Branding Matters

Danny Tomsett - Build Connections With Digital Humans

June 03, 2022 Branding Badass Episode 65
Branding Matters
Danny Tomsett - Build Connections With Digital Humans
Show Notes Transcript

My guest today is Danny Tomsett, a tech visionary and the Founder and CEO of UneeQ - a real-time technology platform that built and launched the first AI-powered digital human project. Today, digital humans are considered a main ingredient for brands who want to automate and scale immersive customer interactions in the Metaverse.

Danny’s entrepreneurial track record includes developing games at the age of eight and founding a Telecommunications company he started at 25.

He has earned several accolades which include winning the Sir Richard Branson ‘Virgin Business challenge’ and the ‘Deloitte Fast 50’ NZ awards as one of the country’s fastest growing businesses.

I invited Danny to be a guest on my show to talk about digital humans. I wanted to learn why they are considered a main ingredient for brands who want to automate and scale immersive customer interactions in the Metaverse. And I was curious get his POV on how the Metaverse is changing the way businesses are creating brand equity.

💥IF YOU WANT HELP GETTING YOUR CLIENTS TO FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR BRAND,  REACH OUT TO ME ON SOCIAL AT BRANDING_BADASS OR EMAIL ME AT JGOODSON@GENUMARK.COM

Joelly Goodson :

Hi I'm Joelly, your Branding Badass, and welcome to season two of Branding Matters. My guest today is Danny Tomsett, a tech visionary and the founder and CEO of UneeQ - a real time technology platform that built and launched the first AI powered digital Human Project. Danny's entrepreneurial track record includes developing games at the ripe old age of eight years old. And he founded a telecommunications company when he was just 25. Danny has earned several accolades which include winning the Sir Richard Branson Virgin Business Challenge, and the Deloitte fast 50 New Zealand awards as one of the country's fastest growing businesses. I invited Danny to be a guest on my show to talk about digital humans. I want you to learn what they are and why are they considered a main ingredient for brands who want to automate and scale immersive customer interactions in the metaverse and I was curious to get Danny's point of view on how the metaverse is changing the way businesses are creating brand equity. Danny, welcome to Branding Matters.

Danny Tomsett:

Great. Thanks for having me.

Joelly Goodson :

Oh, it's so nice to have you. So where's that accent from?

Danny Tomsett:

This is a New Zealand accent. So I live in Austin, Texas, but my family and I we moved here in 2019. So just before the craziness happened, we weren't responsible for it.

Joelly Goodson :

So what part of New Zealand are you from?

Danny Tomsett:

So I was originally born in a little town called Pepper mile, which is a beach town and the North Island of New Zealand but spent most of my growing up and adult years in Auckland, which is the largest city.

Joelly Goodson :

Okay. Yeah, I know it very well. My brother in law is actually from Auckland. Yeah, his name is Max, but we call them Meeks uncle mix. He's great. He's been in Canada for oh my god, I think probably 30 years, but he still has quite a thick accent. Well, that's great. I love I haven't been to New Zealand. I've been to Australia, though. And I spent a year there. So I love it in that part of the world.

Danny Tomsett:

Yeah, it's a beautiful spot. Australia is amazing. New Zealand. And my opinion, in my humble opinion, is just another level again.

Joelly Goodson :

Oh, that's what I've been told. So very much so well. Great. Well, it's really great to have you here. I love how people connect since I started my podcast. And I've been meeting so many great, interesting people. And then they're introducing me to so many amazing people like yourself. So really happy to have you here today. I think it's a very interesting, relevant topic. So thank you for joining us. So before we get into it, I want to go back a little bit to your childhood because I found it really interesting when I was doing my research on you that you develop video games at eight years old, which I found when she can you tell me a little bit about that? Like what inspired you? And do you remember your first game that you created?

Danny Tomsett:

I do! Yeah, remember it! Well, it was actually one of my first business ventures funnily enough as well, because I have to do like a shout out to my dad especially he was pretty instrumental. When when I grew up, I actually had a family that was didn't have a lot of cars. But my my dad worked really hard. And he knew that already at a very young age, I was very interested in technology. So he actually sold his car, and would carpool or hitchhike to work every day. So we can have this Commodore 64 for any Commodore 64 fans out there. And then you'll know how old I am to probably I didn't have anything really to go from other than the Commodore 64 Manual. And a book I got from the library on how to code games on a Commodore 64. So I started just self learning. And the first game I built, I used to love this TV show called sequence. And so I built this game that was based off the TV show and it was just an adventure journey one. But the cool thing was my friends started coming over and they wanted as I started progressing, they all wanted to play it. So I charged them to play the game,

Joelly Goodson :

and you're eight years old.

Danny Tomsett:

And they literally paid to play this game. Unfortunately, being a one man band, the game didn't evolve quick enough to keep the revenue streams coming in, I lost interest. And I moved on to other games that I started building at that time. But there was really amazing kind of time where I fell in love with what you could create with technology. And that set the course forever from that time.

