I’ve always been a stickler for visual stimulation. From my professional life to my personal life, the way to engage with my noggin is by presenting stats, knowledge and all-things learning through a sea of colourful graphics and moving shapes. This shouldn’t be a surprise for most of you as 65% of us are visual learners. So, with that knowledge in my pocket, allow me to assume that many of you will share my excitement with what I’m about to share.

Last week I had the absolute pleasure of attending Netbase Live in London and was treated to a plethora of speakers, practitioners and experts on digital marketing and social insight analytics; including a fabulous talk on Crisis Comms by two of Hotwire’s own: Matt Cross & Chris Paxton.

Earlier in the day, Peter Caswell, Netbase’s CEO and self-proclaimed connoisseur of braces (and before you ask, I can indeed confirm the man is), provided an update on Netbase and gave us a sneak peek into its upcoming feature – the AI Studio. The AI Studio follows the natural trend in the technology space – AI, wrapped in AI, with an added dose of AI.

Unfortunately for those living in fear of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Skynet, AI is quite the hot topic right now, and many brands are looking for a way to harness the power of this growing behemoth and use it to offer their customers a better, more seamless experience. As Peter pointed out, 85% of execs believe that AI will give their company a competitive edge. But, as Peter also pointed out, we’re currently on the left-hand side of the innovation curve depicted in Gartner’s Hype Cycle (see below), and those well versed will already know that what comes after the rise is the eventual peak of expectations and the inevitable plummet into the trough of disillusionment, before we grow into enlightenment and plateau into productivity.

However, the point Peter was making is that AI right now shouldn’t drive your business, AI as he humorously put is still a “stupid child”. But, infancy aside, AI is nonetheless an extremely innovative and exciting tech that can be used for great things – like Netbase’s AI Studio.

Netbase has been a fantastic social listening tool for me and this aforementioned visual voyager found solace and great insight in their word clouds. Trending keywords, brands, people, all could be found within the topic analysis. However, the AI studio goes beyond that. Beyond the word cloud. The AI studio will offer a holy grail in the form of a one-click insight that provides its users with a visual map of theme discovery. Brandishing an awe-inspiring armada of coloured dots, the AI Studio will group together keywords and topics into themes without having to manually decipher the cloud. Aided by the transparency and vibrancy of the dots to indicate relevancy and volume, the theme discovery function is looking to be an incredible asset to Netbase’s capabilities and one that I’m sure will disrupt the space.

What this shows is Netbase is admirably customer-first. It would have been easy to display this newer information in a text-based format, but as Teodora Coste in her panel discussion later remarked, she remembers the awkward Netbase from years ago, and reminisces fondly when Netbase made the shift to a more accessible UI.

We’re in the age where brands must become experts on their customers. Easy to navigate UI’s, especially in tools which offer numerous functions will become the future standard. And with more of us seeking that improved customer experience, I’m more than happy to jump on the hype train to make sure brands accommodate to this growing desire.