part of the world.”

    The future of work: Some predict new work will emerge or solutions will be found, while others have deep concerns about massive job losses and an unraveling society

    A number of expert insights on this topic were shared earlier in this report. These additional observations add to the discussion of hopes and concerns about the future of human jobs. This segment starts with comments from those who are hopeful that the job situation and related social issues will turn out well. It is followed by statements from those who are pessimistic.

    Respondents who were positive about the future of AI and work

    Bob Metcalfe, Internet Hall of Fame member, co-inventor of Ethernet, founder of 3Com and now professor of innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Austin, said, “Pessimists are often right, but they never get anything done. All technologies come with problems, sure, but … generally, they get solved. The hardest problem I see is the evolution of work. Hard to figure out. Forty percent of us used to know how to milk cows, but now less than 1% do. We all used to tell elevator operators which floor we wanted, and now we press buttons. Most of us now drive cars and trucks and trains, but that’s on the verge of being over. AIs are most likely not going to kill jobs. They will handle parts of jobs, enhancing the productivity of their humans.”

    Stowe Boyd, founder and managing director at Work Futures, said, “There is a high possibility that unchecked expansion of AI could rapidly lead to widespread unemployment. My bet is that governments will step in to regulate the spread of AI, to slow the impacts of this phenomenon as a result of unrest by the mid 2020s. That regulation might include, for example, not allowing AIs to serve as managers of people in the workplace, but only to augment the work of people on a task or process level. So, we might see high degrees of automation in warehouses, but a human being would be ‘in charge’ in some sense. Likewise, fully autonomous freighters might be blocked by regulations.”

    An anonymous respondent wrote, “Repeatedly throughout history people have worried that new technologies would eliminate jobs. This has never happened, so I’m very skeptical it will this time. Having said that, there will be major short-term disruptions in the labor market and smart governments should begin to plan for this by considering changes to unemployment insurance, universal basic income, health insurance, etc. This is particularly the case in America, where so many benefits are tied to employment. I would say there is almost zero chance that the U.S. government will actually do this, so there will be a lot of pain and misery in the short and medium term, but I do think ultimately machines and humans will peacefully coexist. Also, I think a lot of the projections on the use of AI are ridiculous. Regardless of the existence of the technology, cross-state shipping is not going to be taken over by automated trucks any time soon because of legal and ethical issues that have not been worked out.”

    Steven Miller, vice provost and professor of information systems at Singapore Management University, said, “It helps to have a sense of the history of technological change over the past few hundred years (even longer). Undoubtedly, new ways of using machines and new machine capabilities will be used to create economic activities and services that were either a) not previously possible, or b) previously too scarce and expensive, and now can be plentiful and inexpensive. This will create a lot of new activities and opportunities. At the same time, we know some existing tasks and jobs with a high proportion of those tasks will be increasingly automated. So we will simultaneously have both new opportunity creation as well as technological displacement. Even so, the long-term track record shows that human societies keep finding ways of creating more and more economically viable jobs. Cognitive automation will obviously enhance the realms of automation, but even with tremendous progress in this technology, there are and will continue to be limits. Humans have remarkable capabilities to deal with and adapt to change, so I do not see the ‘end of human work.’ The ways people and machines combine together will change – and there will be many new types of human-machine symbiosis. Those who understand this and learn to benefit from it will proposer.”

    Henry E. Brady, dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote, “AI can replace people in jobs that require sophisticated and accurate pattern matching – driving, diagnoses based upon medical imaging, proofreading and other areas. There is also the fact that in the past technological change has mostly led to new kinds of jobs rather than the net elimination of jobs. Furthermore, I also believe that there may be limits to what AI can do. It is very good at pattern matching, but human intelligence goes far beyond pattern matching and it is not clear that computers will be able to compete with humans beyond pattern matching. It also seems clear that even the best algorithms will require constant human attention to update, check and revise them.”

    If we embrace the inevitable evolution of technology to replace redundant tasks, we can encourage today’s youth to pursue more creative and strategic pursuits.Geoff Livingston

    Geoff Livingston, author and futurist, commented, “The term AI misleads people. What we should call the trend is machine learning or algorithms. ‘Weak’ AI as it is called – today’s AI – reduces repetitive tasks that most people find mundane. This in turn produces an opportunity to escape the trap of the proletariat, being forced into monotonous labor to earn a living. Instead of thinking of the ‘Terminator,’ we should view the current trend as an opportunity to seek out and embrace the tasks that we truly love, including more creative pursuits. If we embrace the inevitable evolution of technology to replace redundant tasks, we can encourage today’s youth to pursue more creative and strategic pursuits. Further, today’s workers can learn how to manage machine learning or embrace training to pursue new careers that they may enjoy more. My fear is that many will simply reject change and blame technology, as has often been done. One could argue much of today’s populist uprising we are experiencing globally finds its roots in the current displacements caused by machine learning as typified by smart manufacturing. If so, the movement forward will be troublesome, rife with dark bends and turns that we may regret as cultures and countries.”

    Marek Havrda, director at NEOPAS and strategic adviser for the GoodAI project, a private research and development company based in Prague that focuses on the development of artificial general intelligence and AI applications, explained the issue from his point of view, “The development and implementation of artificial intelligence has brought about questions of the impact it will have on employment. Machines are beginning to fill jobs that have been traditionally reserved for humans, such as driving a car or prescribing medical treatment. How these trends may unfold is a crucial question. We may expect the emergence of ‘super-labour,’ a labour defined by super-high-added-value of human activity due to augmentation by AI. Apart from the ability to deploy AI, super-labour will be characterised by creativity and the ability to co-direct and supervise safe exploration of business opportunities together with perseverance in attaining defined goals. An example may be that by using various online, AI gig workers (and maybe several human gig workers), while leveraging AI to its maximum potential … at all aspects from product design to marketing and after-sales care, three people could create a new service and ensure its smooth delivery for which a medium-size company would be needed today. We can expect growing inequalities between those who have access and are able to use technology and those who do not. However, it seems more important how big a slice of the AI co-generated ‘pie’ is accessible to all citizens in absolute terms (e.g., having enough to finance public service and other public spending) which would make everyone better off than in pre-AI age, than the relative inequalities.”

    Yoram Kalman, an associate professor at the Open University of Israel and member of The Center for Internet Research at the University of Haifa, wrote, “In essence, technologies that empower people also improve their lives. I see that progress in the area of human-machine collaboration empowers people by improving their ability to communicate and to learn, and thus my optimism. I do not fear that these technologies will take the place of people, since history shows that again and again people used technologies to augment their abilities and to be more fulfilled. Although in the past, too, it seemed as if these technologies would leave people unemployed and useless, human ingenuity and the human spirit always found new challenges that could best be tackled by humans.”

    Thomas H. Davenport, distinguished professor of information technology and management at Babson College and fellow of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, responded, “So far, most implementations of AI have resulted in some form of augmentation, not automation. Surveys of managers suggest that relatively few have automation-based job loss as the goal of their AI initiatives. So while I am sure there will be some marginal job loss, I expect that AI will free up workers to be more creative and to do more unstructured work.”

    Yvette Wohn, director of the Social Interaction Lab and expert on human-computer interaction at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, commented, “Artificial intelligence will be naturally integrated into our everyday lives. Even though people are concerned about computers replacing the jobs of humans the best-case scenario is that technology will be augmenting human capabilities and performing functions that humans do not like to do. Smart farms and connected distribution systems will hopefully eliminate urban food deserts and enable food production in areas not suited for agriculture. Artificial intelligence will also become better at connecting people and provide immediate support to people who are in crisis situations.”

    A principal architect for a major global technology company responded, “AI is a prerequisite to achieving a post-scarcity world, in which people can devote their lives to intellectual pursuits and leisure rather than to labor. The first step will be to reduce the amount of labor required for production of human necessities. Reducing tedium will require changes to the social fabric and economic relationships between people as the demand for labor shrinks below the supply, but if these challenges can be met then everyone will be better off.”

    Tom Hood, an expert in corporate accounting and finance, said, “By 2030, AI will stand for Augmented Intelligence and will play an ever-increasing role in working side-by-side with humans in all sectors to add its advanced and massive cognitive and learning capabilities to critical human domains like medicine, law, accounting, engineering and technology. Imagine a personal bot powered by artificial intelligence working by your side (in your laptop or smartphone) making recommendations on key topics by providing up-to-the-minute research or key pattern recognition and analysis of your organization’s data? One example is a CPA in tax given a complex global tax situation amid constantly changing tax laws in all jurisdictions who would be able to research and provide guidance on the most complex global issues in seconds. It is my hope for the future of artificial intelligence in 2030 that we will be augmenting our intelligence with these ‘machines.’”

    A professor of computer science expert in systems who works at a major U.S. technological university wrote, “By 2030, we should expect advances in AI, networking and other technologies enabled by AI and networks, e.g., the growing areas of persuasive and motivational technologies, to improve the workplace in many ways beyond replacing humans with robots.”

    The following one-liners from anonymous respondents express a bright future for human jobs:

  • “History of technology shows that the number of new roles and jobs created will likely exceed the number of roles and jobs that are destroyed.”
  • “AI will not be competing with humanity but augmenting it for the better.”
  • “We make a mistake when we look for direct impact without considering the larger picture – we worry about a worker displaced by a machine rather than focus on broader opportunities for a better-trained and healthier workforce where geography or income no longer determine access not just to information but to relevant and appropriate information paths.”
  • “AI can significantly improve usability and thus access to the benefits of technology. Many powerful technical tools today require detailed expertise, and AI can bring more of those to a larger swath of the population.”
  • Respondents who have fears about AI’s impact on work

    A section earlier in this report shared a number of key experts’ concerns about the potential negative impact of AI on the socioeconomic future if steps are not taken soon to begin to adjust to a future with far fewer jobs for humans. Many additional respondents to this canvassing shared fears about this.

    Wout de Natris, an internet cybercrime and security consultant based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, wrote, “Hope: Advancement in health care, education, decision-making, availability of information, higher standards in ICT-security, global cooperation on these issues, etc. Fear: Huge segments of society, especially the middle classes who carry society in most ways, e.g., through taxes, savings and purchases, will be rendered jobless through endless economic cuts by industry, followed by governments due to lower tax income. Hence all of society suffers. Can governments and industry refrain from an overkill of surveillance? Otherwise privacy values keep declining, leading to a lower quality of life.”

    Jonathan Taplin, director emeritus at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Innovation Lab, wrote, “My fear is that the current political class is completely unprepared for the disruptions that AI and robotics applied at scale will bring to our economy. While techno-utopians point to universal basic income as a possible solution to wide-scale unemployment, there is no indication that anyone in politics has an appetite for such a solution. And because I believe that meaningful work is essential to human dignity, I’m not sure that universal basic income would be helpful in the first place.”

    Alex Halavais, an associate professor of social technologies at Arizona State University, wrote, “AI is likely to rapidly displace many workers over the next 10 years, and so there will be some potentially significant negative effects at the social and economic level in the short run.”

    Uta Russmann, professor in the department of communication at FHWien der WKW University of Applied Sciences for Management & Communication, said, “Many people will not be benefitting from this development, as robots will do their jobs. Blue-collar workers, people working in supermarkets stacking shelves, etc., will not be needed less, but the job market will not offer them any other possibilities. The gap between rich and poor will increase as the need for highly skilled and very well-paid people increases and the need for less skilled workers will decrease tremendously.”

    Ross Stapleton-Gray, principal at Stapleton-Gray and Associates, an information technology and policy consulting firm, commented, “Human-machine interaction could be for good or for ill. It will be hugely influenced by decisions on social priorities. We may be at a tipping point in recognizing that social inequities need to be addressed, so, say, a decreased need for human labor due to AI will result in more time for leisure, education, etc., instead of increasing wealth inequity.”

    Aneesh Aneesh, author of “Global Labor: Algocratic Modes of Organization” and professor at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, responded, “Just as automation left large groups of working people behind even as the United States got wealthier as a country, it is quite likely that AI systems will automate the service sector in a similar way. Unless the welfare state returns with a vengeance, it is difficult to see the increased aggregate wealth resulting in any meaningful gains for the bottom half of society.”

    Alper Dincel of T.C. Istanbul Kultur University in Turkey, wrote, “Unqualified people won’t find jobs, as machines and programs take over easy work in the near future. Machines will also solve performance problems. There is no bright future for most people if we don’t start to try finding solutions.”

    Jason Abbott, professor and director at the Center for Asian Democracy at University of Louisville, said, “AI is likely to create significant challenges to the labor force as previously skilled (semi-skilled) jobs are replaced by AI – everything from AI in trucks and distribution to airlines, logistics and even medical records and diagnoses.”

    Kenneth R. Fleischmann, an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information, responded, “In corporate settings, I worry that AI will be used to replace human workers to a disproportionate extent, such that the net economic benefit of AI is positive, but that economic benefit is not distributed equally among individuals, with a smaller number of wealthy individuals worldwide prospering, and a larger number of less wealthy individuals worldwide suffering from fewer opportunities for gainful employment.”

    Gerry Ellis, founder and digital usability and accessibility consultant at Feel The BenefIT, responded, “Technology has always been far more quickly developed and adopted in the richer parts of the world than in the poorer regions where new technology is generally not affordable. AI cannot be taken as a stand-alone technology but in conjunction with other converging technologies like augmented reality, robotics, virtual reality, the Internet of Things, big data analysis, etc. It is estimated that around 80% of jobs that will be done in 2030 do not exist yet. One of the reasons why unskilled and particularly repetitive jobs migrate to poor countries is because of cheap labour costs, but AI combined with robotics will begin to do many of these jobs. For all of these reasons combined, the large proportion of the earth’s population that lives in the under-developed and developing world is likely to be left behind by technological developments. Unless the needs of people with disabilities are taken into account when designing AI related technologies, the same is true for them (or I should say ‘us,’ as I am blind).”

    Karen Oates, director of workforce development and financial stability for La Casa de Esperanza, commented, “Ongoing increases in the use of AI will not benefit the working poor and low-to-middle-income people. Having worked with these populations for 10 years I’ve already observed many of these people losing employment when robots and self-operating forklifts are implemented. Although there are opportunities to program and maintain these machines, realistically people who have the requisite knowledge and education will fill those roles. The majority of employers will be unwilling to invest the resources to train employees unless there is an economic incentive from the government to do so. Many lower-wage workers won’t have the confidence to return to school to develop new knowledge/skills when they were unsuccessful in the past. As the use of AI increases, low-wage workers will lose the small niche they hold in our economy.”

    Peggy Lahammer, director of health/life sciences at Robins Kaplan LLP and legal market analyst, commented, “Jobs will continue to change and as many disappear new ones will be created. These changes will have an impact on society as many people are left without the necessary skills.”

    A European computer science professor expert in machine learning commented, “The social sorting systems introduced by AI will most likely define and further entrench the existing world order of the haves and the have-nots, making social mobility more difficult and precarious given the unpredictability of AI-driven judgements of fit. The interesting problem to solve will be the fact that initial designs of AI will come with built-in imaginaries of what ‘good’ or ‘correct’ constitutes. The level of flexibility designed in to allow for changes in normative perceptions and judgements will be key to ensuring that AI driven-systems support rather than obstruct productive social change.”

    Stephen McDowell, a professor of communication at Florida State University and expert in new media and internet governance, commented, “Much of our daily lives is made up of routines and habits that we repeat, and AI could assist in these practices. However, just because some things we do are repetitive does not mean they are insignificant. We draw a lot of meaning from things we do on a daily, weekly or annual basis, whether by ourselves or with others. Cultural practices such as cooking, shopping, cleaning, coordinating and telling stories are crucial parts of building our families and larger communities. Similarly, at work, some of the routines are predictable, but are also how we gain a sense of mastery and expertise in a specific domain. In both these examples, we will have to think about how we define knowledge, expertise, collaboration, and growth and development.”

    David Sarokin, author of “Missed Information: Better Information for Building a Wealthier, More Sustainable Future,” commented, “My biggest concern is that our educational system will not keep up with the demands of our modern times. It is doing a poor job of providing the foundations to our students. As more and more jobs are usurped by AI-endowed machines – everything from assembling cars to flipping burgers – those entering the workplace will need a level of technical sophistication that few graduates possess these days.”

    Justin Amyx, a technician with Comcast, said, “My worry is automation. Automation occurs usually with mundane tasks that fill low-paying, blue-collar-and-under jobs. Those jobs will disappear – lawn maintenance, truck drivers and fast food, to name a few. Those un-skilled or low-skilled workers will be jobless. Unless we have training programs to take care of worker displacement there will be issues.”

    The future of health care: Great expectations for many lives saved, extended and improved, mixed with worries about data abuses and a divide between ‘the haves and have-nots’

    Many of these experts have high hopes for continued incremental advances across all aspects of health care and life extension. They predict a rise in access to various tools, including digital agents that can perform rudimentary exams with no need to visit a clinic, a reduction in medical errors and better, faster recognition of risks and solutions. They also worry over the potential for a widening health care divide between those who can afford cutting-edge tools and treatments and those less privileged. They also express concerns about the potential for data abuses such as the denial of insurance or coverage or benefits for select people or procedures.

    Leonard Kleinrock, Internet Hall of Fame member and co-director of the first host-to-host online connection and professor of computer science at the University of California, Los Angeles, predicted, “As AI and machine learning improve, we will see highly customized interactions between humans and their health care needs. This mass customization will enable each human to have her medical history, DNA profile, drug allergies, genetic makeup, etc., always available to any caregiver/medical professional that they engage with, and this will be readily accessible to the individual as well. Their care will be tailored to their specific needs and the very latest advances will be able to be provided rapidly after the advances are established. The rapid provision of the best medical treatment will provide great benefits. In hospital settings, such customized information will dramatically reduce the occurrence of medical injuries and deaths due to medical errors. My hope and expectation is that intelligent agents will be able to assess the likely risks and the benefits that ensue from proposed treatments and procedures, far better than is done now by human evaluators, such humans, even experts, typically being poor decision makers in the face of uncertainty. But to bring this about, there will need to be carefully conducted tests and experimentation to assess the quality of the outcomes of AI-based decision making in this field. However, as with any ‘optimized’ system, one must continually be aware of the fragility of optimized systems when they are applied beyond the confines of their range of applicability.”

    Kenneth Grady, futurist, founding author of the Algorithmic Society blog and adjunct and advisor at the Michigan State University College of Law, responded, “In the next dozen years, AI will still be moving through a phase where it will augment what humans can do. It will help us sift through, organize and even evaluate the mountains of data we create each day. For example, doctors today still work with siloed data. Each patient’s vital signs, medicines, dosage rates, test results and side effects remain trapped in isolated systems. Doctors must evaluate this data without the benefit of knowing how it compares to the thousands of other patients around the country (or world) with similar problems. They struggle to turn the data into effective treatments by reading research articles and mentally comparing them to each patient’s data. As it evolves, AI will improve the process. Instead of episodic studies, doctors will have near-real-time access to information showing the effects of treatment regimes. Benefits and risks of drug interactions will be identified faster. Novel treatments will become evident more quickly.  Doctors will still manage the last mile, interpreting the analysis generated through AI. This human in the loop approach will remain critical during this phase. As powerful as AI will become, it still will not match humans on understanding how to integrate treatment with values. When will a family sacrifice effectiveness of treatment to prolong quality of life? When two life-threatening illnesses compete, which will the patient want treated first? This will be an important learning phase, as humans understand the limits of AI.”

    Charles Zheng, a researcher into machine learning and AI with the National Institute of Mental Health, commented, “In the year 2030, I expect AI will be more powerful than they currently are, but not yet at human level for most tasks. A patient checking into a hospital will be directed to the correct desk by a robot. The receptionist will be aided by software that listens to their conversation with the patient and automatically populates the information fields without needing the receptionist to type the information. Another program cross-references the database in the cloud to check for errors. The patient’s medical images would first be automatically labeled by a computer program before being sent to a radiologist.”

    A professor of computer science expert in systems who works at a major U.S. technological university wrote, “By 2030 … physiological monitoring devices (e.g., lower heartbeats and decreasing blood sugar levels) could indicate lower levels of physical alertness. Smart apps could detect those decaying physical conditions (at an individual level) and suggest improvements to the user (e.g., taking a coffee break with a snack). Granted, there may be large-scale problems caused by AI and robots, e.g., massive unemployment, but the recent trends seem to indicate small improvements such as health monitor apps outlined above, would be more easily developed and deployed successfully.”

    Kenneth Cukier, author and senior editor at The Economist, commented, “AI will be making more decisions in life, and some people will be uneasy with that. But these are decisions that are more effectively done by machines, such as assessing insurance risk, the propensity to repay a loan or to survive a disease. A good example is health care: Algorithms, not doctors, will be diagnosing many diseases, even if human doctors are still ‘in the loop.’ The benefit is that healthcare can reach down to populations that are today underserved: the poor and rural worldwide.”

    Gabor Melli, senior director of engineering for AI and machine learning for Sony PlayStation, responded, “My hope is that by 2030 most of humanity will have ready access to health care and education through digital agents.”

    Kate Eddens, research scientist at the Indiana University Network Science Institute, responded, “There is an opportunity for AI to enhance human ability to gain critical information in decision-making, particularly in the world of health care. There are so many moving parts and components to understanding health care needs and deciding how to proceed in treatment and prevention. With AI, we can program algorithms to help refine those decision-making processes, but only when we train the AI tools on human thinking, a tremendous amount of real data and actual circumstances and experiences. There are some contexts in which human bias and emotion can be detrimental to decision-making. For example, breast cancer is over-diagnosed and over-treated. While mammography guidelines have changed to try to reflect this reality, strong human emotion powered by anecdotal experience leaves some practitioners unwilling to change their recommendations based on evidence and advocacy groups reluctant to change their stance based on public outcry. Perhaps there is an opportunity for AI to calculate a more specific risk for each individual person, allowing for a tailored experience amid the broader guidelines. If screening guidelines change to ‘recommended based on individual risk,’ it lessens the burden on both the care provider and the individual. People still have to make their own decisions, but they may be able to do so with more information and a greater understanding of their own risk and reward. This is such a low-tech and simple example of AI, but one in which AI can – importantly – supplement human decision-making without replacing it.”

