AIQRATE in 2020 ….A walk to remember
“Enabling clients reimagine their decision making & accentuate the business performance with AI strategy in a transformation, innovation and disruption driven world”
In today’s fast paced & volatile VUCA world, leaders face unprecedented challenges. They need to navigate through volatility while staying focused on strategy, business performance and culture. Artificial Intelligence is fast becoming a game changing catalyst and a strategic differentiator and almost a panacea to solve large, complex and unresolved problems. To be an AI powered organization, leaders not only need to have a broad understanding of AI strategy, they need to know how and where to use it. AIQRATE advisory services and consulting offerings are designed to enable leaders and decision makers from Enterprises, GCCs, Cloud Providers, Technology players, Startups, SMBs, VC/PE firms, Public Institutions and Academic Institutions to become AI ready and reduce the risk associated with curating, deploying AI strategy and ensuing interventions and increase the predictability of a durable leader’s success.
In the age of the bionic enterprises, AI continues to dominate the technology & business landscape. Under the aegis of transformation, disruption and innovation, AI has several applications and impact areas which usher a new change in how we make decisions in the enterprise and personal spheres. Traditionally, human decisions are to a large extent based on intuition, gut and historical data. In the age of AI, several of our decisions will be taken by algorithms. Leveraging AI, the ability to mimic the human brain and the ensuing ability to sense, comprehend and act will significantly go up and will result in emergence of augmented intelligence in decision making. Enterprises, GCCs, SMBs, Startups and Government Institutions are attempting to harness the power of AI to change the way they do business. All these industry segments are looking at AI becoming the secret sauce behind making them gain a competitive advantage. If you have not started yet, you are already behind the competition, however large or pedigreed you might be.
So, where are you placed on your AI journey? At AIQRATE, we can guide you on your journey of understanding what AI can do for you, embedding it within your business strategy, functional areas and augmenting the decision-making process.
At AIQRATE, we are here to help you with the art of the possible with AI. Through our bespoke AI strategy frameworks, methodologies, toolkits, playbooks and assessments, we will bring seamless Transformation, Innovation and Disruption to your businesses. Leveraging our proven repository of consulting templates and artifacts, we will curate your AI strategic approach roadmap. Our advisory offerings and consulting engagements are designed in alignment with your strategic growth, vision and competitive scenarios.
We are at an inflection point where AI will revolutionize the way we do business. The paradigms of customer, products, offerings, services and competition will change dramatically; and being AI-ready will become a true differentiator. AIQRATE will be your strategic partner to help you to prepare for what’s next in order to stay relevant.
Wish you a great 2021!
Chief Executive Officer
Bangalore , India
AI led Algorithms can decide on how we need to emote, behave, react, transact or interact with an individual – Sameer with SCIKEY
AI led Algorithms can decide on how we need to emote, behave, react, transact or interact with an individual – Sameer with SCIKEY
In an exclusive interaction with SCIKEY, Sameer Dhanrajani, CEO at AIQRATE Advisory & Consulting, speaks about how the future of work will look like enabled by AI, and it’s contribution in building productive teams and the emerging AI trends to watch out for in Post COVID scenario.
“AI led algorithms can decide on how we need to emote, behave, react, transact or interact with an individual,” Sameer Dhanranjani
Sameer is a globally recognized AI advisor, business builder, evangelist and thought leader known for his deep knowledge, strategic consulting approaches in AI space. Sameer has consulted with several Fortune 500 global enterprises, Indian corporations , GCCs, startups , SMBs, VC/PE firms, Academic Institutions in driving AI led strategic transformation and innovation strategies. Sameer is a renowned author, columnist, blogger and four times Tedx speaker. He is an author of bestselling book – AI and Analytics: accelerating business decisions.
In an exclusive interaction with SCIKEY, Sameer Dhanranjani, CEO at AIQRATE advisory consulting, speaks about how the future of work will look like enabled by AI, and it’s contribution in building productive teams and the emerging AI trends to watch out for in Post COVID scenario.
Mr Dhanranjani, you have consulted with several Fortune 500 enterprises, GCCs also start-ups in driving AI-led strategic transformation strategies. What according to you, are the topmost strategic considerations to weigh for managing accelerating business in Post COVID world for a start-up?
The unprecedented times of COVID-19 have brought the aspect of decision making under consideration. This includes tactical, strategic, and operational decision making that is crucial to make the venture more sustainable. Today the use of artificial intelligence is quite high amongst organizations. It can be used by start-up ventures and other outfits to make decisions irrespective of the area that needs decision making.
Most decisions that need to be made strategically are being passed on to artificial intelligence-enabled interventions. The algorithm makes similar decisions based on the previous decisions taken. Algorithms can decide how we need to emote, behave, react, transact or interact with the opposite individual This advancement in AI brings the challenge for organizations to create products and services specific to each customer through hyper-personalization and micro-segmenting. However, it can also be considered as an opportunity for organizations to emerge from the pandemic with newer business models and experiences for customers. Start-ups, especially, can make use of such advancements to reinvent and rejuvenate the organizational ecosystem.
You are known for your passion for Artificial Intelligence and are an author to the bestselling book – AI and Analytics: Accelerating Business Decisions. Tell us where how can AI be strategically significant while building productive teams.
