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AI in Practice: How Businesses are Leveraging AI

How can your business leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to your advantage? AI is a huge buzzword right now, but for a good reason. AI has extreme potential for tech. It will most likely, have a similar impact as the internet had. Though that's probably not even close to the real possibilities that AI has to offer.

Businesses are changing; industries are growing, but soon the world will be altered even more. Suddenly humans are not the only source of intelligence on this planet. When used correctly, AI can also significantly change your business. Suddenly, 'intelligent resources' are not only humans. On the contrary, now intelligent resources could mean that a machine is running software to perform tasks around the clock. Technology is scalable at a relatively easy and low-cost. So the small startups doing the right things with AI could suddenly outcompete with big businesses. Especially those businesses that still don't believe in AI and its potential. Big companies may not be taking sufficient steps to stay on their throne.

This article exemplifies a handful of different businesses that are all successfully utilizing AI to innovate and remain competitive in the market. They use AI in many different ways, but this article highlights a few key examples.

Facebook, Google, and AI for an Improved Experience

Most of us are engaging with Facebook or Google on a daily basis, in one way or another. Although some of their tech may overlap, these companies have two different focus areas and are both leaders in their respective markets. Google focuses on information, while Facebook focuses on social. This is also directly reflected in their focus on AI. What is true for both of them, is that they use AI to improve their core products.

Take Facebook as an example. They're using AI to analyze and detect: fake accounts, spam, hate speech, false news or misinformation, and extremism, to name a few. Facebook is using AI to keep the platform safe for users to use. This processing of data remains within the Facebook environment and is thus primarily used to improve your experience with the product and further develop its functionality. Similarly, AI is used to analyze posts, pictures, and videos to improve search, and automatically categorize, warn, or remove sensitive content before anybody sees it. Based on this and your personal behavior, Facebook selects what you get to see in your newsfeed.

Google has a slightly different approach than Facebook. Since Google is more focused on information, they keep their attention on using AI to index, analyze, and deliver information to users. For example, using AI to understand data through Natural-Language Processing, Speech Recognition, and other technologies used across their product stack. From automatic captioning of videos on YouTube, enhancing translations on Google Translate, to improving the relevancy of results using the search engine, AI is a significant component.

More examples include a personal assistant, Google Assistant (similar to Alexa or Siri), improving Google Maps through AI and satellite photos, self-driving cars responding faster than humans, and even a move into health.

Amazon, and AI in Logistics

Most people have probably heard of Amazon's Alexa or Echo products. Here, we'll focus on Amazon's core service, i.e., the logistics and distribution of packages from local warehouses to consumers around the globe. Amazon, similar to Facebook and Google, uses AI alongside Robotics, to improve their core business. Amazon's computers are predicting and analyzing where products should be located in the warehouse, to improve efficiency. For example, the AI is used to predict what needs a restock and what doesn't. AI is also used to build a personal algorithm around your preferences of clothes, books, technology and other product categories and instantly shows you the products for what you would most likely search. Significantly shortening the time you spend searching for items while increasing the chance of making a purchase. At the same time, Amazon shows you similar and other products which are predicted to match your preferences. In the hopes that you will return and make another purchase.

Forecast, and AI for Increased Efficiency

Businesses around the globe are using Forecast to predict the progress of projects in terms of time, scope, budget, and resources. Ultimately, assisting Project and Resource Managers in achieving better efficiency, effectivity, and predictability of projects. As an example, Forecast uses data across organizations to improve algorithms to predict whether a specific task will take 25 or 35 hours. By inputting the low and high estimate, a forecasted output is created. While patterns in task efficiency are connected to the team members, who are assigned to the tasks. Having more accurate time estimations has a direct impact on your budget, scope (i.e., Statement of Work), and utilization of resources; thereby helping you maximize business performance and profitability.

With AI and Natural-Language Processing, multiple task descriptions have automatic label suggestions that the users can implement to label each task. A definite benefit of assigning labels to tasks is the possibility to summarize your work processes within your company. Essentially, there is a more inclusive overview of how your team works on a project.

Japanese Cucumber Farm, and AI for Consistency

AI goes beyond the largest and most influential companies to also benefit the smaller and more local businesses. Businesses that are just trying to compete and survive in a competitive market. This cucumber farm in Japan is an example of the latter. Using AI with Image Processing and Labelling, this small countryside farm can analyze, label, and sort cucumbers into different categories much faster, more precisely, and more cost-efficient than an ordinary human workforce. Cucumbers are sorted by size, different price categories, and labeled based on those identifiers. It's a simple and efficient example that changes the life and competitiveness of that particular farm in Japan.

Fitbit, and AI in Health Care

The health industry overall sees a huge opportunity in utilizing the capabilities of AI. One example is Fitbit. Fitbit recently announced a collaboration with Google to advance as becoming the next intelligent "always-on" Doctor, worn on your wrist. They are building a platform that could keep an eye on your health, at any time, by keeping track of your heartbeat rhythm, your physical activity, your sleep pattern, length, and stages, etc. The platform could potentially connect directly with your doctor, and automatically book you an appointment.

As a concrete example, Google's own AI is leading the way towards detecting certain diseases early on. In a recent success, the AI looked at thousands of pictures of eyes to see if patients were at high risk of heart disease. Yes, eyes. Google's AI found a particular pattern that made it able to predict heart disease by simply analyzing the eyes of a patient. Patterns, like this, may have gone undetected by humans without the help of AI processing and analyzing thousands or millions of similar pictures. In the future using AI to analyze, find patterns, and predict potential health issues ahead of time will not be so 'futuristic' after all.

There are plenty of other examples like this out there in all different kinds of industries. One's imagination is really the only limit when talking about AI. If you're running a business yourself, try to look into which parts of your core product you would be able to improve, make more efficient and cost-effective, or maybe serving an even better experience for your customers.

The experience and practices you put in place with the help of AI have potential to grow your business in ways never seen before. Now, you have the opportunity to expand your knowledge and resources with easily scalable AI technology. This can possibly take you from the position as a follower within your industry to a business with a strong competitive edge. Ultimately, moving you towards the position as the new market leader.

Kasper Nymand
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Kasper Nymand
Yello! I'm Kasper, and I'm doing Marketing at Forecast. Apart from that, I enjoy experimenting with various projects to see where my imagination brings me.
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