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AdWeek has a story about how publishing company Hearst "has quietly launched a 10-person group called the Native and Emerging Technologies (or NET group) that's responsible for keeping the mega-publisher up to speed with the newest technologies, starting with voice-activated devices including Amazon Echo, Google Home and voice-based smartphone experiences. For instance, this week, the team launched an Amazon Echo Skill for Good Housekeeping."

"We're looking at this new wave of natural language interfaces as being a great source of content discovery and content interaction," says Phil Wiser, Hearst's chief technology officer. "We find all of that to be increasingly important as a way to engage consumers."

The focus on artificial intelligence, the story says, means that the NET group "is leaning on Hearst's data-science team to analyze and format content for new devices. As Wiser explained it, the team first aggregates audience data that can then be picked apart to create bits of content as well as personalized ads for new devices. In a lot of cases, that means cutting down Hearst's trove of service-based content down to the bare minimum needed to answer a simple audio question."
KC's View:
It is critical for every company to have folks who are spending real time focusing on such issues. If they don't, they likely are on the slow (and sometimes not-so-slow) path to irrelevance.