My experience has led me to deal with engagements in the entire value chain of HR, ranging from hiring to engagement to incentivization that has leveraged using AI. It is phenomenal to see how AI can help build, engage, and sustain productive teams. AI can help in hiring through the detection emotions, facial expressions, tone modulations of the interviewee through computer vision and image classification techniques.
In the creation of productive teams, AI can gauge the engagement levels of an employee. It tries to look at the various interventions made by an employee regarding their attendance, participation in virtual meetings, and propensity to ask and engage themselves in conversations. It also keeps in check the number of pauses, intervals, and breaks taken by an employee. Every aspect of the employee is being marked to see how productive, inclusive, as an individual and in teams.
What are the top 5 AI trends to watch out for in Post COVID the scenario of the next one year?
When it comes to AI, the first trend emerging is that AI is not a tool or a technology, but it is now being touted as a strategic imperative for any organization. This means that AI strategies will become an intrinsic part and feature of every organisation.
The second trend is the democratization of AI. There is a possibility of the emergence of an AI marketplace where virtual exchanges related to business problems, demo runs etc. can be conducted. One would actually be able to figure out which algorithm is best for them in customer experience, supply chain etc.
The third trend being the cloud will act as a catalyst for AI proliferation. The propensity for cloud providers to enable AI companies with possible aspects of microservice API’s, Product Solutions will be created on the go. This means that the cloud enablers will have options to see various possibilities specific to their organisation when it comes to AI-specific use cases.
The fourth trend is linked to skilling. AI today is a part of a lot of course curriculums. But what is missing is the whole aspect of how does it get applied? The new courseware will be focused on how is AI implemented, adopted in the organization.
The last fifth trend is decision-making enabled by AI, which means humans will have no option but to upskill and reskill themselves to take a more rational, pragmatic and sanguine approach. So new models, new emerging realities of decision making will emerge.
How is AI powering the Future of Work, what are critical considerations for business and tech leaders considering the rapidly changing business dynamics due to COVID?
The future of work will be about AI and what we call AI plus a set of exponential technologies. This means that every aspect of our performance interaction and our responses will be gauged very manually through these technologies. This indicates that the level of performances in terms of how we go up-to-date needs to be worked upon. The future of work is an ecosystem where one particular employer cannot do it all.
This means that if learning must occur through an external player, it must come through the ecosystem of co-employees and the employer. In the future, we will not be caged as mere professionals doing our job but will be encouraged to push our boundaries to explore more at work. At the same time, transformation, innovation, and disruption will be a part of the future’s performance metrics. They will become a major parameter for the organization to create a mediocre versus proficient employee or a professional. This is where the onus will fall on the employees to ensure that they are not just doing what is being called out, but are going beyond to create what we call a value creation for the organisation.
SCIKEY Market Network is a Digital Marketplace for Jobs, Work Business solutions, supported by a Professional Network and an integrated Services Ecosystem. It enables enterprises, businesses, job seekers, freelancers, and gig workers around the world. With its online events, learning certifications, assessments, ranking awards, content promotion tools, SaaS solutions for business, a global consulting ecosystem, and more, companies can get the best deals in one place.
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REPORT: Data Engineering 4.0: Evolution, Emergence and Possibilities in the next decade
Today, most technology aficionados think of data engineering as the capabilities associated with traditional data preparation and data integration including data cleansing, data normalization and standardization, data quality, data enrichment, metadata management and data governance. But that definition of data engineering is insufficient to derive and drive new sources of society, business and operational value. The Field of Data Engineering brings together data management (data cleansing, quality, integration, enrichment, governance) and data science (machine learning, deep learning, data lakes, cloud) functions and includes standards, systems design and architectures.
There are two critical economic-based principles that will underpin the field of Data Engineering:
Principle #1: Curated data never depletes, never wears out and can be used an unlimited number of use cases at a near zero marginal cost.
Principle #2: Data assets appreciate, not depreciate, in value the more that they are used; that is, the more these data assets are used, the more accurate, more reliable, more efficient and safer they become.
There have been significant exponential technology advancements in the past few years ; data engineering is the most topical of them. Burgeoning data velocity , data trajectory , data insertion , data mediation & wrangling , data lakes & cloud security & infrastructure have revolutionized the data engineering stream. Data engineering has reinvented itself from being passive data aggregation tools from BI/DW arena to critical to business function. As unprecedented advancements are slated to occur in the next few years, there is a need for additional focus on data engineering. The foundations of AI acceleration is underpinned by robust data engineering capabilities.
YourStory & AIQRATE curated and unveiled a seminal report on “Data Engineering 4.0: Evolution , Emergence & Possibilities in the next decade.” A first in the area , the report covers a broad spectrum on key drivers of growth for Data Engineering 4.0 and highlights the incremental impact of data engineering in the time to come due to emergence of 5G , Quantum Computing & Cloud Infrastructure. The report also covers a comprehensive section on applications across industry segments of smart cities , autonomous vehicles , smart factories and the ensuing adoption of data engineering capabilities in these segments. Further , it dwells on the significance of incubating data engineering capabilities for deep tech startups for gaining competitive edge and enumerates salient examples of data driven companies in India that are leveraging data engineering prowess . The report also touches upon the data legislation and privacy aspects by proposing certain regulations and suggesting revised ones to ensure end to end protection of individual rights , security & safety of the ecosystem. Data Engineering 4.0 will be an overall trojan horse in the exponential technology landscape and much of the adoption acceleration that AI needs to drive ; will be dependent on the advancements in data engineering area.