    Angelique Hedberg, senior corporate strategy analyst at RTI International, said, “The greatest advancements and achievements will be in health – physical, mental and environmental. The improvements will have positive trickle-down impacts on education, work, gender equality and reduced inequality. AI will redefine our understanding of health care, optimizing existing processes while simultaneously redefining how we answer questions about what it means to be healthy, bringing care earlier in the cycle due to advances in diagnostics and assessment, i.e. in the future preventative care identifies and initiates treatment for illness before symptoms present. The advances will not be constrained to humans; they will include animals and the built environment. This will happen across the disease spectrum. Advanced ‘omics’ will empower better decisions. There will be a push and a pull by the market and individuals. This is a global story, with fragmented and discontinuous moves being played out over the next decade as we witness wildly different experiments in health across the globe. This future is full of hope for individuals and communities. My greatest hope is for disabled individuals and those currently living with disabilities. I’m excited for communities and interpersonal connections as the work in this future will allow for and increase the value of the human-to-human experiences. Progress is often only seen in retrospect; I hope the speed of exponential change allows everyone to enjoy the benefits of these collaborations.”

    An anonymous respondent wrote, “In health care, I hope AI will improve the diagnostics and reduce the number of errors. Doctors cannot recall all the possibilities; they have problems correlating all the symptoms and recognizing the patterns. I hope that in the future patients will be interviewed by computers, which will correlate the described symptoms with results of tests. I hope that with the further development of AI and cognitive computing there will be fewer errors in reports of medical imaging and diagnosis.”

    Eduardo Vendrell, a computer science professor at the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain, responded, “In the field of health, many solutions will appear that will allow us to anticipate current problems and discover other risk situations more efficiently. The use of personal gadgets and other domestic devices will allow interacting directly with professionals and institutions in any situation of danger or deterioration of our health.”

    …I foresee an increased development of mobile (remote) 24/7 health care services and personalized medicine thanks to AI and human-machine collaboration applied to the field.Monica Murero

    Monica Murero, director of the E-Life International Institute and associate professor in sociology of new technology at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy, commented, “In health care, I foresee positive outcomes in terms of reducing human mistakes, that are currently still creating several failures. Also, I foresee an increased development of mobile (remote) 24/7 health care services and personalized medicine thanks to AI and human-machine collaboration applied to the field.”

    Uta Russmann, professor in the department of communication at FHWien der WKW University of Applied Sciences for Management & Communication, said, “Life expectancy is increasing (globally) and human-machine/AI collaboration will help older people to manage their life on their own by taking care of them, helping them in the household (taking down the garbage, cleaning up, etc.) as well as keeping them company – just like cats and dogs do, but it will be a much more ‘advanced’ interaction.”

    Lindsey Andersen, an activist at the intersection of human rights and technology for Freedom House and Internews, now doing graduate research at Princeton University, commented, “AI will augment human intelligence. In health care, for example, it will help doctors more accurately diagnose and treat disease and continually monitor high-risk patients through internet-connected medical devices. It will bring health care to places with a shortage of doctors, allowing health care workers to diagnose and treat disease anywhere in the world and to prevent disease outbreaks before they start.”

    An anonymous respondent said, “The most important place where AI will make a difference is in health care of the elderly. Personal assistants are already capable of many important tasks to help make sure older adults stay in their home. But adding to that emotion detection, more in-depth health monitoring and AI-based diagnostics will surely enhance the power of these tools.”

    Denis Parra, assistant professor of computer science in the school of engineering at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile Chile, commented, “I live in a developing country. Whilst there are potential negative aspects of AI (loss of jobs), for people with disabilities AI technology could improve their lives. I imagine people entering a government office or health facility where people with eye- or ear-related disabilities could effortlessly interact to state their necessities and resolve their information needs.”

    Timothy Leffel, research scientist, National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, said, “Formulaic transactions and interactions are particularly ripe for automation. This can be good in cases where human error can cause problems, e.g., for well-understood diagnostic medical testing.”

    Jean-Daniel Fekete, researcher in human-computer interaction at INRIA in France, said, “Humans and machines will integrate more, improving health through monitoring and easing via machine control. Personal data will then become even more revealing and intrusive and should be kept under personal control.”

    Joe Whittaker, a former professor of sciences and associate director of the NASA GESTAR program, now associate provost at Jackson State University, responded, “My hope is that AI/human-machine interface will become commonplace especially in the academic research and health care arena. I envision significant advances in brain-machine interface to facilitate mitigation of physical and mental challenges. Similar uses in robotics should also be used to assist the elderly.”

    James Gannon, global head of eCompliance for emerging technology, cloud and cybersecurity at Novartis, responded, “AI will increase the speed and availability to develop drugs and therapies for orphan indications. AI will assist in general lifestyle and health care management for the average person.”

    Jay Sanders, president and CEO of the Global Telemedicine Group, responded, “AI will bring collective expertise to the decision point, and in health care, bringing collective expertise to the bedside will save many lives now lost by individual medical errors.”

    Geoff Arnold, CTO for the Verizon Smart Communities organization, said, “One of the most important trends over the next 12 years is the aging population and the high costs of providing them with care and mobility. AI will provide better data-driven diagnoses of medical and cognitive issues and it will facilitate affordable AV-based paratransit for the less mobile. It will support, not replace, human care-givers.”

    John Lazzaro, retired professor of electrical engineering and computer science, University of California, Berkeley, commented, “When I visit my primary care physician today, she spends a fair amount time typing into an EMS application as she’s talking to me. In this sense, the computer has already arrived in the clinic. An AI system that frees her from this clerical task – that can listen and watch and distill the doctor-patient interaction into actionable data – would be an improvement. A more-advanced AI system would be able to form a ‘second opinion’ based on this data as the appointment unfolds, discreetly advising the doctor via a wearable. The end goal is a reduction in the number of ‘false starts’ in-patient diagnosis. If you’ve read Lisa Sander’s columns in the New York Times, where she traces the arc of difficult diagnoses, you understand the real clinical problem that this system addresses.”

    Steve Farnsworth, chief marketing officer at Demand Marketing, commented, “Machine learning and AI offer tools to turn that into actionable data. One project using machine learning and big data already was able to predict SIDS correctly 94% of the time. Imagine AI looking at diagnostics, tests and successful treatments of millions of medical cases. We would instantly have a deluge of new cures and know the most effective treatment options using only the data, medicines and therapies we have now. The jump in quality health care alone for humans is staggering. This is only one application for AI.”

    Daniel Siewiorek, a professor with the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, predicted, “AI will enable systems to perform labor-intensive activities where there are labor shortages. For example, consider recovery from an injury. There is a shortage of physical therapists to monitor and correct exercises. AI would enable a virtual coach to monitor, correct and encourage a patient. Virtual coaches could take on the persona of a human companion or a pet, allowing the aging population to live independently.”

    Joly MacFie, president of the Internet Society, New York chapter, commented, “AI will have many benefits for people with disabilities and health issues. Much of the aging baby boomer generation will be in this category.”

    The overall hopes for the future of health care are tempered by concerns that there will continue to be inequities in access to the best care and worries that private health data may be used to limit people’s options.

    Craig Burdett, a respondent who provided no identifying details, wrote, “While most AI will probably be a positive benefit, the possible darker side of AI could lead to a loss of agency for some. For example, in a health care setting an increasing use of AI could allow wealthier patients access to significantly-more-advanced diagnosis agents. When coupled with a supportive care team, these patients could receive better treatment and a greater range of treatment options. Conversely, less-affluent patients may be relegated to automated diagnoses and treatment plants with little opportunity for interaction to explore alternative treatments. AI could, effectively, manage long-term health care costs by offering lesser treatment (and sub-optimal recovery rates) to individuals perceived to have a lower status. Consider two patients with diabetes. One patient, upon diagnosis, modifies their eating and exercise patterns (borne out by embedded diagnostic tools) and would benefit from more advanced treatment. The second patient fails to modify their behaviour resulting in substantial ongoing treatment that could be avoided by simple lifestyle choices. An AI could subjectively evaluate that the patient has little interest in their own health and withhold more expensive treatment options leading to a shorter lifespan and an overall cost saving.”

    Sumandra Majee, an architect at F5 Networks Inc., said, “AI, deep learning, etc., will become more a part of daily life in advanced countries. This will potentially widen the gap between technology-savvy people and economically well-to-do folks and the folks with limited access to technology. However, I am hopeful that in the field of healthcare, especially when it comes to diagnosis, AI will significantly augment the field, allowing doctors to do a far better job. Many of the routines aspects of checkups can be done via technology. There is no reason an expert human has to be involved in basic A/B testing to reach a conclusion. Machines can be implemented for those tasks and human doctors should only do the critical parts. I do see AI playing a negative role in education, where students may not often actually do the hard work of learning through experience. It might actually make the overall population dumber.”

    Timothy Graham, a postdoctoral research fellow in sociology and computer science at Australian National University, commented, “In health care, we see current systems already under heavy criticism (e.g., the My Health Record system in Australia, or the NHS Digital program), because they are nudging citizens into using the system through an ‘opt-out’ mechanism and there are concerns that those who do not opt out may be profiled, targeted and/or denied access to services based on their own data.”

    Valarie Bell, a computational social scientist at the University of North Texas, commented, “Let’s say medical diagnosis is taken over by machines, computers and robotics – how will stressful prognoses be communicated? Will a hologram or a computer deliver ‘the bad news’ instead of a physician? Given the health care industry’s inherent profit motives it would be easy for them to justify how much cheaper it would be to simply have devices diagnose, prescribe treatment and do patient care, without concern for the importance of human touch and interactions. Thus, we may devolve into a health care system where the rich actually get a human doctor while everyone else, or at least the poor and uninsured, get the robot.”

    The following one-liners from anonymous respondents also tie into the future of health care:

  • “People could use a virtual doctor for information and first-level response; so much time could be saved!”
  • “The merging of data science and AI could benefit strategic planning of the future research and development efforts that should be undertaken by humanity.”
  • “I see economic efficiencies and advances in preventive medicine and treatment of disease, however, I do think there will be plenty of adverse consequences.”
  • “Data can reduce errors – for instance, in clearly taking into account the side effects of a medicine or use of multiple medications.”
  • “Human-machine/AI collaboration will reduce barriers to proper medical treatment through better recordkeeping and preventative measures.”
  • “AI can take over many of the administrative tasks current doctors must do, allowing them more time with patients.”
  • The future of education: High hopes for advances in adaptive and individualized learning, but some doubt that there will be any significant progress and worry over digital divide

    Over the past few decades, experts and amateurs alike have predicted the internet would have large-scale impacts on education. Many of these hopes have not lived up to the hype. Some respondents to this canvassing said the advent of AI could foster those changes. They expect to see more options for affordable adaptive and individualized learning solutions, including digital agents or “AI assistants” that work to enhance student-teacher interactions and effectiveness.

    Barry Chudakov, founder and principal of Sertain Research and author of “Metalifestream,” commented, “In the learning environment, AI has the potential to finally demolish the retain-to-know learning (and regurgitate) model. Knowing is no longer retaining – machine intelligence does that; it is making significant connections. Connect and assimilate becomes the new learning model.”

    Lou Gross, professor of mathematical ecology and expert in grid computing, spatial optimization and modeling of ecological systems at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, said, “I see AI as assisting in individualized instruction and training in ways that are currently unavailable or too expensive. There are hosts of school systems around the world that have some technology but are using it in very constrained ways. AI use will provide better adaptive learning and help achieve a teacher’s goal of personalizing education based on each student’s progress.”

    Guy Levi, chief innovation officer for the Center for Educational Technology, based in Israel, wrote, “In the field of education AI will promote personalization, which almost by definition promotes motivation. The ability to move learning forward all the time by a personal AI assistant, which opens the learning to new paths, is a game changer. The AI assistants will also communicate with one another and will orchestrate teamwork and collaboration. The AI assistants will also be able to manage diverse methods of learning, such as productive failure, teach-back and other innovating pedagogies.”

    Micah Altman, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and head scientist in the program on information science at MIT Libraries, wrote, “These technologies will help to adapt learning (and other environments) to the needs of each individual by translating language, aiding memory and providing us feedback on our own emotional and cognitive state and on the environment. We all need adaptation; each of us, practically every day, is at times tired, distracted, fuzzy-headed or nervous, which limits how we learn, how we understand and how we interact with others. AI has the potential to assist us to engage with the world better – even when conditions are not ideal – and to better understand ourselves.”

    Shigeki Goto, Asia-Pacific internet pioneer, Internet Hall of Fame member and a professor of computer science at Waseda University, commented, “AI is already applied to personalized medicine for an individual patient. Similarly, it will be applied to learning or education to realize ‘personalized learning’ or tailored education. We need to collect data which covers both of successful learning and failure experiences, because machine learning requires positive and negative data.”

    Andreas Kirsch, fellow at Newspeak House, formerly with Google and DeepMind in Zurich and London, wrote, “Higher education outside of normal academia will benefit further from AI progress and empower more people with access to knowledge and information. For example, question-and-answer systems will improve. Tech similar to Google Translate and WaveNet will lower the barrier of knowledge acquisition for non-English speakers. At the same time, child labor will be reduced because robots will be able to perform the tasks far cheaper and faster, forcing governments in Asia to find real solutions.”

    Kristin Jenkins, executive director of BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium, said, “One of the benefits of this technology is the potential to have really effective, responsive education resources. We know that students benefit from immediate feedback and the opportunity to practice applying new information repeatedly to enhance mastery. AI systems are perfect for analyzing students’ progress, providing more practice where needed and moving on to new material when students are ready. This allows time with instructors to focus on more-complex learning, including 21st-century skills.”

    Mike Meyer, chief information officer at Honolulu Community College, commented, “Adult education availability and relevance will undergo a major transformation. Community colleges will become more directly community centers for both occupational training and greatly expanded optional liberal arts, art, crafts and hobbies. Classes will, by 2030, be predominantly augmented-reality-based, with a full mix of physical and virtual students in classes presented in virtual classrooms by national and international universities and organizations. The driving need will be expansion of knowledge for personal interest and enjoyment as universal basic income or equity will replace the automated tasks that had provided subsistence jobs in the old system.”

    Jennifer Groff, co-founder of the Center for Curriculum Redesign, an international non-governmental organization dedicated to redesigning education for the 21st century, wrote, “The impact on learning and learning environments has the potential to be one of the most positive future outcomes. Learning is largely intangible and invisible, making it a ‘black box’ – and our tools to capture and support learning to this point have been archaic. Think large-scale assessment. Learners need tools that help them understand where they are in a learning pathway, how they learn best, what they need next and so on. We’re only just beginning to use technology to better answer these questions. AI has the potential to help us better understand learning, gain insights into learners at scale and, ultimately, build better learning tools and systems for them. But as a large social system, it is also prey to the complications of poor public policy that ultimately warps and diminishes AI’s potential positive impact.”

    Norton Gusky, an education-technology consultant, wrote, “By 2030 most learners will have personal profiles that will tap into AI/machine learning. Learning will happen everywhere and at any time. There will be appropriate filters that will limit the influence of AI, but ethical considerations will also be an issue.”

    Cliff Zukin, professor of public policy and political science at Rutgers University’s School of Planning and Public Policy and the Eagleton Institute of Politics, said, “It takes ‘information’ out of the category of a commodity, and more information makes for better decisions and is democratizing. Education, to me, has always been the status leveler, correcting, to some extent, for birth luck and social mobility. This will be like Asimov’s ‘Foundation,’ where everyone is plugged into the data-sphere. There is a dark side (later) but overall a positive.”

    However, some expect that there will be a continuing digital divide in education, with the privileged having more access to advanced tools and more capacity for using them well, while the less-privileged lag behind.

    Henning Schulzrinne, co-chair of the Internet Technical Committee of the IEEE Communications Society, professor at Columbia University and Internet Hall of Fame member, said, “Human-mediated education will become a luxury good. Some high school- and college-level teaching will be conducted partially by video and AI-graded assignments, using similar platforms to the MOOC [massive open online courses] models today, with no human involvement, to deal with increasing costs for education (‘robo-TA’).”

    Huge segments of society will be left behind or excluded completely from the benefits of digital advances – many persons in underserved communities as well as others who are socio-economically challenged.Joe Whittaker

    Joe Whittaker, a former professor of sciences and associate director of the NASA GESTAR program, now associate provost at Jackson State University, responded, “Huge segments of society will be left behind or excluded completely from the benefits of digital advances – many persons in underserved communities as well as others who are socio-economically challenged. This is due to the fact that these persons will be under-prepared generally, with little or no digital training or knowledge base. They rarely have access to the relatively ubiquitous internet, except when at school or in the workplace. Clearly, the children of these persons will be greatly disadvantaged.”

    Some witnesses of technology’s evolution over the past few decades feel that its most-positive potential has been disappointingly delayed. After witnessing the slower-than-expected progress of tech’s impact on public education since the 1990s, they are less hopeful than others.

    Ed Lyell, longtime educational technologies expert and professor at Adams State University, said education has been held back to this point by the tyranny of the status quo. He wrote, “By 2030, lifelong learning will become more widespread for all ages. The tools already exist, including Khan Academy and YouTube. We don’t have to know as much, just how to find information when we want it. We will have on-demand, 24/7 ‘schooling.’ This will make going to sit-down classroom schools more and more a hindrance to our learning. The biggest negative will be from those protecting current, status-quo education including teachers/faculty, school boards and college administrators. They are protecting their paycheck- or ego-based role. They will need training, counseling and help to embrace the existing and forthcoming change as good for all learners. Part of the problem now is that they do not want to acknowledge the reality of how current schools are today. Some do a good job, yet these are mostly serving already smarter, higher-income communities. Parents fight to have their children have a school like they experienced, forgetting how inefficient and often useless it was. AI can help customize curricula to each learner and guide/monitor their journey through multiple learning activities, including some existing schools, on-the-job learning, competency-based learning, internships and such. You can already learn much more, and more efficiently, using online resources than almost all of the classes I took in my public schooling and college, all the way through getting a Ph.D.”

    A consultant and analyst also said that advances in education have been held back by entrenched interests in legacy education systems, writing, “The use of technology in education is minimal today due to the existence and persistence of the classroom-in-a-school model. As we have seen over the last 30 years, the application of artificial intelligence in the field of man/machine interface has grown in many unexpected directions. Who would have thought back in the late 1970s that the breadth of today’s online (i.e., internet) capabilities could emerged? I believe we are just seeing the beginning of the benefits of the man/machine interface for mankind. The institutionalized education model must be eliminated to allow education of each and every individual to grow. The human brain can be ‘educated’ 24 hours a day by intelligent ‘educators’ who may not even be human in the future. Access to information is no longer a barrier as it was 50 years ago. The next step now is to remove the barrier of structured human delivery of learning in the classroom.”

    Brock Hinzmann, a partner in the Business Futures Network who worked for 40 years as a futures researcher at SRI International, was hopeful in his comments but also issued a serious warning. He wrote: “Most of the improvements in the technologies we call AI will involve machine learning from big data to improve the efficiency of systems, which will improve the economy and wealth. It will improve emotion and intention recognition, augment human senses and improve overall satisfaction in human-computer interfaces. There will also be abuses in monitoring personal data and emotions and in controlling human behavior, which we need to recognize early and thwart. Intelligent machines will recognize patterns that lead to equipment failures or flaws in final products and be able to correct a condition or shut down and pinpoint the problem. Autonomous vehicles will be able to analyze data from other vehicles and sensors in the roads or on the people nearby to recognize changing conditions and avoid accidents. In education and training, AI learning systems will recognize learning preferences, styles and progress of individuals and help direct them toward a personally satisfying outcome.

    “However, governments or religious organizations may monitor emotions and activities using AI to direct them to ‘feel’ a certain way, to monitor them and to punish them if their emotional responses at work, in education or in public do not conform to some norm. Education could become indoctrination; democracy could become autocracy or theocracy.”


    Artifical Intelligence (AI) Influence on Internet of Things (IoT) and Mesh Technology Transforming Tech Industry | killexams.com real questions and Pass4sure dumps

    PALM BEACH, Florida, March 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

    MarketNewsUpdates.com News Commentary 

    Artificial Intelligence continued influence and advancements for The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming how businesses and consumers go about their daily activities. The technology that underlies this whole segment is evolving quickly, whether it's the rapid rise of the Amazon Echo and voice assistants upending the consumer space, or growth of AI-powered analytics platforms for the enterprise market. The Internet of Things (IoT) space is one of the hottest avenues within the tech sector as society becomes increasingly connected to the web at all times. Due to the rapid growth, advancements and consumer demand, the Boston Consulting Group is forecasting the sector to top $267 billion in revenues within two years. Additionally, the number of firms investing in the development of IoT platforms and technologies is rising, particularly as the infusion of mesh technology will serve to enhance the operating efficiency of IoT platforms, enabling companies to develop and release new platforms for consumers and businesses alike. Active companies in the markets this week include Gopher Protocol Inc. (OTC: GOPH), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA), Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL).

    Gopher Protocol Inc. (OTCQB: GOPH) BREAKING NEWS: Gopher Protocol, a company specializing in the creation of Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence enabled mobile technologies, announced a closing of the sale of a convertible debenture containing a fixed conversion price, which generated $750,000 in gross proceeds. The details on the funding can be found in the Company's Form 8-K - https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1471781/000161577418001621/s109251_8k.htm.

    The financing is part of the Company's strategy to reduce its dependence on derivative convertible financing and create a balance sheet that gives investors clarity regarding the number of shares outstanding and potential dilution caused by convertible debenture financing. The investor that participated in this financing may, in its sole discretion, provide additional funding to the Company at similar terms of the current funding.  

    As previously announced on January 2, 2018 ( https://finance.yahoo.com/news/gopher-protocol-closes-growth-financing-140000380.html ), an investor, that had previously acquired convertible debt from the Company, invested $1 million in a common equity financing and agreed to potentially purchase an additional $500,000 in its discretion, potentially bringing the total investment to $1.5 million. Read this and more news for GOPH at http://www.marketnewsupdates.com/news/goph.html

    "The Company is pleased to be on a great track financially, it should be a very positive signal to the market that in January 2018, a private accreditor investor made the transition from being a lender to an equity investor" stated Greg Bauer, CEO. "We believe the closing of the current convertible debenture with a fixed conversion price supports the notion that the investment community agrees that Gopher is on the right track, going forward", added Greg Bauer, CEO. Gopher Protocol has made a concerted effort to de-lever its balance and add shareholder equity to the balance sheet. As reported on its most recent Form 8-K, the Company continues to improve its financial outlook by eliminating all derivative liabilities by paying off its reaming derivative liability on March 5, 2018.  

