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Salesforce launches Einstein to integrate IoT data in CRM

Steve Rogerson
September 28, 2016
 
Salesforce is to use artificial intelligence to analyse IoT data in the latest version of its customer relationship management (CRM) platform. And the company is collaborating with Cisco to integrate its networking technologies.
 
Called Einstein, the CRM platform should let any company deliver more predictive and personalised customer experiences across sales, service, marketing and commerce.
 
It embeds AI capabilities in the Salesforce platform in fields, objects, workflows and components so everyone will be able to build AI-powered apps that get smarter with every interaction, using clicks or code.
 
"With Salesforce Einstein, we are delivering the world's smartest CRM," said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce. "Einstein is now every customer's data scientist, making it easy for everyone to take advantage of best-in-class AI capabilities in the context of their business."
 
AI is creating new ways for people to engage with technology and with one another. Various forms of AI already power some of the world's most popular consumer experiences. Apple's Siri leverages natural language processing to recognise voice commands. Facebook's deep learning facial recognition algorithm can identify a person with high accuracy. And Amazon, Netflix and Spotify all use machine learning to understand how each item in their catalogues relates to the other and each customer's preferences.
 
However, the technical expertise and infrastructure required to develop AI are beyond the reach of most companies. They must bring together massive and diverse data sets, which requires significant engineering resources to manage complex data integration processes. Specialised predictive models must then be built to extract value from the data and continuously learn from them, requiring extensive data science expertise.
 
And infrastructure and devops support are required to maintain these models and keep all these processes up and running. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, bringing results – the insights and recommendations from the models – to users within the context of their business requires complex integrations.
 
With Einstein, AI capabilities will be embedded across every Salesforce cloud. Einstein leverages all the data in Salesforce – customer data; activity data from Salesforce Chatter, email, calendar and e-commerce; social data streams such as tweets and images; and IoT signals – to train predictive models. And because Salesforce has millions of users inputting information every day, it is uniquely positioned to deliver models for sales, service, marketing and commerce.
 
Powered by machine learning, deep learning, predictive analytics, natural language processing and smart data discovery, Einstein allows models to be automatically customised for every customer. These models learn, self-tune and get smarter with every interaction and additional piece of data. It will automatically discover relevant insights, predict future behaviour, proactively recommend best next actions and automate tasks.
 
Sales Cloud Einstein will include predictive lead scoring that enables sales reps to focus on closing the best leads, opportunity insights that alert reps when a deal is trending up or down, and automated activity capture, which seamlessly logs email and calendar activity with the right Salesforce record, and analyses them to deliver predictions.
 
Service Cloud Einstein will include recommended case classification, which automatically pre-populates key case fields, enabling predictive routing of cases to the right agent and enabling agents to resolve customer issues faster. With the recommended responses service, agents will be pushed the best responses, and predictive close times will predict the time needed to resolve an issue, helping improve agent productivity.
 
Marketing Cloud Einstein will include predictive scoring, which scores every customer's likelihood to engage with an email, predictive audiences that build custom audience segments based on predicted behaviours, and automated send-time optimisation to predict the optimal time to deliver messages based on past customer behaviour.
 
Commerce Cloud Einstein includes the ability to personalise product recommendations to shoppers, predictive sort that infuses personalised sort and search results based on likelihood to engage, and commerce insights to help retailers understand product purchase correlation to power smarter merchandising and store planning.
 
Community Cloud Einstein includes recommended experts, articles and topics to suggest posts, articles, experts and topic pages. Automated service escalation automatically creates a case in the service cloud if customer posts do not receive a timely response. Newsfeed insights highlight the most relevant and popular content in every feed.
 
Analytics Cloud Einstein will deliver predictive wave apps that uncover future patterns for any business process, smart data discovery that helps users find and explain insights from millions of data combinations in minutes, and automated analytics and storytelling to automate and prioritise the next insight users need to know.
 
IoT Cloud Einstein will include predictive device scoring, which will score streaming data from connected IoT devices, recommend best next actions for service processes and marketing journeys based on the scoring of that device data, and automated IoT rules optimisation, which will actively update the rules that govern how IoT data is managed.
 
As a core part of the Salesforce platform, Einstein will empower everyone to build AI-powered apps using the tools that millions of Salesforce developers and admins already use every day. With just a few clicks, admins will be able to build apps that include Einstein-powered fields in any object, page layout or workflow, making business processes smarter. And for data scientists and developers, there will be predictive vision and sentiment services that let developers train deep learning models to recognise and classify images and sentiment in text.
 
Prediction IO in Heroku private spaces will empower developers to build custom machine learning models and put them into their apps.
 
Also announced, the Salesforce research group brings together a team of researchers and data scientists under the leadership of Richard Socher, chief scientist at Salesforce. The group will be focused on delivering breakthrough AI research across deep learning, natural language processing and computer vision to product and engineering teams.
 
"Salesforce Einstein gives us a smart, personalised and predictive way to connect millions of sports fans to hundreds of thousands of their favourite team and player items across more than 300 offline and online stores that we operate across our platform," said Chris Orton, chief marketing officer for Fanatics, a licensed sports merchandise company. "The combination of AI and Salesforce CRM has been a game changer, empowering our marketing organisation to intelligently engage with fans through timely campaigns and relevant recommendations that transform the customer experience."
 
Cisco Spark and WebEx will be integrated into Salesforce Sales Cloud and Service Cloud via the Salesforce Lightning framework. With this integration, joint customers will be able to communicate in real time using chat, video, and voice without leaving Salesforce or having to install a plug-in, eliminating the hassle of toggling between apps.
 
Cisco Jasper and the Salesforce IoT cloud will integrate to provide visibility, control and recommended customer actions for connected devices, providing businesses with a more comprehensive and intelligent view of their IoT services. Cisco Jasper provides real-time visibility into launching, managing and monetising IoT devices at every stage of their lifecycle.
 
The Salesforce IoT cloud connects billions of IoT events with Salesforce, unlocking insights from the connected world that empower anyone to take the right action, for the right customer, at the right time. Together, these will empower companies to leverage billions of IoT data points to provide personalised, engaging experiences for customers, partners and employees. For example, a fleet of connected lorries with IoT devices managed by Cisco Jasper can seamlessly pass data to the Salesforce IoT cloud. In the Salesforce IoT cloud, the lorry management company can build business logic to provide customers with real-time delivery updates or flag truck maintenance issues that need to be addressed.
 
They are also teaming up to deliver complete customer service, from communications infrastructure to an integrated, intelligent agent desktop experience. Cisco's Unified Contact Center Enterprise delivers intelligent contact routing, call treatment, network-to-desktop computer telephony integration and multichannel contact management. The Salesforce Service Cloud provides agents with a 360Ëš view of the customer to deliver fast, smart customer service. With these two seamlessly integrating, companies will be able to manage call centres more efficiently.
 
"Cisco wants to deliver simple, magical experiences," said Rowan Trollope, SVP at Cisco. “Our goal is for technology to fade into the background so people can get their best work done. Cisco and Salesforce coming together to form a strategic alliance can eliminate the friction users experience today so they can become more productive."
 
Ryan Aytay, EVP of strategic product alliances at Salesforce, added: "Nothing is more important than making our customers more successful. We're thrilled to announce this strategic alliance with Cisco, which will simplify the customer experience across sales, service and IoT and empower our mutual customers to be far more productive."