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Lock in winning AI deals : Strategic recommendations for enterprises & GCCs
Artificial Intelligence is unleashing exciting growth opportunities for the enterprises & GCCs , at the same time , they also present challenges and complexities when sourcing, negotiating and enabling the AI deals . The hype surrounding this rapidly evolving space can make it seem as if AI providers hold the most power at the negotiation table. After all, the market is ripe with narratives from analysts stating that enterprises and GCCs failing to embrace and implement AI swiftly run the risk of losing their competitiveness. With pragmatic approach and acknowledgement of concerns and potential risks, it is possible to negotiate mutually beneficial contracts that are flexible, agile and most importantly, scalable. The following strategic choices will help you lock in winning AI deals :
Understand AI readiness & roadmap and use cases
It can be difficult to predict exactly where and how AI can be used in the future as it is constantly being developed, but creating a readiness roadmap and identifying your reckoner of potential use cases is a must. Enterprise and GCC readiness and roadmap will help guide your sourcing efforts for enterprises and GCCs , so you can find the provider best suited to your needs and able to scale with your business use cases. You must also clearly frame your targeted objectives both in your discussions with vendors as well as in the contract. This includes not only a stated performance objective for the AI , but also a definition of what would constitute failure and the legal consequences thereof.
Understand your service provider’s roadmap and ability to provide AI evolution to steady state
Once you begin discussions with AI vendors & providers, be sure to ask questions about how evolved their capabilities and offerings are and the complexity of data sets that were used to train their system along with the implementation use cases . These discussions can uncover potential business and security risks and help shape the questions the procurement and legal teams should address in the sourcing process. Understanding the service provider’s roadmap will also help you decide whether they will be able to grow and scale with you. Gaining insight into the service provider’s growth plans can uncover how they will benefit from your business and where they stand against their competitors. The cutthroat competition among AI rivals means that early adopter enterprises and GCCs that want to pilot or deploy AI@scale will see more capabilities available at ever-lower prices over time. Always mote that the AI service providers are benefiting significantly from the use cases you bring forward for trial as well as the vast amounts of data being processed in their platforms. These points should be leveraged to negotiate a better deal.
Identify business risk cycles & inherent bias
As with any implementation, it is important to assess the various risks involved. As technologies become increasingly interconnected, entry points for potential data breaches and risk of potential compliance claims from indirect use also increase. What security measures are in place to protect your data and prevent breaches? How will indirect use be measured and enforced from a compliance standpoint? Another risk AI is subject to is unintentional bias from developers and the data being used to train the technology. Unlike traditional systems built on specific logic rules, AI systems deal with statistical truths rather than literal truths. This can make it extremely difficult to prove with complete certainty that the system will work in all cases as expected.
Develop a sourcing and negotiation plan
Using what you gained in the first three steps, develop a sourcing and negotiation plan that focuses on transparency and clearly defined accountability. You should seek to build an agreement that aligns both your enterprise’s and service provider’s roadmaps and addresses data ownership and overall business and security related risks. For the development of AI , the transparency of the algorithm used for AI purposes is essential so that unintended bias can be addressed. Moreover, it is appropriate that these systems are subjected to extensive testing based on appropriate data sets as such systems need to be “trained” to gain equivalence to human decision making. Gaining upfront and ongoing visibility into how the systems will be trained and tested will help you hold the AI provider accountable for potential mishaps resulting from their own erroneous data and help ensure the technology is working as planned.
Develop a deep understanding of your data, IP, commercial aspects
Another major issue with AI is the intellectual property of the data integrated and generated by an AI product. For an artificial intelligence system to become effective, enterprises would likely have to supply an enormous quantity of data and invest considerable human and financial resources to guide its learning. Does the service provider of the artificial intelligence system acquire any rights to such data? Can it use what its artificial intelligence system learned in one company’s use case to benefit its other customers? In extreme cases, this could mean that the experience acquired by a system in one company could benefit its competitors. If AI is powering your business and product, or if you start to sell a product using AI insights, what commercial protections should you have in place?
In the end , do realize the enormous value of your data, participate in AI readiness, maturity workshops and immersion sessions and identification of new and practical AI use cases. All of this is hugely beneficial to the service provider’s success as well and will enable you to strategically source and win the right AI deal.
(AIQRATE advisory & consulting is a bespoke global AI advisory & consulting firm and provides strategic advisory services to boards, CXOs, senior leaders to curate , design building blocks of AI strategy , embed AI@scale interventions & create AI powered enterprises . Visit www.aiqrate.ai , reach out to us at email@example.com )
REPORT: Reimagine The Future of Work with New Age Opportunities
The management of talent has always been and continues to be a major challenge for most industries. This is particularly true for knowledge based industries like information technology. The dramatically changing dynamics of the Indian Technology industry compound the challenges and opportunities faced by the industry.
Never since the advent of mass production has an industry seen such dramatic volatility in such short period of time. The revolution before primarily added to the productivity of the labor and moved across the globe. The current revolution is not merely transcending national borders – it is redefining jobs, eliminating others and creating new opportunities.
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AI-Driven Disruption And Transformation: New Business Segments To Novel Market Opportunities
There’s little doubt that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is driving the decisive strategic elements in multiple industries, and algorithms are sitting at the core of every business model and in the enterprise DNA. Conventional wisdom, based on no small amount of research, holds that the rise of AI will usher radical, disruptive changes in the incumbent industries and sectors in the next five to 10 years.
Additionally, it’s never been a better time to launch an AI venture. Investments in AI-focused ventures have grown 1800% in just six years. The rationale behind these numbers comes, in part, from the fact that enterprises expect AI to enable them to move into new business segments, or to maintain a competitive edge in their industry.
Strategists believe this won’t come as a surprise to CXOs and decision-makers as acceleration of AI adoption and proliferation of smart, intuitive and ML algorithms spawn the creation of new industries and business segments and overall, trigger new opportunities for business monetization. However, a few questions loom large for CXOs: How will these new industries and business segments be created with AI? And, what strategic shifts can leadership make to monetize these new business opportunities?
The creation of new industries and business segments depends on dramatic advances in AI that can take a swift adoption journey to move from discovery to commercial application to a new industry. New industry segments around AI are in the making and are far from tapped. A cursory look at new age businesses: Micro-segmented, hyper-personalized online shopping platforms, GPS driven ride-sharing companies, recommendation-driven streaming channels, adaptive learning based EdTech companies, conversational AI-driven new and work scheduling are just a few of the imminent and visible examples. Yet a lot more can be done in this space.
AI adoption brings intentional efforts to adapt to this onslaught of algorithms and how it’s affecting customer and employee behavior. As algorithms become a permanent fixture in everyday life, organizations are forced to update legacy technology strategies and supporting methodologies to better reflect how the real world is evolving. And the need to do so is becoming increasingly obligatory.
On the other side, traditional and incumbent enterprises are reverse engineering investments, processes, and systems to better align with how markets are changing. Because it’s focusing on customer behavior, AI is actually in its own way, making businesses more human. As such, Artificial Intelligence is not specifically about technology, it’s empowered by it. Without an end in mind, self-learning algorithms continually seek out how to use technology in ways that improve customer experiences and relationships. It also represents an effort that introduces new models for business and, equally, creates a way of staying in business as customers become increasingly aware and selective.
Today, AI expertise is focused more on developing commercial applications that optimize efficiencies in existing industries and is focused less on developing patented algorithms that could lead to new industries. These efficiencies are accelerating the sectoral consolidation and convergence, and are less about new industry creation.
However, AI’s most potent, long-term economic use may just be to augment the discovery and pursuit of solving large, complex and unresolved problems that could be the foundations of new industry segments. Enterprises have started realizing the significance of having a long-term strategic interest and investments in using AI in this way. Yet few of the above mentioned examples are testimony to AI triggering new industry segments and business opportunities. The real winners in the algorithm-driven economy will be business leaders that align their strategies to augment AI expertise from ground zero, keep a continuous tab on blockbuster algorithms, and redefine new business segments that enable monetization of new opportunities.
AI has immense potential to jumpstart the creation of new industries and the disruption of existing ones. The curation of this as a strategic roadmap for business leaders is far from easy, but it carries great rewards for businesses. It takes a village to bring about change, and it also takes the spark and perseverance of an AI strategist to spot important trends and create a sense of urgency around new possibilities.
Reimagining the future of travel and hospitality with artificial intelligence
Over the years, the influence of artificial intelligence (AI) has spread to almost every aspect of the travel and the hospitality industry. Thirty percent of hospitality businesses use AI to augment at least one of their primary sales processes, and most customer personalisation is done using AI. The proliferation of AI in the travel and hospitality industry can be credited to the humongous amount of data being generated today. AI helps analyse data from obvious sources, brings value in assimilating patterns in image, voice, video, and text, and turns it into meaningful and actionable insights for decision making. Trends, outliers, and patterns are figured out using machine learning-based algorithms that help in guiding a travel or hospitality company to make informed decisions.
“Discounts, schemes, tour packages, and seasons and travellers to target are formulated using this intelligent data combined with behavioural science and social media attribution to know customers behaviour and insights. “
Let’s take a close look at the AI-driven application areas in the travel and hospitality industry and the impact on the ensuing business value chain:
Bespoke and curated experiences
There are always a few trailblazers who are up for a new challenge and adopt new-age exponential technologies. Many hotel chains have started using an AI concierge. One great example of an AI concierge is Hilton World wide’s Connie, the first true AI-powered concierge bot. Connie stands at two feet high and guests can interact with it during their check-in. Connie is powered by IBM’s Watson AI and uses the Way Blazer travel database. It can provide succinct information to guests on local attractions, places to visit, etc. Being AI-driven with self-learning ability, it can learn and adapt and respond to each guest on personalised basis.
In the travel business, Mezi, using AI with Natural Language Processing technique, provides a personalised experience to business travellers, who usually are strapped for time. It talks about bringing on a concept of bleisure (business+leisure) to address the needs of the workforce. The company’s research shows that 84 percent of business travellers return feeling frustrated, burnt out, and unmotivated. The kind of tedious and monotonous planning that goes into the travel booking could be the reason for it. With AI and NLP, Mezi collects individual preferences and generates personalised suggestions so that a bespoke and streamlined experience is given and the issues faced are addressed properly.