Joelly Goodson :

That's amazing. And I have to say kudos to your dad because how many parents would sell their family car to get their son in this first computer? That's pretty amazing. So that's Yeah, wow. Thanks that you appreciate it. Can you tell your kids that story?

Danny Tomsett:

I do. Oh, yeah, I do tell them their story. And it's funny, like just thinking about what it meant to me as an adult but funny as a kid how you don't really appreciate it as much. So I make special mention and special effort these days, because it was an amazing thing for him to do now.

Joelly Goodson :

Well, that's a great story. So I want to fast forward now to AI. That's a big topic. So when did you start getting interested in AI.

Danny Tomsett:

So AI was more more around a way to solve a problem, then something I really pursued. So I did computer science and went through and built a telecommunications company and focused around how I could obviously solve problems using technology. And after I sold that company, I went and started a new company. And that company was really focused around how do we connect people through digital channels where there's more need for emotional connection, emotional connection is so important in a digital world, but everything we were building in our digital world at that time, was really boring and stale and forms. And it was removing the human touch. So we built this technology, which could enable anyone to be on a website, click a button and talk face to face with someone in the contact center. This is going back to the days where video conferencing was super expensive. No one could do anything on the internet with video. So it was quite novel, really complex tech problem, as well as awesome heaps of fun building up. But the interesting thing was, as we were working with customers, and particularly we had one customer, and it was the Australian Government, and they had a really big challenge around helping people with disabilities and getting their welfare payments and welfare support. So this is everything from helping people get carers to their home, to equipment to even things like groceries, you name it, super important, right. And yet they had changed all these systems as governments do was horrific customer experience, like some of the hold times were over two hours. And so they were looking at other innovative technology to help solve this problem. We thought having video and emotional connection would be a really important way of solving that problem. And whilst it would have solved a lot of things around being able to communicate through visual, not just audio, there was a real scale problem. And that's really where the government said, Hey, what would be great as if there was a digital person at the end of this video call, not a real person, because then we could scale that to 1000s and change this whole problem. And that's really where we started investigating AI and looking at what is available today. And there was not a huge amount to help solve that problem. But there was some core technology that we knew we could evolve and build on top of that would enable us to solve that problem. And that was going back to 2016. Now that we actually built that and and changes the game, it was amazing. And also, for me, it was also understanding because we were working in the space for some time, like creating video agents at the end of a call, particularly pre COVID. Like, video was very foreign for people to actually have to navigate. And if you've ever worked in a call center, most of them aren't nice environments to work in. And so there was a lot of challenges around that. And yet, like, scale is such a big deal for a lot of organizations. So we needed to really think about what this meant just for that particular customer. But then when we took it to all sorts of retail brands and entertainment and financial services, all of a sudden, it was very relevant for so many that had big customer bases.

Joelly Goodson :

Do you have an idea that there was going to be such a need for it? I mean, your your initial inspiration was to solve this problem. At the time, did you realize it was going to get as big as it has? And did you have any idea that it would grow the way it has and solve multiple problems on such a global scale?

Danny Tomsett:

Well, the interesting thing was that where we started was around customer service, and creating a better experience and solving for the customer service use case. What I didn't see was how powerful this would be as part of a new way of marketing and brand experience and how customers started thinking about this isn't just about dealing with problems. This is about actually making the customer journey far more enjoyable and engaging right at the beginning. And you know, I often talk about just where this will go now with when you think about even brand ambassadors like the Geico gecko is a really good one. Everyone knows, you know, like we see that Gecko on Super Bowl ads on billboards everywhere. But actually still today, you know, they still have quite a standard form. process for sign up and working through that. But in the future with this kind of technology, you could actually interact with the gecko and create a far more engaging experience around that. So you come to the website and they get goes like, Alright, then so offers it. And you kind of realize, yeah, but it's such a relatable character that everyone knows. That's why I use it often. But there's 1000s 1000s of brand ambassadors that we've built through advertising and strategies around them, because personality matters. And it's the best way to create emotional connection is through a personality. So all of a sudden, my eyes were opened to the potential now of this technology well beyond just customer service, I think it's, it's a much bigger part of the overall customer journey.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, that's actually the word I was thinking of as potential when you started, did you think of a potential we just touched on digital humans, but I want to really dive into a little bit because I find them fascinating. I actually went on your website and tried it out. And I got my son on it as well. And we're checking out the Digital Einstein. So can you explain what is a digital human.

Danny Tomsett:

So digital human, is no different actually, to what you would have seen in a movie, or even a game, which is a CGI character, and the way that they are obviously developed, look real, and move and everything so that it creates the illusion of life, right? The difference with an AI digital human, is has the ability to now animate, and think and listen on its own. And so when we talk about digital humans, now, we're talking about interaction, we're talking about interactive, digital humans that are completely dynamic. So that you can be talking about all sorts of needs or topics. And they're able to respond to that contextually. So their emotions can change, they can speak to you and obviously, listen to you in that process as well. And so this is now where Unlike movies, and unlike games, which was very heavily scripted. So normally, what you do is you create these 3d models, and you have a human in a suit, I don't know if you've ever seen them, and they got the white balls on them. Yeah, they'll and the human will actually act out the scene. And then they will take that data. And they'll basically use that to train the rake in the model. And so the the character does it, but it can only do what the human has done before. And now, the AI does that automatically. So it can do it in milliseconds, and figure out what it needs to do what it needs to say how it needs to move, all those kinds of things.