    Along with the recently announced growth capital financing, the Company is positioned to pursue growth and fund the rollout of its new technologies. The de-levering is part of the Company's strategy to reduce its dependence on variable convertible debt financing and create a balance sheet that gives investors clarity regarding the number of shares outstanding and potential dilution caused by historical variable convertible debt financing.  

    "We are pleased to make this string of announcements, which we believe is evidence of the fact that we are on track to complete many of the tasks that I have laid out including our absorbing of our recent acquisition, as well as potentially new acquisitions, as we seek to combine our distribution channels with our new technologies," stated Greg Bauer, CEO. "In simple words, the Company's debt schedule following the current funding and the payment of the last derivative liability result in only one outstanding liability of $750,000 that may potentially be converted into common stock at a fixed price" added Greg Bauer, CEO.

    In other Tech and AI developments in the markets of note: 

    Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) is planning to include more artificial intelligence capabilities inside Windows 10 soon. The software giant is unveiling a new AI platform, Windows ML, for developers today, that will be available in the next major Windows 10 update available this spring. Microsoft's new platform will enable all developers that create apps on Windows 10 to leverage existing pre-trained machine learning models in apps. Windows ML will enable developers to create more powerful apps for consumers running Windows 10. Developers will be able to import existing learning models from different AI platforms and run them locally on PCs and devices running Windows 10, speeding up real-time analysis of local data like images or video, or even improving background tasks like indexing files for quick search inside apps. Microsoft has already been using AI throughout Office 365, inside the Windows 10 Photos app, and even with its Windows Hello facial recognition to allow Windows 10 users to sign into PCs and laptops with their faces.

    NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) is one of the most prominent IoT hardware companies in the market at this moment. Nvidia's Tegra automotive systems chips are already an integral part of Tesla Motors' full lineup, powering the self-driving capabilities of the Model S, Model X and Model 3. The company also recently announced partnerships with auto parts manufacturer Bosch, to improve upon AI in automobiles, and with Audi, to put the first fully self-driving car on the market by 2020.

    Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) recently obtained a patent for a new type of robot, one that can swiftly transform into a unique "two-wheeled self-balancing mode." In documents recently made public, Scott C. Wiley, an inventor at Facebook, detailed how the futuristic robot would work, providing rudimentary sketches of its appearance. If the drawings prove accurate, it will come equipped with a camera and microphone, a rotatable "main arm" and a set of wheels to help it zoom around. The filing states: "The robot includes a body and a pair of drive wheels located at a first end portion of the body. Each drive wheel is coupled to a drive assembly operative to propel the robot along a surface. A third wheel is located on the body at a second end portion opposite the first end portion.

    Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) recently announced its latest artificial intelligence home product in its "Google Clips" device. The $249 device, which is designed to clip onto furniture or other fixed objects, automatically captures subjects that wander into its viewfinder. But unlike some trail or security cameras that are triggered by motion or programmed on timers, Clips is more discerning. Google has trained its electronic brain to recognize smiles, human faces, dogs, cats and rapid sequences of movement. The company sees big potential with parents and pet owners looking to grab candid shots of kids and animals. The Clip shoots seven-second videos, without audio, that can be edited into GIFs or high-definition photos. These images can then be downloaded and shared via smartphone. But Google's bigger ambition is the mastery - and commercialization - of artificial intelligence, an area where it is investing big. Google executives say success requires tight integration between hardware and software, which is why the search-engine giant keeps plugging away at consumer electronics.

    DISCLAIMER: MarketNewsUpdates.com (MNU) is a third party publisher and news dissemination service provider, which disseminates electronic information through multiple online media channels. MNU is NOT affiliated in any manner with any company mentioned herein. MNU and its affiliated companies are a news dissemination solutions provider and are NOT a registered broker/dealer/analyst/adviser, holds no investment licenses and may NOT sell, offer to sell or offer to buy any security. MNU's market updates, news alerts and corporate profiles are NOT a solicitation or recommendation to buy, sell or hold securities. The material in this release is intended to be strictly informational and is NEVER to be construed or interpreted as research material. All readers are strongly urged to perform research and due diligence on their own and consult a licensed financial professional before considering any level of investing in stocks. All material included herein is republished content and details which were previously disseminated by the companies mentioned in this release. MNU is not liable for any investment decisions by its readers or subscribers. Investors are cautioned that they may lose all or a portion of their investment when investing in stocks. For current services performed MNU has been compensated twenty three hundred dollars for news coverage of the current press releases issued by Gopher Protocol Inc. by a non-affiliated third party. MNU HOLDS NO SHARES OF ANY COMPANY NAMED IN THIS RELEASE.

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    Category: Business Practices | killexams.com real questions and Pass4sure dumps

    October 31st, 2018 in Business Practices, Fall 2018, Millennial, Restaurants, Technology, Trends

    By Tyler Titherington

    I am a restaurateur.  I’m behind schedule.  Again.  Not because I am disorganized or have too much to do, more so because I have a hierarchy of tasks that are addressed based on priority.  Guest needs are my first priority, staff needs are a close second and everything else last.  There is a tertiary hierarchy in the last basket as well.  Some tasks with a lower priority fall through the cracks.  Not because they are unimportant, but rather there just was not enough time.  The truth is that I am obsessively organized.  I love “To Do” lists, calendars, flow charts and the accomplishment of tasks.  I eat projects for breakfast, while living on the edge of chaos and complete catastrophe.  Short staffed?  Yawn.  Drains flooding?  Been there, done that.  POS system crash during service on a weekend?  Bring it.  I am the duck – calm above water and feet moving nonstop below.  However, how do I manage all the curveballs and still manage to gain time without compromising any of my other priorities?  It is very simple – adapt and embrace technology wherever possible, specifically, cloud-based computing solutions that allow one to be in many places at one time.  These applications simplify daily tasks for management teams and staff, which will ultimately leverage senior management down to focus on the bigger picture.  Maybe even get a day off…

    Over the last 10 years or so, the increased availability of cloud-based computing solutions (using network computers over the internet rather than property-based hard drives) has been a major paradigm shift for many industries.  However, as with most technological advances, the restaurant industry has been very slow to adapt.  Tight margins, resistance to change, and fear of unknown outcomes have long driven the restaurateur’s decision-making process.  However, with increased options, cheaper costs, and ease of use, that mindset is quickly becoming a thing of the past.  Restaurant operators are beginning to embrace cloud-based solutions for everything from Point of Sale and Tableside Payment to Menu Design and Scheduling.

    Our foray into cloud computing began with an unfortunate set of circumstances that the entire industry was facing.  The year was 2010 and the impending doom of PCI Compliance was upon us.  At best, our network infrastructure was dated and we needed to act quickly to get it into compliance.  Like most operators, our hand was forced and we had no choice.  What is PCI Compliance?  The answer depends on who you ask.

    Your guests have never heard of it and have no idea what it is.  Most restaurant operators will tell you that PCI Compliance is an almost unachievable set of network security standards designed to protect the credit card giants, who already charge them way too much for credit card processing and continually squeeze them with a plethora of monthly fees.  The definition of PCI Compliance is below, according to PCI ComplianceGuide.org

    “The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards designed to ensure that ALL companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.  The PCI Security Council Card focuses on improving payment account security throughout the transaction process. It is an independent body that was created by the major payment card brands (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and JCB.).”[i]

    PCI DSS is mandatory for any and all businesses that accept credit cards.  It involves a process of assessment, remediation and reporting.  Operators must identify network vulnerabilities, physical vulnerabilities, and operational vulnerabilities that could result in a credit card breach and fix them.  In summary, it is a painfully tedious, extremely time consuming, and potentially expensive process.

    It is extremely important for the security of our guest’s payment information, both for ensuring trust with our customers and limiting legal liabilities.  In 2017-8, major retail stores including Home Depot, Macy’s, Sears, Kmart, Best Buy and Lord & Taylor made headlines across the country for data breaches possibly compromising customer’s credit card personal information. The restaurant industry is also plagued with security breaches, including large chains such as Darden (Cheddar’s), Panera Bread, Sonic and Arby’s. The number of customers whose credit card information may be compromised totals into the millions.[ii]

    At Grafton Group, the process of obtaining Credit card security involved working directly with our IT vendor and POS vendor to achieve PCI compliance.  The first order of business was to get our network infrastructure in order.  Some of the major network upgrades that we undertook were upgrading wiring, locking down patch panels, securitizing external ports, adding wireless access points (WAPs), and replacing firewalls. The WAPs and new firewalls were the heart of the upgrades and would ultimately allow us to operate unencumbered in the cloud.  The new access points give our guests their own network and prevent them from accessing ours.  The security firewalls prevent intrusions and also allow our IT vendor remote access so they can make changes without actually being in the restaurant.  What used to be a scheduled visit from our IT vendor that may have taken weeks, is now a simple email and can often be addressed online in minutes.  In a nutshell, PCI DSS forced us to upgrade our network, which ultimately allowed us to operate in the cloud.  This unintended outcome to a painful requirement was truly a blessing in disguise and it pushed us into new territory – the cloud!  Being in the cloud has allowed us access to exciting applications and services that would otherwise be unavailable to us.

    IBM defines cloud computing as “the delivery of on-demand computing resources — everything from applications to data centers — over the internet on a pay-for-use basis.”[iii]  For our purposes, these on demand computing resources primarily consist of “SaaS” or Software as a Service.  Here are some of the areas where cloud computing can streamline our operation.

    Point of Sale

    POS systems are the most interesting area of cloud-based solutions for restaurant operators.  Legacy systems such as Positouch, Micros, and Aloha are bulkier, more expensive, and much harder to program and implement.  There are quite a few cloud-based POS options, most notably Boston-based Toast.  Toast has done a great job streamlining and simplifying the interface for both front and back end users.  Management can access the system remotely for screen programming, troubleshooting or reviewing sales.  It is extremely intuitive, like using a smartphone, thus needing very little training. As wireless POS solutions evolve, legacy systems will eventually be phased out.  It is only a matter of time.

    Tableside Payment

    EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) is another set of regulations that are coming to the restaurant industry. “EMV is a global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions.”[iv]  Used in Europe for years, the credit card never leaves the customer and all transactions are processed tableside with a handheld device. One example of an EMV compliant, cloud-based device for tableside payments that we at Grafton Group are currently analyzing and plan on implementing is Pay My Tab.  Pay My Tab will fully integrate with our POS system and eliminates many bulky PCI DSS requirements. Many similar systems are already in use at quick service operations, where guests and staff have easily adapted to them.  In addition to tougher security, the implementation should decrease payment time, eliminate paper receipts (emailed instead) and simplify the process for management to search for specific receipts.

    Reservations and Floor Management

    There are a variety of solutions for reservations and floor management systems.  Our firm has been using OpenTable for over 15 years, so when they rolled out their cloud-based system, GuestCenter, we were early adopters.  This has been one of the single best applications in terms of roll out, ease of use, and seamless integration.  It is iPad-based and eliminates all the wiring and host stand real estate.  It is compatible to smart phones that allows for remote access, allowing management to check flow of service, identify unique reservations, and make sure that waitlists are being managed appropriately.  Soon to come is an interface with POS systems that automatically applies any “guest notes” from GuestCenter to the server’s check, such as special occasions, etc. Most importantly, due to its intuitive design, our millennial hosts use the system seamlessly.

    Private Event Management

    Private events are the foundation of most full service restaurant operations.  They are the difference between a good week and a great week.  However, it can be a very confusing process with all of the moving parts.  In order to stay organized, we use TripleSeat to manage leads, create BEOs and track our events calendar. The cloud-based event management system allows our Private Event Coordinators to respond at any given time from anywhere, giving them a leg up on the competition, giving them the opportunity to earn fees for each event.  Since our coordinators receive an administrative fee for each event, they enjoy responding when available off-site; good communication is key for making sure work-life balance is maintained.

    Bar at the Russell House Tavern in Cambridge, MA. Photo: graftongrouphospitality.com Inventory

    An area which the cloud has really saved our restaurants time is with food & beverage inventories.  No more paper and no more transposing paper to spreadsheet.  Inventories can be uploaded in real time using a tablet, laptop or even a smart phone. BevSpot is used for both our food and beverage inventories.  We have also given access to our accounting firm, in order to reduce bulky invoice scans and uploads.  All information can be entered into the cloud and accessed by all of our approved users.  It also allows for multiple people to take inventory simultaneously.  One person can be on the bar, another in the walk in fridge, and another in the liquor room, all at the same time.  In addition to being a major time saver, it has helped Grafton Group to reduce sitting inventory by a significant amount across all properties.

    Scheduling

    Staff scheduling is a weekly administrative headache for managers, but there are cloud-based scheduling applications that lessen the pain. We have found HotSchedules to fit our needs as it interfaces with our POS system and allows our firm to do some creative reporting in regards to budgeting and forecasting, as well as taking employees requests and requirements into consideration.

    Email and File Sharing

    Grafton Group has come a long way from sharing access to a desktop version of Outlook and toggling between accounts.  We were able to eliminate our main server entirely and now we use Office 365 for our email and file sharing needs.  Not only is this highly securitized, it has redundancy so our information is always backed up.  We access both our email and files from anywhere in the world.  This has greatly improved productivity and allowed our management teams to communicate in real time.

    Grafton Street in Cambridge, MA. Photo: graftongrouphospitality.com Computer Hardware

    Our office hardware now consists of much less expensive “Network Computers”, which do not require expanded memory for giant programs, CD drives for downloading drivers, or expansion slots for extraneous drives.  We can purchase more computers at a reduced cost and our managers no longer have to share computer access in the office.

    Menu Design

    For our menu design need, we have found InDesign to be the most efficient program, which is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud.  This program can now be selected a la carte from Adobe’s menu of programs and paid for on a month to month basis for under $20.  This is much more palatable than paying $600 for the entire Adobe suite.

    These are just a handful examples of how cloud computing has impacted our operations and ultimately saved time for our management team and staff.  Ten seconds here, 5 minutes there, an hour tomorrow – it adds up to impactful chunks of time that can be better spent elsewhere.  We have only scratched the surface as an industry – we will see more and more options for cloud-based solutions to real world restaurant problems. Although the solutions highlighted above create efficiency and save time, they do not serve guests and they don’t understand the art of hospitality.  It is imperative that as restaurateurs we continue to create a positive environment, embrace innovation, and engage and train our employees in the art and skill of hospitality.

    There are some things you will never have time for in the restaurant industry, regardless of cloud-based advancements.  “Lunch”, for example, I have heard is a meal that takes place in the middle of the day.  For me, “lunch” is the sandwich that I eat in 30 seconds somewhere between 2pm and 6pm standing over a trash can in the back of the kitchen.  There is no technology for that…

    PDF Version Available Here

    References [i] “PCI Compliance Guide FAQ.” PCIComplianceGuide.Org. September, 2018. https://www.pcicomplianceguide.org/faq/#1. [ii] Green, D. and Hanbury, M. (Aug. 22, 2018). “If you shopped at these 16 stores in the last year, your data might have been stolen.” https://www.businessinsider.com/data-breaches-2018-4 [iii] “What Is Cloud Computing?” IBM.com. September, 2018. https://www.ibm.com/cloud/learn/what-is-cloud-computing. [iv] Kossman, Sienna. ” 8 FAQs about EMV credit cards.” CreditCards.com. August 29, 2017. https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/emv-faq-chip-cards-answers-1264.php. Tyler was born and raised in Portland, Maine and has lived in the Boston area since attending Boston University.  After graduating from the Boston University School of Hospitality Administration, Mr. Titherington operated a handful of bars and restaurants in Boston.  He has been with Grafton Group since October 2007. 

    October 31st, 2018 in Business Practices, Fall 2018, Restaurants, Trends

    By Christopher Muller

    In Part 1 of this analysis of the restaurant delivery system we looked at the owner/operator models which still offer some measure of control over price and quality.  This is fast becoming an issue with the rise of the Ghost Kitchen where the ODP is an integral part of the equation.  Here we present the larger challenges from the dominant ODP control of the marketplace.  It is good to remember that most of the ODPs themselves are still looking to find profits in what they do, a suggestion that those profits will need to come at the expense of the restaurant providers in one way or another.

    5. The Aggregator or On-Line Delivery Provider (ODP) – No Driver Fleet

    If someone were to say, “Let me take care of all of your delivery problems for a small cut of your revenues” many restaurant operators, especially those eager to get into the market with the least amount of upfront investment, would jump at the chance.  Enter the On-Line Delivery Provider with a business model built upon a brand name customer-facing APP, website or phone number and an enormous amount of back office computing power to drive order volume.

    At its core, to be successful the Aggregator needs to be a world-class matchmaker for food orders, with both a large customer database of users and a broad assortment of restaurant menus offered in major cities.  Like many of what MIT’s Bill Aulet calls an Innovation Driven Enterprise (IDE)[1] the cost of customer acquisition is the key hurdle in entering this distribution channel. What it doesn’t need is its own fleet of employee delivery drivers. Capitalizing on the DIY gig economy, drivers are hired on a contractual basis, working as independent delivery agents with their own vehicles.

    The barrier to lowering this high cost of entry has favored early market entrants and large well-funded digital innovators.  Worldwide, the fastest growing ODP is Uber Eats, the natural extension of car service provider, Uber, with its existing enormous data base of users, an ever expanding fleet of drivers, and the understanding for a driver that delivering food with an APP-based pre-payment system is considerably faster and easier than dealing with human passengers.

    The upside for restaurant companies using an ODP such as Uber Eats, from those as dominant as McDonalds or as small as the local pizzeria, is that there is no need to hire and train non-core employees.  As touted by Uber Eats delivery service can begin almost immediately upon signing up.  The downside, that has a potential for long term impact, is two-fold.  The fee structure for traditionally low margin restaurants can be between 20-30% of a menu item price, leaving little to cover remaining expenses.  Worse though is that the restaurant gives away its brand and trade dress image to the company making the delivery to the front door.  McDonalds hamburgers may be in the bag, but the name on the ordering APP and the uniform on the person handing it to the customer says Uber Eats.

    6. The Consolidator – Bulk “Bus Stop”

    As noted, the most expensive single piece of the delivery puzzle is getting food from the restaurant to the front door, what is called “the last mile.”  One proven way to minimize that expense is to have the customer meet the food delivery at a central drop-off spot (see: Amazon [2]).  A start-up, Yun Ban Bao, in New York City is taking advantage of ethnic Chinese food deserts through direct targeted marketing using the dominant Chinese online service provider, WeChat.  By doing so it is creating a captive delivery market with the advantage of pre-ordering and payment.[3]

    Taking online requests for delivery on the next business day, then consolidating orders using a bulk delivery model, Yun Ban Bao is lowering the cost of delivery while maintaining control with its own fleet of drivers.  It advertises a data analytics service for smaller restaurants as well as being a revenue growth accelerator for restaurants in suburban locations which otherwise could not find new or broader market opportunities.

    Using a pre-arranged group delivery network, often outside parks, office towers or apartment buildings, the system mirrors a bus route, not the more traditional taxi route model of one-on-one delivery.  This also affords the network of restaurants a way to lower operating costs by controlling the production process in advance.

    7. The Aggregator ODP – Owned Fleet

    Some of the largest ODP players started in the delivery business by controlling their own fleets of employee managed delivery drivers.  The global leader, Just Eat,[4] has used this model throughout the UK, Europe and worldwide.  But it also has worked directly with restaurants who have their own in-house deliver fleets to create a broad partnership.  Just Eat acts as the online ordering platform, but then allows the local branded company to be the face at the door.

    The ability to present a standardized customer facing brand identity means that trust may be established with the customer directly.  While this can come at the risk of the restaurant losing its direct brand relationship, what Just Eat has been able to master is the collection of a vast customer database of its users.  It has created a relationship with many of its restaurant partners to assist them in finding ideal store locations, menu item design and creative targeted pricing and promotions programs which would not otherwise be affordable or even available to smaller companies.

    For these ODP companies, the costs for maintaining their own fleets or working as a hybrid with a local restaurant creates a higher operating expense, but these are often offset with a higher fee share from both the restaurant and the consumer.  It also creates a competitive advantage by building a broader network of restaurants to choose from for the customer, which builds long term loyalty and habitual purchase behaviors.

    8. The ODP Aggregator – Dark Kitchens

    One of the greatest threats to the bricks and mortar restaurant delivery partners is the emerging concept of a Dark Kitchen.  This is a space created by an OPD to facilitate the lowest cost per delivery mile from restaurant kitchen to the highest density of users.  While this is similar to the Cloud Kitchen model, in this case the OPD establishes a cluster of small dedicated but competitive restaurant kitchens in a single site.  A Dark Kitchen is also similar to the trending food hall concept, but comes with no direct customer interaction—no walk-in guest visits these production facilities.  In the UK this was pioneered by Deliveroo with its urban RooBox or Editions concepts.[5] Partner restaurants rent portable kitchen space from the delivery service and pay a larger percentage fee to cover the build-out costs for their space.  Restaurants staff the kitchens at their own expense, as well.

    Earlier this year, Grubhub invested $1 million in Green Summit Group (see Ghost Kitchen in Part I), a startup with nine virtual restaurants operating from a single kitchen. DoorDash is renting extra space from the Santa Clara Fairgrounds in San Jose, Calif., and making it available to foodservice operators who want to create delivery-only options. In Los Angeles, Postmates leased a commissary kitchen space so its restaurants can reach new customers. And UberEATS is exploring the concept with Poke Café in Chicago — a virtual restaurant serving Hawaiian poke bowls.

    “We can work with existing restaurant partners to create delivery-only menus. (They would) appear as entirely new restaurants on the UberEats app,” Ambika Krishnamachar, UberEats product manager, said in an article on Mashable.[6]

    And again, while on its face this appears to be a positive opportunity for independent or chain restaurants to lower costs or disaggregate the dine-in from the delivery production process, it is not cost free.  In fact, as a logical progression would suggest, the OPD Deliveroo service has realized that the actual local restaurant in this mix is not a necessity for success.  Instead by using its own “innovation fund” it will to go directly into the restaurant business itself, creating “from scratch” concepts by working with celebrity chefs and data mining information from its enormous customer data base. [7]

    As more of the OPDs look to find profits to pass along to the aggressive investors who have funded rapid growth, they will inevitably look to cut out the middleman and provide meals themselves to increase margins. The kitchen that may actually go “dark” is the local one on the corner down the street in an independent restaurant.

