Busy business leaders around the world are waking up to a new decade where AI is fast encroaching into all areas of their work. Here’s where we stand today, and how the landscape will pan out in the near future.
How does AI impact your business today? In the world of fintech, proptech, medtech, smart IT security and many others, there’s a good chance it is already having an impact.
Most businesses have moved on from traditional firewalls and virus software to zero-day solutions, like Darktrace, that guard against intrusion and other threats using AI and machine learning to spot new attacks, identify variants and secure all other users against them. As hackers adopt AI tools to build and exploit new attack vectors, traditional tools will stand no chance in the AI vs AI battle to keep your business data safe.
If your business applies for credit, investment or a bank loan, more likely AI is involved in the process to scan your credentials, level risk and ability to repay or deliver a return on investment. Similarly, your business insurance and other services are calculated and updated using AI tools that balance risk and reward for the provider.
Changing the game, challenger banks and investment services like Correlation Ventures rely on AI to do these types of tasks to undercut their traditional rivals. Soon businesses could seek funding from around the world, with minimal human effort to shorten the time to invest and to calculate their risk or return.
Even if your business is pretty traditional, AI is in your worker’s phones helping make pictures look better, recommendation engines provide better deals for both your business or customers. While chatbots like SnatchBot can help create automated digital concierge or customer service functions that can save growing businesses time and money.
In reality, AI affects different industries and individual companies in different ways, take a look at what estate agents think of AI in their market. Similar stories can be told across the retail, marketing, B2B, transport and other sectors. Those opinions might also be formed by exposure to limited AI trials that failed to deliver or general animosity towards new technology in any form.
Some areas, like air travel and hospitality, are pushing ahead with great investment in AI, chatbots and similar tools as they were among the first adopters and have seen the greatest success with full-scale rollouts. Others like transportation have been waiting for the Internet of Things and 5G networks to arrive, allowing them to build smart networks that track every aspect of shipments, from origin through ports and roads to their final destination.
The Future of AI in Business
And that’s probably where most businesses will see the future of AI creeping across their loading dock or reception. AI will bring new levels of fidelity to just-in-time deliveries, allowing factories or services to work to more efficient timelines.
AI will also enable businesses to buy parts or raw materials at more competitive prices from a wider range of sources, allowing them to be more competitive and return savings to the business or to reduce prices to attract more customers.
Within an office, AI chatbots are already moving from a customer focus to helping departments and teams work better internally. Soon all HR departments will use AI as part of the hiring process to find the best candidates, and use chatbots to deliver training and basic information. Amelia is one of the leading examples of an enterprise AI, but these will soon be available to every type of company.
AI tools in productivity apps, tracking tools and other devices could help measure efficiency, engagement, personal satisfaction and other factors that could help with loyalty, retention and discipline issues.
Artificial intelligence will also feature heavily in common business apps and productivity tools. Already the likes of Excel and Google Docs have AI features to add better analytics tools, simple effects like suggestions in word processors, and other features enabling anyone in the business to start using AI to help improve efficiency for their role.
With AI everywhere, each business needs to monitor this growth and ensure that the IT officer or department keeps tabs on how AI is being used to avoid privacy or security violations. And, as all data analytics becomes real-time, the business will have to be ready to react instantly, with AI tools offer a range of reactions or solutions that officers can vote on for the AI to enact, or to consider in their own time.
AI in the Smart City
While AI will bloom within any business, it will also affect the business by expanding into use around it. Smart cities will use AI to guide traffic flow, change how public transport works and encourage the use of green power and similar initiatives. Businesses that partner with their local government or council may be able to benefit from utility sharing, work from home initiatives and other ways to improve the environment.
Also coming soon to many public spaces and businesses will be more robots, both physical and in software form. More offices and public-facing organisations are going with robot concierges to welcome, process and deliver people to their destinations. Hospitals and the like are already using industrial robots mixing with patients, staff and visitors to deliver essentials around the wards and surgeries. In the future they will be taking greater care of patients, delivering therapy and helping those with mobility issues.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of AI is that it will be able to create better, new AIs to replace older ones without the need for developers or strategy groups. Just tell a bot what you need to do, and the service behind it will deliver a new AI that can perform exactly what you want, with dashboard sliders to change levels of accuracy or response types, enabling all business to create their ideal AI with minimal cost and effort, and none of the delay of traditional development.
And, Breathe, Before the AI Rush
You would hope there is time for a business to breathe before all these changes happen, but new AI services are arriving in a constant surge of updates, upgrades and new releases. They may be new services or bolted into existing business applications (with IBM, Salesforce, Google and many others keen to get companies adopting AI tools).
Hardware for factories, design studios, 3D printers and measuring devices will all feature AI, so even if you wanted to avoid AI, it will be arriving in boxes or cameras and other gadgets that slip into a company almost unseen.
However, these AI tools arrive, the inevitable rise of AI means every business needs to be ready to adopt, adapt and react. Build a team to understand what AI is, in its various forms. Ask how it can improve your business, and what the risks or threats are. Use that information to plan an AI strategy.
Even if your business only has a modest technology footprint, it will be affected in some way, partners will use it, customers will expect AI features, so preparing for the future is good for the health of the company and its prospects.