We spoke to Raj De Datta, CEO of BloomReach, about how his company is using AI to help businesses improve their customers’ digital experience and is also looking to improve AI’s understanding of nuances in language.

BloomReach was set up back in 2008 by Ashutosh Garg (a former Google scientist) and Raj De Datta (a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur), who had the idea of creating a platform specifically geared towards helping businesses improve their web content for their users by ensuring that each person visiting their sites were greeted with relevant content based on the “visitor’s unique intent.”

However, how does AI fit into a company like BloomReach? “BloomReach provides a personalization and digital experience platform that analyzes data from businesses and from billions of consumer interactions across the web every day to deliver relevant, one-to-one experiences for each visitor to one of our customers,” said Raj De Datta.

He continued, “BloomReach’s core technology – the Web Relevance Engine – gets smarter with every interaction and leverages AI with advanced machine-learning and natural-language-processing intelligence to determine the intent behind every customer visit and the context behind every bit of content.”

Getting AI to, as De Datta put it, “determine the intent behind every customer visit,” requires very advanced tech, so we wanted to know which technologies BloomReach is specifically focusing on developing. “BloomReach constantly innovates its machine intelligence to better understand synonyms and nuances in language, attribute extraction and semantic understanding, and behavioral analysis and pattern recognition.”

He continued, “As the entire digital landscape evolves, we are currently developing truly remarkable capabilities in AI around conversational and contextual search. Artificial intelligence should interact and respond to changing consumer intent, so while our engine has always been able to learn in real time, we are now further developing AI that expands these capabilities.”

De Datta also revealed that their AI is ensuring that they are covering most, if not all, areas of business. “BloomReach built a very successful core business in e-commerce working with large retailers globally, but after the Hippo acquisition, we are seeing tremendous traction in many verticals, including financial services, insurance, travel and hospitality, and more.”

BloomReach is also working on incorporating new languages into their AI and De Datta claimed that they have “begun teaching our engine many new languages, which has allowed us to expand our global footprint.”

We then started to talk about how BloomReach’s AI is having an impact on their business clients’ ways of working. “For large retailers, BloomReach drives more revenue through AI-driven site search and navigation, intelligence that uncovers consumer demand in organic search, and provides analytics that tells digital merchandisers how to optimize revenue. On the content front, BloomReach’s intelligence knows why, where and what a visitor to a brand or organization needs, then delivers the exact content in the right format to get them to a desired outcome fast.”

“In essence, the BloomReach machine both automatically personalizes the digital experience for each person and tells the business user what they can do or should create to optimize the experience,” he said.

Yet, how is a company BloomReach different from all the others in the market? What really sets them apart from the crowd? “BloomReach has built a reputation on having the most powerful algorithms, and we have access to the richest data sets – both inside and outside an organization’s walls. BloomReach also differentiates itself with algorithmic intelligence that is specifically built for deeply understanding and combining content, expressions of intent and language,” he revealed.

As tends to be the case with most businesses, it’s not only about the ‘now’ for BloomReach, but they are also thinking about the future. Where does BloomReach see itself in five years? “In the next few years, we want every person connecting with brands digitally to experience a BloomReach-driven digital experience every day. Whether it’s from virtual and augmented reality, on a mobile device or through the IoT-connected ecosphere, we expect BloomReach to be powering the individual machine-generated digital interactions that everyone encounters,” he detailed.

With AI already evolving at a great pace, 2017’s going to be a pivotal year for these new technologies. How does BloomReach see the evolution of AI in 2017? “In 2017, we expect that there will be greater knowledge gained about the real applications using AI. Specifically within digital marketing, we think that the successful brands, businesses and organizations will recognize that competing without machine intelligence that works across data silos will be a existential competitive disadvantage,” he said.

However, companies looking to adopt AI will undoubtedly be faced by big challenges. “The biggest challenge facing enterprises looking to adopt AI is understanding the differences between the available technologies.” They continued, “It’s hard to cut through the noise, so digital leaders at organizations will need to understand how to evaluate technologies that align to their entire business goals, not just those in individual departments or functions.”

“Another key challenge is identifying the actual impact of AI on business outcomes. It’s hard to quantify and measure the business value,” he added.

Yet, despite these challenges, BloomReach sees a lot of great opportunities for the company over the next five years. “When the near future presents the real likelihood of 100 billion connected devices using a variety of digital ways to connect with brands, AI’s biggest opportunity is driving one-to-one interactions for whatever a person can imagine.”

He continued, “Dictating whatever you want to buy or know or do, and having artificial intelligence delivering on that promise is quite the grand vision, but it may not be as much as a pipe dream as it seems right now.”

“BloomReach is just scratching the service of its capabilities, and there’s little doubt that the greater AI market is as well,” De Datta finished.