    Conclusions

    This is undoubtedly both an interesting and a challenging time for the restaurant industry and the Online Delivery Providers who are feeding from it.  Neither side seems to have figured out how to make the new consumer demand for off-site delivery work to their complete advantage.

    It is impossible to believe that any restaurant can survive if it gives away up to 30% of its top line revenues when the average net profit is less than 10%.  No amount of increased volume in sales will make up for that.  As Cameron Keng wrote in his column “Why Uber Eats Will Eat You Into Bankruptcy” in March, 2018:

    Based on the average profit margins above, every restaurant that engages Uber Eats will lose money on every order they take. The more orders coming from Uber Eats, the more money a restaurant would lose.[8]

    At the same time, while it is hard to get exact information, it appears that almost none of the largest On-Line Delivery Providers, in any of the described segments is actually showing a profit.  Uber Eats is only profitable in 27 of its more than 100 urban markets,[9] and while Deliveroo’s sales rose in 2017 to £277 million ($356 million), the company lost an astounding £185 million ($237 million).[10]  Yet Uber Eats is offering over $2 billion to purchase/merge with Deliveroo.

    Finally, as Jonathan Maze wrote in his Bottom Line column in early October the restaurant industry is simply unprepared for what appears to be a tectonic shift in traditional restaurant segments, consumer behavior, labor utilization, Real Estate valuation and investor interest.

    If delivery is the future of the restaurant business, the restaurant business as it is currently constructed is in trouble.

    The service is growing rapidly. But it’s increasingly replacing existing restaurant business rather than taking business away from grocers or other food retailers. [11]

    As we noted in the beginning, it took the lodging industry almost 20 years to begin to make this kind of tectonic change and it is nowhere near complete.  A few very large hotel companies, through merger and acquisition, have consolidated enough power to start the move away from handing over all of their pricing to the OTA’s.  In economic terms, hotel companies are trying to go from being Price Takers to Price Setters.

    At this early stage of the restaurant OPD’s domination of the delivery cycle, it is not clear that any restaurant organization is large enough to break the fever, especially now that McDonald’s is partnering with Uber Eats.  While it may appear that the On-line Delivery Provider is a restaurant’s partner, friend or even savior, it is none of those.  In fact, in order to become profitable the OPD is looking to become a direct competitor.

    What is certain is that few restaurant companies, and certainly no independent operations, can survive the next two decades letting third parties dictate what convenience and price mean.  In fact, this might be a good time to get out of the house and go visit your favorite local restaurant.  Sacrificing some convenience for a great experience is a good value and that restaurant may not be around the next time you want to show up.

    PDF Version Available Here

    References [1] See Bill Aulet, Disciplined Entrepreneurship, [2] The Financial, October 25, 2018,  https://www.finchannel.com/~finchannel/business/76317-amazon-expands-grocery-delivery-and-pickup [3] Menqi Sun, WSJ, September 9, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-get-food-delivered-from-your-favorite-faraway-restaurant-1536516000 [4] See https://www.just-eat.com/ [5] James Cook, Business Insider, April 5, 2017, https://www.businessinsider.com/deliveroo-editions-pop-up-restaurants-roobox-2017-4 [6] Tim York, The Packer, March 23, 2018, https://www.thepacker.com/article/rise-virtual-restaurant [7]Sophie Witts, Big Hospitality, May 21, 2018, https://www.bighospitality.co.uk/Article/2018/05/21/Deliveroo-to-create-own-restaurant-brands-using-5m-fund# [8] Cameron Keng, Forbes, March 26, 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/cameronkeng/2018/03/26/why-uber-eats-will-eat-you-into-bankruptcy/#778a3b0621f6 [9] Ibid., DealBook, September 21, 2018 [10] BBC News, October 1, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45707700 [11] Jonathan Maze, Restaurant Business Online, October 17, 2018 https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/financing/delivery-could-force-changes-restaurant-business-model Christopher C. Muller is Professor of the Practice of Hospitality Administration and former Dean of the School of Hospitality Administration at Boston University. Each year, he moderates the European Food Service Summit, a major conference for restaurant and supply executives. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hobart College and two graduate degrees from Cornell University, including a Ph.D. in hospitality administration. Email: cmuller@bu.edu

    October 31st, 2018 in Business Practices, Fall 2018, Restaurants, Trends

    By Christopher Muller

    The entire restaurant industry, from the simplest quick service joint to the most complex fine dining jewel, is caught in a veritable frenzy of delivery.  It may be, unfortunately, a very risky path to travel for the uninitiated restaurant operation, but delivery is driving the investment community to a fever pitch. [1] We have entered into the time of the restaurant On-Line Delivery Provider (ODP) which mirrors in many ways the On-Line Travel Agent (OTA) which has so disrupted the lodging industry.

    In two complimentary BHR articles here, we present a look at the 8 different models of restaurant delivery and how they are affecting both senior management and customer choices.

    A Quick Lesson From Pricing History

    For observers of the global Hospitality Industry this should send up warning flags.  In a galaxy far, far away, the Lodging industry managed revenues by using simple seasonal or attribute pricing models (On-, Shoulder- and Off-Peak rates, or premiums for “A Room With A View”) and sold some limited excess inventory through a network of independent Travel Agents (at an onerous 10% commission!).

    Then, as the Internet expanded, and the travel market imploded after the 9-11 tragedy, a new and exciting model emerged – the On-Line Travel Agent (OTA) acting as a third party aggregator appeared.  Hotel companies willingly gave open access to all of their unsold room inventory to the OTAs (Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, Booking.com, Kayak, Trivago, etc.) to sell directly at deep discounts, often between 25 and 30% off posted Rack Rates.  Occupancies rose, but Average Daily Rates plummeted, and profits quickly diminished.  Hotels, relying on the old pricing models were caught competing “with themselves” and watched as formerly loyal customers switched their buying habits and loyalties to the OTA that gave them the best rate.  Customers could scroll through pages of prices, often for the exact same room in the same hotel, searching for the cheapest rate.  Hotel rooms, instead of being unique destinations became interchangeable commodities.

    It has taken almost twenty years, but through brand consolidation and a total system-wide transformation into a Revenue Management based pricing model, the hotel business has been transformed and the OTAs are being aggressively challenged for dominance. This should be a lesson for the restaurant owner/operator, the OTAs drove nothing but price as a decision attribute, the ODPs are poised to do the same thing with both price and convenience, unfortunately restaurants probably won’t have decades to recover.

    Today’s Restaurant Delivery Frenzy –The Rise of the ODP

    Whether it’s the savvy but shape-shifting Millennial, the rapidly aging Baby Boomer, or the rising young digital native from the i-Generation, it seems that customers in all shapes and sizes just want to have their meals brought to them at home, the office, or somewhere in between.  Breaking the code of the delivery model—becoming the customer’s choice of who serves up breakfast, lunch or dinner at home, work or play—has emerged as the Holy Grail of the foodservice business. But it may be more like the other mythic Dark Ages metaphor, the Plague, potentially killing upwards of 30% of existing restaurant units.

    So, what exactly is “delivery” today, how did it evolve into such a big, expanding component of the restaurant offering and what are the implications going forward for the industry?  Just how do the On-Line Delivery Providers, the ODP, dominate the market?

    We can begin by agreeing that delivery is a distinct and rapidly growing distribution channel, although it has been around in one form or another for a very long time.  And while not exactly a new technology, nor necessarily a profitable one, the exploding market for the delivery of food is poised for an inevitable shake out as it quickly approaches a mature phase consolidation.[2]

    In late 2018 delivery is all about instant gratification, not just for the diner but some would suggest for the restaurant as well. At first glance, it all feels so simple and easy. But like so much in restaurant management, there is more than one way to get something done, even the simplest of things.

    Emerging Key Success Factors

    Like so many emerging business models in the on-line digital age, food delivery is developing its own metrics and factors to be considered and mastered. While still evolving, among these now are:

  • Addressing the profit challenges of “The Last Mile” in the delivery chain
  • Minimizing the high cost of Customer Acquisition
  • Developing an integrated APP, website, tablet and smartphone ordering platform
  • Designing the most effective delivery driver fleet system
  • Establishing an attractive and competitive user fee basis
  • Creating positive and immediate Brand recognition
  • Building a proprietary Knowledge Base of data storage, analytics and access
  • Delivery of food, especially from a restaurant to a consumer, has become a multi-billion dollar segment of the industry.  Some are predicting that it will overtake the traditional dine-in segment completely within a decade, although the complexity of getting it right and turning a profit while doing so, can still be elusive even for the largest players.  And of course, no one should forget that Amazon is over in the corner waiting to see how things evolve in an online delivery world they basically invented.

    Traditional and Controlled

    As noted, the delivery of food from a restaurant directly to a local customer is not a new idea although traditionally the customer came to the restaurant and picked up or carried out their food order.  Both delivery and carry-out were best suited to a restaurant with a simple, easily transported menu.  Where a significant amount of the value of the meal was the dining experience and table service, meals to go were often comprised of a package of leftovers or the long gone term “doggie bags.”

    Here is a look at four models with some measure of control for restaurant owners and operators over the quality and profitability of their offerings.

    1. The Independent – One Shot

    As a service provider a restaurant may decide that in order to meet the needs of its local customer base it should provide a delivery option.  At one time, only a few restaurants in an urban core would have delivery offers and these might typically be delicatessens or Chinese restaurants with few seats and a very strong focus on offering takeout options. The food can be cooked, boxed, wrapped and brought quickly to an office or apartment within a few blocks on foot or by bicycle.

    This model is the most basic – a caller, the kitchen, and an employee bringing hot food directly to the customer.  The restaurant controls the quality, manages the relationship with the diner and absorbs the full cost and all the revenues.  It typically comes with higher operating costs for labor (primarily from an in-house paid delivery driver fleet) and with premium rent from the need for an attractive customer-facing retail space.  On the plus side, all local customer information may be controlled by the restaurant and there are no fees to share with an outside third-party service.

    But as the independent operator reaches for the brass ring on the delivery merry-go-round, they also need to be careful not to lose their grip on their existing ride.  A new distribution channel can be much more challenging that just taking a customer order.  As noted by Jennifer Marston:

    …restaurants are under pressure to adapt…More and more, that means altering the physical restaurant space so it can better accommodate this influx of new orders. Extra meals require extra bodies to cook and package the food, after all, not to mention extra space for third-party devices, and somewhere to put completed orders waiting to be picked up by a delivery driver.[3]

    An interesting twist on this single restaurant model of trying to find a way to both control and expand the delivery system while maintaining some measure of profitability is one recently proposed in the restaurant trade magazine Restaurant Business Online:

    He (CMO Nabeel Alamgir) explained that Bareburger is already striving to convert customers ordering through third parties’ apps into users of the chain’s own channels. Patrons of an Uber Eats or Postmates might be offered a 10% discount on their next order if it’s placed through Bareburger’s website. The chain can afford a discount that deep because the financial impact is still less than the 20% or 30% discount an outside service typically charges.

    Alamgir noted at the start of the panel’s presentation that a service started by restaurants for restaurants would have been an attractive alternative to some of the third-party giants. “Let’s make our own platform. Let’s make our own Grubhub,” he said.[4]

    2. The Cloud Kitchen – A Hub & Spoke System

    It can be argued that today’s focused delivery channel began in earnest when Domino’s offered up a “30 Minute or Free” guarantee in 1973.  In order to make this guarantee effective, the company created a hub and spoke system, in effect building a series of franchised units in low cost locations. They were characterized by being geographically market-centered but with no need for a “High Street” customer facing address.  This was directly in contrast to the overwhelming market advantage owned by Pizza Hut and its network of “Red Roof” full service pizzerias with their focus on dine-in and takeout service.  But the competitive advantage that came from having units with no dine-in, limited customer carry-out, and which were serviced by a central commissary set in motion the shift away from the traditional eat-in model.

    “The reality is, when the red roof restaurant was created, the idea of delivery wasn’t part of the concept,” said Pizza Hut chief executive David Gibbs, a 26-year veteran at parent company Yum Brands…”so in many cases, our business has outgrown the capabilities of those restaurants…”[5]

    Now, four decades later Domino’s is the world leader in delivery, pizza or otherwise.  It has done this by controlling the entire process or what is called the “full stack” in the delivery cycle.  Now describing itself as an IT and logistics company that sells pizza, the backbone of the system is that they control the customer ordering process, the production quality process, and through a vast franchise network the delivery process.

    Next to come, using new GPS and AI technologies, Domino’s predicts that it will be able to make deliveries not just to a formal building address, but to anywhere a customer can be located by tracking their cellphone, even if that is a park bench or a blanket on the beach.

    But Domino’s is not the only leader to be expanding its Cloud Kitchen delivery system. Already designed on a commissary production system model, giant fast casual leader, Panera Bread, tested delivery in Boston and then announced an expansion across the United States in early May, 2018 with a system based upon using its own delivery drivers. [6]  Following the trend in October the largest chicken sandwich chain, Chick-fil-A, announced it was beginning to test the hub and spoke model of delivery in Nashville, TN and Louisville, KY.

    Chick-fil-A is opening two new restaurants that don’t have something you commonly associate with the chain: seats. 

    Chick-fil-A, the Atlanta-based chicken sandwich chain, is testing catering and delivery locations in Nashville and Louisville, Ky., that will open this month.

    The locations, according to an announcement on the chain’s website, have no dining rooms or drive thru’s and are designed to be hubs for catering and delivery orders. The restaurants will not accept cash, either.[7]

    The Cloud Kitchen model can be very effective for restaurant companies with large enough scale, whether in a single city or across a region, to take advantage of a single production kitchen site with remote staging kitchens.  Ultimately the “full stack” control from order to front door can come from as few as three restaurants or as many as 3000. This also means that the foundation is laid for vast proprietary customer data collection and eventually data mining by the most forward-looking operators.

    It can be argued that the Food Truck movement of the past decade is a subset of the Cloud Kitchen model.  By most local health code laws, food trucks must have a “home kitchen” or commissary for their bulk production that meets all health and sanitation code requirements.  In many urban centers, to be successful a food truck company needs to have multiple trucks on the road acting as a distribution network.  While this is also a classic Hub & Spoke model, it comes with similarities to a model in the next article, #6 The Consolidator, with distribution on a bus stop route and not a one-to-one last mile taxi route.

    3. The Ghost Kitchen

    One further refinement of the Cloud Kitchen is the Ghost Kitchen.  As delivery becomes more of a threat to the traditional dine-in restaurant option, some suggest that this model, in fact, is the future of restaurants—basically a highly efficient hybrid of menu concepts, specialized production and logistics, and low labor cost with no eat-in customers.

    In that way, this model is identified by three key components.

    First, it removes the dining room or takeout from the restaurant completely, working out of a kitchen whose location is based on nearness to its core customer market yet in a typically low rent out-of-the-way space.

    Second, it does not hire any paid employees to deliver, instead making use (through partnership or agreement) of the many third-party delivery companies like GrubHub, Postmates or Doordash.

    Third, and possibly the most important, because of the flexibility of only needing an APP, website or traditional telephone ordering system, more than one cuisine can be produced in the same kitchen space.  Easy to prepare, cook and deliver foods such as salads, sandwiches, Asian and other ethnic dishes, or gourmet pizza can all be offered while cross-utilizing similar ingredients in creative menu offerings.[8]

    This can best be described as an “order only” restaurant.  The most prominent or well-known of these Ghost Kitchens would be Green Summit (see transition to #8 Dark Kitchen in Part 2).  While garnering a good amount of press, the celebrity chef David Chang’s Maple, closed its operation in 2017 with some assets moving to London and the delivery company Deliveroo.[9] Chef Chang sold the physical kitchen space, Ando, to Uber Eats after ceasing operations in January, 2018. [10]

    Because no customer ever sets foot through the front door the owners can put all of their investment in kitchen equipment and the technology of ordering.  A Ghost Kitchen offers customers large menu choices, and just as its cousin the Cloud Kitchen, has the option to keep track of its own proprietary customer data set through the direct ordering process.  The tradeoff is that ownership sacrifices the customer interface at delivery of the Cloud Kitchen model.  Operating and start-up costs are low and efficiency can be very high.  The risk is that a large portion of the margin (sometimes up to 30%) from market-driven menu prices is taken by the delivery partnership, who also control the brand image when customers receive their orders off-site.[11]

    4. Virtual Restaurants

    Along with disrupting the taxi business, Uber Eats is about to globally disrupt the restaurant delivery business.  As of October, 2018, Uber Eats had over 1600 “virtual restaurants” around the globe, with almost 1000 in its US partnership portfolio.  The majority of these are not the Cloud or Dark Kitchen models mentioned above, but are existing restaurants with new brands that only exist through Uber Eats. This model, while charging very high fees to the restaurant, allows them to technically not compete with themselves in the home delivery marketplace.  Uber Eats gains more menus to offer, and limits any need for an investment in a commissary space.

    For SushiYaa, Kim says the virtual restaurant concept has been transformative. “Because this concept worked so well for us, we actually changed one of our restaurants from a sushi buffet concept to a regular restaurant with 8 different virtual restaurant brands inside it. The buffet sales weren’t doing so well and the delivery side was doing better, so we thought — let’s change it completely so we’re focused more on delivery.” From a sales standpoint, he says it’s “almost as if we have another restaurant without paying additional rent and labor, even though [Uber Eats] takes about 30 percent.”[12]

    One other type of Virtual Kitchen involves the licensing of existing restaurant recipes and menu items in a curated virtual model.  The start-up concept Good Uncle is using this to compete in the university meal plan segment, offering a range of pricing options for higher quality prepared meals, delivered by their own delivery fleet using the bus stop common drop off method.  This is a limited menu, limited target market, which benefits from a direct marketing approach, lower operating costs, and uses both a subscription and premium fee based pricing system.[13] It is a Virtual Kitchen because there is no restaurant or other customer facing facility, it exists only online.

    Part One – Conclusions

    Delivery models, some traditional, some evolving, offer many opportunities for restaurant operators, especially those in the QSR and Fast Casual segments, where speed and price and convenience are the drivers of consumer choice.

    The challenge in today’s delivery market is how owners and operators can maintain both high quality and long-term profitability in the products/services they offer.  For many meals, the time and distance from kitchen to table can be more than 30 minutes or multiple miles. Quality of presentation and flavor may quickly diminish.  More importantly, where the medium annual profitability for restaurants across all segments in the USA is considerably less than 10%, losing up to 30% of top line revenues is not a path to a successful future, (even if total sales increase by 20%).

    PDF Version Available Here

    References [1] Heather Haddon and Julie Jargon, The Wall Street Journal online, October 24, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/investors-are-craving-food-delivery-companies-1540375578?mod=cx_picks&cx_navSource=cx_picks&cx_tag=contextual&cx_artPos=4#cxrecs_s [2] Liam Proud, DealBook, NYTimes, September 21, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/21/business/dealbook/uber-eats-deliveroo.html [3] Jennifer Marston, The Spoon, July 31, 2018, https://thespoon.tech/delivery-is-making-these-restaurants-literally-redesign-the-way-they-do-business/ [4] Peter Romeo, Restaurant Business Online,  Oct. 19, 2018 https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/operations/3-big-changes-looming-restaurants [5] Karen Robinson-Jabos, Dallas News, Jan 6, 2016. https://www.dallasnews.com/business/business/2016/01/06/pizza-hut-is-ditching-the-iconic-red-roof-for-a-more-modern-look [6] Janelle Nanos, Boston Globe, May 7, 2018, https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2018/05/07/panera-expanding-its-delivery-service-cities/sZg4pO0yTw9cEdYpv514tL/story.html?event=event12 [7] Jonathan Maze, Restaurant Business Online, Oct. 09, 2018 https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/financing/chick-fil-opening-new-delivery-focused-prototype [8] Neal Ungerleider, 01.20.17 Fast Company  https://www.fastcompany.com/3064075/hold-the-storefront-how-delivery-only-ghost-restaurants-are-changing-take-out [9] Closing announcement from Maple, May 8, 2017 https://maple.com/letter/ [10] Whitney Filloon, Eater, October 24, 2018, www.eater.com/2018/10/24/18018334/uber-eats-virtual-restaurants [11] See the online Audiopedia site https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKO5JFbqKTA [12] Ibid, Eater, October 24, 2018 [13] See https://www.gooduncle.com/  Christopher C. Muller is Professor of the Practice of Hospitality Administration and former Dean of the School of Hospitality Administration at Boston University. Each year, he moderates the European Food Service Summit, a major conference for restaurant and supply executives. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hobart College and two graduate degrees from Cornell University, including a Ph.D. in hospitality administration. Email: cmuller@bu.edu

    October 31st, 2018 in Business Practices, Fall 2018, Hotels, Marketing, Sharing Economy, Technology, Trends

    By Makarand Mody and Monica Gomez

    For a long time, the hotel industry did not consider Airbnb a threat. Both the industry and Airbnb claimed they were serving different markets and had different underlying business models. Over the years, as Airbnb become more successful and grown to being larger than the companies in the hotel industry, the rhetoric has changed. The hotel industry began to realize they had something to worry about.

    A stage of denial was followed by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) attacking Airbnb by sponsoring research to demonstrate its negative impacts on the economy and lobbying governments to impose taxes and regulations on homesharing. The association is arguing for a level playing field between homesharing and hotels (and rightly so). The next stage of this battle involves competition and integration. Not only are hotels looking to add homesharing-like attributes and experiences to their properties, to more effectively compete with Airbnb, but are also looking to tap into the platform-based business model that underlies Airbnb’s success.

    The Past: How does Airbnb impact the hotel industry?

    Airbnb’s disruption of the hotel industry is significant, both existentially and economically. A recent study by Dogru, Mody, and Suess (2018) found that a 1% growth in Airbnb supply across 10 key hotel markets in the U.S. between 2008 and 2017 caused hotel RevPAR to decease 0.02% across all segments. While these numbers may not appear substantial at first, given that Airbnb supply grew by over 100% year-on-year over this ten year period means that the “real” decrease in RevPAR was 2%, across hotel segments. Surprisingly, it was not just the economy but also the luxury hotel segment that was hard hit by Airbnb supply increases, experiencing a 4% real decline in RevPAR. The impact of Airbnb on ADR and occupancy was less severe. In Boston, RevPAR has decreased 2.5%, on average, over the last ten years due to Airbnb supply increases. In 2016 alone, this 2.5% decrease in RevPAR amounted to $5.8 million in revenue lost by hotels to Airbnb. Brands that felt the impact the most were those in the midscale and luxury segments, with a decrease in RevPAR of 4.3% and 2.3% respectively. These supply increases are also fueling Airbnb taking an increasing share of the accommodation market pie. For example, in New York City, Airbnb comprised 9.7% of accommodation demand, equaling approximately 8,000 rooms per night in Q1 2016 (Lane & Woodworth, 2016). As a whole, Airbnb’s accommodated demand made up nearly 3% of all traditional hotel demand in Q12016.

