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1- One technology that is currently changing the business landscape and has much more untapped potential is artificial intelligence. On the consumer side of the equation, it is easy to see how much simpler things have become. It used to be that you had to go to the store to purchase something. Then the telephone came along and customers can call in their orders. As the internet grew, online shopping became the norm, and we are now seeing a shift towards AI shopping. There is no longer a need to press a button, or search a website, or even a mobile app, just say the word â€œAlexaâ€ or â€œhey Googleâ€ and youâ€™re in. More so, you can set up the AI systems to reorder items at a certain rate, making the process even easier. But this begs a question, is AI truly helping businesses do business? Or is it simply a gimmick to get people to shop? Is it actually worth the investment? Is there any data that shows AI to be a beneficial tool for businesses?
For starters, a study including over 3,000 executives from over 112 countries showed that 84% of these executives believed AI will allow them to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. Another study by Accenture shows that 75% of consumers are more likely to buy if their experience is personalized. Artificial intelligence gives companies the power to customize and personalize the shopping experience in an effort to access those 75% of customers. An example of this is Amazon Alexa sending you coupons or deals based on your past purchases and shopping habits. The same study showed that 78% of shoppers will engage or take advantage of deals when they have been personalized according to the consumerâ€™s favorite brands. AI has the power to take the information collected by big data and take your shopping habits, your likes and dislikes and offering you a customized, personalized experience that is statistically proven to increase the chances of you making a purchase. A study of IBMâ€™s Watson showed that AI was also beneficial in customer service. Having an AI â€œlive chatâ€ allowed IBM to provide customer service 24/7. This is huge since 75% of consumers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent. IBM is using AI to give customers support around the clock.
Another benefit of AI would be the reduction of costs. One article states the possibility of AI reducing healthcare costs. This article states that right now, the US spends about $9,400 per capita on healthcare. AI can help reduce these costs by replacing many jobs that currently exist. The article even gives an example of AI helping doctors diagnose cancer and other illnesses using X-rays. However, this is not only a healthcare solution, I recently went on a trip and throughout the entire rental car experience, I did not encounter a single human. I did my entire reservation at a kiosk, I took the ticket to another machine that read my ticket and flashed a light where my car was waiting for me, I drove past a scanner that detected any scratches on the vehicle, and lastly I had to input any scratches I had noticed, just as a way of double checking. In the end, I rented a car for my vacation completely with the help of machinery. This is a great way to cut costs because instead of paying 9 or 10 salaries for attendants, These costs were all dissolved by the machines. Leaving the company with a smaller bill for maintenance of the machinery.
Without a doubt, AI has proven to be a powerful tool for businesses, but I believe there is much more to come. I think this is the tip of the iceberg. The more we learn about AI, the more solutions we will have.
2- I’ve chosen to highlight the importance of innovation through Artificial Intelligence. AI is the method that long-term business success or failure will be determined by. AI can be a broad, impactful tool for business practices and getting ahead of the curve. AI is defined as “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. AI is present in a multitude of areas such as Apple’s Siri, self-driving automobiles by Tesla, facial recognition, solving equations, and much more. AI is an emerging innovation and thus, has a lot of back and forth on the ethics and potential success/failures that can be apparent.
Because of how versatile AI is, it can be used in almost every business potential you can think of. Not only can it revolutionize internal data analysis and reduce costs across the board, but it can also have significant impact on product offerings in and of itself.
The Innovation Enterprise notes that “72% of respondents from the technology, media, and telecommunications industries told Forbes they expect [AI] to impact their products within the next five years”. AI isn’t only about promising to ‘streamline processes’ or improve efficiency; it is developing clear business applications that can be utilized in all directions of business decisions.
While some companies have invested whole-heatedly in the technology behind AI and gotten a jump on the competition, there are so many more avenues that AI can and will go down. I believe that AI innovation is in the Experimentation stage because of the variety of testing and ideas being put forth for the first time. While some of the companies that were the first to research and develop AI have reached Commercialization (i.e self-driving cars reaching tip of the consumer market), the majority of companies are just starting at the inception of utilizing AI features and how it can be customized to fit their business model.
Because of the broad nature of AI, I will focus on one area- Predicting Customer Behavior- for the future of AI’s ability in this area. AI is just starting in the use to predict customer behavior on a small scale, but the future will provide a large boost. Businesses want to use AI to detect if a customer is willing to purchase a product/service, seeking support or wanting to switch to another competitor, and what the steps will be in the process of purchasing and beyond the purchase. Businesses and innovators are focusing on making machine learning more intense that that it appears more ‘human’ for better engagement and successful results. By utilizing AI technology tools, companies can save time and money through their consumer research. Employees can focus their time on other tasks and there will be a decreased need for headcount if computers are calculating and doing the work.
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