Joelly Goodson :

That is just my mind is exploding right now. The thought of that, especially when you talked about think and listen, right? I mean, it's one thing to move and act and look at think and listen, who decides I mean, who creates you? I'm sure you have a team. I know I've read that you have like scientists and a bunch of different people from different industries come together. So who decides what additional human? I mean, what did they look like? How do they sound? What did they say? How did they think? Can you get a little deeper into that? Yeah,

Danny Tomsett:

I love this part of what we do. The way that you design, how they look, is very much a process that is brand LED. If you think about it, you're really thinking about who your audiences what you want them to feel. And as such, you're thinking about demographics, you're thinking about as a one digital human, is it multiple digital humans, so choice could be a really great way to deal with it. Or, potentially, you've already got a brand ambassador, you know, you're Nespresso, and you want George Clooney. And so everyone can ask George, why do you keep looking so great, you can't get older, that doesn't happen to the rest of us, you know. So it's all those kinds of things that you can work through as part of the how it looks and behaves and, and a personality is really cute. Especially, you know, when you think about a lot of our customers that we've worked with, they create a new personality. So they have a backstory, because people just inherently we're hardwired for connection. So we can't help but want to know more about who we're talking to. It happens human to human all the time, but also happens to human to digital human. And so our backstory is really important because it changes the way they even answer questions. If they're going to be more extroverted, a little bit quirky, little bit humor in there makes a big difference to how you're connecting with that brand. And so all those elements come together as to how we train how they look how they speak, and also how they think that's a big part of it. The other part of this is obviously ensuring that what they say is on brand, what they say is going to represent the company in the best way. And so you have two types of training, you have supervised training, and this is where you teaching the digital human What they can say, relative to the types of questions you're expecting to be asked?

Joelly Goodson :

You say, sorry, did you say teaching?

Danny Tomsett:

Yeah. Or training? Yeah.

Joelly Goodson :

So how? How do you teach or train a digital human?

Danny Tomsett:

So often you can train them by using examples that so this way. So you would say, here's an example of the intent of what someone's asking. So here's a whole lot of ways that they might ask a question relating to that intent. So the intent might be, how much does this cost? Right? That's the intent. But you might ask that and several different ways. You might say, this looks really expensive. Can you do anything else? Or you might say, How much does the cost. So there's all these different examples. And so when you're training, you provide as many examples as you can. And then what the AI can do is then create a level of understanding, it's what's called what's called natural language understanding. And so it will be able to then have a confidence score around what people say. And if it's high enough competence, it knows how it should answer. And that's supervised. Because you're saying that if your confidence is at this level, then you will say these things, and you know, what they're gonna say, the other type of training is where it's more generative. So it's more natural language generation. And that is where you've got a whole lot of data. And you're basically telling the AI to create the sentence based on that data that you've provided. And you put some rules, like, if they're gonna ask about Donald Trump, don't be talking about Donald Trump, you know, like, they're gonna ask about six religion, politics, don't be talking about that. I was

Joelly Goodson :

gonna, I was gonna say full disclosure, we were when we were playing around on your website, and we were testing the, I can't remember her name, but it was the James that are named the digital Sophie. So Sophie, and my son was having a little fun, and he was being a little cheeky. And she wouldn't answer. She's like, I'm sorry, I will not answer that.

Danny Tomsett:

Yeah, yeah. So I mean, that's the we're also human nature, not just for connection. But we also like to try brake technology. It's just something we do push the

Joelly Goodson :

teenage boy. Yeah, totally.

Danny Tomsett:

We've had to figure out how you train for those things. And we've been doing this for a while now. So we're quite good at it. But there's not a lot that we haven't seen before. But yeah, that's the two ways that you train. And that's, that informs the way that they respond on brand, but also the way you know, will appear that is thinking about what you're saying and come back with an appropriate response.

Joelly Goodson :

So as far as creating the digital human or developing it, how much input does the brand who for company hires you, let's say and they want you to create a digital human for them?

