Skip to content

Archive for

9
Jan

Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset Release Date, Price and Specs – CNET


logitech-g533-sean-hollister.jpg

The Logitech G533.

Sean Hollister/CNET

Headphones are everywhere, and it’s not hard to find a great pair. But wireless surround sound headphones
you can use across the house from your PC, with a boom mic for voice chat, a comfy fit and long battery life? Not so easy — and typically pretty expensive.

But for the past several days, I’ve been using the Logitech G533: a wireless gaming headset launched at CES 2017 that does nearly everything brilliantly.

logitech-g533-headset-wireless-sean-hollister-cnet-004.jpglogitech-g533-headset-wireless-sean-hollister-cnet-004.jpg

Sean Hollister/CNET

First and foremost, this headset, which costs $150, £140 or AU$200, sounds fantastic. Gaming headsets don’t have much of a reputation for audio quality, but I loved listening to music on the G533 all day long. I’ll sometimes notice a rough edge in the treble, but they’ve got clear mids and plenty of bass. They get loud, too, without much of the nasty distortion you’ll typically hear with cheaper cans — loud enough I can wear them around my neck like speakers.

Also — and this is key — Logitech’s wireless connection feels bulletproof.

logitech-g533-headset-wireless-sean-hollister-cnet-001.jpglogitech-g533-headset-wireless-sean-hollister-cnet-001.jpg

The power switch, volume dial, Micro-USB charge port and one programmable button live on the left earcup.

Sean Hollister/CNET

Its predecessor, the Logitech G930, had a nasty, well documented habit of disconnecting for a few seconds at a time at random, or for certain every time I walked down the stairs to get a drink. The G533? The only way I could make the audio cut out was I had to walk outside of my house, across the parking lot to my car and get inside. When I drove back, 20 minutes later, it automatically reconnected as soon as I opened the car door.

The new headset uses the same “Pro-G” drivers and wireless tech as Logitech’s more expensive G933 headset, but that one has something of a reputation for pinching large heads. I’m happy to say the G533’s hinge tension is on the lighter side. It’s fairly comfy.

Above: You can retract the flexible end of the boom mic and flip it up into this groove, automatically muting it when you do.

More from CES 2017
  • CES is finally open: Here’s what you missed
  • Check out the smart home products at CES 2017 (so far)
  • Razer’s new gaming laptop has three (!) screens
  • Neon Museum is saving Las Vegas’ most beautiful tech

Plus, where my old Logitech G930 typically needed charging after a full work day, the new G533 gave me two work days worth of audio. (Logitech rated the G930 at 10 hours, the G533 at 15 hours, which sounds about right.) When it dies, you can plug in with a Micro-USB power cable and start using it right away, too.

And while the G533 doesn’t let you plug in a 3.5 mm audio cable to use it with an Xbox One or your phone (this is a wireless-only headset, folks) I found the included USB wireless dongle works just fine with a PlayStation 4, Steam Link or Nvidia Shield TV.

If there’s anything to complain about, it’s that the G533’s microphone isn’t quite top-notch — I needed to speak up for friends to hear me in games, and a quick Audacity recording was both quieter and noisier with the G533 than my G930. (I may also miss all the programmable buttons: the G533 only comes with one, plus a volume dial — though the mic automatically turns off when you retract it.)

Overall, I doubt you’ll find a better wireless gaming headset for the price. I just wish I didn’t look quite so ridiculous wearing it:

logitech-g533-headset-wireless-sean-hollister-cnet-010.jpglogitech-g533-headset-wireless-sean-hollister-cnet-010.jpg

Sean Hollister/CNET

Which is why I’m also eyeing LucidSound’s latest headsets. Stay tuned.

9
Jan

2018 Mercedes-AMG GT Release Date, Price and Specs – Roadshow


9
Jan

Grab Aukey’s folding travel charger for just $6 right now!


Right now you can pick up Aukey’s compact folding charger for just $6 with coupon code AUKPAU32, a savings of $4. Once folded up, this charger isn’t much taller or wider than an SD card, and has two USB ports to allow easy charging of your favorite gadgets. It has a 2.4A output for making sure you are getting the best charging speed that you can, and thanks to its AiPower Adaptive Charging Technology it can ensure that the charge going to each device is safe and won’t cause overheating, overcharging or anything else.

aukey-folding-charger-deal.jpg?itok=GUaH

You can grab the charger in either black or white, but don’t forget to use coupon code AUKPAU32 for the full savings. This deal is only good for a few days, so be sure to grab one (or even two) if you are interested before they run out!

