Imag(in)ing to enhance CRM

The ability to recall the names and faces of repeat guests is an essential trait to being a succesful concierge, front office associate or any other customer interface employee. That's when possession of a photographic memory can be a huge aid except few, if any, are endowed with such faculties. As in many other instances, technology seems to have come up with a solution by way of a mobile application that enables "lightning-fast image recognition" installed on Google Glass.  

The product by tech firm Blippar uses augmented reality where real world elements are enhanced by computer-generated sensory inputs such as sound, video, graphics or even GPS data.  For now, as Techcrunch notes, centers around the ability of "users to explore interactive advertising through augmented reality and image recognition. Users can scan a brand logo or the universal “Blipp” symbol, and unlock all kinds of interesting content from the brand. The service already has almost 5 million users worldwide, and more than 750 brands and publishers are on the platform. Blippar is currently available on iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices.

Techcrunch goes on to note that "with Glass, Blippar is looking to expand the reach of this technology, which goes well beyond scanning a simple QR code to actually recognizing and processing unique images, and then delivering information based on those images."  

While Blippar has been demonstrated principally with Google Glass in its current limited avatar, as the popularity of Google Glass or some future variant of it catches on its ability to enhance customer service responses will be akin to the early positive gains in that area when caller-id enabled room-service operators  and call center's to respond to each guest's call or request by name.

Image recognition technology may well take the awe out of La Gioconda (Monalisa) and perhaps reveal the purported rotten teeth that the famous smile masks but on the CRM front it can only bring on a full-toothed smile to both customers and management. 

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.

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