Danny Tomsett:

Well, we definitely worked as a team. So they have a huge amount of input around I think, a lot of those elements you just listed, right? Because they already have a good, a really good understanding of who their market is, and how they want to appeal to that market. And so all we're doing is just effectively putting a structure in front of them to get the right information to then turn that into a really great experience. And then we just helped curate the way that our responses work. If you've ever used the Chatbot really good example, if you've used a chatbot. This is the worst experience course. And sometimes it's not even because it doesn't know the answer to the question, although that happens a lot, too. That's actually mostly very bad conversation repair should be able to take you down a path to find the answer. But other than that, a lot of it just lacks personality, it just lacks the ability to make you feel important, right? Make it feel personalized, and things like that. So a lot of what we do is just helping customers designed conversation to be a little bit more human, a little bit more empathetic when needed, little bit more fun when needed. And then do things like conversation repair, because humans don't know the answer to every question. Neither did digital humans. But what do we do? Well, when we don't know, we're actually just more relational, we're actually able to, maybe you can explain this a bit better, or give me a little bit more information. Maybe I can actually help connect this to the right place or the right person, right. And that's how we, that's how we design.

Joelly Goodson :

That's amazing. I just find it so fascinating. So I read on your website, you had a really interesting blurb about mental health and how a great way that digital humans can be used is in the mental health world. And I found that really cheap. And I know this has to do with connection and I want to talk a little bit more about connections. Why do people feel that digital humans are sometimes they're more comfortable talking to a digital human than an actual real human?

Danny Tomsett:

Yeah, well, disclaimer, I'm not a mental health expert. Yeah, but the but the way that we've seen some of our mental health experts use this technology. Yeah. Has been just so I I think some of the feedback that we've had one of the key I think ingredients to why this works so well is judgment plays such a big role, and how we feel about sharing things that are more vulnerable. And when you think about digital humans, I think what's reasonably common for most people is that it's a experience, it's easy to use, you're just talking, you know how to talk. But because they, you know, they're not human, which is an advantage, but we're not trying to fool anyone, that it's a person, we make it very clear that they're a digital human, it removes that judgment barrier. And so we've not only just seen that across our customers who are using it that way, we've got now university studies, really validating that judgment is a big part of this, and just the accessibility and the trust that's needed. Initially, I think that's also helping quite a lot with this type of technology. So that's, that's where I think it's, it's a really great way. It's not, it's not a replacement, I just think it's a great way of an entry point. And to people being able to open up, start to talk through some of their needs, what's going on. And then from the I think that then can open up different programs, access to specialist all sorts of things that I think just helps in this day and age, you know, isolation and loneliness is just just such a massive problem. And that's why we actually created Einstein and made them free was because we we saw it going even worse through COVID. And we just thought if we could just help in any way. And we knew this is just the way people would have daily interaction, daily quizzes, things like that. So yeah, I was really pleased that we did that.

Joelly Goodson :

I find it so interesting. You know, I totally understand the concept of talking to digital human and for sure, bots are frustrating, and you know that it's all automated and everything. But when you talk about connection, and you're talking about emotions, right? Because really, that's what branding is, is connecting on a level with some another person or whatever, but making that emotional connection, right. And so when I think about the reason that mental illness, the mental health part of it stuck out in my mind is because you're really you like you said, you're becoming vulnerable, but you're sharing emotion, but you're also sharing it with not a real human being like so even though you say that they think and they listen, but they don't feel right. Correct me if I'm wrong. I'm just curious how you create that connection without having any feelings. I mean, you can have the words and you can have the actions and everything else. But what's missing? Is that heart I guess, or to feel like it makes me think of you remember that movie was quite a long time ago with Joker in Phoenix. It was called her. Did you ever watch that movie? I mean, yeah, right? He has, he falls in love with the computer. Now it wasn't a digital human. I don't know what you would call it. I guess it was the beginning of AI before I took off. And that was so unbelievable. But here you are, here we are. And I kind of go like now they're making these real, vulnerable connections with digital human. I just want to get your take on that.

Danny Tomsett:

Yeah, it's real, you know, like people. I think I wouldn't profess to have all the knowledge around the psychology of this. But there's, there's something relatable and just the way that we could watch a Disney movie, knowing that these are fake characters, but the storytelling draws us in. And we can actually feel sad and real and in cry and have emotions, which shouldn't logically make sense, right? But we do.

Joelly Goodson :

But I want to challenge you. Because I think you can have a reaction to stories. I mean, storytelling has been around for since the Stone Age is and I think that's what storytelling is so good, because it does motivate and instill emotion in reactions. But I guess what I'm saying is, but we don't talk to the movie or the book, you know, and have a two way it's a one way sort of relationship. Whereas what I'm learning about digital humans is it's it's a two way relationship. And I'm just kind of right. So I guess that's my question.