See at Amazon

9
Jan

The coolest discoveries from CES 2017


ces-stage.jpg?itok=vQkGTFDt

You probably won’t buy this stuff, but it’s just so damn cool.

Our team comes out to the Consumer Electronics Show every year in search of the things that happen next. We meet with companies eager to show us what they’re planning to announce, oftentimes months before the announcement actually happens.

It’s a great place to get a feel for what the industry is going to do over the next year, and what trends we should prepare for. It’s important stuff for us to do, but represents an impossibly tiny fraction of the sheer volume of things to see and touch at this event.

While we may all have different opinions on what the “best” things are from CES this year, this is a quick look at the things we stumbled upon that were just plain cool.

Game Boy Resurrected

super-retro-boy.jpg?itok=rVIHhhmo

My nephew opened a new Nintendo 3DS for Christmas this year, and it reminded me of opening my first Nintendo Game Boy. Because I did this reminiscing out loud, my kids took the opportunity to make me feel old by not even knowing what a Game Boy was. Fortunately for me, Retrobit not only remembers but is making a new one for me to enjoy.

Super Retro Boy is a color Game Boy that can play Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advanced cartridges for $80. It’s the kind of thing that punches you in the nostalgia and is wildly more functional than Nintendo’s new NES by virtue of its design. We’ll see more of this Super Retro Boy this summer, and I’m pretty sure at least a couple of you will be debating over the Order button.

Astro-Photography for noobs

tiny1.jpg?itok=m5ZvINJ4

If you have $500 and a night sky nearby, TinyMOS wants to sell you a camera that will make you look like an expert space photographer the next time you feel the need to brag about something like that. This may seem unnecessary to those who haven’t tried to take a photo of the Milky Way from the park down the street, but those who know the struggle will look at this camera and be impressed.

It’s relatively inexpensive, incredibly compact, and has the coolest Sky Map software onboard. The software on the camera will guide your hand to the best place to take the photo, and includes presets for capturing different shots of the sky. Tiny1 can turn just about anyone into a decent astro-photographer, and every person thinking about taking a photo of the sky is a person refusing to believe the Earth is flat.

Nine Inked Nails

The ARTPRO NAIL from O’2 Nails is an inkjet printer FOR YOUR FINGERNAILS! 💅🏽💅🏽 #nailart #ces2017

A video posted by iMore (@imoregram) on Jan 6, 2017 at 3:11pm PST

An event of increasing frequency in my house is a gathering of pre-teens watching fingernail art videos on YouTube, and even I have to admit some of these creations are basically works of art. That having been said, there’s a reason you don’t see every woman with crazy awesome nails. It’s not easy to go from idea to execution, even with tutorial videos. Now, if you could go from idea to sticking your finger in a special printer to execute on your vision, that’d be something different altogether.

The Mobile Nail Printer takes any idea you’ve whipped up in the included app and paints that design on your nails for you. All you need to do is hold your finger still on the printer, which isn’t always as easy as it sounds. You get custom, identical nail designs without accidentally spilling a bottle all over the kitchen table. What could be better?

Game Cave Evolved

Razer has quickly become known for wild prototypes that change shape and become actual products after receiving some feedback. It’s one of the reasons they are considered done of the most innovative PC manufacturers out there today, and this CES they came out swinging. Strapping more displays on a laptop doesn’t excite me so much as leave me concerned for the poor soul sitting next to the owner of that machine on an airplane, but crazy lighting setups are something altogether different.

Project Ariana immerses you in your game without needing a VR headset, all thanks to smart lighting and projectors. The current demo extends the display onto your walls in a unique way, and uses special lighting to fill the room with accent colors from the game you are playing. It’s still pretty far from a real thing, and in its current form won’t work everywhere, but a setup like this will guarantee envy from everyone you know and that’s worth it no matter the cost.

All the bacon and eggs you have

nick-offerman.jpg?itok=RYZJhw2L

Our final entry this year is not a product. It’s Nick Offerman, who you undoubtedly recognize from existing as the living breathing form of the Overly Manly Man meme more commonly known as Ron Swanson during Parks and Recreation. Nick is at CES this week showing off the latest in greeting card technology thanks to an arrangement with American Greetings, and he did a masterful job delivering quality entertainment in the process.

Anyone at CES fortunate enough to have caught Mr. Offerman delivering one of his presentations left with a smile on their face and possibly some deep concern about why they were at this massive event in the first place. This was far from the only celebrity sighting at CES, but watching that man deliver a dead serious explanation for why his greeting cards were superior was easily one of the coolest parts of CES.

