AI in 2017: Digital Assistants & Tech Trends

Posted by  Claus Jepsen

In the last few years, commercial organizations have relied heavily on immersive technology, effectively transforming operations and even market competition. The internet makes cross-device integration increasingly common, particularly as more devices become connected. As it becomes easier to connect with one another, the lines between reality and digital world become increasingly blurred.

What Can We Expect in the Immediate Future?

Although Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning were huge buzzwords in 2016, in the coming year we expect to see even more cloud users become accustomed to dealing with bots, and synchronizing their lives and operations to include digital assistants.

Last year, Google and Microsoft added more powerful AI services to their cloud platforms. Salesforce’s AI-infused analytics service attracted startups who used AI in their new apps, such as travel site Gogobot. These platforms allowed anyone with preliminary coding knowledge to create and deploy simple chatbots, enabled small startups that otherwise have lacked the bandwidth to create their own bots. Already, more people are used to merging daily tasks with technology that can handle their operations. On a larger scale, employing digital bots means financial costs are lower, and time is saved on tasks usually spent on manual operations or classifying data.

In 2016, many larger software vendors were working to retrofit conversational user experiences and machine learning capabilities into their solutions. However, going forward, new software will include those capabilities baked in, resulting in the convergence of conversational user experiences with augmented solutions designed with sophisticated self-learning capabilities.

In 2017, this will give birth to a completely new type of software constructed with intelligence as a fundamental design criterion rather than an afterthought. There will be even more proactive, dramatic evolvement of bots in our daily lives, allowing end users to focus on their jobs over the mechanics of maintaining the data and offering new competitive advantages for companies to make use of. We are now in an era where people want to achieve more for less, and the trends toward virtual reality and augmented reality are changing the landscape of technology.

Digital Assistants and Consumer Bots Today

The most well-known consumer bots so far are Cortana, Amazon Echo and Siri. But 2016 trends show that we will see the emergence of more technology that is simpler to use and less complex than the digital assistants of today.

As technology rapidly transforms our daily lives, we’re seeing demand from users wanting to simplify interaction with their enterprise systems in the workplace. Technology is shifting to accommodate more accessible communication between man and machine.

Markets and Markets' recent research predicts that by 2020, the AI market will skyrocket to $5.05 billion.

This coming year, instead of filling pre-defined forms, users will take advantage of AI with easy language and communication services on familiar platforms such as Slack.com, Yammer, Facebook and Twitter.

This will be useful in allowing employees and remote companies to work easier and in more structured ways. As enterprises continue to operate through cloud-based systems, life in 2017 will be considerably easier in regards to performing digital tasks.

Traditionally Manual Tasks Will be Taken Care of

Functions such as expense reports, time sheets and other historic data will become more automated and streamlined, self-driving. This will allow skilled workers to focus more on core competencies. In other words, AI and bots will bring increased efficiency and productivity, not to mention fewer operating costs and improved service for customers across the globe.

In fact, AI will become so important to companies that research firm Gartner predicts an increased worldwide spending of $3.5 trillion on IT in 2017. This will be seen first in increased investments in the coming year, and will grow rapidly as we progress into the increasingly tech-friendly future.

For commercial organizations, the coming year will see a new source of competitive advantage; for the public sector, the ability to achieve more for less. If companies want to step up their efficiency and productivity, by liberating employees from tedious chores to invest in serving their customers, it's worth considering how AI and digital assistants can be put to work.

First published on diginomica.

Claus Jepsen

Claus Jepsen

Claus Jepsen is a technology expert who has been fascinated by the micro-computer revolution ever since he received a Tandy TRS model 1 at the age of 14. Since then, Claus has spent the last few decades developing and architecting software solutions, most recently at Unit4, where he leads our focus on enabling the post-modern enterprise. Claus is building cloud-based, super-scalable solutions and bringing innovative technologies such as AI, chatbots, and predictive analytics to ERP. He is a strong believer that having access to vast amounts of data allows us to construct better, non-intrusive and pervasive solutions to improve our experiences, relieve us from tedious chores, and allow us focus on what we as individuals really love doing.

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