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Analytics and Jeopardy: Changing the game

Perhaps you aren’t a regular watcher of Jeopardy (although you should be because it’s awesome) and are not aware of the magic that was happening with one contestant, James Holzhauer. Up until June 3rd, James had been showcased as a “professional Vegas gambler” with his “all in” bets racking up to an astounding $2,462,216! What you may not be aware of however is how he used analytics to essentially change the way the game is played.
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Although James Holzhauer fell short of dethroning Ken Jennings, who many consider the Jeopardy GOAT (greatest of all time), winning slightly over $2.5 million in a 74-episode span, he managed to turn the game on its heels winning just $60K shy of the all-time record in only 32 appearances.

Many may draw the conclusion that James won at such a faster pace than Ken because of pure intellect or luck or even his “Daily Double” throw-caution-to-the-wind approach, but that’s only half the story. James had been studying the game—studying the data for years—and employed several key tactics to winning. If you consider that Ken Jennings played in 2004, there have been many more years of data gathering taking place since then, only fueling speculation that James played an almost perfect game. Who has time to study all that data you ask? A fan site called “J! Archive” has everything you may never want to know about Jeopardy collected in one location, and it’s intriguing.

James knew, based on the data, where the Daily Double would likely be; in fact a fan site called “The Jeopardy Fan” has compiled these numbers, and it shows, of the 76 Daily Doubles James could have found, he only missed four, resulting in $654K earnings in Daily Doubles alone.

Nuance knows the tactics and how to help businesses win using the latest analytics solutions, like our friend James.

 

Let’s talk about analytics

As someone who developed a healthy fear of math during elementary education, I was never someone who understood or embraced numbers. Give me a pen and I’ll write all day, but hand me a pencil and a calculator and I’ll break into a cold sweat. About five years ago an analytically inclined teammate was working on a project with me around Nuance Voice-to-Text. Although I was touting all the great attributes of this product, she mentioned the massive amount of data we had that proved the claims we were making about its impact—not anecdotal, but hard and fast numbers. Given Nuance had been one of the first providers of this service, we could show the stickiness year over year for the telecommunications carrier, not to mention the significant amount of money they were making…the numbers were quite impressive and those not typically seen in value-added services. The responses from the carriers were electric; they were clamoring for this type of data, and I was hooked. No longer were numbers something to fear, but a powerful, approachable, user-friendly tool that could help sales, marketing, you name it.

Fast forward to present day and I’m obsessed with the picture that numbers can paint. Working for a tech company, it’s incredible to me how much data we have—subsets of data, data lakes—all a part of the artificial intelligence Nuance employs to make smarter, forward-looking, more efficient products.

 

Nuance Analytics

Any company worth their salt understands that the customer experience can make or break loyalty. Seamless Intelligent Engagement offerings require meaningful, useful tools that put the customer in the driver seat. All these types of tools are paramount, but even more important is the data that the company can glean—key learnings about the health and wellness of both their end user experience and their bottom line.

Nuance sells solutions but also sells powerful analytics tools to ensure we equip and enable some of the most successful and powerful global companies helping improve customer satisfaction, adjust to head winds and make predictions about seas to come. The goal is to provide customers with a complete view of customer engagements across channels, to improve operational efficiencies, reduce customer friction and to streamline the overall customer experience.

James forever changed the way Jeopardy is played; he utilized the data, employed tactics and adjusted in real-time, achieving real-world, record-breaking results until a 27-year-old librarian at University of Chicago named Emma Boettcher doubled down on Final Jeopardy, and ousted boy wonder. The only thing we can be certain of, is data is power!

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Selena Castellanos

About Selena Castellanos

Selena Castellanos joined Nuance in March 2014 focused on business development and marketing for Voicemail to Text and has taken on several roles including managing a global field marketing team in the mobile division. Recently joining the Enterprise team, she leverages her 20+ years of telecommunications sales and marketing experience to support the Nuance Telco Vertical as well as looking after DragonTV from a Product Marketing perspective. Selena holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and an MBA from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.