9
Jan

State of Android Gaming 2017


state-of-android-gaming-hero.jpg?itok=d4

It’s a great time to be an Android gamer.

This past year may go down as a banner year for Android gaming. We saw some big tech advancements in virtual reality and augmented reality, a great mix of outstanding games from indie developers and established franchises, and we’re looking forward to more of that good stuff in 2017.

Here’s what I saw as the trends and highlights from 2016, and what I’m looking forward to most in the new year.

Virtual reality and augmented reality

gear-vr-gamepad.jpg?itok=2lIyqGL1

Virtual reality was huge in 2016, and it wasn’t just relegated to those fortunate enough to try or own an HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or [Playstation VR]http://www.vrheads.com). On top of seeing the ongoing development and refinement of the Samsung Gear VR, we saw Google announce their own VR platform, Daydream.

From what we’ve seen at CES 2017, companies are excited to jump onto the VR bandwagon. There’s a growing number of Daydream-ready devices, from the Google Pixel and Moto Z, Huawei Mate 9 Pro, and the ZTE Axon 7 (once it gets Nougat), which is great news. Mobile VR is by far the most affordable and accessible way for the average consumer, so the more attention being spent by companies means we should be in for much more VR gaming action in 2017.

Pokémon Go — love it or hate it — was an absolute force throughout the summer of 2016 and is still — incredibly — maintaining momentum heading into 2017.

Shifting from virtual reality to augmented reality, Pokémon Go — love it or hate it — was an absolute force throughout the summer and is still, incredibly, somewhat relevant heading into 2017. For anyone who missed out on the Ingress craze, Pokémon Go was likely their first dive into playing a game that uses augmented reality.

But also like Ingress, Pokémon Go is a tough game to jump into this far after the initial release and buzz. Any new Pokémon Go players are stuck grinding for a summer’s worth of days before they’ll be able to make a dent at a gym, and therein lies one of the biggest issues with massively multiplayer augmented reality games.

But there’s still so much untapped potential for future augmented reality titles. Take Clandestine Anomaly, a single-player gaming experience that lets you play from the comfort of your home, or wander out into your neighbourhood to use your phone’s camera to shoot aliens out of the sky. It came out before Pokémon Go, but saw a spike in downloads after its sibling opened the world’s eyes to AR gaming. Here’s hoping that Pokémon Go’s success inspires other game developers.

Will there be more augmented reality gaming coming our ways in 2017? I sure hope so!

I’d rather pay for the full game than play free-to-play modes

acer-predator-clash-royale.jpg?itok=MHTl

One of the biggest knocks on mobile gaming is the way so many games rely on the freemium model, whether it’s accomplished by bombarding you with offers on in-app purchases to supercharge your character or deck in an online game, or throwing up frustrating roadblocks meant to entice you into paying for upgrades or whatnot.

For many years, this seemed like a fair compromise because the average person probably didn’t own a phone capable of lengthy gaming sessions. in 2017, That’s no longer the case. The last few years of flagships are more than capable to run full games, and there are a growing number of mid-range phones that are more than capable for gaming.

It’s frustrating to see so many games where the gameplay itself is hindered by limitations or commerce structures put in place by the developers.

It’s frustrating to see so many games where the gameplay itself is hindered by limitations or commerce structures put in place by the developers. There’s no genre affected by this worse than sports games, where the games with the best graphics and gameplay are almost always hitched to a clunky card-based Ultimate Team mechanic. I mean, I get it — opening packs or crates gives that dopamine rush of gambling and makes us want to come back for more… and more.

But you know what also keeps my attention? Really well-made games that I can just play for a few minutes or a few hours. I sunk countless hours into FIFA 13’s Manager Mode, playing through multiple full seasons with my favorite team. For that edition, EA provided a spot-on representation of what I’d come to expect from the same mode from its console counterpart, and it was amazing. When they shifted focus away from that straightforward gameplay towards the freemium card-collecting model, it just wasn’t the same for me.

Another example: take the difference between Rollercoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile, a game ‘designed for mobile’ with social media integration and layers of in-game currencies to contend with, and Rollercoaster Tycoon Classic, essentially a direct port of the classic PC game that’s been restored to its former glory on Android devices. Why settle for compromises when you can — and should be — getting the full gaming experience with no compromises.

If you agree, make sure you put your money where your mouth is and support the games and developers you enjoy most.

