The future, Artificial Intelligence and analytics
There are many benefits to be derived by making use of greater intelligence and automation to complement rather than supplant human activity.
Cisco’s Transforming Businesses with Artificial Intelligence report states that by 2035 AI technologies
are projected to increase business productivity by up to 40%. Organisations that use AI to unlock insights and intelligence about their organisation also stand to gain financially. Research shows that by 2020 insights-driven businesses will steal a staggering $1.2 trillion per annum from their less-informed peers. Put simply, if Artificial Intelligence is used in the right way then it pays to embrace it.
It’s clear, that many companies are waking up to the upside being bigger and better than any downside. Indeed, IDC predicts that worldwide spending on cognitive and AI systems will reach $19.1 billion in 2018 – a 54.2% increase year-on-year. By 2021, this spend will increase to $52.2 billion, according to the analyst firm.
“Interest and awareness of AI is at a fever pitch. Every industry and every organisation should be evaluating AI to see how it will affect their business processes and go-to-market efficiencies,” said David Schubmehl, research director, Cognitive/Artificial Intelligence Systems at IDC.
The future of Artificial Intelligence and analytics
Given that by the year 2020, there’s expected to be in excess of 30 billion devices connected to the IoT, the idea of coping with let alone being able to analyse the resultant data is unthinkable, and unmanageable. Indeed, according to a recent blog by Cisco's Tim Stack “it would take a lifetime to manually analyse the data produced by a single sensor on a manufacturing assembly line”.
McKinsey concurs with Gartner’s predictions around job loss/creation that suggest there is more to be excited about than not around the advancement of AI.
In its report What’s now and next in analytics, AI and automation, the management consulting firm highlighted the opportunities for businesses and the wider economy brought about by analytics, AI, automation and advancements in digital innovation.
“The application of AI and the automation of activities can enable productivity growth and other benefits not just for businesses, but also for entire economies. At a macroeconomic level, based on our scenario modelling, we estimate automation alone could raise productivity growth on a global basis by 0.8% to 1.4% annually,” according to McKinsey.
Whether employees still suffer from some fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) around AI remains unclear. But, that said, in a recent survey, many seemed OK with the idea of taking orders from a machine.
Some constraints remain, though, and small and medium sized businesses need to be mindful of these to ensure they get the best rather than the worst out of AI. Until 2022, Gartner predicts that the majority (85%) of AI projects will deliver the wrong results due to certain data or algorithmic biases, or purely the people managing them.
“Data is the fuel for AI, so organisations need to prepare now to store and manage even larger amounts of data for AI initiatives," said Gartner’s research vice president Jim Hare.
“Relying mostly on external suppliers for these skills is not an ideal long-term solution. Therefore, ensure that early AI projects help transfer knowledge from external experts to your employees, and build up your organisation’s in-house capabilities before moving on to large-scale projects.”
McKinsey offers additional thoughts on AI’s future in business.
“Make no mistake: the next digital frontier is here, and it’s AI. While some firms are still reeling from previous digital disruptions, a new one is taking shape,” it said in its report How to make AI work for your business. “But it’s early days. There’s still time to make AI a competitive advantage.”
AI use by businesses of all sizes has much hype to live up to, but great strides are already being made. As outlined in Transforming Businesses with Artificial Intelligence report, BMW is doubling down on AI. Not only does the automotive company have lightweight robots working next to humans on its Leipzig factory line, but it’s also using AI to support the development of driverless and is aiming to achieve level 5 autonomy by 2021.
AI use by businesses of all sizes has much hype to live up to, but the promise is real and is being recognised not just by end user organisations, but vendors too – with Cisco investing $100 million in working with University College London (UCL) to create what is thought to be the world’s largest AI research centre.
That’s a lot of food for thought for SMBs. There’s little at stake and a lot on offer by embracing advanced technologies such as AI.
“For small businesses, doing what it takes to be as operationally efficient as possible is the best way to remain viable and achieve growth,” Cisco continued in the Tech Connection blog.
“Small businesses that adopt cutting-edge technologies like AI, IoT, wireless and intelligent networks, as well as data analytics will position themselves for success for 2018 and beyond. It’s time to transform future growth.”
Find out more on how you can transform your business with Artificial Intelligence and stay ahead of the competition.