Artificial Intelligence
Sep 30, 2017

Are you falling behind in your AI strategy?

From Spotify's use of machine learning to recommend songs based on listening behavior, to Bank of America's chatbot “Erica," which provides customers with both account information and financial advice, it seems like every day there's news of a company deploying artificial intelligence (AI).

With these headlines popping up all the time, it may be easy for CIOs, application managers, and enterprise architects who are still gathering knowledge on AI or piloting projects to feel like they are falling behind. In reality, they are on par with the rest of the market.

In a recent webinar titled “Develop Your AI Strategy With Three Trends in Mind," Whit Andrews, VP distinguished analyst, Gartner, shared the following survey results:

Current stage of AI solutions adoption

It's clear that the majority is still learning about AI in order to develop their adoption strategy. Only six percent of the companies surveyed are actually using it today. So, organizations on the investigating end of spectrum can be assured that they are on the right pace.

Yet at the same time, AI is an ever-evolving technology. It can be difficult to craft a strategy when there are breakthroughs constantly emerging and new uses developing. Fortunately, experts like Gartner's Whit Andrews have been able to identify distinct trends that will guide the direction of AI in business.

According to Andrews, there are three trends in particular that companies should keep in mind as they develop their AI strategy:

AI will proliferate natural, contextual human-computing interfaces

We're already seeing this trend take full effect in the consumer space, as Google Home and Amazon Echo devices enter homes around the world. User-machine interaction is shifting from tactile keyboards and touchscreens to voice. These voice interactions are not limited to precise commands, but can understand natural human speech. This is being driven by advancements in natural language processing (NLP) and natural language generation. In the future, conversational interactions with applications will become the expectation with consumer products and business.

The webinar noted an example of a warehouse using NLP today to improve operations. The warehouse's staff included employees from different parts of Eastern Europe, all of whom speak different languages, creating a language barrier and impediment to collaboration. But by implementing NLP via a natural language interpretation system, workers can speak to the system in their own language, understand what needs to be done on their part of the warehouse, and stay abreast of what is being completed in other parts of the warehouse — clearly a more unified and coordinated work environment.

AI will power smart internet of things (IoT) and fluid application integration

Today, IoT is commonplace across virtually all industries. IoT devices are fairly simple — they collect data on the physical world, exchange information, and execute tasks sent via the internet. But when combined with AI, they can become much smarter. The innovative warehouse mentioned above is looking to use AI-powered IoT to improve its order picking and packing process. It would be simple to just have internet-connected robots receive orders, pick products, and place them in containers for shipping. However, AI in the form of visual analysis can evaluate the shapes of the order items and determine the best container to use, reducing unused space in shipping and enabling the entire operation to be more efficient.

In addition to IoT, AI can also improve existing enterprise applications. One of the top areas that companies have identified to benefit from AI is customer engagement and support. Bank of America's chatbot Erica is a prime example. At PNMSOFT, we've discussed how banks are embracing AI through chatbots. These bots are conversational, with high-speed computing capabilities to answer questions fast and free up human customer service agents to handle larger cases. We've also touched on how AI combined with business process management (BPM) leads to faster operations, better customer experiences, and greater customer retention — a win-win situation for everyone.

Computing ecosystems will interconnect AI-enabled software

As AI becomes the norm and companies incorporate more diverse systems, computing ecosystems will emerge — a complex mix of staff, customers, IoT devices, data, and applications, all with AI at the center. This will entail:

  • People interacting with other people via devices
  • People interacting with applications
  • Applications connecting and working with other applications
  • And everything in between

These ecosystems will provide organizations more integrated automation, deeper insight, and better customer engagement. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2020 virtual agents will participate in a majority of commercial interactions between people and businesses.

If you feel like you and your organization aren't making enough headway in AI adoption, keep calm and carry on. By developing a well-thought AI strategy — and bearing in mind the trends discussed above — you will be a leader of the pack in no time. You will be well on your way to reaping the full benefits of AI and making headlines of your own.

This blog was first published on PNMSoft, a Genpact company.