Expect more hits of nostalgia

sky-force-reloaded-1_0.jpg?itok=nzbXgFH7

We’ve seen some gaming classics like Soul Calibur and the aforementioned Rollercoaster Tycoon Classic successfully released on Android, offering essentially the full gaming experience we remember from different platforms. I won’t underestimate the technical challenges required to properly port a game, but with how damn easy and convenient it is to getting an emulator on nearly any device and illegally play through the whole catalogue of whichever retro console you desire, you would think companies would be champing at the bit to release those “retro classics” to an audience with an insatiable appetite for nostalgia. Just look at how wildly popular the NES Classic was this past holiday season. The market appears ripe for faithful ports of gaming classics, and it’s time for companies to give the people what they want.

(But let’s get things ported better than the disappointing Mega Man titles Capcom recently dropped into the Google Play Store).

The market appears ripe for faithful ports of gaming classics, and it’s time for companies to give the people what they want.

Speaking of beloved video game characters, Super Mario Run is going to be coming to Android in 2017, and assuming it’s as successful here as it was with the initial iOS launch, Nintendo seems poised to bring more cherished franchises and characters to iOS and Android. Depending on the lessons Nintendo learns from Super Mario Run, that could lead to some amazing gaming opportunities. Here’s hoping for a Warioware reboot on Android — it would just makes sense!

Beyond that, we got a new Final Fantasy game specifically developed for mobile, a fantastic top-down scrolling shooter in Sky Force Reloaded, and Downwell, a fantastic new game with retro graphics — three different examples of games that hit us right in the nostalgia in different ways.

If you look at the film and TV landscape of the past five years, remakes and reboot reign supreme. The same trends are occurring in mobile gaming, for better or worse, and that means we’re probably going to see more attempts to hit that same nostalgic tone. But we shouldn’t settle for cheap knockoffs or bad ports of classics here, either.

Can the new NVIDIA Shield revitalize Android TV gaming?

nvidia-shield-android-tv-2017-with-acces

While gaming continues to grow and improve on our phones, here’s hoping for a revitalization of gaming on Android TV, which will likely be lead by the NVIDIA Shield.

NVIDIA made some big noise at CES 2017, announcing an updated version of their Android TV box along with the news that Google Assistant will be coming to the Shield with an system upgrade to Nougat. This, along with another CES announcement, the NVIDIA Spot — the first third-party product to use Google’s Assistant AI— should help get more people interested in the NVIDIA Shield, which in turn will draw more attention from developers for more Android gaming content you can play on your TV. Games such as GoNNer and The Uncertain were great additions to the Shield line up in 2016, and I’m personally excited to see what’s to come in 2017.

The Shield is positioning itself into a really interesting space as an outstanding streaming device… that also happens to also be a fully capable gaming machine. Despite its strengths, the Shield overlooked by a lot of people. But with those new features coming to the new NVIDIA Shield model as well as the first-generation box with the eventual upgrade to Nougat, here’s hoping the Shield gets the attention it deserves from developers.

What do you think?

Which games stole your free time in 2016? Any games you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!

Android Gaming

best-action-games.jpg?itok=XIT8sDVg

  • Best Android games
  • Best free Android games
  • Best games with no in-app purchases
  • Best action games for Android
  • Best RPGs for Android
  • All the Android gaming news!

9
Jan

Best Bands for the Samsung Gear Fit 2


samsung-gear-fit-2-heart-rate-sensor.jpg

Update the look of your Gear Fit 2 with these stylish band options!

The Samsung Gear Fit 2 is a pretty good fitness band that includes a feature typically found on smartwatches: the ability to swap out the 22mm bands for other colors or styles.

If you prefer to wear yours 24/7, having a couple extra bands can help you accessorize your Gear Fit 2, whether you’re attending a formal affair or just like to spice things up with a fresh splash of color. There’s a number of great, affordable options out there, so let’s dive in!

  • MoKo Soft Silicone Replacement Sport Bands
  • Moretek Fit 2 Wrist Straps
  • V-Moro Metal Replacement bands

MoKo Soft Silicone Replacement Sports Bands

moko-midnight-blue-gear-fit-2-press_0.jp

MoKo offers a wide range of color options of their silicone straps for the Gear Fit 2. Each strap is adjustable to fit small or large wrists (4.96″ – 8.38″) via the same style of metal plug used on the strap that came with the Gear Fit 2. Bands can be swapped in and out quickly with the one-button quick release for locking the watch band, making it convenient to have a fresh strap to swap out after a sweaty workout. With a price of only $10 compared to Samsung’s stock replacement for the black, you can economically afford to get a couple of these in your favorite colors, then keep them in a bit of a rotation so your wrist always feeling fresh and looking fine.

