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Apple’s Machine Learning Push: What it Means for Everyone Else

Sep 09, 2015

On Monday, Reuters reported that Apple is ramping up its hiring of machine learning experts. This is part of a broader trend among top Silicon Valley companies, which are trying to apply machine learning to the vast pools of data generated by the usage of digital services. The goal: predict what users will want and continue to deliver more “magical” experiences.

The hiring isn't just in Apple’s Siri team, but it's across its divisions, suggesting the company is making a larger push to personalize all its experiences, including marketing and retail. Apple has been public in the past about its intent to add intelligence to its experiences.

While it’s interesting to watch the machine learning arms race between Apple, Google, Facebook, and other tech giants, what can business leaders take away from the investments of digital leaders?  

  1. Customer expectations will continue to rise. Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others continue to push the envelope and define the “state of the art” for digital experiences. As they use more sophisticated techniques to anticipate users’ needs and adapt experiences to those needs, customers will expect every digital experience to be as good as these magical experiences.   
  2. Yesterday’s personalization techniques will not stand out compared to hyper-personalized approaches. Simplistic personalization will look increasingly “wooden” in comparison to best-in-class personalized experiences.  
  3. Hiring the best data scientists and machine learning experts will likely be out of reach for most companies.  With deep pockets, interesting problems, and huge amounts of users and data, competition for machine learning talent by digital leaders is fierce. It will be very difficult to hire and retain the talent necessary to produce top-quality personalized experiences.

Sound like a recipe for further marginalization by digital natives? Maybe, but it doesn’t have to be.  

While companies big and small will absolutely need to up their game on smarter customer experiences through personalization, software can overcome the problem of limited machine learning expertise.

We’ve designed Apigee Insights to not just deliver predictions, but to deliver real-time personalization into any digital channel.

Over the past months, our customers have explored with us how to deliver hyper-personalized experiences. Contact us to learn if your personalization use case can leverage machine learning too.

Image: Riyazali/The Noun Project

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