This is the second post of our three-part takeaway series from MWCA 2018. In Part I, we discussed The Connected Future and what 5G will bring; including how it will provide a lift for both AI and VR technologies. In this post, we’ll cover what kind of impact the combination of 5G, AI & social data will have on mobile retail sales. In Part III, we cover how IoT fits into the 5G landscape.

During the Innovation keynote at MWCA 2018, Wall Street Journal’s Sarah Krouse played host to Bill Grous, Founder and Chairman of Idealab; Darcy Antonellis, CEO of Vubiquity Inc.; and Sean Doherty, CEO of WURL. The four of them spoke on the topics of 5G and AI, and the importance for companies to collect social data on their customers in order to make better decisions.

It all begins with the mobile phone. These ultra-portable super computers have become the center of our lives: from socializing and scheduling, to driving directions and media consumption, to ordering and paying for merchandise, we’ve become dependent on them for everything. Something to think about: mobile phones contain all of the social profile data that can be processed by AI, including data from the camera, GPS and accelerometer. Says Grous: “Your mobile movements are an anonymous ‘fingerprint’ of your passions, hobbies and interests.”

Businesses that take advantage of AI—by learning how to gain a customer’s ‘mobile movements’ data (most likely through voluntary sign-in)—will have an advantage on making product decisions and how to serve customers better. AI now has the capability to learn ‘a million of anything’ and, when applied to retail, business can learn and predict when and what a customer might buy next.

To help appeal to consumers, retailers must learn how to create personalized, curated content that is easy to understand, transparent in nature and frictionless to use. They must also get a sign on from the customer so that data can be processed and decisions can be made. One of the best examples of a retailer doing this is StitchFix. The start up fashion retailer has not only helped define the Try Before You Buy model, but they are also pioneering the use of AI to analyze data on style trends, body measurements, customer feedback and preferences. It’s then up to personal stylists to apply that data to make informed decisions on what to send in a customers next ‘Fix.’

It’s all about providing what people want: the mobile phone contains the data; 5G will communicate that data; AI then processes that data to create social graphs; and finally, humans can take that analysis and use it to make informed decisions.

According to Doherty (CEO of WURL), “targeting is the hard part.” When a business can get the ‘behavioral’ right, usually by gaining data through sign-on credentials, that’s when they can collect relevant information to create accurate social graphs and profiles. When that happens, a company then has all of the information it needs to help make decisions on how to better serve the customer.

This is the second post of a three-part takeaway series from MWCA ‘18. Part I covers 5G and The Connected Future. In Part III, we cover how IoT fits into the 5G landscape.