See styles at Amazon

Moretek Fit 2 Wrist Straps

moretek-rugged-band-gear-fit-2-press_0.j

Moretek offers two different style of wrist bands for the Gear Fit 2: a more traditional strap available in 12 different color and pattern options and a rugged strap (pictured) that offers impact protection for your tracker’s watch face. Everything is made of a skin-friendly silicone material and held on your wrist with a traditional watch strap buckle. The rugged bands are definitely going to add some bulk to your wrist, but whether you’re playing a high-impact sport or simply prone to banging it against doorways, that extra protection might save you from incidental damage.

See styles at Amazon

V-Moro Metal Replacement bands

v-moro-milanese-loop-gear-fit-2-press_0_

If you’re after a metal strap option for a more stylish look, V-Moro has you covered with two distinct styles — a classic metal link band and a Milanese loop band featuring a magnetic clasp. Both styles are available in silver or black, with the Milanese band (pictured) sold in small and large sizes, so choose accordingly.

The metal band includes a tool for adding and removing links for adjusting sizes. Both are great for incorporating your Gear Fit 2 as an accessory in a professional wardrobe. V-Moro also offers a medium-sized silicone strap on the same Amazon listing. In stark contrast to the stylish metal offerings, these are extremely utilitarian and offer that “classic” fitness tracker look, with five colorful options to choose for.

See styles at Amazon

How do you accessorize your Gear Fit 2?

Are you a band swapper? What’s your favorite style for your Gear Fit 2? Let us know in the comments!

9
Jan

Nvidia Spot preview: The Google Assistant mic and speaker


Alongside the new version of the Nvidia Shield TV, an Android Nougat-powered media streamer, the company will be launching the Nvidia Spot.

It’s a tiny sphere that you plug into an available power socket which works with the Shield TV box and basically allows you to use Google Assistant away from the main device.

That means you can simply plug one in a bedroom socket and use voice commands to find out the weather, managed your schedule and just about do anything a Google Home can do. And through the connected Nvidia Shield TV on the same home network, you can also control your IFTTT and SmartThings smart home appliances and devices using speech.

It is essentially Nvidia’s answer to an Amazon Echo Dot and is similarly priced: at $49 (around £40).

  • What is Nvidia GeForce Now and what are the differences on Shield TV, PC and Mac?
  • New Nvidia Shield Android TV preview: Smaller, more capable 4K HDR video streamer
  • CES 2017: All the announcements that matter

You can have multiple Nvidia Spots around your home, and even placing one in the same room as the Shield TV could be a good idea. That’s because the media box’s voice control is performed through the included game controller and you might not want to leave one of those lying around in view.

The Spot on the other hand is tiny and easy to tuck away thanks to not requiring an external power supply. It has a simple green glowing light on the outside, but is otherwise inconspicuous.

We’re yet to test its range for voice, and we’re not yet sure of availability – it’s coming after the Shield TV, which is out from 16 January – but we’re definitely looking forward to giving it a whirl.

9
Jan

Scientists discover a cosmic-scale particle accelerator


Suddenly, even the Large Hadron Collider seems downright quaint. Researchers have found a combination of cosmic phenomena that’s creating the universe’s largest known particle accelerator. At least one supermassive black hole in a galaxy cluster has created a electromagnetic tunnel that’s accelerating gas to high speeds, only for the gas to travel even faster as it interacts with shock waves from another cluster colliding with the first. The result is particles traveling at a significant portion of the speed of light — no mean feat for anything that isn’t, well, light.

They discovered the accelerator by merging X-ray data from the Chandra observatory with imaging from other facilities, including the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope, the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, the Keck Observatory and the Subaru telescope.

Astronomers have seen these behaviors in isolation before, but this is the first time they’ve witnessed both acting in concert. This also answers a riddle that has baffled scientists for a while: why were there gigantic twisting radio emissions emanating from the colliding clusters (Abell 3411 and Abell 3412)? It won’t be shocking if there are other examples of this acceleration in the universe, but seeing just one has already explained a lot.

