AI, artificial intelligence, machine intelligence – the subject has been hyped for years, so what makes it especially interesting right now? Mark Thiele, CIO of Apcera, lists the following reasons, for example: significantly better algorithms, increasing popularity of cloud services, requirements set for agile business operations, and the massive volume of data produced for instance by IoT solutions.
According to Thiele, artificial intelligence will speed up business operations and create new business models in a way that we have not yet witnessed since the beginning of the Internet era. But we must also know how to utilize artificial intelligence in the right way. Thiele points out that artificial intelligence is almost useless if it is not provided with real-time data to be analyzed.
"If artificial intelligence is the brain, the IoT acts as its eyes and ears, while data is its food. Artificial intelligence enables us to make decisions much more quickly. If a new business opportunity presents itself this afternoon, the CEO may want to know tomorrow morning how to proceed with it. We need artificial intelligence to support these kinds of decisions," says Thiele.
Because of new technologies, the IT organization must focus on the essential
Utilization of artificial intelligence and fast business decisions require that, instead of internal customers, companies' IT organizations focus on external customers. The old operating models for conducting and developing business no longer work. In this technological and digital revolution, IT capacity should be handled and managed as the manufacturing capacity. In other words, the production and resources should be optimized, which also means that it is not wise for companies to produce everything by themselves.
Artificial intelligence and other technological trends, such as big data, IoT and virtual reality, increase the demand for IT capacity exponentially. Intel, for example, estimates that self-driving cars may produce up to 4 terabytes of data during a 1.5-hour drive. The demand for data center services will thus grow inevitably. It no longer necessarily pays off to store data in the company's own “cleaning cupboard”, as the company would have to make investments in it at regular intervals, and it would often be unable to react rapidly to changes. Investments can be utilized more efficiently, when the company focuses on its core business and its development, and when the company has rapidly scalable solutions at its disposal.
Thiele claims that the ability of an IT organization to seize the opportunities offered by artificial intelligence and other major technology trends will also determine which companies will survive and which will be wiped off the map.
2,500 start-ups and 200 acquisitions
Artificial intelligence is already utilized extensively. It is estimated that there are currently over 2,500 start-ups focusing on it. Since 2012, about 200 of these companies have been acquired by another company. Companies focusing on artificial intelligence have been acquired for instance by Google, Apple, Facebook and Intel. According to Thiele, the best opportunities are offered by artificial intelligence specialized in a narrow area, such as self-driving cars and energy management.
"Platforms supporting consistent, fast, secure and scalable application deployment are also interesting right now," says Thiele.
Artificial Intelligence keeps developing, of course, but there are already many good examples in the world of how it is utilized today.
"Intraspexion, for example, utilizes deep learning to anticipate and prevent potential litigation. Metamind.io’s image recognition is utilized in many different ways, e.g. in the pharmaceutical industry," says Thiele. "SpaceKnow, in turn, uses artificial intelligence to monitor the global trends in economy."
Artificial intelligence is also utilized in robotics. The flying vehicles of Mttr.net, for example, are built on intelligent software. In customer service, in turn, the hot topic has long been chatbots, but artificial intelligence can also take automation and customer experience to a whole new level and help customer service agents work better and more efficiently. Artificial intelligence benefits especially companies that receive a large number of customer inquiries by analysing and processing the inquiries before directing them to customer service agents.
There are thus endless opportunities, and so far we have only scratched the surface.
This article is based on the speech given by Mark Thiele at the Datacloud Europe event. The event was held in Monaco in June 2017. Telia participated in the event together with Invest in Finland and its partners.