Danny Tomsett:

Yeah. So the storytelling isn't. Although I would argue that the same way that storytelling draws us in to relationship with the characters is the same way a converse two way conversation can do that as well, which is why you see such high connection and a two way interaction with a digital human. So I think that's, that's the key point is that we as humans, we definitely have some hard wiring that plays into this. And then you don't have to be a human to human conversation for that to exist. Yeah, that's the neat thing about what we're doing with this technology. And I think there's a lot of upside but let's maybe talk about like the ethics side as well. Like the movie Her has a really good example where we really Yeah, I liked it because I think it was a really great conversational kind of movie right? It opened up people's minds to thinking about what are some of the challenges with this technology? Where could it go? I mean, it was a really well done movie. And I did like a lot more than just that. But I think, because so many people talk to me about that movie, I think, a lot of conversations about it. And I like it from the perspective that it really gets people thinking, because part of what we're doing is, we really believe in Tech for Good. And a lot of what we're trying to do is establish ourselves as a major player in the space to ensure that we can align to some really strong ethical values with this technology. And I think that's what we're trying to do with our customers as we get them to think about it. But equally, so why we're building the intelligence the way we are, is because we think that there are certain companies out there that are playing a dangerous game, and they're willing to see what happens. And I think, like I said, there's a lot of loneliness. There's a lot of challenges. And I don't think necessarily just having people use digital humans as the only crutch that they rely on is not a healthy thing. So yeah, let's keep talking about keep working through.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah. I mean, you're just at the tip of the iceberg. I have a feeling you know, so going on that. Let's talk about the other thing that's happening these days, which is the metaverse everywhere. Everyone's talking about it. I personally don't even really understand it. But AI is a big part of it. So what's your take on the metaverse? And what positive impact do you think it's having on society and brands as well?

Danny Tomsett:

Yeah, well, I'm very excited about this. I'm one of the people that probably that have talked about it for quite some time. Maybe not under the terminology. Metaverse, though. So that's been great that it's kind of unified. Some of the I guess the the lexicon that goes with Metaverse, as it's kind of evolving that I wouldn't worry about not understanding it, because it really isn't fully established. And it's got many different views and opinions that surround how it should be and what it will look like. And it's anyone's guess in some regards, but I think the things that we have seen that I'm excited about is it's really about elevating, in my opinion anyway, it's about elevating the value of interactions, and communities and personalities. And I think one of the challenges I've always had with the internet and digital is its lacks that and like sometimes I bang my head against the wall, when I'm looking at, you know, what brands and marketing that like investing in this digital strategies is so stale. It's so terrible. And you could do so much more. And the good thing about the metaverse is it's kind of elevated this thinking, like, should we be doing so much more like it's kind of like, if we want to be relevant in the future, we really need to think more about how we're going to play into digital worlds, where interaction and communities are going to exist. And I think, for us, we were always excited about this, because we knew that particularly when you think about personality and existing and digital worlds, you're going to have two real forms of existence, there will be human controlled characters, just like we've seen with fortnight, Minecraft, and things like that. But you're also going to have a much more dominant presence of artificial intelligence based characters that will serve and support will represent brands even potentially monetize what you know. So you yourself could have an autonomous digital human of you, or a vision that you create for you, that could work on your behalf that could teach people things, train languages, or whatever your specialist school is, even if you've got a massive following, then you might even create experiences where you know, your, your fans get to interact with you and different things like that. So I think a lot of that is still going to have a huge AI element because you can't sit in front of your computer and talk to 1000s of people. So the craziest thing that I see is like how certain brands like experiment by like, you know, like, let's do a supermarket and a VR. And it's just like, that's the worst thing you could do. Like, why would someone want to go in there, and like have to put things from a shelf in their trolley, and replicate the physical world and the digital world. So I just think there, there's a lot of exploring, and that's kind of cool in itself. So I'm not criticizing too much. I think exploring so important to how this is going to evolve. But I believe wholeheartedly that the digital worlds that we'll be able to exist in will be such a level up on what we've ever experienced before and both web 2.0 And the physical world, like truly immersive environments that adjust based on what's of interest to us or what's happening in a conversation or working with a brand. So I I always talk about even things like if I was Nike, I would be bringing digital Michael Jordan into a virtual experience where I build and design my own sneakers. And I create that. And then I get that as both an NFT I get that turn it up on my doorstep, so I can wear these new Nike is that I've created. And I've had this cool interaction with Michael Jordan. And he's all AI powered, right? Like, those are the kinds of things I think they're gonna really be like, more mainstream in the coming years.

Joelly Goodson :

Well, that's what I was going to ask you actually is how you see brands going into the metaverse, I already see it happening. You know, there's been a couple Adidas is one that's in there and, okay, Pardon my ignorance. I can't I'm trying to think of the name of the monkeys. What's What did they call the famous the metaverse monkeys? What's the term? dead monkey?

Unknown:

Do you know what they're called? My totally off.

Danny Tomsett:

I yacht club

Unknown:

called Dead eighth or something.

Danny Tomsett:

I didn't know that. A goth club. I think it's a good ape.

Joelly Goodson :

I don't know. No, I think it's a character in a game that you see them wearing because my industry I do swag. Right. So I do all branded apparel. And I work with myself like Nike and Adidas and all these brands. And now I see that these brands and you can actually go in the metaverse and these dead monkeys or people are probably laughing but he's dead apes or I cover this something. And they're wearing these brands like they're wearing like the Adidas shirt, and they're wearing the shorts and the shoes. So they are starting to do that. You're like going this chicks crazy. I have no idea what she's talking about.