Via: Popular Mechanics

Source: Chandra X-ray Observatory

9
Jan

OLED TVs will finally take off in 2017


After years of taunting consumers with incredible picture quality, but insanely high prices, OLED TVs are finally coming down to Earth. Prices are falling, there will be even more models to choose from and, at least based on what we’ve seen from CES this year, LCD TVs aren’t getting many upgrades. And of course, LG’s stunning new W-series wowed us so much, it won both our Best TV and Best of the Best awards at CES. If you’ve been holding out on a 4K TV upgrade, but haven’t had the budget to consider OLED up until now, expect things to change this year.

Even before CES began, it was clear the OLED market was beginning to change. Throughout 2016, LG steadily lowered the prices of its lineup — its cheapest model, the B6, launched at $4,000, but eventually made its way down to $2,000 by October. Come Black Friday, LG also offered another $200 discount to sweeten the pot. Now think about that: A 55-inch 4K OLED for $1,800! It was such a compelling deal I ended up buying one myself.

Since then, the B6’s price has jumped back up to $2,500, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see its price come back down again. (Pro-tip: Keep an eye on deal aggregator sites.) So why the big discounts? LG reportedly increased the production of its large OLED panels by 70 percent last year, likely in anticipation of more demand. That could have led to a slight oversupply, which retailers wanted to clear out before this year’s sets.

To refresh, OLED TVs offer many advantages over their LCD counterparts. In addition to being much thinner, they offer far better contrast ratios, thanks to OLED’s ability to produce pure black levels, and wider viewing angles. OLED sets typically look brighter than LCDs, though newer 4K LCDs have also bumped up their brightness levels considerably (often at the cost of color accuracy). Simply put, OLED looks good. To my eye, its inherent quality advantages matter even more than the bump to 4K.

Of course, we don’t have any details about how LG will price its newest lineup, including the W-Series OLED. TV companies rarely give us any cost details at CES, and typically wait until spring to make those announcements. LG reps said that the W-series could surprise us with its price, so hopefully that means it won’t be too much more than the $10,000 G-series, which features the company’s “Picture on Glass” technology.

The fact that Sony is also getting into the 4K OLED game could also drive prices down further, especially since they’re relying on LG panels. And if LG’s sets haven’t done anything for you so far, perhaps Sony’s features could win you over. In addition to typically great image quality, Sony’s OLED also turns its screen into a speaker. It’s a nice aesthetic move, though based on what I’ve heard on the CES show floor, they don’t sound much better than typical TV speakers.

Even as they’re getting cheaper, LG’s OLED sets still cost more than most 4K LCD alternatives. When it was $2,000, the 55-inch B6 cost about as much as Samsung’s higher-end 65-inch 4K sets. And while gadget fanatics know about the inherent advantages of OLED, most consumers will likely choose screen size over quality. Basically, I don’t expect everyone to be buying OLEDs this year, but it’s never been a better time for discerning shoppers to jump aboard.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2017.

9
Jan

AI might handpick your customer service rep


There are certainly ways to use tech to augment customer service, like Twitter’s auto-replies for public-facing business accounts. But if you’ve called a large company’s helpline and gotten a representative that was atypically, unusually helpful, latch on to that uncertainty: Your hotline helper might have been hand-picked for you by an AI system. The startup Afiniti International Holdings has installed just such a setup in over 150 call centers to better match callers with associates who have successfully helped similar folks.

To build a profile of the caller, Afiniti’s tech pulls up their purchase and contact history and business/credit profile. Since this is 2017, it also automatically crawls the internet to find their public Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages. Finally, it fills out the profile by examining census archives of the caller’s area. If the associate on the other end of the phone is in sales, they’ll be matched with callers similar to those they’ve more successfully sold to in the past.

The associates can’t see callers’ personal data, Afiniti maintains, and they don’t know why they’re matched to whom: it’s all done in the background by the company’s AI system. But simply having scores and metrics invisible to callers is worrying some privacy advocates.

“There’s a process of discrimination going on,” University of Pennsylvania professor Joseph Turow, who studies digital marketing, told The Wall Street Journal. “Companies are bringing data together that we have no knowledge about, and it may discriminate against in a prejudicial sense or a positive sense, depending on who we are.”

Afiniti’s careful to note where it claims to pull its data from, according to The Wall Street Journal: From up to 100 databases that are legitimately available for purchase, like credit firm Experian and data clearinghouse Acxiom Corp, and only social media data from callers’ profiles that had been made public. But if you’re worried about making a simple customer service call and getting slotted a salesperson expressly skilled at upselling people like you, it might be too late: Your data’s already out there.

Via: Consumerist

Source: The Wall Street Journal

%d bloggers like this: