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How is AI Used in Business? Examples and Benefits

Artificial intelligence is becoming more prominent all over the world. We take a look at some examples of how it is used in business today.

1. Making the Workplace a More Efficient Place

Making the workplace more efficient

According to the internationally renowned management consulting company Accenture, AI will increase worldwide productivity by at least 40% by the year 2035. This will happen through time, cost and process savings across all industries, but especially within manufacturing. AI, automation, and robotics will reduce costs by analysing requirements in a real-time manner that is impossible today. Using 3D printing, automated drone delivery, complex robotics, and machine learning will mean that you get that package from Amazon or Ali-baba quicker, with fewer errors and at a fraction of the current cost.

2. Collaborative AI

Collaborative AI

Artificial intelligence is increasing in its ability to perform many human jobs. For example, translating languages, diagnosing disease, providing customer support and delivering goods. The very real concern many have is this will mean fewer jobs (and therefore salaries) for human workers. This doesn’t have to be the case, at least in the short to medium term, as robots and AI are utilising the knowledge gained in Human-robot Interaction (HRI) to work alongside humans better, understanding us and following our instructions in a natural and capable fashion. The increase in the capabilities of these cobots (short for collaborative-robots) will dramatically change the way we get work done, but may result in more interesting and rewarding jobs for the human collaborators.

3. Replacement AI in the Military and Government Sector

Replacement AI in the Military and Government Sector

Military–Drones, Robot Dogs carrying supplies, Self-driving medivac drones.
Within the next decade, the Pentagon in the US intends to spend around $1 billion on various robots. This wide variety of robotics will compliment combat troops, helping with tasks such as explosives disposal, scouting and reconnaissance, supply delivery, medical evacuation and even carrying gear. There is the darker side of army robotics to think of, the ability for military robots to more effectively hunt out and eliminate enemy combatants in a more targeted fashion. This may sound cold and rather scary, however, these robots may do this in a much more targeted fashion than bombs currently can, hopefully dramatically reducing civilian causalities.

Government, Traffic control, Urban planning, Managing elections, Chatbot use.
The British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, mentioned in a report given to the House of Lords that AI and robots will run large sections of the UK Government in the not too distant future. This will help the state do more with less and dramatically free up budget to be applied elsewhere.

4. AI in Supply chain management

AI in Supply chain management

Robots in Supermarkets, Stock Re-supply.
The robot Marty may well be, in the near future, one of the most common robots you see around. ‘He’ is a tall supermarket robot that continuously parades the isles to assess the stock levels on the shelves, identify spills, and, arguably most importantly, free up staff time to serve customers. He uses cameras to continuously scan the environment and can link in to the public announcement system to talk to customers and staff. He can also identify stock discrepancies a lot quicker than usual, allowing for more corrective action to be taken by staff.

AI Worked into Lean Management and JIT Management, 6 Sigma for Cost Savings and Increased Quality
AI is everywhere, but perhaps its greatest impact could be felt across the supply chain. From anticipating orders to managing deliveries, AI has been used to significantly improve efficiency across the whole supply chain for many companies. The global management consultancy company McKinsey has estimated that the world’s economy can still gain up to $2 trillion worth of savings per year from an increase in AI use within a supply chain management (Daugherty & Wilson, 2018).

Lights out Factories, Factories that Run with no staff.
One of the most widely known examples of a completely lights-out factory is a Fanuc plant in Japan where robots make new robots without human intervention. It’s easy to see why a maker of robots would want to demonstrate the lights-out concept, but many manufacturers are exploring the possibilities of using this approach for at least some of their production processes. Although true lights-out factories are still rare, the use of collaborative robots is growing rapidly, particularly in third-shift operations.

5. AI in Hospitality

AI in Hospitality

Automatically Contextualising the Service Experience for the Guest
The goal of having an ‘intelligent’ hotel is one that many large hospitality providers aspire towards. Such a hotel could utilise AI across many areas but in a coordinated fashion, allowing for much greater efficiency and guest satisfaction. Some ways this would manifest itself for you the guest would be; robot servers, in room assistants, voice-activated services, automatically personalised options, and invisible experience enhancing a technology that works in the background to make for a smoother and more comfortable stay (Ivanov, Webster & Seyyedi, 2018).

They build statistical analysis and predictive analytics on the causational link between your behaviour today and your behaviour in the future. If this can be observed, analysed and understood by AIs, then they can build a model where they can not only predict how you will behave, but can influence (some might say manipulate) your behaviour in a predictable fashion. For example, the utilisation of these AI driven technologies can allow hotels to communicate exactly the right message at exactly the right time, dramatically increasing the likelihood of a potential guest becoming an actual guest.

In Room Assistants
The popular household AI Alexa has recently had a commercial version released by Amazon for hotels and other accommodation providers. They tailor this AI to each specific environment they place it in and can help customers to request housekeeping, order room service, adjust the temperature and lights in the room, play music or videos, and, even book into the spa or restaurant. It can give the customers detailed advice on not only on the hotel in the local area but, potentially booking seats in restaurants or shows in theatres nearby.

6. AI in Retail

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Check-out-less Supermarket (already operational in the US)
Amazon famously has entered the high street supermarket business. However, they (and a few other early movers) have chosen to dramatically reduce their operating costs through the application of AI. They have installed hundreds of sensors and cameras that can identify each customer, follow their movements, know exactly which items they take (and even which items they put back on the shelves because they change their minds) and check them out seamlessly. This will allow you to walk into one of these supermarkets, pick up anything you want to purchase, and then walk out. Driving this capability is a combination of the very latest in AI capabilities, in a combined fashion that results in an invisible and smooth experience for you, the customer.

Augmented Reality Selling Contextualised Products to the Customer
The AR revolution is currently in its infancy but likely to change our lives in ways we can’t imagine. AR will provide real-world information imposed on what we see continuously. Imagine a one hundred foot flying dragon weaving around the CBD head office of a large corporation, or the real-time social media information (posts, offers, reviews) being intelligently shared as you walk past a shop on the high street. Imagine Virtual Sales Assistants there to help you at a moment’s notice in every environment, or playing Pokémon, as if the figures you were catching were as real as the humans walking past them. And this only scratches the surface of the capabilities that AR will provide.

“I imagine a world in which AI is going to make us work more productively, live longer, and have cleaner energy.”
Fei-Fei Li – Professor, Computer Science Dept, Stanford; Co-Director, Stanford Human-Centered AI Institute
© Torrens University
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