    Buoyed by a growth rate of over 100% year on year, Airbnb now has over 4 million listings, with the U.S. being its largest market. The company also has significant room to grow in other countries, particularly emerging markets in Africa and India. The company has run into some competition in China, with local rivals Tujia and Xiaozhu. Also, within the U.S., the good news is that Airbnb will not grow at 100% indefinitely and will eventually plateau as it reaches a saturation point (Ting, 2017a). In view of this, the company has turned to alternative strategies to continue to increase supply. It is now targeting property developers to turn entire buildings into potential Airbnb units, through its newest hotel-like brand, Niido. Currently, there are two Airbnb branded Niido buildings in Nashville, TN and Orlando, FL with over 300 units each and Airbnb plans to have as many as 14 home-sharing properties by 2020 (Zaleski, 2018). Niido works by encouraging tenants to list their units on Airbnb, with Airbnb and Niido taking 25% of the revenue generated.  Airbnb has also clearly evolved from its original premise of “targeting a different market” to attracting segments traditionally targeted by hotels, such as the leisure family market, business travelers, and the upscale traveler, as evidenced through its latest offering, Airbnb Plus. These homes have been verified for quality, comfort, design, maintenance, and the amenities they offer. They also have easy check in, premium internet access, and fully equipped kitchens. Their hosts are typically rated 4.8+, and go above and beyond for their guests. Through Airbnb Experiences, travelers can partake in everything from the great outdoors—hiking and surfing—to “hidden” concerts and food and wine tours.  In addition to these products, Airbnb has also “created” its own segments of travelers: novelty and experience seekers who are looking for unique and unconventional accommodation like yurts, treehouses, and boats, all things that a traditional hotel company cannot provide.

    The Present: Understanding what consumers want lies at the heart of the battle between hotels and Airbnb

    There are larger societal trends that are impacting what consumers seek travel, and we think this has implications for the Airbnb and hotel dynamic. These trends include:

  • A shift to a “new luxury”—seeking out unique, authentic experiences that serve as a launchpad for self-actualization—fueled by an increased wealth gap in the United States.
  • An increased mobility, particularly among previously under-represented groups in the United States (the black travel movement, for example) and the global traveler (more Indian and Chinese international travelers than ever before).
  • The changing nature of brand loyalty: from long-term relationships to consumers’ needs for instant gratification and personalization.
  • Changing nature of “ownership”: In a post-consumerist society, the emphasis on “access-based consumption” has put a spotlight on wellness and well-being, beyond materialism.
  • A co-everything world where work, play, and life blend into one seamless mosaic: Technology has changed the way we live our lives, and how we are connected to work, to each other and to the things that drive us. An upcoming 5G world and the IOT is only likely to accelerate the pace of change. Take LiveZoku (https://livezoku.com/), for example: is it a residence? A hotel? A WeWork? A space for the local community? A thriving food and beverage destination? It’s all of these things.
  • What do these trends mean? They require marketers and experience designers to re-think what the travel experience means to the customer. The notion of the experience economy was created by Pine and Gilmore in 1998, and included four dimensions: escapism, education, entertainment, and esthetic. Leveraging one, or ideally, more of these dimensions creates memorable experiences for customers, which in turn results in brand loyalty. This dynamic has been fairly well-established in the academic literature. However, Airbnb has changed the game for the experience economy by emphasizing the sharing lifestyle and a sense of community, cleverly incorporating the above highlighted trends into its communications with customers. Because of Airbnb popularity and success, six new dimensions have been incorporated into the experience economy, in the context of the travel experience: personalization, communitas, localness, hospitableness, serendipity, and ethical consumerism, as was presented by Mody in 2016.

    Interestingly, in a recent study by Mody and colleagues (Mody, Suess, & Lehto, 2017), the researchers found that Airbnb outperformed hotels on all the dimensions of this new, expanded, accommodation experiencescape. Airbnb outperforms hotels in the personalization dimension because of its wide array of homes and locations, enabling genuine micro-segmentation and the “perfect match” between guest and host (Dolnicar, 2018). Moreover, no one home is similar to another, giving customers a unique experience every time, enhancing the serendipity associated with an Airbnb stay. Airbnb elevates the sense of community that consumers seek, particularly when sharing space with other travelers and/or with the host, and allows consumers unparalleled access to “the local”—that café or cute little store that only locals know about. However, there are areas where hotels hold their own. For example, the pathways between these dimensions and memorability were just as strong for hotels as for Airbnb, emphasizing the need for hotels to engage customers by leveraging the “right” dimensions for the brand—dimensions that align with the brand’s mission, story, and personality.

    One such dimension where hotels perform just as well as Airbnb is hospitableness, as confirmed in a study by Mody, Suess, and Lehto (2018). More “investor units” on the Airbnb platform means that the host is often not present when guests arrive to the home; moreover, all communication is done electronically and with someone who “manages” the Airbnb unit and doesn’t necessarily own or live in it. In turn, hotels that leverage the human factor—the welcome of a friendly check-in agent, the helpfulness of the concierge,  the warm greeting and genuine interaction between guest and food and beverage staff—create more positive emotions, which subsequently lead to higher brand loyalty. It is imperative that hotel brands really think about the high-tech, high touch experience they are looking to provide, particularly in the golden age of brand proliferation that we live in.

    From a non-experience standpoint, regulation is another bone of contention that merits close inspection. After years of denying that Airbnb was a competitor, in 2016, the American Hotel & Lodging Association first began an extensive lobbying effort for the imposition of taxes and regulations on Airbnb that level the playing field. Over the last couple of years, the voices of the hotel lobby and other community groups have translated into governments taking some action, in the U.S. and abroad. However, in a study of regulation across 12 European and American cities, Nieuwland and van Melik (2018) found that governments have been fairly lenient towards short-term rentals with little to no (meaningful) regulations thus far. Moreover, regulations have been designed to alleviate the negative externalities of Airbnb on neighborhoods and communities rather than to level the playing field between Airbnb and hotels. Another challenge with regulating the peer to peer economy has been enforcement. In New York City, under the Multiple Dwelling law, it is illegal for a unit to be rented out for less than 30 days unless the owner is present in the unit at the time the guest is renting. However, it is still possible to find “entire homes” on Airbnb in New York City, even though, in principle, these typically include homes where the host is not present during the guest’s stay. Moreover, Nieuwland and van Melik (2018) and Hajibaba and Dolnicar (2017) have found that regulations tend to be very similar across cities, without accounting for the specificities of a particular location, which makes the process perfunctory and superficial. There also remains the danger of over-regulating Airbnb, given that there is still very little knowledge about effective ways of regulating these innovations in the sharing economy, thus stifling their potential. Avoid over-regulation is critical, since Airbnb has significant welfare effects in the economy. In addition to stimulating travel to previously inaccessible markets, Airbnb also creates customer surplus (Farronato & Fradkin, 2018), an important economic value measure. Moreover, other research has suggested that the average resident is not as negative towards the Airbnb as media rhetoric might suggest (Mody, Suess, & Dogru, 2018). The need for a data-driven approach to Airbnb regulation remains paramount.

    The Future: Competing with the sharing economy requires re-thinking the brand and the experience

    While regulation is outside the control of the hotel industry, the brand and the customer experience are not. We contend that these are the areas where hotel companies’ efforts need to be focused. Hotels need to re-think the brand promise, both for the parent brand as well as individual brands in the portfolio, and how it defines and shapes the guest experience. Recent research by Mody and Hanks (2018) indicates that while Airbnb leverages the authenticity of the travel experience—by enabling local experiences that provide a sense of self and sense of place, hotel brands that are perceived as being authentic—original, genuine, and sincere—can generate higher brand loyalty. Thus, while it’s hard to compete with homesharing in terms of experiential authenticity, brand authenticity is a pillar on which hotels can build a strong foundation for loyal brand relationships. This is particularly important because while Airbnb promotes experiential authenticity as a key reason to use the brand, most travelers tend to stay with the brand for much more functional requirements, such as space and price (Chen & Xie, 2017; Dogru & Pekin, 2017)

    There is no one definition for or manifestation of an “authentic” brand. It’s a perception, a feeling that consumers have about what you stand for. An authentic brand has at its core the brand promise, an authentic value proposition that gives consumers a raison d’etre for associating with the brand. However, what an authentic brand does require is effective storytelling. A brand is perceived to be authentic, if it has an authentic story that feeds it. Brand stories can come from many sources: a brand’s values, personality, heritage, uniqueness, or its quest and purpose. What is important is telling compelling and coherent stories across the brand’s various touchpoints to engage consumers at a visceral, emotional level. Taking off industry blinders, and looking for inspiration outside the hotel industry, is critical. Tom’s Shoes is an excellent example of leveraging its quest—One for One—in creating a compelling brand story. As another example, in an industry typically focused on the in-store, “physical” experience, Burberry has set the gold standard for authentic, digitally-led and emotive storytelling, by looking within and leveraging over 150 years of history (Watch the YouTube Video here). In this vein, we think that Fairfield Inn and Suites’ return to “where it all began”—the Marriott family’s Fairfield Farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia— to craft the brand experience of the future, from a design and communications standpoint, is an excellent example of leveraging authenticity and crafting a compelling brand promise (Ting, 2017b).

    Another idea that lies at the heat of the brand promise is what we call the experiential value proposition, or EVP. For the longest time, hotel marketers have relied on the guest room as the primary source of value for the guest. But think about the last time you traveled. Was it the prospect of the hotel room that got you excited about your trip? Or was it everything that the hotel enables you to do – the experience outside the guestroom? From experiencing art and music in the lobby to its proximity to the must-do craft beer garden, hotel marketers must realize that it’s the complete package—what’s inside and outside the room—that customers use as cues for making  their decision to choose an accommodation. We call this proposition offered by the hotel—what’s inside and outside the guest room, enclosed within an experience of hospitableness and a connection to humanity—its EVP. We present the EVP in Figure 1.  The EVP mirrors the value paradigm of the modern traveler, something that must be reflected in the hotel brand’s sales, marketing and pricing and revenue management efforts. Thinking about a brand through the lens of the EVP paradigm has the power to re-orient the customer’s mindset from one of price-shopping to experience-shopping.

     Figure 1. The Experiential Value Proposition Framework

    How does a hotel marketer apply the EVP paradigm? Its application can open up many avenues. Hotels can start by rethinking the design of their primary digital channels, led by the website by adding more rich, vivid content that goes beyond the guestroom, in order to better integrate aspects of the wider hotel and local experience. The Standard Hotels serves as an excellent example (http://www.standardhotels.com/) Its website feels more like a local lifestyle and culture magazine than a digital media property “selling” a hotel room. The website’s rich images and stories draw the visitor into wanting to learn more about what the brand has to offer. While not every hotel can or would want to go the Standard way, since the brand has its own distinct voice and personality, there is a case to be made for going beyond static images of beds in guestrooms, which tend to blend into one indistinguishable whole after a point, particularly on OTA websites. When was the last time the image of a hotel bed excited you to want to stay there? Yet, when you look at the imagery put out by most hotels, this is what marketers still focus on.

    Placing an emphasis on humanity and providing a sense of hospitableness can also enhance a brand’s EVP. Instead of technology replacing the human connection, the industry needs to look for ways in which technology can actually free up employees so that they can spend their time crafting more personal and unique experiences, delighting guests instead of performing routine transactions. Moreover, if the human connection is what people seek out when traveling with Airbnb, why is it that hotel confirmation emails still get sent out by automated systems that highlight the “facelessness” of the hotel entity. Why not use that as an opportunity to truly welcome the guest; a simple touch such as a welcome letter from the GM with his/her photo, or that of an employee who is “assigned” as “your personal host” during your stay can go a long way in emulating the human connection that the sharing economy enables.

    The design of the hotel’s public spaces can be used to enhance the guest’s experience of “communitas”. Ian Schrager would agree (Schaal, 2017). After all, with much of Airbnb’s supply being dominated by investor units that provide little or no host contact, what better an opportunity for hotel brands to show that they are the original connectors of human beings? Sheraton has been wise in incorporating some of these communal elements into its brand makeover by introducing productivity tables and studio spaces and a day-time coffee bar that transforms into a bar at night. In terms of another design element, Airbnb’s attractiveness to family and group travelers can be offset by offering connecting and/or multiple rooms for one price, with other experience value-adds thrown in (as with the Marriott family room connecting rooms package.

    Finally, the role of the loyalty program cannot be emphasized enough. Loyalty programs must move beyond programmatic levels to being able to leverage data from guest history, social media, and other marketing data sources, powered by predictive analytics, to personalize and individualize the guest experience of the brand. In an age of instant gratification, the loyalty program has to be gamified to unlock value-adds and offer creative bundling.

    At the level of the hotel company, beyond the individual brand, the hotel industry has started participating in the home sharing business and is increasingly looking to integrate these platform business models. For example, while Accor purchased Onefinestay, Marriott has teamed up with Hostmaker to create Tribute Portfolio Homes, a partnership that was recently expanded to four European cities (Fox, 2018). From an organic brand development standpoint, Accor’s newest Jo & Joe brand mimics the sharing economy within the confines of a traditional hotel space. Other, more innovative and bold ways of integrating the sharing economy ethos into a hotel could include offering an “Airbnb floor”, an antithesis to the club floor, one that would not offer housekeeping and other hotel services and thus be offered at a lower price. With hotel brands becoming “branded marketplaces” for accommodation and not just hotel rooms, perhaps there is merit in listing hotel rooms on alternative accommodation platforms. HomeAway is already adding hotels to its platform through the Expedia Affiliate Network, while Airbnb is making a push for bed-and-breakfasts and boutique hotels. Homesharing providers hope that by adding these options to their listings, they will fulfill their goal of being “for everyone”, while allowing independent and boutique hotels to reap the benefits of branded distribution at a lower cost than traditional OTA brands.

    In sum, hotels must adopt a sales, marketing, and revenue management approach that is both strategic and tactical.

    At a strategic level, hotel brands need to re-think their story, and how they portray and fulfill their authenticity and brand promises. At a tactical level, it’s the experience and value beyond the guestroom that must be factored into what is presented to current and potential guests, what they are charged for it, and how it is leverage to create “memorable memories” that lead to higher net promotor scores and brand loyalty. We present a graphical summary of the past, present, and future of Airbnb vs. hotels in Figure 2.

    Figure 2. Summarizing the past, present and future of Airbnb vs. hotels

    PDF Version Available Here

    References Chen, Y., & Xie, K. (2017). Consumer valuation of Airbnb listings: a hedonic pricing approach. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 29(9), 2405–2424. http://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-10-2016-0606 Dogru, T., Mody, M., & Suess, C. (2018). Adding evidence to the debate: Quantifying Airbnb’s disruptive impact on ten key hotel markets. Dogru, T., & Pekin, O. (2017). What do guests value most in Airbnb accommodations? An application of the hedonic pricing approach. Boston Hospitality Review. Dolnicar, S. (2018). Unique Features of Peer-to-Peer Accommodation Networks. In S. Dolnicar (Ed.), Peer-to-Peer Accommodation Networks: Pushing the boundaries (pp. 1–14). Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers Ltd. Farronato, C., & Fradkin, A. (2018). The Welfare Effects of Peer Entry in the Accommodation Market: The Case of Airbnb. Fox, J. (2018). Marriott expands homesharing program in Europe. Hotel Management. Retrieved from https://www.hotelmanagement.net/own/marriott-expands-homesharing-program-to-3-european-cities Hajibaba, H., & Dolnicar, S. (2017). Regulatory Reactions Around the World. In S. Dolnicar (Ed.), Peer-to-Peer Accommodation Networks: Pushing the boundaries (pp. 120–136). Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers Ltd. Lane, J., & Woodworth, M. (2016). The Sharing Economy Checks In: An Analysis of Airbnb in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.cbrehotels.com/EN/Research/Pages/An-Analysis-of-Airbnb-in-the-United-States.aspx Mody, M. A., Suess, C., & Lehto, X. (2017). The accommodation experiencescape: a comparative assessment of hotels and Airbnb. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 29(9), 2377–2404. http://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-09-2016-0501 Mody, M., & Hanks, L. (2018). Parallel pathways to brand loyalty: Mapping the consequences of authentic consumption experiences for hotels and Airbnb. Mody, M., Suess, C., & Dogru, T. (2018). Not in my backyard? Is the anti-Airbnb discourse truly warranted? Annals of Tourism Research. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2018.05.004 Mody, M., Suess, C., & Lehto, X. (2018). Going back to its roots : Can hospitableness provide hotels competitive advantage over the sharing economy ? International Journal of Hospitality Management. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhm.2018.05.017 Nieuwland, S., & van Melik, R. (2018). Regulating Airbnb: how cities deal with perceived negative externalities of short-term rentals. Current Issues in Tourism, 0(0), 1–15. http://doi.org/10.1080/13683500.2018.1504899 Schaal, D. (2017). Ian Schrager Calls Out Hotel Industry’s Airbnb Strategy as Misguided. Skift. Retrieved from https://skift.com/2017/12/08/ian-schrager-calls-out-hotel-industrys-airbnb-strategy-as-misguided/ Ting, D. (2017a). Airbnb Growth Story Has a Plot Twist — A Saturation Point. Skift. Retrieved from https://skift.com/2017/11/15/airbnb-growth-story-has-a-plot-twist-a-saturation-point/ Ting, D. (2017b). Marriott and Choice Take Varied Approaches to Reviving Classic Midscale Brands. Skift. Zaleski, O. (2018). Airbnb and Niido to Open as Many as 14 Home-Sharing Apartment Complexes by 2020. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-14/airbnb-and-niido-to-open-as-many-as-14-home-sharing-apartment-complexes-by-2020 Makarand Mody, Ph.D. has a varied industry background. He has worked with Hyatt Hotels Corporation in Mumbai as a Trainer and as a Quality Analyst with India’s erstwhile premier airline, Kingfisher Airlines. His most recent experience has been in the market research industry, where he worked as a qualitative research specialist with India’s leading provider of market research and insights, IMRB International. Makarand’s research is based on different aspects of marketing and consumer behavior within the hospitality and tourism industries. He is published in leading journals in the field, including the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Tourism Management Perspectives, Tourism Analysis and the International Journal of Tourism Anthropology. His work involves the extensive use of inter and cross-disciplinary perspectives to understand hospitality and tourism phenomena. Makarand also serves as reviewer for several leading journals in the field. In fall 2015, he joined the faculty at the Boston University School of Hospitality Administration (SHA). He received his Ph.D. in Hospitality Management from Purdue University, and also holds a Master’s degree from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. Monica Gomez is a graduate student in the School of Hospitality Administration at Boston University. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management from the University of Florida and has held previous internship positions in hotel operations and event management. She is a member of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing International Association and is interested in hotel revenue management.

    June 6th, 2018 in Business Practices, Spring 2018, Sustainability, Uncategorized

    By Christian E. Hardigree, J.D.

    Today’s hospitality conversations are rife with dialogue about sustainability, initiatives ranging from linen reuse programs, to donating toiletries, to auto dimming lights, to food sourcing, etc.  Hospitality practitioners’ quest to define the ROI (return on investment) is often at foiled by a concept that includes intangible metrics and differing definitions of what “sustainability” really means.  The oft-used “Triple Bottom Line – People, Planet, Profit” embodies the commonly agreed upon themes of sustainability, which include ensuring a healthy environment, improving economic prosperity, and implementing social justice initiatives that ensure the well-being and quality of life for current and future generations.

    Companies struggle to determine what role they play in advancing and addressing social and global challenges while enhancing their brand, ensuring consumer loyalty, and expanding their market share. Many companies evaluate and refine their efforts for engaged brand activism, particularly through marketing, which they balance with efforts to implement higher standards for suppliers, improve equality among workers, and keep pricing competitive – falling in line with the general categories of most corporate social responsibility efforts: 1) environmental efforts; 2) philanthropy; 3) ethical labor practices; and 4) volunteering.

    The “Arms Race” of Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting  

    For many companies, particularly in hospitality, corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting has emerged as a key business approach to articulate the benefits to the company’s stakeholders through strategic initiatives.  According to the Governance and Accountability Institute, sustainability reporting by S&P 500 companies increased from 19% in 2011 to 85% in 2017.[i]

    Companies now appreciate the marketing value of CSR reporting, particularly as a mechanism to attract and retain customers. Increased societal pressure for greater regulation and transparency, coupled with research showing that consumers demonstrate a preference toward companies they perceive are more responsible, have resulted in a new “arms race” with companies are making operational decisions that are more tightly linked to ethical values, environmental stewardship, and respect for the human equity.  They want to ensure those efforts are known to their stockholders, investors, and the public.

    qualityscore

    While many CSR disclosures are currently voluntary in the United States, there are increasing requirements mandated by various statutes.  Such mandates, commonplace in the European Union, are increasingly required in the United States.  In particular, there is growing market demand for a more responsible and transparent corporate supply chain.  Current statutory requirements range from the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases rule for large emitters of greenhouse gases to the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 to ensure that large retailers and manufacturers provide consumers with information regarding their efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their supply chains.[ii]  The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which impacted virtually every part of the US financial services industry also includes provisions for certain reporting on their exercise of due diligence in the source and chain of custody of certain minerals that are associated with armed conflicts in and around the Democratic Republic of the Congo, minerals that are associated with the manufacturing of devices such as cell phones, computers, and digital cameras.[iii]  Most recently, the European Union’s sweeping Global Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) went into effect May 25, 2018. Intended to give EU citizens greater control of their own, widely-define personal data, GDPR has far reaching implications for any company doing business with citizens of the EU.  For the hospitality industry, new processes are required to be implemented to protect things like IP addresses and cookie data, similar to the protections currently provided to ensure privacy for addresses and social security numbers. In the three months prior to GDPR going into effect, it was estimated that 79% of companies were unprepared.[iv]  The mandatory disclosure landscape is changing fast, and hospitality is challenged to keep up.