Danny Tomsett:

I guess I'm scratching my head. I'm trying to think what you're talking about.

Joelly Goodson :

Okay, well, well, I'm sure I'll get lots of people reaching out to me after but yeah, I guess you you had mentioned about Nike. And I think that's a really good point, because I'm curious to know how you see the benefit for brands getting more involved in the metaverse and to monetize off of it.

Danny Tomsett:

Yeah, I think what you're seeing early on, I think is is really interesting, because like I saw even JP Morgan, they you know, they've had a presence and decentraland. And you're seeing quite early plays either in NF T right now, or some of these more Metaverse, web three based platforms or worlds. And for me, that's the very first stages of it, I think it was so early, I find that it's a strategy that's probably quite smart. Because you're getting an early, you're learning early. And so you're going to take a lot of advantage out of that. But at this very point of time, it feels to me a little bit like product placement. So you're trying to get a brand and a presence in a place that could be super valuable to you in the future. And that makes makes sense. It's not a bad thing at all. I do believe as the metaverse kind of evolves, again, kind of like what we're seeing with NF T's. If you look at NF T's, you know, there's a huge, obviously hype cycle that was enabled artists or emerging, I guess, companies to create something that may or may not have value pumped up really big, some of them went for crazy amounts of money, but then offer a lot of utility, there's not really a lot of ongoing value that's associated with them other than supply and demand that, I guess, owners of those entities, they're gonna have to wait and see how that plays out. But for for NF T's now you're seeing huge amounts of utility start to come in, where it's going to be about what access does that give you? So it's not just about the scarcity and status, kind of value of NF T's but also the access that's associated with that. So what's the utility of it? Are you able to meet with key celebrities? Or is it give you access into certain events, you know, or access to buy into new investments or other things like that. And so as we see NF T's kind of take that path. I believe Metaverse is very similar. There might be a high degree of focus right now on location or being in the world or being in these real estate locations. But I believe that that will then evolve to What are you doing for people? What's the experience? Why do they really care about that? And what are you drawing? And I think that's, we're starting to build more experiences, like I talked about, like the Nike example, or things like that. That's where it's just going to be so engaging. And people are going to keep coming back. And they're going to tell their friends about it. And it's going to have directly associated associated attributable value, right, what's the attribution that's now coming from this and I think that's where it's going to level up. I think for a lot of brands,

Joelly Goodson :

and probably a lot more interactive, like you said before about connection. I mean, now you go from having these digital shoes and the metaverse to them showing up at your door that you can actually wear I love that. Yeah, so I can see how that would definitely add value and be a bonus for people for the consumer We're in for them brands. Right. So it's a que I want to talk a little bit about the critics of the metaverse. I mean, I think what you're doing is great want to start by saying, I think what you're doing is great. I love it. It's so interesting. Full disclosure, a lot of it goes right over my head, because it's just so new. And I still can't get over the idea of digital human thinking. But that's not my background. So I applaud you for everything you're doing. But there are critics out there who talk about the metaverse and they describe it as a next dystopia. I know, you know, the ideas for be the next utopia. But at the end of the day, I feel like or I shouldn't say I feel like but what I've read is that people are playing God and they're creating this Metaverse, universes place where they are going to control everything they're going to control. What's where the real estate, you talk about how people are acting, how people are thinking, I mean, it's, it's all going to be controlled. So I just want to get your take and what do you have to say to the critics out there?

Danny Tomsett:

No, I think without a doubt, there is always going to be those with a lot of motive to maximize the revenue opportunity by controlling. I do believe, however, that the metaverse has sufficient support, and an ecosystem of very passionate startups and tech companies that want to see it for more as a standard than a locked in Winner Take All I control everything. Arguably, some people might say that about JMeter. It's yet to be seen what they do and how they're going to go about it. They seem to be talking about opening up to standards and things like that. But

Joelly Goodson :

your Facebook new meta, yeah. Yes.

Danny Tomsett:

Right. Which is where a lot of the criticisms pointed at a moment. But I would say that, like the internet that we enjoy today, it's built on a standards that enable businesses, education, commerce, everything to exist, and we interconnect, it's not like you have to think about everyone has to go to one website where we can see everything right. We all can create sites, they interconnect. We have really awesome search algorithms that help us discover and find. And I believe the metaverse will be a variation of that we will have a number of worlds that will have standard that interconnect so that your avatars and your your digital assets can traverse between them. But they all have different levels of value different levels of experience that you're looking for even different ways of accessing some of these worlds. I think, you know, we use we see fortnight right now not as a major VR play, but everyone's just sitting on computers, X boxes, PlayStation, etc, and experiencing a 3d world through a 2d screen. And that's got huge penetration. So I think just thinking about Metaverse, also not just as a VR AR, or mixed reality solution, but more that these will just be more immersive worlds that will evolve over time. So the metaverse itself won't be contained by one company, if it is to have the longevity and the impact that I believe it has.