Intelligent travel search
Increased productivity now begins with the search for the hotel, and sophisticated AI usage has paved the way for the customer to access more data than ever before. Booking sites like Lola.com provides on-demand travel services and have developed algorithms that can not only instantly connect people to their team of travel agents who find and book flights, hotels, and cars, but have been able to empower their agents with tremendous technology to make research and decisions an easy process.
Intelligent travel assistants
Chatbot technology is another big strand of AI, and not surprisingly, many travel brands have already launched their own versions in the past year or so. Skyscanner is just one example, creating an intelligent bot to help consumers find flights in Facebook Messenger. Users can also use it to request travel recommendations and random suggestions. Unlike ecommerce or retail brands using chatbots, which can appear gimmicky, there is an argument that examples like Skyscanner are much more relevant and useful for everyday consumers. After all, with the arrival of many more travel search websites, consumers are being overwhelmed by choice – not necessarily helped by it. Consequently, a chatbot like Skyscanner is able to cut through the noise, connecting with consumers in their own time and in the social media spaces they most frequently visit.
Recently, Aero Mexico started using Facebook Messenger chatbot to answer very generic customer questions. The main idea was to cater to 80 percent of questions, which are usually repeat ones and about common topics. Thus, AI is of great application to avoid a repetitive process. Airlines hugely benefit from this. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines uses AI to respond to the queries of customers on Twitter and Facebook. It uses an algorithm from a company called Digital Genius, which is trained on 60,000 questions and answers. Not only this, Deutsche Lufthansa’s bot Mildred can help in searching the cheapest fares.
International hotel search engine Trivago acquired Hamburg, Germany machine learning startup Tripl as it ramps up its product with recommendation and personalisation technology, giving them a customer-centric approach. The AI algorithm gives tailored travel recommendations by identifying trends in users’ social media activities and comparing it with in-app data of like-minded users. With its launch, users could sign up only through Facebook, potentially sharing oodles of profile information such as friends, relationship status, hometown, and birthdays.
Persona-based travel recommendations, use of customised pictures and text are now gaining ground to entice travel. KePSLA’s travel recommendation platform is one of the first in the world to do this by using deep learning and NLP solutions. With 81 percent of people believing that intelligent machines would be better at handling data than humans, there is also a certain level of confidence in this area from consumers.
Knowing your traveller
Dorchester Collection is another hotel chain to make use of AI. However, instead of using it to provide a front-of-house service, it has adopted it to interpret and analyse customer behaviour deeply in the form of raw data. Partnering with technology company, Richey TX, Dorchester Collection has helped to develop an AI platform called Metis.
Delving into swathes of customer feedback such as surveys and reviews (which would take an inordinate amount of time to manually find and analyse), it is able to measure performance and instantly discover what really matters to guests. Métis helped Dorchester to discover that breakfast it not merely an expectation – but something guests place huge importance on. As a result, the hotels began to think about how they could enhance and personalise the breakfast experience.
Intelligent forecasting: flight fares and hotel tariffs
Flight fares and hotel tariffs are dynamic and vary on real-time basis, depending on the provider. No one has time to track all those changes manually. Thus, intelligent algorithms that monitor and send out timely alerts with hot deals are currently in high demand in the travel industry.
Trivago and Make my trip are screening through swamp of data points, variables, and demand and supply patterns to recommend optimised travel and hotel prices. The AltexSoft data science team has built such an innovative fare predictor tool for one of their clients, a global online travel agency, Fareboom.com. Working on its core product, a digital travel booking website, they could access and collect historical data about millions of fare searches going back several years. Armed with such information, they created a self-learning algorithm, capable of predicting future price movements based on a number of factors, such as seasonal trends, demand growth, airlines special offers, and deals.
Optimised disruption management: delays and cancellations
While the previous case is focused mostly on planning trips and helping users navigate most common issues while traveling, automated disruption management is somewhat different. It aims at resolving actual problems a traveller might face on his/her way to a destination point. Mostly applied to business and corporate travel, disruption management is always a time-sensitive task, requiring instant response.
While the chances of getting impacted by a storm or a volcano eruption are very small, the risk of a travel disruption is still quite high: there are thousands of delays and several hundreds of cancelled flights every day. With the recent advances in AI, it became possible to predict such disruptions and efficiently mitigate the loss for both the traveller and the carrier. The 4site tool, built by Cornerstone Information Systems, aims to enhance the efficiency of enterprise travel.
The product caters to travellers, travel management companies, and enterprise clients, providing a unique set of features for real-time travel disruption management. In an instance, if there is a heavy snowfall at your destination point and all flights are redirected to another airport, a smart assistant can check for available hotels there or book a transfer from your actual place of arrival to your initial destination.
Not only are passengers are affected by travel disruptions; airlines bear significant losses every time a flight is cancelled or delayed. Thus, Amadeus, one of the leading global distribution systems (GDS), has introduced a Schedule Recovery system, aiming to help airlines mitigate the risks of travel disruption. The tool helps airlines instantly address and efficiently handle any threats and disruptions in their operations.
