Artificial intelligence is changing the way various businesses sectors work, from marketing, customer service, data research to operations.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has become part of our daily life, whether through search engine algorithms or the use of Siri or Alexa on our mobile phones for translation, taxi requests or maths calculations.
Businesses are taking big steps in adopting AI in their daily operations. The percentage of enterprises employing AI has grown by 270 percent over the past few years, according to Gartner, Inc.
Total AI investment by firms globally surged to a record-high $77.5 billion in 2021, up from $36 billion in 2020.
The Global AI Index measures national AI preparedness in 62 countries worldwide across more than 120 indicators. Its key findings reveal that the US has benefited most from this investment drive: US-based companies pulled in two-thirds of total global venture funding in AI in 2021 – or $51 billion worth of investment.
Results have showed that organisations across all industries use AI in a variety of applications, but struggle with acute talent shortages.
Not too long ago, ad development was mostly a creative endeavor. It still is, but businesses are looking beyond creativity if they want their ads to be effective. Today, it's all about targeting and delivering the right message.
Marketers are working tirelessly on attracting new customers to buy companies’ products or services. They plan to use dreamtech advertising while a new device encouraging semi-lucid dream states was tested to strengthen memory and inspire creativity.
AI is a great opportunity for online marketers, helping them better understand the market as devices can now recognise customers' behaviours by harnessing their record of previous purchases and preferences.
Marketers seek to collect such data to set creative marketing strategies accurately.
AI will continue to change the way businesses advertise. Today's digital advertising strategies would be impossible without a rudimentary form of AI. Even electronic billboards can be powered by AI-based delivery systems.
These systems operate autonomously, placing the right kinds of ads in front of the right kinds of people based on complex algorithms and big data - what's known as "programmatic advertising."
One prediction for AI sees it powering 95 percent of all customer interactions by 2025.
It is perfect for lower-level repetitive or routine tasks. You already see the integration of call or chatbots by companies to handle customer issues with automated responses before directing them to a human customer service associate for more complex matters.
“Businesses that don’t adopt these technologies will become irrelevant in less than a decade,” Sameet Gupte, CEO of Servion Global Solutions told Finance Digest. “The challenge is not deciding whether to adopt, but how to do so quickly and successfully.”
“Businesses need to take a holistic view: bringing all communication channels, data and technologies together in a single ‘hub’ that controls all customer interaction,” Gupte explained.
Dr Hossein Rahnama, founder and CEO of AI concierge company Flybits, explained, "If you have a mortgage with the bank and it's up for renewal in 90 days or less… if you're walking by a branch, you get a personalised message inviting you to go to the branch and renew purchase".
"If you're looking at a property for sale and you spend more than 10 minutes there, it will send you a possible mortgage offer,” Rahnama added.
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AI uses a great amount of data to identify patterns in people's search behaviours and provide them with more relevant information regarding their circumstances.
As the AI technology becomes even more advanced, users will have a more customisable experience. This means the world for small businesses which will have an easier time targeting a very specific audience.
"We're no longer expecting the user to constantly be on a search box Googling what they need," Rahnama added. "The paradigm is shifting as to how the right information finds the right user at the right time."
Fewer employee expenses
Organisations spend a lot of resources on staff welfare. In 2016, companies in the US spent more than $70 billion on employee learning and development. They also strive to offer a competitive employee benefits package such as health insurance, dental insurance, flexible spending accounts, and paid vacation among other things.
These commitments are made in order to empower employees for better performance and productivity, but oftentimes is a high investment cost for companies.
Having robots execute some tasks performed by employees means a reduction in the number of employees. That ultimately cuts down employee expenditure budget, saving up company resources for other productive pursuits.
Retailers’ AI efforts
According to a study by Capgemini Research Institute, when retailers deploy artificial AI across their business operations, they will save hundreds of billions of dollars.
The analysis reveals that more than a quarter of the top 250 global retailers are integrating AI into their organisations. However, the study found that only 1 percent of AI initiatives reach full-scale deployment.
Most are focusing their AI efforts on sales and marketing, when there is a significant opportunity to unleash AI use cases across the value chain. Retailers focus on quick wins, such as adding AI capabilities to existing websites, chat boxes, or fulfilment route plans.
Use of robots
Customers at some Walmart stores will find more than meet-and-greet robots. Instead, as part of a trial exercise, they will find robots that can scan shelves, alerting managers about the state of inventory in real time and suggesting inventory models.
In the UK, online supermarket Ocado – one of the world’s largest online-only retailers – has been an aggressive adopter of AI technologies. The company, in addition to selling groceries, also licences its automation technology and equipment.
At its UK warehouses, thousands of robots help pick groceries out of storage and fulfil as many as 65,000 orders every week.
These examples provide a glimpse into why retail – across all sectors – is expected to accelerate AI deployment.
According to Entrepreneur Magazine, employees in the UK spend millions of days a year on time-wasting tasks.
Similarly, a workplace study by AtTask and Harris Interactive shows that employees in the US spend only 45 percent of their time executing their primary duties. This means employers are paying their staff for not working as much as they should.
With such realisations of negligence by employees, any means to resolve this waste of company resources is a welcome development for bosses.
Routine tasks can be automated. This way, employers don’t have to worry about their workers not doing what they are supposed to do. Once programmed, machines execute tasks by following the stipulated standards and guidelines.
Is AI taking away jobs?
The World Economic Forum predicts AI will create millions of new jobs, saying that from a 30/70 division of labour between machines and humans, the ratio will dramatically shift to 52/48 by 2025.
“The first jobs created are for computer developers, AI experts and researchers, along with sales and marketing people in new AI companies,'' said Dr Peter Bentley, a computer scientist. “Other new jobs include educators, lawyers, and regulators to help society adjust to the changing technologies.”
“For technologies enabled by AI such as self-driving vehicles or smart buildings, we will need construction workers, engineers, and architects to build new infrastructure. That’s a lot of new jobs,” Bentley added.