Joelly Goodson :

So as a business or brand, why would if I was a business owner, what would why would I want to invest in a digital human? What could they do for me and for my brand to help me create brand awareness?

Danny Tomsett:

Yeah, great question. So I think, you know, ultimately, as a business owner, what you hoping you can achieve is that your brand will connect with your target market, and that they will feel great about the brand, they'll be loyal to the brand, and turn that will help improve conversion, new sales, lifetime value of customers, things like that. And so first and foremost, the very beginning of any customer journey with your brand, you're probably spending a good amount of money advertising, you're probably doing everything that you can to get that top of funnel and connect them with that audience. But a lot of a lot of that is just sending content at them. You know, how many emails do we get every day from brands? How many people get excited about those emails? I'd say very, very few. Right? And that's probably one of the more common ways how many of us are now watching TV advertisements. Not many pay to get ads turned off. Yeah. So you know, you're having to work pretty hard through social media and other channels. Right now, you get a small snippet of time to get our attention and work through that. But in saying that, you can use those small snippets and those moments to actually bring someone into something engaging an experience that people love and will talk about. And that's where I think a digital human will change the game, because that's where you're able to actually invite them into an experience that takes it to a whole new level, not just as an experience that might be fun or engaging. But something that could be super helpful. If we take any example. I mean, I could take maybe a less exciting example. Let's take financial services, maybe buying your first time, right? I mean, I get heaps of this kind of spam email all the time, but there would be an amazing experience, which is, hey, if you're interested in understanding how to make the best decisions, talk to digital human five minutes could change the game, whatever, right? And if I clicked on it, and it was an actual digital human, who was actually able to take me through a process of like, what you need to do to understand what your credit scores are, what we could do around your rates, what are some of the advantages around the different mortgage structures, and how you can play that into your life planning, or things like that, and make that a really helpful experience? You know, we've seen this exact example, have incredible results we've had telecommunications companies do over 200% conversion rates, just by using a digital human to help people understand what is the right broadband plan? And what kind of Wi Fi do I need to set up at home. And I think often I talk about like, this is more about creating interactions, where the goal for a lot of people is also like, trust and confidence to make the right decision. You know, like, if I need to order something on Amazon already have ordered that 100 times I don't need to talk to someone about that, right? That's pure ecommerce at its best. But often, there's these moments and these products and these situations where I want to really feel like I'm going to make the right decision. And it's really important. And so you can help people through that process. Just use it a digital human and have this incredible brand experience that they will tell people about all day long.

Joelly Goodson :

I love that I can think of a company off top my head, I'm not gonna say who they are and what like exactly what you said, when you just know what you want. And you go and you order something or you it's easy. You just go online, you press a button, you get it. But when there's challenges, and I've had issues lately, and you call them out and no one will answer a call or barely and or should you go on the website, and it's bots, you talked about bots earlier, and you type in a question and they don't you know that you're going in circles and circles and circles. And I was thinking when I was doing my research for you. I'm like they need to get digital humans. Because I totally agree with you. If I was I mean, if you can't get a human right. I mean, there's a lot of benefits, like you said, especially when it comes to scale. And if you have hundreds of 1000s of customers all over the world, and each one of them is getting a face to face interaction, I can see how the digital human is so beneficial for company, especially in the customer service space, right more than anything. But I'm curious when you have digital humans, I'm assuming are they're just on the website? I mean, they aren't actually like as an email sent out. Are you talking about not sending an email? But how do you connect that digital human with your audience and with the consumer?

Danny Tomsett:

It's actually a good, good point. You're right. So we do, obviously, a lot of our interactions via existing digital channels. So if it's on a website, you can talk to the digital human on a website, there's nothing to download is like YouTube, but you can talk to. And same for mobile apps. Some of our customers do it on mobile apps today. And obviously with the metaverse, we're doing some work and virtual reality as well. But most of our customers 99% exist on websites and mobile apps, actually is a few and kiasu. And physical retail stores. We actually have a few in there as well. Yeah.

Joelly Goodson :

Digital humans in physical chaos. Yeah. And

Danny Tomsett:

yeah, we got customers who have actually got unmanned retail stores. So you can literally go in and order things and talk to a digital human and actually get help change your plan, things like that. It's really, really cool. So

Unknown:

scary, though, because all these people are going like, I'm gonna lose my job. Anyway, that's a whole other conversation. So