    Not All Changes Are Mandated

    As consumers are holding corporations accountable for effecting social change in their business practices and beliefs, ultimately impacting the bottom line, companies refine their sustainability initiatives as a result of public advocacy, stockholder proposals, or consumer feedback. A 2017 study by Cone Communications illustrated some key elements, including:[v]

  • 63% of Americans are hopeful that businesses will take the lead to drive social and environmental change in the absence of government regulation
  • 78% want companies to address important social justice issues
  • 87% will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about; and
  • 76% will refuse to purchase a company’s product or services upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs
  • To illustrate, on February 6, 2018, in a commitment associated with improved packaging in betterment of the planet, Dunkin’ Donuts announced it would phase out the use of polystyrene foam cups by 2020 and replace them with double-walled paper cups, estimated to have a net impact of eliminating over a billion cups annually from the waste stream.[vi] This was on the heels of McDonald’s announcing in January that it would phase out the use of foam packaging in all global markets by the end of 2018.[vii]  Straws and stirrers make up over 7% of plastic found in the environment, an issue initially addressed (and banished) by George McKerrow, co-founder of the restaurant chain Ted’s Montana Grill, that has gained widespread attention as consumers are reminded that we use 500 million straws a day, a habit that widely impacts wildlife and the oceans.[viii]  Just this month, Bon Appétit announced they were banning plastic straws from their over 1000 café locations in 33 states.[ix]  As cities like Miami and Malibu have banned single use straws (and in Malibu, banned all single use plastic utensils and stirrers), we find some municipalities are forcing hospitality businesses to incorporate sustainable practices.

    Avoid Greenwashing

    As hospitality companies seek to out-promote each other, they would be well-advised to avoid greenwashing – today’s version of “snake oil”, more akin to “eco-fraud” – when a company holds itself out as more environmentally friendly than it actually is in practice.  Clearly consumer preferences demonstrate an increasing trend for purchasing products and services that are sustainable – for their impact on the environment, in how they are manufactured, and/or how the workers are treated. Between 2009 and 2010, the number of “greener” products increased by 73%.[x]  In order to capitalize on this trend, many brands are trying to competitively out-do each other with their eco-credentials – exaggerating their claims, or at times, completely manufacturing them.  In legalese, greenwashing may amount to deceptive marketing, misrepresentation, and/or fraud.

    gogreen

    In the “sins” of greenwashing, hospitality entities would be wise to avoid vague, over-reaching, or unverifiable assertions.  Hotels increasingly encourage their guests to embrace green practices – shut off lights, reuse towels, avoid changing the linen as frequently, etc. Research by faculty at Washington State University found that a perceived ulterior motive of a hotels’ environmental claims evoked consumer skepticism, which negatively influenced consumer’s intention to participate in the linen reuse program, as well as negatively effecting the consumers’ intention to revisit the hotel.[xi]  At a time when as many as 79% of travelers agree that eco-friendly practices is an important factor in their choice of lodging, companies risk losing valuable repeat customers if their motives are self-serving.  As a result, to avoid the negative aspects, hoteliers are cautioned to install comprehensive green programs, train their staff to implement practices, and ensure their green claims are accurate and not overreaching, perhaps through third party certification.

    For Goodness Sakes, Don’t Greenwash the Food

    Greenwashing is of particular concern in today’s environment, particularly in the context of food.  For example, in 2016, organic food sales jumped 8.4%, to over $43 billion, while overall food sales only increased 0.6%.[xii]  Similarly, organic non-food items jumped 88% to $3.9 billion in sales. As restaurants and hotels are asked questions by their customers about the source of their products, facilities need to be aware of the claims they are making to ensure they are not overreaching or deceptive, as greenwashing has become the “flavor of the month” in consumer class litigation.  Claims challenging products advertised as “natural” are the most frequent suits encountered.

    greenfood

    While no definition of “natural” is provided by the FDA, food products in the US labeled as “natural” make up roughly $40 billion in sales, and are growing by an average of 6.6% annually.  According to Food Navigator, there were 20 food labeling class actions pending in federal court in 2008 – a number that rose to 425 by 2016.  Cases that specifically focus on “natural” claims increased by 22% from 2016 to 2017, notably with suits against General Mills’ Nature Valley bars and Dr. Pepper Snapple’s Mott’s Apple Sauce. Of particular note is that three quarters of federal court food class actions are in four states: California (36%), New York (22%), Florida (12%), and Illinois (7%).[xiii]  Many of the suits are rooted in claims that items such as high fructose corn syrup, high maltose corn syrup, soy flour, soy lecithin, and GMA yellow corn flour, as well as synthetically derived vitamins, are not “natural”, and thus such claims are fraudulent.[xiv]  Overreaching statements can be a source of eroding consumer confidence, destroying customer loyalty, and/or litigation.

    Conclusion

    Sustainability initiatives will continue to be an imperative part of a hospitality entities’ brand, evaluated by all stakeholders. In order to ensure consumer confidence, it is imperative that those initiatives be authentic in their implementation, supported by third party verification, and in alignment with the legal requirements of the jurisdiction.  In doing so, our efforts in supporting the three E’s – environment, economic, and equity – our industry will collectively rise in to improve the future for ourselves and for future generations.

    PDF Version Available Here

    References [i] Retrieved May 30, 2018 from https://www.ga-institute.com/press-releases/article/flash-report-85-of-sp-500-indexR-companies-publish-sustainability-reports-in-2017.html [ii] 40 CFR Part 9; and California Civil Code §1714.43 [iii] https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-111publ203/pdf/PLAW-111publ203.pdf [iv] Retrieved April 6, 2018 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/03/27/u-s-businesses-cant-hide-from-gdpr/#33b76ef052c8 [v] Retrieved April 6, 2018 from http://www.conecomm.com/research-blog/2017-csr-study [vi] Retrieved April 16, 2018 from https://news.dunkindonuts.com/news/dunkin-donuts-to-eliminate-foam-cups-worldwide-in-2020 [vii] Retrieved April 16, 2018 from https://www.bizjournals.com/chicago/news/2018/01/10/mcdonalds-phasing-out-foam-packaging-this-year.html [viii] Retrieved May 30, 2018 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/megykarydes/2018/05/23/the-future-of-take-out-exhibit-how-we-can-eliminate-packaging-waste/#37a1213c7580 [ix] Retrieved May 31, 2018 from https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/05/31/615580695/last-straw-for-plastic-straws-cities-restaurants-move-to-toss-these-sippers [x] Retrieved April 6, 2018 form http://sinsofgreenwashing.com/index5349.pdf [xi]  Rahman, I., Park, J., & Geng-qing Chi, C. (2015). “Consequences of “greenwashing”: Consumers’ reactions to hotels’ green initiatives”, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 27 Issue: 6, pp.1054-1081, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-04-2014-0202 [xii] Retrieved May 31, 2018 from https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/9394-u-s-organic-food-sales-jump-more-than-8 [xiii] Retrieved May 31, 2018 from http://www.instituteforlegalreform.com/uploads/sites/1/TheFoodCourtPaper_Pages.pdf [xiv] Examples include Janney et al. v. General Mills, 3:12-cv-03919, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California; Rojas v. General Mills, Inc. 3:12-cv-05099, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California; Bohac v. General Mills, Inc., 3:12-cv-05280, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California; Van Atta v. General Mills, 1:12-cv-02815, U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

    haridgree

    As Founding Director and Professor of the Michael A. Leven School of Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality at Kennesaw State University, Dr. Hardigree oversees the Bachelor of Science degree program which houses over 260 majors and services over 1500 students enrolled in classes each semester.   Addressing both “sustainability on the plate” as well as “sustainability beyond the plate” in terms of water, waste and energy efficiencies, this highly relevant management program provides a competitive advantage and discernible point of differentiation as the epicenter for teaching, research and best practices in sustainable culinary and hospitality management. The flexibility of the program’s curriculum allows students to emphasize careers in beverage management, event planning, specialized cuisines, and the hotel industry. Christian conducts research and presents nationally at industry conferences as related to her areas of expertise, including food safety, risk management, sustainability, workplace violence and employment/management issues.  She is a national expert on bed bug litigation, speaking across the country on the subject. After obtaining her B.S., cum laude, from the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at UNLV, Christian obtained her Juris Doctorate from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University, focusing on employment discrimination, arbitration/mediation, and labor management relations.  She is of counsel with the law firm of Parnell & Associates.  Christian serves on a variety of committees and advisory boards, including the ConServe Sustainability Advisory Council for the National Restaurant Association, the KSU Brian Jordan Center for Excellence and Professional Development at LakePoint Sporting Community, and formerly on the Women in Lodging Advisory Council for the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

    May 31st, 2018 in Business Practices, Cooking, Restaurants, Spring 2018

    Hotel Room Computer

    By Martin Zsarnoczky

    Digitalization is among the most important changes in our rapidly evolving world. Digital innovations and technological novelties are engines of development and show their impact everywhere, especially in the field of manufacturing, ICT and other service industries. Given the fact that tourism is based on the cooperation between a wide range of services and products, the benefits of the digital revolution in the sector are quite obvious.

    Our living environment is a combination of online and offline spaces that co-exist together, defining our everyday habitat. In tourism, the special use of spaces has always been a unique feature of the industry, and as of today, the spaces of the digital world have become part of it. The rapid development of the digital world brings novel and innovative solutions into the digital tourism spaces by the day. Peer-to-peer communication is outstandingly important in the technological environment of tourism. This type of communication, together with the spreading of smart devices have revolutionized scheduling, administration and finances, and also opened new horizons for the introduction of innovative sales and marketing technologies in the whole tourism industry. As a result of the digital revolution, the international development trends in tourism have opened the way for novel solutions like cloud-based booking sites or information and experience sharing via digital platforms.

    In line with the new trends of travelling, there is a dynamically growing demand for special tailor-made offers beyond mass tourism, as conscious consumers expect personalized solutions that answer their individual needs. As of today, the vast majority of tourism market stakeholders have access to detailed information on their consumers and can closely follow and track consumer behavior and its changes. These novel systems of personalized products and services are available thanks to various flexible follow-up techniques like CRM client databases. The cloud-based CRM client database systems – ones that create offers by analyzing previous sales records and demographic data – have evolved rapidly. As of today, they can analyze huge datasets by big data analysis and scaling methods in a cost effective and anonymous way, searching for significant event points. Although big data research is based on working with large samples, it is the most efficient method to reveal individual personal preferences (Stadler, 2015).

    How did sharing economy pave the way to personalized tourism services?

    In previous decades, the results of digital development have opened the door for the real life implementation of shared economy theories. It was almost ten years ago that Chris Anderson (2009) introduced his pricing theory in digitalization, basically suggesting giving away products for free, based on the principle of shared goods and resources. Although at the time Anderson’s theory was considered as a technological solution, the principle of digital sharing have induced serious social changes as well. One of the most important positive messages of shared economy is the maximum use of resource capacities for the purpose of social well-being (Sundararajan, 2014). Social well-being is also a key priority in tourism, because a well-managed tourism industry brings profit not only for the business operators but also for the local communities.

    In the sharing economy model, the stakeholders – who are also consumers at the same time – offer their excess capacities for collective use in order to maximize the exploitation of their goods and resources. These economic processes consist of so-called hybrid transactions with maximum capacity use (Hyde, 2007), for both commercial and social purposes. An important drive in the evolution of collaborative consumption theory was the realization of the fact that using or possessing the same consumer goods can result in different advantages. The core element of the model is that sellers offer their excess capacities, while the consumers in need use them in return for payment. In the sharing economy (based on the aforementioned primary idea), more and more industrial, commercial and service providers offer innovative solutions.

    The principle of sharing is not a new idea in the tourism industry. In the case of some accommodation services, seasonal price reduction has always been a practice. Hostels and youth hotels have always been popular – these facilities are often used as dormitories throughout the academic year and lease their rooms for backpackers in the summer season, when the students are away. Of course, these seasonal options would not have been enough for creating a new market sector; the dawn of the new business era was marked with the emergence of wide platform solutions like Airbnb, Booking.com, Agoda, etc.

    Casa de la Musica Hostel Budapest. Photo by Martin Zsarnoczky

    Casa de la Musica Hostel Budapest. Photo by Martin Zsarnoczky

    In the strategy of digital platform tourism businesses, consumers are considered as partners in the business activities. This shared operation can be best defined as a postmodern business model. Although the complex idea of postmodernism is quite difficult to describe, its main characteristics – shared participation and the subjective passion of each contributor – can lead closer to understand the phenomenon. It is clear that postmodernism will change some processes of the classic market laws in the near future. While “shared experience” has become a key marketing term for selling goods and services, specialized offers inevitably lead to a market fragmentation that will result in the fragmentation of users as well. In a disintegrated market, consumers will behave differently in fragmented times and spaces, paving the way for personalized services and tailor-made solutions. At the same time, individualism has become the key characteristics of the younger generations (McCrindle et al., 2009); a phenomenon that will have to be taken into account whilst creating business strategies. Due to the emergence of individualism, more and more young people are trying to create something unique that can serve the long-term benefit of the community. Their drive for creating businesses based on their own ideas and experience accounts for the increasing popularity of start-up businesses. These aspects of uniqueness, community thinking and experience-centered approach hold a huge opportunity for the future of the tourism industry.

    The Future: AI, VR/AR, Blockchain

    While looking through their photos, tourists usually have a positive experience remembering their travels, experiences and the destination they had visited. Some specialized digital technologies can offer this assumed positive experience in a searchable and changeable form. With regards to real life objects, their connections and relations, there is only a limited amount of information available in a format that could be handled by computers. The main problem is that computers need sufficient coding solutions created by artificial intelligence to be able to store, handle and organize information. The methods of coding for tourism experience purposes affect the speed, efficiency and knowledge/experience-based computing abilities of today’s computers.

    According to the forecasts of product development strategies in various industries, almost all of our everyday objects and equipment will be accessible through the internet in the future. As a result, all devices that are capable of two-way communication will belong in the framework of IoT (Internet of Things). The devices of the future, unlike the devices of today, will communicate in a bidirectional way, where robust safe data handling, personalized differentiation and sufficient decision management will be part of the user experience. As a result of the continuous data collection during the use of these devices, all relevant information will eventually end up in a final centralized system at the top of the dataset.

    Previously, tourism used to be an industry based on personal relations and connections, where the trends – and therefore travelers’ decisions – were set out by a limited number of large international tourism and travel enterprises. As a result of the digital revolution, the transparency of “hidden markets” had been revealed and numerous other factors have to be taken into account (Fig.1.).

    Figure 1. Influencing factors of traveler’s decision. Source: Zsarnoczky, (2017a)

    Figure 1. Influencing factors of traveler’s decision. Source: Zsarnoczky, (2017a)

    The early development of ICT resulted not only in the better capacity utilization of airlines, but also on the compatibility of the prices; and soon, the emergence of the discount airlines had led to the innovation of the whole industry and forced out efficiency in all segments. The novel travel recommendation sites (Expedia, Orbitz, Kayak, etc.) were created with the aim to make travelers’ decisions easier; however at the same time, a lot of tourism service providers who could not keep up with the new challenges were forced out of the market. Although the new trends like travel packages (including car rental) or taking into account the reviews of previous travelers (Lonely Planet) were from many aspects opposite to the former business models, the rapidly increasing popularity of online offers required quick and user-friendly tourism product development from the industry.

    With the arrival of Google, which was able to rank the sites’ appearance in internet searches, a fierce competition begun between blogs, tourism recommendation sites and price-comparing OTA systems. The bidirectional communication started with the use of cookies 2.0; since then, consumers have become an integral part of the business models, because businesses who seek to be successful in the long run, need to know their customers’ demands in detail. The development of digital services require the identification of the user, information on their individual preferences and a decision-based calibration (by AI). In AI-based decision making solutions, the former decisive factors are replaced by a virtual personal assistant, which is able to map the consumer’s preferences based on their digital footprint, and create an optimal personalized offer from the available big data systems (Fig. 2.)

    Figure 2. Virtual Personal Assistant – VPA. Source: Zsarnoczky, (2017a)

    Figure 2. Virtual Personal Assistant – VPA. Source: Zsarnoczky, (2017a)

    The technological development cannot be stopped; however, with sufficient flexibility and openness, tourism businesses can prepare for the upcoming challenges. In the tourism of the future, the new consumers will bring forth new priorities and new demands. As a revolutionary approach, the members of the IoP (Internet of People) community offer their free time in order to reach joint IT/industrial goals, where frameworks are created in line with the preferences of other people, for a yet not specified consumer segment (Miranda et al., 2015). Beyond innovative technologies, whole new spaces have opened in tourism, completely different from the usual destinations. University researchers[1] have been carried out to study the possibilities of online tourism spaces and their opportunities for the tourism and hospitality industry. In virtual reality, with a special “glass”, the user can look into an optional tourism space, from which the real world is completely shut out. The Augmented reality is a different technological solution, where digital elements are projected into a real life space.

    In 2011, the interior designers of cafés only used and re-designed the existing design panels; today, the traditional living spaces are often combined with the online world. Carneval Coffee Budapest. Photo by Martin Zsarnoczky

    In 2011, the interior designers of cafés only used and re-designed the existing design panels; today, the traditional living spaces are often combined with the online world. Carneval Coffee Budapest. Photo by Martin Zsarnoczky

    The newest technological developments and the innovation in the use of living spaces are all connected to the alternative payment options that can be used in tourism as well. The emergence of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has led to the creation of a novel payment system. The Blockchain payment system is a shared database, which records a continuously growing list of data blocks, preventing any counterfeiting or alteration of the data. One block consist of a list of transactions and the results of computations made by the stored programs. For example, if a customer buys some cryptocurrency or any other kind of currency, and then transfers it to anywhere in the world to another partner, who exchanges it instantly, both partners can avoid any loss caused by exchange rate fluctuations; furthermore, the whole transaction takes only minutes instead of the usual couple of business days. This solution can mean a revolutionary innovative payment option for everyone in the tourism industry.

    The applicability of the blockchain system is independent from currency rates. In the case of cryptocurrencies, it is not the exchange rate that really matters – instead, the true value of the currency lies in the safety of the blockchain technology and in the authentic, transparent, unalterable and decentralized recording system (Pilkington, 2016). This payment system offers a new level of encryption safety and intervention-free operation, and the data handled in the system cannot be modified in any way. Another huge benefit of the system is that the transactions are realized without any intermediate agents, thus eliminating any additional transaction costs. By the time of the “maturity” of blockchain payment solutions, today’s large service intermediators like Airbnb, Booking.com, Agora, etc. are foreseen to lose some of their market positions, as consumers and service providers will probably deal with their transactions directly.

    Will Artificial Food be the next meal on the table?

    With the worldwide population boom, the demand for food is also increasing. To satisfy this growing need for food, the extension of agricultural areas is required for food material production, and at the same time, sufficient land management is needed for animal husbandry. The greatest challenge of sustainable agriculture lies in the fact that the agricultural areas can only be further expanded at the expense of forested lands. In addition, the current changes in the environment has also led to the decrease of fishing possibilities, another difficulty in the availability of food materials.

    Shrimp in pasta shell. Made and photo by Martin Zsarnoczky

    Shrimp in pasta shell by Martin Zsarnoczky

    The decreasing resources of food materials will force the food production industry to re-think their former concepts. New technologies like 3D food printers can even bring the fast food era to an end. The novel inventions of food production and food engineering – like artificially flavored drinks, chocolates and dairy products – have been on the market of more than a decade now, and so far, they have not had a negative effect on the common taste of consumers.

    In the concept of 3D food printing,  popular sweets and delicacies are synthesized by a layered printing technology, using the various pre-mixed powders, flavorings, fixers and oils that are stored in the “toners” of the printer. These artificial foods are already available: specialized franchise restaurants like the Food Ink chain offer a wide variety of printed meals for consumers who are curious about the future of gastronomy. It is also likely that with the next generation of the food printers, we will be able to calibrate the nutritional values and energy content of the meals.

    The 3D food printing technology is not only important for HoReCa businesses, but holds a great opportunity for the health industry, too, especially in the field of special diets and medication. Using 3D food printing for these purposes can increase cost-effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability, thus supporting the food industry and hospitality and tourism businesses alike.

    The option of personalized 3D food printing is just one of the innovative technological solutions in the tourism and hospitality industry. The Henn-na Hotel [1] in Huis Ten Bosch, Japan is the first hotel in the world, where customers are served exclusively by robots. At another Asian location in China, there are 24/7 cafés that follow the no-staff business model of Amazon Go. As for the restaurant market, the Chinese food brand Wufangzhai has recently opened the first unmanned restaurant[2] in Hangzhou, capital city of east China’s Zhejiang Province.

    The question is: how long will it take until food production and consumption will need no human resources at all?

    Summary

    For innovative enterprises, the efficiency of interactivity is of key importance for the success of their business. The rapid development of ICT solutions has brought immense changes in the tourism industry. Previously, consumers’ decision making was mainly affected by the industrial environment. The era of digital tourism spaces – preceded by theme parks and thematic destinations – started with the emergence of information websites; however, this targeted information flow used to be one-directional with narrow choices. In today’s digital era, the new generation of commercial activities take place in VR or AR spaces, and the instant analysis of the customer’s reactions and behavior support the enhancement of their buying willingness. The traditional decision making processes are gradually being replaced with personalized offers, further increasing the importance of AI.

    With the development of shared economy, greater emphasis is put on social well-being, as user experience slowly becomes more important than ownership. This new approach is also expressed in novel forms of payment, which can seriously decrease the profits of intermediate activities. The new trends do not seem to be problematic in the tourism industry, mostly because in this sector, the exact costs and incomes are not clearly visible yet. On the other hand, the quality development of the 3D printing technology holds a great opportunity for the tourism and hospitality sector. The development of digitalization has finally reached a level where it can truly support the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of industrial food production, paving the way to the future of tourism and hospitality businesses.