Future potential: So, reflecting on the above-mentioned use cases of the travel and hospitality industry leveraging Ai to a large extent, there will be few latent potential areas in the industry that will embrace AI in the future :
“Undoubtedly, we will witness many travel and hospitality organisations using AI for intelligent recommendations as well as launching their own chatbots. There’s already been a suggestion that Expedia is next in line, but it is reportedly set to focus on business travel rather than holidaymakers.”
Due to the greater need for structure and less of a desire for discovery, it certainly makes sense that AI would be more suited to business travellers. Specifically, it could help to simplify the booking process for companies, and help eliminate discrepancies around employee expenses. With reducing costs and improving efficiency two of the biggest benefits, AI could start to infiltrate business travel even more so than leisure in the next 12 months.
Lastly, we can expect to see greater development in conversational AI in the industry. With voice-activated search, the experience of researching and booking travel has the potential to become quicker and easier than ever before. Similarly, as Amazon Echo and Google Home start to become commonplace, more hotels could start to experiment with speech recognition to ramp up customer service. This means devices and bots could become the norm for brands in the travel and hospitality industry.
The travel and hospitality industry transformation will morph into experience-driven and asset-light business, and wide adoption of AI will usher a new-age customer experience and set a benchmark for other industries to emulate. Fasten your seat belts … AI will redefine the travel and hospitality industry.
Travel & Hospitality Industry Transformation: Served Fast with AI
Over the years, the influence of AI has spread to almost every aspect of the travel and the hospitality industry. 30% of hospitality businesses use artificial intelligence to augment at least one of their primary sales processes and most customer personalization is done using AI.
30% of hospitality businesses use artificial intelligence to augment at least one of their primary sales processes.
The sudden popularity of Artificial Intelligence in the Travel industry can be credited to the humongous amount of data being generated today. Artificial Intelligence helps analyse unstructured data, brings value in partnership with Big Data and turns it into meaningful and actionable insights. Trends, outliers and patterns are figured out using this smart data which helps in guiding a Travel company to make informed decisions. The discounts, schemes, tour packages, seasons to target and people to target are formulated using this data. Usually, surveys and social media sensing are done to know customer’s insights and behaviour.
Let’s look at how AI has influenced each aspect of the business
Bleisure – Personalized Experience
There are always a few who are up for a new challenge and adopt to new technology. Many hotels have started using an AI concierge. One great example of an AI concierge is Hilton World wide’s Connie, who is the first true AI-powered concierge bot.
Connie stands at 2 feet high and guests can interact with it during their check-in. Connie is powered by IBM’s Watson AI and uses WayBlazer travel database. It can provide information to guests on local attractions, places to visit, etc. Being an AI, it can learn and adapt and respond to each guest.
In the Travel business, Mezi, using Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing, provides a personalized experience to Business travellers who usually are strapped for time. It talks about bringing on a concept of bleisure (business+leisure) to address the needs of the workforce. A research done by them states that 84% of business travellers return feeling frustrated, burnt out and unmotivated. The kind of tedious and monotonous planning that goes into the travel booking could be the reason for it. With AI and NLP, Mezi collects preferences and generates suggestions so that a customized and streamlined experience is given and the issues faced by them are addressed properly.
Increased Productivity – Instant Connectivity
Increased productivity now begins with the search for the hotel, and technology has paved its way for the customer to access more data than ever before. Booking sites like Lola () who provide on-demand travel services have developed technologies that can not only instantly connects people to their team of travel agents who find and book flights, hotels, and cars but have been able to empower their agents with tremendous technology to make research and decisions an easy process.
Intelligent Travel Assistants – Chatbots
Chatbot technology is another big strand of AI, and unsurprisingly, many travel brands have already launched their own versions in the past year or so. Skyscanner is just one example, creating a bot to help consumers find flights in Facebook Messenger. Users can also use it to request travel recommendations and random suggestions. Unlike ecommerce or retail brands using chatbots, which can appear gimmicky, there is an argument that examples like Skyscanner are much more relevant and useful for everyday consumers.
After all, with the arrival of many more travel search websites, consumers are being overwhelmed by choice – not necessarily helped by it. Consequently, a bot like Skyscanner is able to cut through the noise, connecting with consumers in their own time and in the social media spaces they most frequently visit.
Recently, Aeromexico started using Facebook Messenger chatbot to answer the very generic questions by the customers. The main idea was to cater to 80% of questions which are usually the repeated ones and about common topics. Thus, to avoid a repetitive process, artificial intelligence is of great application. Airlines hugely benefit from this. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines uses artificial intelligence to respond to the queries of customers on twitter and facebook. It uses an algorithm from a company called Digital Genius which is trained on 60,000 questions and answers. Not only this, Deutsche Lufthansa’s bot Mildred can help in searching the cheapest fares.
Discovery & Data Analysis – Intelligent Recommendations
International hotel search engine Trivago acquired Hamburg, Germany machine learning startup, Tripl, as it ramps up its product with recommendation and personalization technology, giving them a customer-centric approach.
The AI algorithm gives tailored travel recommendations by identifying trends in users’ social media activities and comparing it with in-app data of like-minded users. With its launch in July 2015, users could sign up only through Facebook, potentially sharing oodles of profile information such as friends, relationship status, hometown, and birthday.