Danny Tomsett:

yeah, that is that is, and it's a big conversation. I know. We have it a lot. But the point you raise is actually another really good one. When you think about going back to your initial question about what would I say to business owners? What should they be thinking? Well, I think the reality is, we've missed an opportunity to have a personality that people connect to and relate to all the way through a customer journey across all channels. So if you think about maybe it's think about really good example, is a great example, let's say flow from progressive. And so you've got flow that you've seen advertisement, we kind of get to know her through all the great storytelling and things that are used Superbowl ads and everything else, right. But the cool thing about this is, if you're truly using Omni channel, we can also have email campaigns, which are emails from flow, right? So she's now sending that through, we can have we go online and have an interaction, we're gonna make that fun, but we can onboard you and flow does the onboarding, with a better human, that's a digital human face to face. You pick up the phone in your call the call center. And we actually have the same brain that we trained for the digital human now driving the voice only. So now you're talking to flow through her voice on there. And so that continuity and consistency is so key. But it's great because you're building this emotional connection with a personality versus think about what businesses do today. It's disparate technology. And so somehow, we got in our heads that customers get excited about having a chatbot and an email and an IVR. And it's like, these are just technologies. No one cares about that. If anything, we want to solve our problems on understand how this is going to help us. But it gets so much better and more elevated. If it's a personality that we'd like. And that we oh, yeah, expect all the way through. I think that's the next big shift. We'll see. And then when the metaverse is there, too, then you've also got the ability to meet the characters, the digital humans, the brand ambassadors in environments that are going to make that even more compelling for storytelling, and adventures and things like that.

Joelly Goodson :

Wow, that's so amazing. What about copyrights? Is there there must be or how do you make a law where you can't somebody can't just create these characters or avatars of famous people, let's say. So for example, you know, I would love to meet George Clooney. So come to the come to the metaverse and I go into the metaverse, and there he is, and, you know, we have dinner together and we go out together. We do all the stuff together. But I mean, it's not really George Clooney, obviously. So what tell me about like the licensing or the copywriter? Do you know what I'm trying to get out? Like, because otherwise a million George Clooney is running around or a million? Penelope Cruz's whatever? Right

Danny Tomsett:

100% 100%. And so this problem has been solved before, because you can't just create a video or use George Clooney footage or anything like that. Right? You have to have the permission. The

Unknown:

podcast is sponsored by George Clooney.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, sorry. Go ahead.

Danny Tomsett:

And so the nature of anything that you would do with any individual today, I mean, for you and me, no one could no one has the right to recreate you and I and so it should should always have a licensing agreement that covers obviously that permission to use it for a particular use as well. It's never unrestricted. Well, it'd be crazy. If it was unrestricted. Maybe there's some that have, actually there are some that exists out there. But most of the time, particularly for a well known individual, they're going to be very careful about that. So it will be a specific license. And that's often managed through licensing companies.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, I was gonna ask because, you know, the reason I thought of that is because on Instagram, for example, there's so many fake accounts, right? Like, there's so many I mean, I've had, quote, unquote, famous people want to connect with me when you know, they're not so made me think of it as if it's being done on Instagram. How is it gonna stop in the metaverse?

Danny Tomsett:

Yeah, they will. They're already technologies and companies that are focusing specifically on that problem. I think a lot of the technology today, like our technology is not built for like everyday, small startup or a university student just to create something and put it out there, it's got a lot more cost. And it's a lot more complex. So that we'll have time until we have to solve for that. Because you have to, obviously spend a bit more money to get to the results that make that look really, really good when that comes though. And it's the time where that's fully commoditized. And anyone can create anything. If that doesn't exist, then the companies that are focusing on that problem, we've got really great solutions around the way that we even use a blockchain to ensure that you've actually got permission and rights to use that. That's the authentic version of you. And so it'd be very easy to understand that someone's just doing something fraudulent versus is the real deal that's going along with it.

Joelly Goodson :

It's amazing. I mean, I'm sure we could talk for hours. These are all questions. Like I said, I was sitting around the dinner table last night with my family. And we're talking about and these were questions that we were talking about. And I thought I'm gonna ask right. So yeah, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer them. And I feel that we've just hit the tip of the iceberg with this whole thing with digital humans in the metaverse and I'd love to sit down with you, you know, one or two or three years from now, and we'll see where we're at. You'd be crazy. So thank you so much, Danny, I really appreciate it. If people want to learn more about you and about unique and digital humans, what's the best way for them to connect with you?

Danny Tomsett:

The website is the easiest way, you can go to unique you in eq.com. Or if you want to go for an easy one and digital humans.com. That's us as well, same place and really easy to get more information that way. And if you want to connect with me directly on LinkedIn, Danny Thompson, CEO of unique on LinkedIn, be happy to talk to anyone.

Joelly Goodson :

That's great. Well, I really appreciate it. And you got to check out the digital Weinstein when you're there, too. It's kind of fun. Well, thank you again. It's so nice to meet you. And I look forward to staying in touch.

Danny Tomsett:

Yeah, it's been heaps of fun. Thanks for having me on the podcast.

Joelly Goodson :

It's my pleasure. All right. We'll talk soon. Bye. Bye. And there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the conversation and maybe learned a few things to help you with your branding. But most of all, I hope you had some fun. This show is a work in progress. So please remember to rate and review on whatever platform you listen to podcasts. And if you want to learn more about me and what I do to help my clients with their branding, feel free to reach out to me on any of the social channels under, you guessed it, Branding_Badass. Branding Matters was produced, edited and hosted by Joelly Goodson, also me. So thanks again and until next time, here's to all you badasses out there.