    PDF Version Available Here

    References Anderson, C. (2009). Free: The Future of a Radical Price. Hyperion, New York. Hyde, L. (2007). The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World. New York: Random House Inc. McCrindle, M. – Wolfinger, E. (2009). The ABC of XYZ: Understanding the Global Generations, University of New South Wales Press, Sidney. pp. 1-22. Miranda, J. – Mäkitalo, N. – Garcia-Alonso, J. – Beroccal, J. – Mikkonen, T. – Canal, C. – Murillo, M. J. (2015)  From the Internet of Things to the Internet of People. IEEE Internet Computing, 19 (2): 40-47. Stadler, G. (2015). Big data – tömeges adatelemzés gyorsan. HTE Medianet 2015, Kecskemét. LLX. pp. 44-48 Pilkington, M. (2016). Blockchain technology: priciples and applications. Research Handbook on Digital Transformation. Edward Elgar Publishing, Northampton, MA. pp. 225-253. Sundararajan, A. (2014). Peer-to-Peer Businesses and the Sharing (Collaborative) Economy: Overview, Economic Effects and Regulatory Issues. NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress, New York. Zsarnoczky, M. (2017a). How does Artificial Intelligence affect the Tourism Industry? Vadyba Journal of Management 31 (2): 85-90. Zsarnoczky, M. (2017b). The future of sustainable rural tourism development: the impacts of climate change.  Annals of the Polish Association of Agricultural and Agribusiness Economists. XIX. (3): 337-344. Martin Zsarnoczky, Ph.D. has several years of experience in the huge tourism and hospitality industry. He has worked with P&O Princess Cruises, Intercontinental and Marriott Hotels in Budapest. Between 2005 and 2015, he was the founder, developer and CEO of Casa de la Musica Hostel and Event’s Hall, one of the largest multifunctional private tourism & hospitality businesses in Budapest downtown. He holds a BSc degree in Tourism and Hospitality from the Budapest Business School, and graduated at MSc/Med level as Teacher of Economics in Tourism and Hospitality. During his studies, he had spent short a term mobility period  at Utwente University in the Netherlands, and later earned his Ph.D. in Regional Sciences at Szent Istvan University. At the moment, he is still very active as an entrepreneur and is actively involved in community development. He is also a board member of the Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and works as a mentor for the Young Entrepreneurs Association Hungary. With regards to his academic career, he is a full time assistant professor at the Institute of Marketing and Media at the Tourism Department of Corvinus University of Budapest.

    May 23rd, 2018 in Business Practices, Marketing, Spring 2018

    By Leora Lanz and Namrata Sridhar

    In the Winter 2018 edition of the Boston Hospitality Review, we brought forth suggestions for the 10 Best Practices for Organic Visibility —ways to improve search results through organic search, or do not cost the company a monetary investment. Rather, these rankings were based on elements such as keywords, location, and mobile friendliness. Suggestions for improving a company’s organic search include utilization of backlinks, hyperlinks between websites, and content enhancement in relation to local listings such as ensuring quick website load speed, high quality imagery, and conspicuous links to social media channels.

    This second installation of a two-part series will speak to the subject of search engine functionalities as a result of paid queries. For independent or smaller companies, this brief but powerful set of tips obtained from industry experts can enable a business to become more “searchable” for optimal return on investment.

    Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Best Practices: 1. Understand the Paid Media Landscape:

    According to the Associate Director for Organic Search and Content Strategy at Boston-based Connelly Partners, Dan Hurley, the most important part of SEM is to comprehend the paid media landscape. It is critical to know who one’s competitors truly are and understand how they are marketing, from a tactical standpoint.1 It is also important to research the types of ad campaign structures that are surfacing in the category of interest, on both desktop and mobile devices. Then one must adopt those that appear effective and fit business goals appropriately. For restaurants and hotel-related queries, “this strategy is especially pertinent because these searches generally convert very quickly; mobile searchers will likely patronize a restaurant within a few hours.”

    In order to be the most efficient with a company’s paid advertisements, Todd Philie, president of Southcoast Marketing Group in Wareham, MA, also encourages companies to discover how consumers are searching for them on the Internet. For example, “utilize the query search tool via the Google AdWords™ platform to discover what terms and phrases are used to reach your own site and then display your ads.”

    Additionally, Kym Parker, associate search marketing director at Connelly Partners, emphasizes the importance of using the company’s brand to ensure a strong search presence. By utilizing paid search bids, a hotel or restaurant can be the first result a web surfer sees when conducting a search.2

    “Sometimes, competitors will bid on your brand terms – which means that if someone searches for your company name, for example, the competitor could show up ahead of you in the search results,” Parker notes. “You can prevent this by ‘protecting’ your brand terms. Always be bidding on them, at least a little bit, to ensure that you have a better chance of staying on top of the results when someone searches your name and other brand terms.”

    2: Use of Google AdWords™:

    The major player in the world wide web is Google, which has created various platforms to optimize searching. Using keywords, Google users can pay to promote their advertisements for a set budget. This Google functionality allows a company (hotel or restaurant) to understand how it ranks in comparison to direct competitors.

    Also keep ‘negative keywords’ in mind, adds Philie. “Negative terms generally means terms that you are not specifically telling AdWords™ that you do not want to appear in specific results for other searches. For example, suppose you are marketing a seafood restaurant that does not offer steak on its menu. You want to bid on the phrase ‘best restaurant in Boston’ but you do not want to waste money on clicks from customers who want steak. You might set ‘steak’ and ‘steakhouse’ as negative terms so that if someone searched ‘best steak restaurants in Boston” you do not show up in that search.

    The Google AdWords™ functionality also offers companies the chance to enhance the listing. An incredibly important, yet often overlooked, input is the “click to call” functionality and its presence on a mobile site, also known as the call extension. “These additional factual details, known as “ad extensions” also include location, information from different pages on your website, and even testimonial reviews,” adds Seth Cargiuolo, director of communication strategy at Chestnut Hill, MA-based D50 Media. “Making use of ad extensions is essential because it helps the customer learn more about the business with a quick glance pre-click, and can help differentiate a hotel or restaurant (or any product)  against its competitors.”  Ad extensions also increase the visual footprint of an ad, which can push competitors’ ads and organic listings down the page and out of view, particularly on mobile devices.

    For marketers just starting to utilize SEM and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Google AdWords™ also offers free tutorials and trainings. Zachary Azar, D50 Media’s senior manager of paid search notes, “These tutorials provide clients with the opportunity to get the most out of the program and create effective campaigns.”

    To properly manage an effective AdWords campaign, Google Analytics can be a helpful tool as it reveals which content on a website is most useful and interesting to customers. This will help in the creation of resonating ad copy and can also be a guide for aligning keyword selection and website copy to increase the “Quality Score” of an ad campaign.

    However, Philie also cautions individuals not to be completely reliant on Google’s suggestions for keywords. “Often times, these keywords are pluralized and can cause companies to spend more or not be as effective.” He warns companies to choose how to put their key words “out there” when bidding. Companies must choose best matched keywords for their ads and choose between “exact match,” “phrase match,” “broad search” and “modified broad search” – all of which will yield varied returns. Campaigns should utilize a balance of all match types, but should “skew more heavily towards exact and phrase, utilizing broad match only for keyword prospecting and expansion opportunities.”

    3. Always Start with Non-Paid Efforts or SEO

    When optimizing a company’s searches, Cargiuolo and Azar suggest the first thing that the company should focus on is actually the SEO. First and foremost, it is important to ensure that a website is user- and mobile-friendly. Another important factor is a quick load speed. “Google has found that sites that take longer than three seconds to load lose 40% of their traffic, and for mobile traffic, that jumps to 53%,” reports Azar.  This is important for paid search as well; Cargiuolo adds, “It’d be bad enough for a user to abandon your page when it’s an organic search – but now imagine if you’d paid for that click and those dollars were totally wasted.”

    In order to reduce the load speed, it is important to not have “big” images—think kilobytes, not megabytes.  Web copy should be concise and “bandwidth-hogging” scripts and plugins minimized. “Additionally, given that over half of web traffic is on mobile devices, ensure that pdfs (which you want to avoid anyway) look acceptable on a smart phone too,” Cargiuolo says.

    Kristin Metzler, Print and Web Marketing Coordinator of Frasca Design Group, also echoes that mastery of SEO is the first step in a successful digital marketing campaign. Websites built with a strong attention to keywords and content will minimize spending on pay-per-click campaigns.

    4. Don’t Spend on Paid Search if You Can’t Afford It

    Hurley cautions that one need not spend money on advertising to get traffic. Because so much information is provided in the search results, there may not be any clicks on your page during the search process. Companies should never put any money into paid search, display advertising or paid social that the company cannot afford to lose.3

    Cargiuolo emphasizes that when a company starts advertising, it should not expect an immediate return,4 which is oftentimes an assumption that businesses make. Initially, many may not be familiar with the bidding process; keywords; or how to build, optimize, and manage an effective campaign. Be cautious not to spend money needed for other resources. Start slow and spend time learning before committing big budgets.

    One final word of caution: There are easily incurred expenses that can come from paid search marketing, such as additional costs from agencies that take a portion of a monthly budget. Being conscious of your daily budget is critical in avoiding overspending.

    Key Take-Aways?

    When taking the steps to build a search campaign, it is critical to do research and move slowly at the beginning. Understand how the market is reflected in consumer searches and what keywords are being utilized. Before jumping into methods that require payment, a company should ensure that its website is optimized for searches and never spend more than what can be budgeted, as it will take time to see a return on investment.

    As Cargiuolo reminds, businesses must remember that Google serves the user first. Thus as the marketer, one must think as a user would when building a paid search campaign. People come to Google with questions. The marketer that best answers the user’s questions, both pre-click and post-click, is going to be one that is most successful.

    PDF Version Available Here

    1 Inc. Staff. “How to Conduct Competitive Research.” Inc. Magazine. May 2010 2 Ratcliff, Christopher. “What is PPC and Why Do You Need it?” Econsultancy. 13 November 2013. 3 Kumar, A.J. “SEO vs PPC: Knowing Which is Better for Your Website.”  Entrepreneur. Editorial. 21 May 2012 4 Steimle, Josh. “How Long Does SEO Take to Start Working?” Editorial. Forbes. 7 February 2015. Namrata Sridhar is a marketing communications coordinator at LHL Communications and a rising senior at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration (BU SHA). She has also previously worked in marketing communications capacities at RealFood Consulting where she helped design an internal marketing plan to rebrand their company. Namrata also serves as the President of the Student Government of BU SHA. She is an active member of the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, and the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International. Lanz New 2016Leora Halpern Lanz, ISHC, is principal of LHL Communications, a hospitality-focused marketing communications, branding, and media relations advisory. She is also a full time faculty member at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration (SHA), teaching advanced strategic marketing and digital marketing for hospitality at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She was named among the Top 25 Minds in Hotel Marketing for 2016 by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International and was named 2017 Professor of the Year by the student government of SHA.

    February 13th, 2018 in Business Practices, Winter 2018

    By Sarah Andersen

    After completing the senior capstone Hospitality Leadership course at Boston University, I had the chance to reflect on the class topics and apply the teachings to my personal life. The course explored several different levels of leadership, from the head of a major corporation role to developing self-leadership. I learned the importance of a mission, vision, and values in an organization, better understood the components of change management, and worked with a group throughout the semester to develop my teamwork skills. I was able to critically analyze concepts and models presented in leadership literature as well as improve my own leadership skills. I then interviewed three prominent leaders in hospitality and found connections between their industry insights and my leadership class discussions. Dan Donahue, President of Saunders Hotel Group, Len Wolman, Chairman and CEO of Waterford Hotel Group, and Geoff Ballotti, President and CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group kindly shared their experiences and explained their personal values and company’s culture, revealing the five keys to successful leadership.

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    “Leadership is the capacity totranslate vision into reality.”

                                                               -Warren G. Bennis

    Establishing Shared Beliefs, Values, and Goals

    When an organization wants to achieve its goals, it needs a vision. Effective leadership starts with the ability to recognize and outline those goals and inspire others to follow. Leaders paint a picture of how that vision will affect the company as a whole, as well as each individual. A leader’s ability to articulate that vision into a mission statement corresponds to the active implementation of goals and the company’s bottom line success. A productive vision goes beyond a written organizational mission statement, but instead permeates throughout all levels of a company and manifests into actions and beliefs. John P. Kotter, author of Business Leadership, writes, “A vision says something that helps clarify the direction in which an organization wants to move [and] is relatively easy to communicate, appealing to customers, stockholders, and employees.”1 It is therefore up to hospitality leaders to set and clearly communicate a vision, and to inspire those around them to share and implement it.

    A vision does not belong only to a leader. It must be a shared vision that attracts everyone to sustain high levels of motivation and withstand challenges. According to The Leadership Challenge, by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, leaders can envision the future by imagining the possibilities and finding a common purpose.2 In addition, leaders must spark a sense of meaning and purpose in those around them. Dan Donahue agrees that, “My job, as someone who has the vision, is to get you inspired and committed to sharing that vision and sharing that creativity to the point where you have buy-in.”

    After seven years of rigorous research, a landmark study of the observations from more than 100 CEOs and over 8,000 employees found that “leaders who were clear about their values delivered as much as five times greater returns for their organizations as did leaders of weak character.”3

    So how do illustrious CEOs and successful leaders in our industry shape the parameters for success through a shared vision for a future? How do they empower and inspire those around them to make decisions and work towards their goals?

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    Balancing Accountability and Autonomy

    When asked what his core values were, Len Wolman responded, “First and foremost, our organization has been built on integrity and transparency. We have four core values that we live by on a daily basis which are to (1) to wow the customer, (2) to continuously improve, (3) to be a passionate and committed team, and (4) to share and sustain our bottom line success.”

    Dan Donahue, established that, “Our values are simple. Our values are people. We allow them the flexibility and latitude to do their jobs under the guide of taking care of the guest, but also taking care of themselves as well.” To strengthen others, exemplary leaders increase people’s belief in their ability to make a difference. They move from being in control to giving over control. Developing associates into leaders and enhancing self-determination creates a culture of empowerment and confidence. Geoff Ballotti agrees that, “In terms of motivating others, it is letting them make decisions. It’s not micromanaging, but rather letting them come up with the solutions.”

    Geoff Ballotti continues, “Our core value statement is three words, ‘Count On Me,’ which is all about accountability. It is about people being able to be counted on at any time, for any issue, any question, any decision, and any support that our owners, franchisees, and associates need. It is built on the principal of integrity in terms of taking personal responsibility for your actions.” Accountability is important because it results in an extremely efficient and productive team. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, accountability in the workplace is linked to higher performance and increases in commitment to work and employee morale.4

    Dan Donahue, states, “A vision has to be fluid. To get to an achievable goal and vision, whether short term or long term, you need to be present, you need to understand that if you want it to be successful you need to be there, you need to be accountable to it, and you need to be accountable to the people that want to share that.” When accountability becomes embedded into culture, company’s are able to set meaningful goals, develop team buy-in, build trust through support and encouragement, and celebrate successes together. Accountability is about creating a culture where people value responsibility. When associates understand that accountability involves a certain degree of autonomy, mutual respect develops between all levels of an organization.

    Mr. Ballotti adds, “The third leg of our values is all about respect. Respecting everyone everywhere both on our ownership side and the community side.” When leaders develop mutual respect, associates are more likely to work harder to accomplish shared goals. Harvard Business Review examined employee needs and determined through a query of more than 19,000 workers that most employees desire renewal, value, focus and purpose.5 Feeling a sense of value and respect can instill an employee with confidence and motivation. Len Wolman adds that, “I’ve been in the industry for many years, I was educated in the industry and then worked my way up through the industry, so I’m fortunate in that I have the perspective of having worked in various positions. So I have empathy, understanding, and respect for each position. Everyone needs to be treated with mutual respect and understanding.”

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    Modeling by Example

    An important part of being an effective leader is educating others on what the organization stands for and why it matters. When leaders sincerely express a commitment to their core values, they’re also making a commitment on behalf of the entire organization. Therefore, leaders must make sure there is collective agreement on the shared values amongst everyone they lead.

    So how do leaders become a role model for what the organization stands for?

    The answer is pretty simple. They set the example for others to follow. Holding others accountable to values and standards means leaders must live the values themselves. Dan Donahue responds, “I would never ask an employee to do something I wouldn’t do myself.” Len Wolman agrees adding, “You always want to set an example and never want to expect anyone to do anything that you wouldn’t do yourself.” Researcher on behavioral integrity demonstrates that the alignment between a leader’s words and actions has a powerful impact on how much constituents trust the leader and on their subsequent performance levels.6 Great leaders effectively translate intention into reality by acting on the values they teach and the things they say to those around them.

    Showing Vulnerability and Visibility

    Confidence is an important skill to possess as a leader. However, having vulnerability as a leader is just as essential to recognize and appreciate. Every leader has vulnerability, but great leaders have the self-awareness to recognize this fact and feel comfortable expressing their weaknesses. Showing vulnerability is a relatable trait and Geoff Ballotti finds that, “The greatest leaders I know out there are very comfortable talking about their weaknesses, about what it is that they need to work on, to improve upon, and to do better.” Effective leaders invest the thinking, the time, the energy and are prepared for the vulnerability of connecting with others.

    So how do these leaders earn trust, inspire, and build bonds with those they lead?

    Great leaders inspire their associates and guests by genuinely connecting to them through a consistent presence and visibility. Visibility as a leader not only includes having a physical presence, but also aligning everyone to the purpose behind their shared vision through natural conversations and casual exchanges on a daily basis. When asked how he communicates company goals and the overall vision, Dan Donahue replied, “If you have a presence, it happens organically. It doesn’t need to be contrived.” The purpose of this sincere visibility is not about the need to “check on employees,” but rather an honest desire to interact with associates in order to gauge motivation and learn if employees need support or help. Mr. Wolman agrees that, “It is critical to operate with an open door policy and listen to everyone’s perspective and ideas, particularly the people who are executing the day to day functions, and I think you’ve got to be constantly evaluating that.”

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    Mr. Ballotti adds, “I also think showing empathy is key and the best way great leaders do that is through the art of storytelling when they’re up in front of their associate base or leadership team, being able to tell stories that connect and engage and inspire and motivate in terms of the culture your want to set and want to build.” Storytelling is a powerful way to share knowledge, push information at people or pull them into a company’s vision and mission by reinforcing the intent behind authentic leadership. According to Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus at the MIT Sloan School of Management, “[Stories] also strengthen the framework and the importance of an organization’s culture by establishing norms and values.”7 Good stories compel, persuade, and unify others around the leaders’ vision.

    Creativity Breads Adaptability

    “Hospitality isn’t about a product on the shelf. Hospitality is about creating something that changes day to day, hour to hour, or minute by minute.” – Dan Donahue

    IBM’s 2010 Global CEO Study, which surveyed more than 1,500 CEOs from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide, concluded that creativity is the most important leadership quality for success in business, outweighing competencies such as integrity and global thinking.8 Geoff Ballotti agrees that, “Creativity is critical, especially in the business that we’re in. We’re trying to redefine and reposition our brand from a creative standpoint in terms of experience.” What defines one brand from another and what makes one brand more successful than another is the creativity that it delivers as well as the experience it delivers to its guests. Understanding how to generate great ideas is a crucial leadership trait in hospitality’s innovation-driven industry. Successful leaders create an environment where associates can contribute their imagination and insight, which is critical because most innovations draw upon the contributions of many.

    Today’s business environment is unpredictable, changeable and increasingly complex. Therefore, the ability to create something that is both innovative and applicable is on the top of leader’s minds. Mr. Donahue states, “Nothing in our business can be or should be cookie cutter. It’s about curating an experience for each person who spends to be with you.” Len Wolman adds, “If you’re not creative and open to change in todays world with the disruptors that exist in our industry, particularly with technology, you will not be successful. You need to be creative in terms of staying ahead, staying current and relevant, and get managing the costs associated with change in a way that your organization can still be successful and profitable.”

    In an industry of constant change, great hospitality leaders need to capitalize on the opportunities that are ripe for the present context and plan for the likely future state. Change requires creating a new system, which demands effective leadership. It is crucial that leaders first acknowledge how hard it can be to drive others outside of their comfort zones and push for change. When asked how he responds to change, Len Wolman replied, “A crucial element is feedback. We get daily feedback that is current and relevant, whether it be Trip Advisor, direct contact with our guests, or direct contact with our associates. We need to listen to it, we need to respond to it, and we need to adjust to the things that people are looking for whether it be the consumer or the work environment.” Those who create new initiatives, programing, design, and brand essence are the ones who succeed. By supporting creativity and commanding change, leaders can increase workplace satisfaction and build driven teams that craft original, valuable ideas.

    Figure 1: Interview Questions
  • When associates are inspired by their leaders, they are more confident, they know what’s expected, and they feel empowered to make decisions and work toward their goals. So with your vast experience in the hospitality industry, what are some ways you empower and inspire those around you to make decisions and really motivate others?
  • Do you have a specific set of core values? They can be personal or related to your company.
  • How do you hold others accountable to those values and standards as a leader? Are there specific tools or methods you provide your associates to help them work towards that unified goal?
  • Confidence is obviously an important skill to possess as a leader, but do you think showing vulnerability as a leader is important as well? This can be shown through being more visible to others around you, taking risks, being vocal and clear about your specific goals as a leader….
  • Creativity is essential to the entrepreneurship that gets new businesses started and that sustains the best companies after they have reached a global scale. Do you consider creativity to be a manageable trait? Is creativity a focus of your attention as a leader?
  • How do you adapt to various situations in an age of rapid change (with technology and this millennial “mindset” emergence)? What are the key components to having an adaptable mindset?
  • Closing Thoughts

    It has been made clear through the interview process of these three prominent industry leaders that establishing shared values, balancing accountability with autonomy, modeling by example, showing vulnerability through visibility, and having a creative mindset that is open to change are all essential factors to being a successful leader. The common theme amongst all these traits and elements to successful leadership, however, is each leader’s dependence and trust for their associates. At one point during the interview, Mr. Ballotti pointed out that, “Great leaders are those who surround themselves with great people…who are brighter, and smarter, and more diverse in thought than they are. And who are able to build a team that knows how to support and trust each other.” It is clear that effective leadership boils down to a leaders ability to unlock the full potential in those around them. Len Wolman adds that it “We take care of our associates so that they take care of our guests, which keeps the guests coming back and is the reason we are in business.“ Dan Donahue also notes, “You have to realize each individual employee’s needs. Make a connection with your employees every single day.” All good leaders were once followers themselves and have learned to establish and foster trust over time. A true leader passes praise and shares the blame, lifting up those around them.9 Without followers, great leaders cannot lead.

