Q&A: Could 'mind reading' apps take on the enterprise?

Neura CEO tells us more about the growth of personalized experiences

Four years ago I interviewed a whole of bunch of analyst and IT leaders to produce a report on the future potential in ‘mind reading’ apps – or to put it less dramatically – the apps that understand context to deliver what users want. Like many aspects of technology, these developments have probably not taken off as quickly as experts in the field may have anticipated back in 2014, but context-aware personalized experiences are certainly growing, along with the raft of other technologies that utilize data and AI.

Neura is one such example. This claims to deliver AI-as-a-service which “enables apps and devices to deliver experiences that adapt to who their users are and react to what they do”. In effect this is proper personalization – or ‘mind reading’ – based on what is actually going on in the real world. Amit Hammer, CEO of Neura, explains more in the lightly edited Q&A below.


How did the idea for Neura come about?

Several years ago, Neura Co-founder and CTO Triinu Magi was misdiagnosed as having diabetes type 1. Even though she was following the recommended protocol and checking her blood glucose regularly, her condition worsened to the point that she went into a coma for two days. Frustrated that medical tests couldn’t figure out what was wrong, Triinu, who is a data scientist, started manually running algorithms based on what was happening in her life in the physical world. When she gave her results to her doctors, they determined she actually has diabetes 1.5, a rare form of diabetes that required a much different protocol. Triinu and the other founders realized that there is a need to discover what is happening with individuals in the real world and bring these insights into products. It’s because of Triinu’s experience that Neura has a mission of enabling products to interact with individuals throughout their day.


Can you explain how Neura develops user personas within the physical world?

Neura personas are based on an analysis of 1000s of behaviour traits which represent our identity and footprint in the physical world.

Through the Neura SDK, data is collected related to a user’s habits in context of location, time, and activity. The combination of understanding what situations occur at which moment gives an understanding of a user’s behaviour traits.


What does this mean within the context of the enterprise/ workplace?

Neura powers numerous applications in the context of both the enterprise and workplace. Some examples include: corporate wellness programs, insurance, lifestyle, and productivity improvements.


Who is mostly using this technology?

Neura’s customers are mobile apps, digital services, and IoT devices whose businesses depend on engaging with their users. This is why apps that generate revenue from in-app-offers use Neura. It’s also why companies that want their products to proactively interact with users, such as smart home products, are also Neura’s customers. Ultimately, Neura is used to discover and deliver new engagement opportunities based on what individual users are doing in the physical world.


Are there any industries/verticals in which it is proving particularly popular?

Given how Neura came to be, it’s not surprising that Neura started in the Digital Health space. Our initial customers were related to diabetes, femtech, medication adherence and wellness. We now serve nine verticals, with significant usage coming from Digital Health, Insurance, Smart Home, Travel, and Transportation/Automotive.


Are you noticing a bigger appetite for personalized experiences in some regions over others?

Actually, we don’t see a difference by region. The desire to improve physical world personalization cuts across all regions. We’ve seen a significant increase in consumer companies focused on customer experience. As companies understand that their products and apps can interact with end users and improve growth KPIs, they are anxious to get it into their products. Our inbound requests come primarily from North America and EMEA, but the deployments are planned on a global scale.


What do you see as the short, medium and long-term implications of technology like this?

I see personalization and engagement opportunities based on an individual’s physical world life having three phases. We’re in the first phase, which primarily has existing apps and IoT products starting to integrate this technology to improve their existing business KPIs. The next phase will be companies adding this technology into their product planning process in order to build products that adapt to each user’s preferences and needs. We currently do some of this, but I expect it to continue to grow. In the long-term, we will get to a point in the not-too-distant future when it is a given that products will proactively deliver the services an individual wants throughout their day. When we reach that point, people will be surprised when their products don’t give them the contextual personalized experience they expect.


Is there anything else you’d like to share?

We believe that a personalized experience based on who a user is and what they are doing throughout their day accelerate revenue KPIs. Providing the right experience at the right moment throughout a user’s day is the cornerstone of Neura’s offering.