SXSW: Now Is the Time to Embrace AI

Walking through the crowded streets of the SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas, there seems to be electricity in the air. No topic is off limits, there is no shortage of innovative and brilliant ideas and the “future” we all seem to keep hearing about, is the guest of honour. I listened to countless influencers, disruptors and leaders in our industry over the passed few days and they all kept repeating the same thing: “AI in 2018 is like the internet in 1998, miss the boat now and you will never catch up.”  We’ve seen the speed at which technology adoption has ramped up over the passed 100 years. To compare, it took electricity three decades to reach 10% penetration rate, whereas smartphones was able to quadruple that percentage in only 10 years. Blink and you might miss how fast artificial intelligence will embed itself into our daily lives.

Consumption spreads

As a solutions provider, we already believe in the importance of implementing AI into businesses, but it’s becoming clear that most people are still waiting for the right moment to jump on the bandwagon. Perhaps you feel the same way, but you need undeniable proof in order to get the ball rolling at your company. What seems to be holding people back? Is it their lack of basic understanding of AI and the numerous ways it can be implemented into any industry, or walk of life? Do they feel like unless they’re Google, Amazon, or Facebook that AI has no place in their business? Or maybe AI IS on their radar, but it isn’t something they’re thinking about just “yet”.

Let’s see if we can help you change their minds:

Transitioning to AI Now Will Allow You to Stay Relevant to Your Clients

Every industry has its challenges and every business will be faced with problems that hinders their potential for growth and progress. Identifying those issues isn’t the real challenge, it’s finding the most cost-efficient and productive tool to combine to your business practices in order to turn things around. Even better, a solution that can learn from the data you feed it, in order to predict future outcomes.

Here’s the good news: none of your problems are unique. Whether it’s customer retention, the ability to predict trends and behaviours, or the analysis and classification of large amounts of data, experts are able to craft AI-ready solutions for your business. The results allow you to gain unique insight, reduce the margin of error on key decisions, improve workflow and develop optimal strategies. These are just *some* of the benefits.

The process can be overwhelming, but the important next steps allow you to frame the key objectives within your AI strategy. You need to collect the data you have available and with the help of an external expert, discuss your expectations and the level of customization you need.

When NewVantage Partners conducted their annual survey with senior executives from large corporations, they found that 72% believed AI to be the most disruptive technology on the market and even though 99% of respondents said their firms are trying to move in a data-driven culture, only one third have made the efforts to get there. NewVantage also reported that they haven’t seen a shift in behaviour over the course of the past 6 years. Does this scenario sound familiar? Companies see the wave of change approaching, they know they have to adapt in order to survive, but urgency doesn’t seem to be an important factor in their decision-making process.

If the client is at the center of your preoccupation, you’ll need to make sure you can rise to the standards that they will become accustomed to. All the big players are becoming AI-first companies and they are using this technology to create a new level of client experience.

Transitioning to AI Now Will Allow You to Be Competitive

In order for companies to compete, they need to be able to focus their efforts. Right now, the best way to achieve this is by becoming an insight-driven organization. The more insight you have the more you can enhance your competitive edge.

Quantcast’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Steven Wolfe Pereira discussed this during his talk on how brands will grow in the AI era. Here’s what he said: “brands who develop an AI strategy can identify the right use cases and ultimately help marketers better understand, influence and measure their customer experiences to drive growth.”

All these changes are creating expectations and it’s forcing companies to refine the technology they are using to speak to their customers. Also, by automating certain aspects of your workflow, you can save time and money while enabling your company to stay competitive in the emerging data-driven economy.

Another aspect is the pace at which the adoption of this technology is speeding up. We always think we have time, but the truth about change is that it’s like a rearview mirror, it’s always closer than it appears. The biggest players have already metamorphosed into “A-first” companies. Their power comes from their ability to leverage the enormous amount of data they are intentionally collecting to better understand their customers. This ultimately leads to more customers and more data. This is perfectly summarized by a quote from William Gibson we’ve heard over and over at SXSW: “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed”.

Although the future always seems to be created on uneven foundation, the process of implementing AI will be a huge asset to companies wanting to level the playing-field.

The Takeaway

In order to compete in our increasingly “smart economy”, businesses are going to need to rely on the data-driven results that only artificially intelligent technologies can provide. However, before they can do that, they must seize the moment and comes with the realization that the collaboration between humans and machines isn’t the future, it’s very much the present. Your next step could be an exploration phase; where experts can evaluate your goals based on use cases, ongoing research and available data sets. This allows you to get a sense of the scope of your project, the level of intricacy of implementing the algorithm into your business and also, the level accuracy you can expect.

Our experience at SXSW only validated our belief in unlocking AI to its fullest potential for the greater good. Now that we’re back in Montreal’s ecosystem, we’re ready to continue our work delivering smarter results to businesses and who knows, maybe you could be next.

Interested in starting your AI journey? Contact us today.

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