    PDF Version Available Here

    SarahSarah R. Andersen is a senior at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration. Her areas of interest include integrated marketing communications and real estate development. Beyond her studies in hospitality, she is a member of the BU Women’s Lacrosse team. She plans to continue her studies at Boston University after graduating with her bachelor’s degree by enrolling in the School of Hospitality’s Master of Management in Hospitality program. References
  • Gallos, Joan V. Business Leadership. Second Edition ed., A Jossey-Bass Reader.
  • Kouzes, James M., and Barry Z. Posner. The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations. Sixth Edition ed., Wiley, 2017.
  • Carson, and E. A. Phelps, “Regulating the Expectation of Reward,” Nature Neuroscience 11, no.8 (2008):880-881
  • “Performance Management: Accountability Can Have Positive Results.” U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Web.
  • Porath, Tony SchwartzChristine. “The Power of Meeting Your Employees’ Needs.” Harvard Business Review, 6 Dec. 2017.
  • C. M. Shea and J.M. Howell, “Charismatic Leadership and Task Feedback: A Laboratory Study of Their Effects on Self-Efficacy and Task Performance,” Leadership Quarterly 10, no. 3 (1999)
  • Marshall, John, and Matthew Adamic. “The Story Is the Message: Shaping Corporate Culture.” Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 31, no. 2, 2010, pp. 18–23.
  • “Creativity Selected as Most Crucial Factor for Future Success.” IBM 2010 Global CEO Study, 18 May 2010.
  • Henderson, Aaron M. Building Effective Leadership from the Ground Up. Llumina Press, 2004.
  • February 13th, 2018 in Business Practices, Marketing, Winter 2018

    By Juan Lesmes and Leora Lanz

    It wasn’t that long ago when digital marketing surfaced as indispensable practice for the hospitality industry. As time moved forward, hotel marketing departments established roles to manage the digital positioning and visibility of the property. Thus, we witnessed hospitality brands which were ‘present’ on social media outlets, adopting paid search as a permanent component of their marketing mix and abiding by well-known website best practices. We refer to this period as Phase I of the Hospitality Digital Marketing Revolution.

    Phase II quickly blossomed, and hotels realized that the competition to penetrate the digital space was strong and arduous. Brands started focusing on and investing in the internet user-experience (UX), negotiating partnerships with online travel agencies (OTAs), understanding the landscape of search engine result pages (SERPs), separating high-value budgets exclusively for search engine marketing (SEM), and delving into the intricacies of search engine optimization (SEO) for their own websites. Social media served as a competitive advantage and quickly escalated as paramount for marketing, branding, reputation management, and organic visibility. Paid search, via Google AdWords platform, is not to be confused with the organic approaches detailed here.

    As we delve into 2018, Phase III emerges clearly. OTAs dominate and in some instances monopolize Google searches with first page results. Consequently, hotels are realizing that digital marketing efforts should be shifted from a haphazard online presence to one that is strategic – one that capitalizes on each micro-moment of the guest travel planning journey (most of which, if not all, occurs on the web). As social media forces Instagram and Facebook solidify their roles as prominent search engines, paid ‘posts’ within users’ ‘feeds’ continue to convey the power of personalized sponsored content.

    With a myriad of stakeholders now involved in the simple act of searching for hotel rooms, is it a battle worth fighting? The answer is absolutely. But before addressing the how, it is crucial to identify and differentiate the digital marketing scope of branded and non-branded hotels. Branded hotels, especially those flagged with hospitality powerhouses, benefit from a more powerful domain authority coming from the parent chain, making it easier for them to rank higher on the SERPs. Take Marriott.com/hotel vs. hotelname.com for example. Domain authority is the overall power of the domain name considering traffic size, popularity, and number of links to the site (backlinks). It is also a top ranking factor for Google.

    Branded hotels also tend to have significant budgets to spend on Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and paid search, ensuring top first page visibility for valuable destination and branded queries. In addition, branded hotels have wider access to digital partnerships, including listings, local directories, event sponsorships, travel influencers, and online features – all of which provide authoritative backlinks to the hotel’s site, further contributing to its domain authority.

    Because independent and small-scale hotels rarely benefit from domain authority, maintaining and monitoring digital marketing best practices to boost Google rankings should be a requirement, not merely a recommendation. Digital marketing practices command their own dedicated efforts. Yet online marketing should be well-equipped with its own strategy and utilize expertise in the nuances and intricacies of hotels, restaurants, leisure activities, and attractions – overall, hospitality.

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    The question then becomes, how can hotels strive for visibility in this Wild West of a digital landscape, particularly if they are competing against each other, the OTAs, and a powerful sharing economy?

    1. Execute a Carefully Crafted Keyword Strategy

    Optimizing for search queries, also known as keywords, is perhaps the core of any digital marketing tactic aiming to build visibility – both organic and paid. Identifying those keywords with the highest search volume, such as ‘Miami hotels,’ is the intuitive process. Presence on Google’s first page for high search-volume keywords requires a robust SEM budget, an ongoing and long-term SEO strategy, or both. This puts independent and small-scale properties, which often do not have the necessary budget and fundamental team,  at a notable disadvantage.

    However, niche keywords present a different scenario. These queries are typically ’long-tail’ meaning they contain more than four words. Though niche keywords do not have the highest search popularities, it is much easier to actually capture their search volume, which then results in higher click-through rates (CTR). Hotels can leverage niche keywords by identifying their unique amenities and value propositions, and turning them into valuable keywords. For example, ‘Miami hotels with a rooftop bar,’ ‘Miami hotels with free breakfast’ and ‘Miami hotels with nightclubs’ are terms to utilize as they leverage a more specific travel intention that easily turns into conversions (booked business).  It is crucial to think as the customer would.

    Some independent hotels, because of the virtue of their uniqueness and often niche-market, can have the upper hand in this situation. A property which positions itself as a resort for health and well-being could therefore pursue niche terms such as ‘wellness resorts’ and ‘fitness getaways.’ The key is to identify the brand’s top performing unique selling propositions (USPs) and translate them into humanized search queries, all while keeping the guests’ travel planning journeys in mind.

    Finding a balanced mix of both high-search volume terms and niche queries secures strategic keywords. Nevertheless, actually optimizing for them by ensuring they are naturally or comfortably present throughout the website’s titles, content, metadata and bidding efforts also help secure a carefully crafted keyword strategy.

    2. Optimize for Local Search

    Our termed “Phase II” also put the spotlight on search engine business directories such as Google My Business and Bing Places for Business. In Phase III, hotel listings on these directories is no longer a recommendation, it is a necessity. Optimizing for local search entails driving the visibility of a property’s business listing via a two-part process:

  • Ensure the listing’s content is precise and optimal. For a hotel’s listing to be effective, it needs to be correct. This means not only having a consistent name, address, and phone number (NAP) across the web, but also sharing additional business attributes such as business hours, property images, contact e-information, and business category. Because Google understands that local users are better served by businesses that outline all the information they need, it ranks complete, accurate, and consistent listings higher than those that are partial. If your hotel has a separate restaurant, spa, or in-house shop, each should have a separate online business listing.
  • Utilize keywords with universal search integrations – Certain keywords tend to trigger significantly more universal search results, which includes a blended combination of Carousel, Local 3-Pack, Images, and Maps. (The former two are Google features found on search pages, displaying images and contact information to help users with specific searches). Because they are primarily location-based, they present yet another opportunity to drive the hotel’s local business listing. Keywords such as ‘Miami hotels near American Airlines Arena’ or ‘Downtown Miami hotels,’ for example, have powerful local search integrations since they allude to a local area within a larger market. As a result, incorporating these styles of keywords into the hotel’s website and local listings is a way to let Google know that the property is not only highly relevant to the query, but also a local business to be recognized.
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    3. Attain and Maintain a Star Rating on Google

    One of the key components of local search results is the Star Rating associated with a business listing. In fact, star reviews on SERPs are an effective way for hotels to increase digital visibility by standing out from the competition. Star ratings help increase the site’s CTR and provide an influential benchmark for online reputation management (ORM). Once an exclusive attribute for paid results, star ratings now also appear on organic results through Google’s ‘Rich Snippets.’ These snippets are a form of structured data which Google extracts from multiple websites and presents it as a ‘preview’ in search results, also known as Google’s Knowledge Graph.

    Therefore, obtaining and retaining star ratings involves safeguarding reviews on trusted and authoritative review sites. Google then aggregates this rating data and displays an average star rating. Hotels (restaurants, attractions, etc.) should encourage satisfied guests to submit reviews to their booking channel (i.e. Expedia) because they are by default ‘trusted’ sites. However, they should also encourage reviews for their own Google My Business listing in an attempt to increase the hotel’s chances of being featured on local search results.

    It is important to clarify that there is a technical component to obtaining a Google star rating. Codes put onto the website to help search engines return more informative results to users. Hotels need to ensure that their web developers also include star rating information within the markup code.

    4. Enhance Content on Local Listings

    A hotel’s content for its local listings should be strategically optimized. Whether it is in Foursquare, CitySearch, or any other listing, valuable keywords should be incorporated throughout the copy – including local search ‘near’ queries such as ‘hotel in Miami near Brickell’. If the brand image is playful and tongue-in-cheek, the content on local listings should also reflect that. Some listings even allow for a featured message. Rather than a generic ‘Welcome!’ hotels can use this space to promote current offers or highlight special amenities (complimentary champagne, sunset yoga, free breakfast).

    Other content elements such as images should be of the highest quality, showcasing provocative yet realistic visuals of the property’s exterior, interior, and overall ambiance. Links to all the property’s social media channels should be present in the listings, which allows the user to access other hotel assets including brand personality and online reputation.

    5. Optimize for Voice Search

    With increasing utilization of smart personal assistants such as Alexa and Google Home, voice search is a prime topic of conversion within the digital marketing realm. In order to be visible in results derived from these devices, hotels need to ensure they are optimizing their site and keyword strategy for voice search too. Since users are more likely to use longer natural queries via voice, employing niche, long-tail keywords is an effective method to optimize for this trend.

    Long-tail keywords are fruitless without the relevant content on a hotel or restaurant’s website. Hotels need to have specific landing pages that parallel the niche keywords. If a hotel seeks ‘Hotels in Miami with rooftop pools’—a keyword likely used by the voice search user—it must appear in the relevant landing page.

    Incorporating questions and answers within the site, perhaps via the ever-popular Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, is another effective way to accommodate voice search. With this strategy, hotels can provide answers not only about the property itself, but also about their destination and local attractions as a result of quick detection by voice-activated devices.

    It is important to note that recently, numerous hotel properties and companies have been contacted by law firms representing travel consumers with disabilities. These law firms report that websites are not abiding by accessibility guidelines in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If a guest is unable to use a hotel website to find information or make a reservation, hotels can in fact be fined. Today hotel websites must enable these assistive technologies to allow travel consumers with disabilities to get the information they need and complete any necessary transactions.

    6. Adopt a ‘Mobile First’ Mantra

    Much has been said about Google’s ‘mobile first’ index. This means Google will start to rank its search results based on the mobile version of the content, even in desktop search listings. If one thing is certain, websites need to be optimized to be mobile-friendly (responsive). Hotels need to ensure they launch a fully-responsive website that serves users of any device the same consistent content. The more ‘mobile-friendly’ a site’s user experience is, including factors such as typography, navigation map, and website design, the higher the site will rank on Google’s search.

    7. Leverage Google Hotel Ads

    Google Hotel Price Ads (HPA) showcases a hotel’s real-time (dynamic) rates on Google search across all devices. Users will see the hotel’s ad when they are actively looking to book a room in the area. However, the hotel only pays when the ad generates a click or a booking.

    Google has recently introduced a unique call-to-action (CTA) button for booking hotels in its search results. A keyword can trigger a ‘BOOK A ROOM’ button to appear. Clicking this will activate a sub-menu to browse all enlisted HPAs for the hotel, which includes booking direct and via OTAs.

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    This feature, which also appears in Mobile and Maps, demonstrates Google’s determination to grow its Price Ads service. The increased exposure provides more incentive for hotels to capitalize on this form of pay-per-click in order to promote direct bookings.

    8. Increase Backlinks, Actively

    A backlink is as simple as a hyperlink to a website from another website. Yet, it carries a lot of weight when it comes to a hotel’s organic digital visibility. Each backlink tells the search engine that a hotel website has a ‘vote’ from another entity, which in return builds credibility and domain authority. Branded hotels have the upper hand here since the company usually has a corporate parent site that a plethora of other websites will link to (such as Marriott.com or IHG.com).

    There are technicalities to backlinks, including the quality of the backlink determined by elements such as anchor text and link context. These technical factors play a role in the algorithm the search engine uses to determine the value of a backlink. In theory, the more quality backlinks a hotel website has, the more chances to rank higher on search engines.

    Actively pursuing relevant backlinks should be imperative for hotels to obtain first page ‘real-estate’. Obtaining links from local directories, current hotel vendors, editorial publications, and .EDU and .GOV sites should be the gateway for enhancing the site’s link equity. However, to continuously grow the number of backlinks, hotels need to be generating quality, shareable content that interlinks with social media initiatives.

    9. Remember Optimal Social Media = (Quality + Authenticity) x Engagement

    Much has been contemplated about what comprises a successful social media strategy. Although there is no ultimate recipe for the perfect social media post, three factors that boost performance are quality, authenticity, and engagement. Optimal Social Media = (Quality + Authenticity) x Engagement. Each piece of content maximizes visibility, both organic and paid. When posts are authentic and of high quality, users are more likely to relate and validate them. When posts are authentic, of high quality, and facilitate some type of user engagement, the content becomes shareable.

    When content generates more likes, followers, and overall visibility it establishes an influential ranking factor. Therefore, search engines tend to rank higher those brands that have a robust organic social media base (not paid or ‘spammy’ followers). This is why it is important for hotels to intertwine their social media strategy with their SEO efforts by creating quality, authentic, and engaging content that increases overall digital exposure.

    10. Consider the Technicalities of SEO

    Technical SEO is a science of its own and deserves its own team of specialists, budget, and time. Technical SEO means optimizing a website so search engines can successfully crawl and index its content. It lays a powerful foundation to give a hotel’s website the best chance it can to rank higher for relevant keywords. Technical factors include site speed, removing unnecessary tags, cleansing duplicate metadata, adding tags to images, and implementing proper redirects to maximize the site’s link equity. Whether there is a one-man team or a staff of professionals continually optimizing the website, there are tools to help provide the technical support.

    Hotels, restaurants, museums, attractions, and leisure activities all need to assertively compete online to grab the attention of potential guests. Those who tend to the organic visibility have a notable competitive. This and integrated paid search campaigns that mutually support organic search strategies will help secure first page visibility. Overall, while the need to upkeep search engines’ potent algorithms and ranking methodologies will always remain, an understanding of the process will help smaller or independent hospitality businesses cut through the clutter in today’s complicated digital landscape.

    PDF Version Available Here

    JuanHeadshotJuan Lesmes is a digital marketing strategist specializing in SEO at HEBS Digital the leading hospitality technology, full-service digital marketing and website design firm. A 2017 graduate of Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration (SHA), Juan’s previous experience includes work at hospitality marketing advisory LHL Communications, The Ritz London, and Lets Get Weddy in London. Since his time at SHA, Juan has been recognized as a thought leader in hospitality marketing, with active contributions to the Boston Hospitality Review, HotelOnline and HospitalityNet. Lanz New 2016Leora Halpern Lanz, ISHC, is principal of LHL Communications, a hospitality-focused marketing communications, branding, and media relations advisory. She is also full time faculty at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration (SHA), teaching advanced strategic marketing and digital marketing for hospitality at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She was named among the Top 25 Minds in Hotel Marketing for 2016 by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International and was named 2017 Professor of the Year by the student government of SHA.

    June 7th, 2017 in Business Practices, Hotels, Marketing, Spring 2017, Technology, Uncategorized

    The TripAdvisor Inc. application is demonstrated on an Apple Inc. iPhone for a photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, May 5, 2017. TripAdvisor is scheduled to released earnings figures on May 9. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Photo Source: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    By Nick Cohen

    The year is 2001, and the world is still recovering from the tragedy of September 11th.  The travel industry is in a downward spiral as fears of flying and terrorism ripple across the United States and beyond, and hotels have lost significant occupancy due to a decrease in demand.

    Simultaneously, a fledgling technology is emerging which will eventually take advantage of the internet explosion, as well as hotel management’s desperation to fill rooms. It will reshape our industry forever, and this platform now commonly referred to as Online Travel Agencies, or OTAs, will allow hotels to easily sell their rooms on the internet through new consumer facing websites such as Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz.

    Fast forward to 2017. The OTA’s have gained the majority of market share for online reservations, and digital platforms like Booking.com and Ctrip.com have loyal member volumes that far surpass brand websites.  In many cases, the OTA companies are valued well beyond traditional hotel brands (as of May 2017, Priceline Group has a market capitalization of nearly USD 92 Billion).  They have also helped to create a new concept as they grew in popularity and scale over the last number of years, and it was the precedent of transparency. Pricing that was once hidden to the everyday user, could now be exposed to the whole world, publicly, with a few clicks online. As OTA channels grew enormously with time, so did the access to real time rates and availability for virtually every hotel around the world.

    With this concept in mind, from the OTA’s we have seen the rapid expansion of ‘meta search’ channels. These are one-stop price comparison platforms where a customer can view a price for a single hotel room across multiple websites (without having to browse those websites one-by-one). Sites within this category include Kayak, Trivago, TripAdvisor, Qunar and Google, and they are all working to simplify the travel research process for consumers.

    OTA

    Featured above are some of the most popular meta search channels

    With the OTA channels continuing to grow through massive marketing efforts and superior technology, and with meta search sites following their lead, a relatively new challenge has emerged for hoteliers. It represents a very complex dynamic between one of the most traditional ways to sell a hotel room, and one of the most modern ways to sell a hotel room. This once again all comes back to the concept of price transparency. Wholesale has been a core business driver in hotels for many years, helping properties build base business through private negotiated rates and partnerships. Historically, these wholesalers would sell their inventory offline to their own private networks of contacts. Even though the pricing would typically be lower than publicly available RACK rates, it was a reliable foundation of occupancy for hotels to build off of.

    As technology has become more sophisticated with Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) readily available, we have seen the rapid growth of wholesale rates being sold publicly, online, through some of the powerful meta search channels mentioned above.  This means that wholesalers are selling discounted rates, which directly undercut brand websites and OTAs, to anyone who has access to the internet.  Beyond just meta search, some OTA websites are now even positioning themselves as ‘online marketplaces,’ where they too will sell wholesale inventory directly instead of the inventory provided by the hotels. To remain competitive and increase market share, online channels want to sell the lowest price possible, even if it means reducing their own margins by selling a cheaper room to the customer.

    OTA Meta search

    Meta Search Websites such as HotelsCombined (shown above) showcase wholesale aggregator sites like Amoma.com and HotelQuickly.com which have prices that undercut the brand’s direct website and other OTA channels

    You would think that hoteliers would want to fix this problem immediately. Online wholesale business undercuts channels which are much more profitable such as their direct brand website.  This issue however is multi-layered and is not easy to remedy for the following key reasons:

    Hotels still want wholesale business!

    Hotels still maintain strong relationships with a number of wholesale partners, big and small, and they rely on these partnerships to generate base business. Turning off these channels would potentially mean the loss of significant revenues, at least in the short term.  Although wholesale channels can undercut other websites when sold online, they also still generate incremental business when sold offline through the traditional method

    Finding the source of whole business online can be very difficult

    When wholesale rates appears online, it’s generally very difficult to know which wholesaler specifically is providing that inventory. The wholesale partners themselves don’t generally sell rooms through their own websites, but sell their rates through wholesale aggregation channels such as Amoma.com.  It’s channels like Amoma who then sell the rates online through their own interface, and promote their rates through larger meta search intermediaries such as Trivago and TripAdvisor.  Generally the only way to find the true source is to make a test booking online, and then track how that reservation comes into the hotel’s central reservation system (each reservation is typically flagged with an inventory source).  Many hotels are reluctant to do this since a booking requires use of a credit card and sometimes even pre-payment, and then cancellation of that test booking is not always easy to do. The test booking process is both cumbersome to manage at scale, and is also financially risky for a hotel if those booking cannot be cancelled.

    Room bookings can be made through Amoma.com and other wholesale aggregator websites by anyone online. However, the back end wholesale source for each booking from Amoma and other channels like it can be very challenging for a hotel to identify

    Room bookings can be made through Amoma.com and other wholesale aggregator websites by anyone online. However, the back end wholesale source for each booking from Amoma and other channels like it can be very challenging for a hotel to identify.

    Employee incentives are at stake

    Within hotel sales departments, team members are still incentivized to drive wholesale volume, regardless of where that volume is being sold (offline or online). Wholesale partners generally don’t provide specifics on how they are selling their inventory, and as long as room allotments are sold, the responsible sales team members are satisfied. This is creating an unavoidable rift between the direction of some sales leaders with the revenue management and digital strategy teams.

    So what’s next?

    Hotel companies are dealing with this situation in a variety of ways. Some are cutting off wholesale altogether since they simply can’t control where their inventory is ending up. Others are maintaining the partnerships, but are working to move away from static room allotments and over to dynamic pricing and availability where the hotels have more control over the inventory they send to the wholesalers. This is a major problem facing the industry that very much remains unsolved.

    If we take ourselves back to the 2001, price transparency was a challenge for hoteliers. Properties simply didn’t have direct access to a large enough segment of customers, therefore traditional partnerships like wholesale was an absolute necessity. With the growth of the OTAs though, and the emergence of new technologies such as meta search, that access is no longer an issue. The world is accessible for each hotel with a few quick key strokes on a computer. It is now only a matter of time until hoteliers make one of the following decisions:

  • Utilize wholesalers purely as another online distribution channel, selling rates that are parity with every other website (brand.com and OTAs)
  • Remove wholesale out of the channel mix altogether, realizing that room inventory can be be sold among the multitude of websites and digital platforms already available
  • PDF Version Available Here

    Nick Cohen HeadshotNick Cohen is based in Hong Kong and leads digital strategy for Hyatt Hotels in Asia Pacific.  He oversees online marketing efforts for all Hyatt brands and properties across the region, and manages a variety of e-Commerce and digital platform projects to help increase online revenues for the company. Prior to joining Hyatt, Nick held senior e-Commerce and digital marketing roles at Langham Hospitality Group, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Sabre Hospitality Solutions.  Earlier in his career, working on-property for various hotels he developed extensive knowledge in operations, along with Sales & Marketing and Revenue Management expertise. Nick also holds a graduate diploma in Hotel and Tourism Business Management from Boston University.   Sources:


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