Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The .@Ziosk example - what if NTN Buzztime intersects with my work in additional ways?

(Preface to those who have never seen the Empoprise-NTN blog before - this is one of the blogs in my Empoprises blogging empire. Unfortunately, it is the least of the blogs in that empire. While I regularly or semi-regularly update my blogs on business, the Inland Empire, music, and time, this blog on NTN Buzztime trivia games is updated rarely. I'd never tell you NOT to bookmark a blog, but...well, I guess I just did. Now to the post.)

Let's start with the disclosure - I am an employee of MorphoTrak, and MorphoTrak has a business relationship with Microsoft.

What does that have to do with the Empoprise-NTN blog about NTN Buzztime in-bar games?

Well, when I was checking out the wonderful things that Microsoft is saying about MorphoTrak, I saw some links to some other Microsoft customers.

And one of those Microsoft customers is Ziosk.

What would make your next restaurant meal more enjoyable? Someone to recommend a rosé or entertain the kids? Or maybe a way to pay the bill without waiting for the waiter? The tabletop platform from fast-growing Ziosk® does all that...

Long-time readers of this blog, if there are any (considering the sparse amount of time I spend on it, I don't even really read it myself), know that Ziosk is a semi-competitor of NTN Buzztime products. See my 2014 and early 2015 posts. Both companies provide game devices that can be used at restaurants and bars, who presumably benefit by customers staying at the restaurants/bars longer, and ordering more food and drink.

So how does Microsoft help with that?

Ziosk engaged Artis Consulting—a Microsoft partner with gold competencies in data analytics, content and collaboration, and cloud—to help it build the next generation of its data infrastructure, including the predictive-analytics capability. As part of that process, Artis helped Ziosk to preview Microsoft cloud technologies including Azure Machine Learning, Azure Data Factory, Azure HDInsight, and Power BI, and to validate their use in a proof of concept.

Ziosk and Artis used Azure HDInsight, the Microsoft Hadoop in the cloud service, to aggregate the broad range of user-experience data, including where guests click on their Ziosk devices and what parts of the user interface and premium content they use. Key to the higher level of analysis that Ziosk sought was capturing not only what actions guests took, but when and in what order.

Azure Machine Learning was essential for the next step: creating a model that could understand the causal relationships among the temporal data points. With that understanding, the model could predict what offers, content, and user-interface elements could be presented dynamically to help guests optimize their use of the Ziosk devices. An Azure Machine Learning web service feeds the results back to the Ziosk tablet in real time to optimize the guest’s experience.

Ziosk and Artis are now building Power BI dashboards to enable highly customizable and intuitive use of the analysis by managers at Ziosk, at the restaurants’ corporate offices, and in the restaurants themselves.

This capability probably lends itself more to Ziosk than to NTN Buzztime, since many of us NTN Buzztime users play the group trivia game.

However, I'm interested in the intersections between the restaurant gaming industry and my day job, which is in security and biometrics. After all, I started frequently playing NTN Buzztime when I was making repeated business trips to Ottawa to visit a Motorola Canada customer. And now, both my employer and an NTN Buzztime competitor are Microsoft Azure partners.

Next - biometrics in a bar? Selfies after a trivia win?