Intel’s Christie Rice is the Worldwide Global Digital Signage and Interactive Kiosk Segment Director for the technology titan’s Internet of Things Group — and Intel Corp.’s new representative on the ICX Association’s Advisory Board. We sat down with her recently to find out more about Intel’s role behind the curtain of so many of the technologies enabling transcendent interactive customer experiences today, and more on the way tomorrow.
Intel has been playing a pivotal part in the evolution — and revolution — in CX tech (and with the ICX Association) for years now, and it continues to take a leadership role in guiding the development of new ways to implement disparate technologies in new and innovative ways that engage and delight customers and create memorable experiences that bring them back for more. From big data to digital signage to self-driving cars, Intel is finding ways to help brands and customers do more, learn more, experience more. So let’s dive right in and hear what Christie has to say about all of that and then some.
1: Hi, Christie, and welcome to the ICX Association. Can you start off my telling me a bit about yourself and your role at Intel?
Thanks – it is great to be part of the ICX Association; thanks for having me! I have been at Intel for over 20 years in various technical, product, and strategic marketing roles as well as business development roles. My current position is in the Internet of Things Group, and I’m responsible for driving Intel’s digital signage, kiosk, and interactive white board business in the Americas. This means that I work with our partners to ensure that they can provide to their customers the best possible customer experience using Intel processors. People always ask me, “What is Intel doing in digital signage?” and the answer is simple: We are the processor that enables the great experiences. We enable the rich media content, interactivity, analytics, and ultimately the customer’s experiences while also providing business insights to the signage owner. We are inside the media players that sit inside, behind, beneath, or beside the majority of digital signs and kiosks worldwide.
2: Can you talk perhaps a bit more broadly about Intel’s view on or envisioned role in this field, creating interactive, engaging customer experiences?
A few years back digital signs could only provide very basic functions — they could play simple videos or PowerPoint slide shows. Technology, driven by Intel, now enables so much more. We can now engage the customer in interactivity driven by rich media and on multiple screens operating in conjunction with each other. We can collect information from the environment to provide more personalized and relevant experiences to the customers. Digital signs are morphing into kiosks that provide additional services like wayfinding and a ton of different self-service options. The processing power provided by Intel CPUs gives our customers a multitude of options for how they want to engage their customers and how they want to provide an ever-increasing level of customer experience to meet the ever-increasing demands of the consumer.
3. Obviously, Intel is involved in everything from smart mirrors to self-driving cars to AI; how do these disparate fields — or Intel’s work in them — come together for Intel and for customer-facing brands?
Intel is a very large company with resources working on all of these capabilities — as well as several areas many of us don’t even know about! The work we are doing in big data, analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are applicable to many different markets — and driving an enhanced customer experience is just one of them. We see things like analytics and AI helping our customers provide the ultimate in customer experience by catering content to their likes, understanding their needs, and enhancing their experiences. Analytics on edge devices — like cameras, signs, kiosks, etc. — have the ability to provide real-time feedback and adjust to the environment immediately, making sure that the experiences meet the demands. The ability to gather information from, and act on, local IoT devices also provides a more personalized and interactive customer experience.
4: What do you see as some of the key challenges and/or opportunities in this space?
The industry continues to work through challenges in justifying the ROI for digital experiences. So many customers are still looking only at the initial capital expense and aren’t able to look forward to the returns. Part of this is an artifact of how companies’ expenses are judged by the market. This is why many companies are looking at ways to move some of the expenses to operating expenses. Service models are starting to emerge that might be able to overcome some of these challenges. The opportunities are tremendous. I just read that only 5 percent of quick-service drive-thrus in the U.S. are digital. We are just now seeing the retrofit of stadiums and arenas to fully take advantage of technology to deliver richer customer experiences. And the retail, finance, and hospitality environments still have so many untapped opportunities. Now is the time to provide the customer experiences that your customers are demanding.
5: Some of the things you and I talk about with Intel probably seem to many people like they comes straight from the realm of science fiction; what does the near future look like in terms of using these technologies in the marketplace?
While self-driving cars and the sci-fi things are very cool, the underlying technologies are already available now and are already driving customer experiences and providing business insights. We are only touching the surface on what we can do with edge computing and analytics. We are just starting to look at machine learning and artificial intelligence in this space. I would expect that in 10 years we will be doing things we haven’t even envisioned today. Technology is an amazing thing, and Intel is at the forefront of technology — continuing to provide our customers and their customers increasingly more power to do more, experience more, and learn more.
Christie also will be leading a panel discussion, “Delight Customers and Drive Innovation with AI,” at this year’s ICX Summit, June 12-14 in Dallas. Register now to attend this year’s stellar event by clicking here; discounted early-bird registration runs through May 11!
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