Persona based travel recommendations, use of customised pictures and text are now gaining ground to entice travellers to book your hotels. KePSLA’s travel recommendation platform is one of the first in the world to do this by using deep learning and NLP solutions.
With 81% of people believing that robots would be better at handling data than humans, there is also a certain level of confidence in this area from consumers.
Knowing your Travellers – Deep Customer Behaviour
Dorchester Collection is another hotel chain to make use of AI. However, instead of using it to provide a front-of-house service, it has adopted it to interpret and analyse customer behaviour in the form of raw data.
Partnering with technology company, RicheyTX, Dorchester Collection has helped to develop an AI platform called Metis.
Delving into swathes of customer feedback such as surveys and reviews (which would take an inordinate amount of time to manually find and analyse) it is able to measure performance and instantly discover what really matters to guests.
For example, Metis helped Dorchester to discover that breakfast it not merely an expectation – but something guests place huge importance on. As a result, the hotels began to think about how they could enhance and personalise the breakfast experience.
Flight Fare and Hotel Price Forecasting
Flight fares and hotel prices are ever-changing and vary greatly depending on the provider. No one has time to track all those changes manually. Thus, smart tools which monitor and send out timely alerts with hot deals are currently in high demand in the travel industry.
The AltexSoft data science team has built such an innovative fare predictor tool for one of their clients, a global online travel agency, . Working on its core product, a digital travel booking website, they could access and collect historical data about millions of fare searches going back several years. Armed with such information, they created a self-learning algorithm, capable of predicting the future price movements based on a number of factors, such as seasonal trends, demand growth, airlines special offers, and deals.
With the average confidence rate at 75 percent, the tool can make short-term (several days) as well as long-term (a couple of months) forecasts.
Optimized Disruption Management
While the previous case is focused mostly on planning trips and helping users navigate most common issues while traveling, automated disruption management is somewhat different. It aims at resolving actual problems a traveler might face on his/her way to a destination point.
Mostly applied to business and corporate travel, disruption management is always a time-sensitive task, requiring instant response. While the chances to get impacted by a storm or a volcano eruption are very small, the risk of a travel disruption is still quite high: there are thousands of delays and several hundreds of canceled flights every day.
With the recent advances in technology, it became possible to predict such disruptions and efficiently mitigate the loss for both the traveler and the carrier. The 4site tool, built by Cornerstone Information Systems, aims at enhancing the efficiency of enterprise travel. The product caters to travelers, travel management companies, and enterprise clients, providing a unique set of features for real-time travel disruption management.
For example, if there is a heavy snowfall at your destination point and all flights are redirected to another airport, a smart assistant can check for available hotels there or book a transfer from your actual place of arrival to your initial destination.
Not only passengers are affected by travel disruptions; airlines bear significant losses every time a flight is canceled or delayed. Thus, Amadeus, one of the leading global distribution systems (GDS), has introduced Schedule Recovery system, aiming to help airlines mitigate the risks of travel disruption. The tool helps airlines instantly address and efficiently handle any threats and disruptions in their operations.
So, we’ve already seen the travel industry capitalise on AI to a certain extent. But how will it evolve in the coming year?
Undoubtedly, we’ll see many more brands using AI for data analysis as well as launching their own chatbots. There’s already been a suggestion that Expedia is next in line, but it is reportedly set to focus on business travel rather than holidaymakers. Due to the greater need for structure and less of a desire for discovery, it certainly makes sense that artificial intelligence would be more suited to business travellers.
Specifically, it could help to simplify the booking process for companies, as well as help eliminate discrepancies around employee expenses. With reducing costs and improving efficiency two of the biggest benefits, AI could start to infiltrate business travel even more so than leisure in the next 12 months.
Lastly, we can expect to see greater development in voice-activated technology.
With voice-activated search, the experience of researching and booking travel has the potential to become quicker and easier than ever before. Similarly, as Amazon Echo and Google Home start to become commonplace, more hotels could start to experiment with speech recognition to ramp up customer service.
This means devices and bots could become the norm for brands in the travel industry.
How AI is Enabling Mitigation of Fraud in the Banking, Insurance Enterprises
The Banking and Finance sector (BFSI) is witnessing one of its most interesting and enriching phases. Apart from the evident shift from traditional methods of banking and payments, technology has started playing a vital role in defining this change.
Mobile apps, plastic money, e-wallets and bots have aided the phenomenal swing from offline payments to online payments over the last two decades. Now, the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in BFSI is expediting the evolution of this industry.
But as the proliferation of digital continues, the number of ways one can commit fraud has also increased. Issuers, merchants, and acquirers of credit, debit, and prepaid general purpose and private label payment cards worldwide experienced gross fraud losses of US$11.27 billion in 2012, up 14.6% over the previous year1. Fraud losses on all general purpose and private label, signature and PIN payment cards reached US$5.33 billion in United States in the same period, up 14.5%1. These are truly big numbers, and present the single-biggest challenge to the trust reposed in banks by customers. Besides the risk of losing customers, direct financial impact for banks is also a significant factor.
