Ken Lonyai

Digital Innovation Strategist, co-founder, ScreenPlay InterActive

Ken is a 15 year veteran of interactive project development including some of the industry’s most unique experiential systems. His skills span the on-line world and nearly every realm of human/computer interface used by brands and retailers – mobile, interactive kiosks, experiential displays, and more. Known as the man with the miniature R&D lab in his head, when he’s not working on a client project, Ken can be found designing, tinkering, and developing some cool new experiential device in SPIA Labs.

He is a consumer engagement expert using cutting-edge, unique, and enticing brand experiences that encourage “like”, “share”, and “buy now” behaviors, as well as a creator of true consumer excitement by baking-in fun, social, and gamification actions that generate results. Focused on producing “amazing user experiences” for brands and retailers, he helps companies transform into destinations that consumers seek out and want to interact with.

Ken is a subject matter expert in user experience, most things interactive, experiential marketing, mobile app strategy/development, and digital UX/UI.

Additionally, he is a co-founder of NUI Central™, an organization to promote using natural human traits (voice, gesture, eye movement, etc.) to bi-directionally interact with smart devices.

Other Links from Ken Lonyai:

SPIA blog

  • Posted on: 10/17/2016

    Should in-store associates help online browsers?

    Sounds great but unless they add staffing, something has to give either in-store or online. Customer support is not so wonderful now, so unless Saks invests in more employees/hours, stretching thin resources only thinner is going to either hurt the brick-and-mortar experience or fail online.
  • Posted on: 10/10/2016

    Will retailers lose retiring boomers to experiences?

    Retailers will do well if they connect the dots between products and experiences. In other words, don't just sell a garden rake, make it part of a fun in-store gardening demo that reveals pointers about growing more robust plants and even comes with a free plant. In that way, the product helps fulfill the experience with the store as the mechanism rather than the store as simply an outside party to the experience as in traditional retail.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2016

    Target piloting Amazon Alexa voice search rival

    I have been working in the NLP, artificial assistant, and bot arena for the past five years and there's a reason why I say tired old click-and-touch interfaces will be replaced. NLP in both voice and text are the logical evolution of human-machine interaction. Click-and-touch will be around for a long time yet, but conversational interfaces will grow and in a few years become dominant. Well-built with powerful AI, these technologies make interactions more useful and convenient for consumers and more effective for businesses. The video example is a bit cumbersome and most automotive voice activated systems have a ways to go, but well-executed conversational interfaces are a reasonably enjoyable and efficient paradigm.You don't have to take my word for it though, look at what Google just put a huge investment into.
  • Posted on: 10/06/2016

    What is the ‘maker movement’ and should retailers care?

    As a former manufacturing engineer, I'll spare my critique of the buzz around 3-D printers and simply say that they will never achieve the hype surrounding them (dozens of reasons abound). The maker movement is clearly growing (a throwback to magazines like Popular Mechanics in the '50s and '60s) but the retailers that will profit from it most likely already exist in the materials space -- like a Michaels. The idea of a Target or Home Depot showing any real profitability from selling maker supplies and offering 3-D printing services is just pure fantasy.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2016

    Why aren’t more retail apps being downloaded?

    Retailers shouldn't take it personally. Overall, the app era has peaked with people downloading very few new apps at all and those are mostly games or for personal messaging. The hassle of keeping up with app discovery and updates has led people to settle into what works for them with little interest in what's new. Retailers will have to refocus on omnichannel and more in-store experiences to capture and maintain consumer interest/loyalty. As discussed previously on RetailWire, the most successful retail apps are those that offer discounts and redeemable loyalty perks. In other words, retailers have the most success when they "buy off" consumers, not when they attempt to entertain or offer services.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2016

    Will limiting incentives make Amazon reviews more credible?

    It's easy to clamp down measurably if they choose. Just as they have fees to fight counterfeits they can have penalties for sellers caught trying to "buy" reviews -- if not an outright termination.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2016

    Will limiting incentives make Amazon reviews more credible?

    This is an appropriate move on Amazon's part and one that will add credibility to reviews. Along with incorporating AI to try and identify bogus reviews and "verified purchase" tags, they are shoring up what has been a free-for-all in many ways.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2016

    Will customers give Amazon the keys to their smart homes?

    Shawn, I think you make even a bigger argument against this idea. By your description, receiving a package should entail the consumer implementing huge security efforts and systems and the responsibilities/liabilities that go with them. That is technology for technology's sake and a great argument for traditional brick-and-mortar shopping. Airbnb hosts choose to turn their home into a "business" (not without risks that they assume), which is completely irrelevant to a customer receiving goods.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2016

    Will customers give Amazon the keys to their smart homes?

    It's hard to believe this is real. If so, there are always some that will accept it. However, it's just a bad idea on so many fronts. Aside from having lockers, signature-based deliveries and essentially a private last-mile delivery force that can deliver at an agreed upon time as options, leaving packages on porches is still a viable methodology. Not sure what the thinking here is, so it sounds like yet another headline grab more than anything else.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2016

    Will retailers benefit from greater supply chain transparency?

    If a retailer has a commendable supply chain they can only benefit from sharing. However those that jump on the bandwagon without knowing what's really happening behind closed factory doors are sure to get burned one day.Still, the majority of U.S. consumers are more focused on price, convenience and availability than maintaining ideals.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2016

    Consumers rely on reviews, but they don’t trust them

    This is an area of my focus as I've been very focused on improving user reviews and answered questions for at least the last year. Authenticity is the first priority. The "verified buyer" tag is a good start, also vetting users in a number of supplementary ways to improve the likelihood of their reviews being real and not paid are important. Additionally, culling down excessive and redundant user questions makes the remaining questions more valuable to readers. Lastly, responding publicly to user criticisms in an authentic, individual, problem-solving way shows readers that they are recognized by the seller as having a valued opinion.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2016

    Should grocers back away from prepared meals?

    Prepared meals are a great value-add item for grocers. The days of packaged food products only are long passed. Shoppers that are weary of traversing aisles and that dread having to head home and prepare some food or spend more time at a restaurant are a ready-made market for this service. The issue is simply that grocers need to treat the service as a sub-business run by qualified/experienced food prep management that has the authority and the means to safeguard and control the end-to-end process. Paying workers fairly wouldn't hurt the end product either.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2016

    Amazon and Fanatics play ‘anytime, anywhere, anyhow’ commerce on game day

    I like it! It's not going to deliver a lot of revenue or likely be used by that many fans, but it's really nice marketing and positioning. Tailgaters and those that hear the buzz will see a distinction between Amazon and all the rest. That's where the value is.
  • Posted on: 09/09/2016

    These social media behaviors are turning off your followers

    TV/radio is expected to be impersonal and aimed at you. Social media is expected to be more personalized and bi-directional. When it's not and when marketers lose all sight of reality and think they are outwitting followers with thinly-disguised push messaging, these are the results. Social media success = authenticity.
  • Posted on: 09/09/2016

    Will Apple bring Macy’s a merry Christmas?

    This isn't a typical store-within-a-store scenario like in cosmetics, this is Macy's trying a foray into a space it long lost out on -- consumer electronics. Almost certainly, the upside here goes to Apple. Macy's will probably see some gross sales benefit, but I can't imagine it affecting their bottom line in any significant way. For tourists in NYC, Apple in Herald Square lets them conveniently tick off two stops in one with no real lasting benefit to the department store.Time will tell if I'm right, but this feels like Macy's desperation to me.

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