The future is now: How AI notifications are changing the way people do business

Posted by Johnny Kromer on 23 May 2019 11:00:00 AM

Due to the sheer volume of notifications, many people simply choose to ignore them. By using AI and machine learning, notifications can be tailored to suit individual behaviour so that the right message can be delivered at the right time. Here’s how AI and machine learning are changing the notification, and therefore business, landscape.

Push notifications are constantly improving due to technological improvements and audience segmentation that relies on geographical location or dynamic messaging. Last year Gmail introduced AI lead notifications that will only send high priority notifications and nudge reminders for important emails.  Despite this, many end users view notifications as a hassle that imposes on their privacy rather than a useful tool that is meant to enhance their user experience. End users ignore notifications if the messaging is too technical or if they fail to realise the importance of keeping a system up - to - date.

Most users often feel the onus is on the IT department to ensure that their apps, systems and software are kept current. With notifications, the responsibility switches to the user. It is very important to focus on user adoption so that end users understand the importance of notifications and how they can actually lead to increased productivity and improved system safety.

Holding off on important system updates, that may require a reboot or at least a pause in workflow, could be a security risk as updates often contain critical safety improvements. Certain apps and software have licences attached to them and when these licences are due for renewal, expiring notifications pop up to inform users to renew their licenses. Similarly some licensed applications require updates in order to operate optimally. Continuously delaying an update could also render an application or operating system obsolete, for example how Microsoft is ending the support that they provide for windows 7 and other legacy operating systems. Notifications are also there to keep the user updated on new features that will make using the product within the Microsoft environment easier.

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At the same time, notifications need to be relevant and useful so that they are not ignored. Perhaps as a legacy issue from app notifications on smartphones, not all notifications are created equal.  According to a push notification survey by Localytics, push notifications that add the most value (and are therefore more likely to be read) are those that are tailored to a user’s stated preferences. So much so that 49% of the respondents said this would motivate them to use the app more. Microsoft relies on machine learning via AI that is based on analysing user behaviour in order to send customised notifications that are tailor -made for each individual. This is then further analysed to predict future user behaviour and trends, and adapts accordingly. This means that end users won’t receive random or irrelevant notifications because through machine learning, these notifications will be built around an individual’s user behaviour.  Take Microsoft Teams as an example, which allows an organisation to collaborate and stay updated.

While machine learning continues to improve, here are notifications that should never be ignored:

Security notifications: as systems move to cloud-based technology so do the risks. This is why security notifications and updates are essential, particularly if you work in a corporate environment that handles sensitive data.

System update notifications: due to user feedback and AI, systems are improving all the time and in order to reap the benefits of these new developments, systems need to be updated.

Notifications regarding the overall environment of the solutions used: if Microsoft changes any policies regarding their products, it is important to note the changes via notifications as they may affect your business. Additionally notifications that pertain to data regulations are extremely important as a failure to comply could have legal implications.

Microsoft Azure is a push engine that enables an organisation to send millions of notifications that are highly customisable and tailored to specific users. Azure allows notifications to be scaled to suit most platforms whether sending to the masses or internally. Notifications can also be used to track customer satisfaction, which is crucial when it comes to improving business.

The more feedback given, the better. Machine learning is only as effective as the data given, so it needs to be taught. Individuals may have the same job title and use the same apps, but their way of working could be worlds apart. AI is able to provide solutions that are customised to the way an individual works, and once it knows enough, it can start to create predictive models that would best suit each user. AI can accurately forecast a user’s preferences and actually reduce the number of notifications while improving user experience. The next step would be a world where notifications become obsolete because through machine learning, any systems or apps would already know what the end users want - even before they do!

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