By Jensen, Randy on May 13, 2018.
FOR THE HERALD
Improving the knowledge and understanding of ever-evolving technology is crucial for any local business or entrepreneur to become successful.
Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Community Futures, launched the Social Savvy Summit and Digital Media Expo on Thursday for people to gain information on social media marketing and presence as well as provide an opportunity to connect with other businesses.
The expo provided six speakers who discussed social networking, web design, content marketing and virtual reality for business. The highly anticipated keynote speaker was John Weigelt, the National Technology Officer for Microsoft Canada.
Weigelt shared his knowledge on how he has helped businesses and governments innovate with technology, all while avoiding the unintended consequences that could arise. Expo participants were able to pick his brain on topics such as economic development, infrastructure protection, accessibility and environmental sustainability.
The main focus of Weigelt’s presentation was to help people understand how innovation and information is impacting every part of an individual or business’s life.
“A piece that I try to bring across is that the internet is the first mile connection to the world, so instead of looking at your city and community for potential customers there, look at the nation where there is 36 million customers or potentially seven billion customers around the world,” said Weigelt.
Artificial intelligence has been developed to help aid a business with its customer service, but some are skeptical of how the technology could remove jobs from real people. Weigelt explained how artificial intelligence can be properly used without removing the human interaction.
“By placing a chat-bot on their website, it will answer the top 10 per cent of the questions customers have,” said Weigelt. “It helps business customer service agents focus on those tougher problems where they need to have human intervention and will allow their customers to access those easy things quickly.”
Privacy and security of personal information is a concern for many, but as Weigelt explained during his presentation, the customer’s privacy and security is a higher priority over the information it provides.
“The first thing is putting the customer at the centre and making sure that they know how their information is being used and understand what the value proposition is for them,” said Weigelt. “Safeguarding that information is important, with strong security controls and even using encryption techniques to protect it.”
Karla Pyrch, executive director of the chamber of commerce, said the Social Savvy Summit always provides great resources and is a good way for local businesses or entrepreneurs to gain skills and tools to stand out in the business world.
“Our goal today was to bring some information to the business community on how to be better with social media and a social presence,” said Pyrch. “It is constantly evolving, and to keep up with it is a challenge so we want to provide that information to help businesses.”
The chamber, in association with Community Futures, hosts two or three educational events every month to help businesses improve their social presence and to provide them with an opportunity to network with others in the community. For more information and a list of upcoming events people are encouraged to visit http://www.lethbridgechamber.com/events.
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