Upon reporting of a fraudulent transaction by a customer, the bank is liable for the transaction cost, it has to refund merchant chargeback fee, as well as additional fee. Fraud also invites fines from regulatory authorities. The recently-passed Durbin Amendment caps processing fee that can be charged per transaction, and this increases the damage caused by unexpected fraud losses. The rapidly rising use of electronic payment modes has also increased the need for effective, efficient, and real-time methods to detect, deter, and prevent fraud.
Nuances of Banking Fraud Prevention Using AI
AI enables a computer to behave and take decisions like a human being. Coined in 1956 by John McCarthy at MIT, the term AI was little known to the layman and merely a subject of interest to academicians, researchers and technologists. However, over the past few years, it is more commonly seen in our everyday lives; in our smartphones, shopping experiences, hospitals, travel, etc.
Machine Learning, Deep Learning, NLP Platforms, Predictive APIs and Image and Speech Recognition are some core AI technologies used in BFSI today. Machine Learning recognises data patterns and highlights deviations in data observed. Data is analysed and then compared with existing data to look for patterns. This can help in fraud detection, prediction of spending patterns and subsequently, the development of new products.
Key Stroke Dynamics
Key Stroke Dynamics can be used for analysing transactions made by customers. They capture strokes when the key is pressed (dwell time) and released on a keyboard, along with vibration information.
As second factor authentication is mandatory for electronic payments, this can help detect fraud, especially if the user’s credentials are compromised. Deep Learning is a new area in Machine Learning research and consists of multiple linear and non-linear transformations. It is based on learning and improving representations of data. A common application of this can be found in the crypto-currency, Bitcoin.
Adaptive Learning is another form of AI currently used by banks for fraud detection and mitigation. A model is created using existing rules or data in the bank’s system. Incremental learning algorithms are then used to update the models based on changes observed in the data patterns.
AI instances in Insurance for Fraud Prevention
Applying for Insurance
When a customer submits their application for insurance, there is an expectation that the potential policyholder provides honest and truthful information. However, some applicants choose to falsify information to manipulate the quote they receive.
To prevent this, insurers could use AI to analyse an applicant’s social media profiles and activity for confirmation that the information provided is not fraudulent. For example, in life insurance policies, social media pictures and posts may confirm whether an applicant is a smoker, is highly active, drinks a lot or is prone to taking risks. Similarly, social media may be able to indicate whether “fronting” (high-risk driver added as a named driver to a policy when they are in fact the main driver) is present in car insurance applications. This could be achieved by analysing posts to see if the named driver indicates that the car is solely used by them, or by assessing whether the various drivers on the policy live in a situation that would permit the declared sharing of the car.
Claims Management & Fraud Prevention
Insurance carriers can greatly benefit from the recent advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning. A lot of approaches have proven to be successful in solving problems of claims management and fraud detection. Claims management can be augmented using machine learning techniques in different stages of the claim handling process. By leveraging AI and handling massive amounts of data in a short time, insurers can automate much of the handling process, and for example fast-track certain claims, to reduce the overall processing time and in turn the handling costs while enhancing customer experience.
The algorithms can also reliably identify patterns in the data and thus help to recognize fraudulent claims in the process. With their self-learning abilities, AI systems can then adapt to new unseen cases and further improve the detection over time. Furthermore, machine learning models can automatically assess the severity of damages and predict the repair costs from historical data, sensors, and images.
Two companies tackling the management of claims are Shift Technology who offer a solution for claims management and fraud detection and RightIndem with the vision to eliminate friction on claims. Motionscloud offer a mobile solution for the claims handling process, including evidence collection and storage in various data formats, customer interaction and automatic cost estimation. ControlExpert handle claims for the auto insurance, with AI replacing specialized experts in the long-run. Cognotekt optimize business processes using artificial intelligence. Therefore the current business processes are analyzed to find the automation potentials. Applications include claims management, where processes are automated to speed up the circle time and for detecting patterns that would be otherwise invisible to the human eye, underwriting, and fraud detection, among others. AI techniques are potential game changers in the area of fraud. Fraudulent cases may be detected easier, sooner, more reliable and even in cases invisible to the human eye.
Those who wish to defraud insurance companies currently do so by finding ways to “beat” the system. For some uses of AI, fraudsters can simply modify their techniques to “beat” the AI system. In these circumstances, whilst AI creates an extra barrier to prevent and deter fraud, it does not eradicate the ability to commit insurance fraud. However, with other uses of AI, the software is able to create larger blockades through its use of “big data”. It can therefore provide more preventative assistance. As AI continues to develop, this assistance will become of greater use to the insurance industry in their fight against fraud.
Fluid Supply Chain Transformation = AI + Automation
Rapidly evolving technology and a digitally focused world have opened the door for a new wave of automation to enter the workforce. Robots already stand side-by-side with their human counterparts on many manufacturing floors, adding efficiency, capacity (robots don’t need to sleep!) and dependability. Add in drones and self-driving vehicles and it’s no wonder many are questioning the role of humans going forward.
Supply chains, although automated to a degree, still face challenges brought about by the amount of slow, manual tasks required, and the daily management of a complex web of interdependent parts. The next generation of process efficiency gains and visibility could be on your doorstep with artificial intelligence in supply chain management, if only you’d let the robots automatically open it for you.
Robotic Process Automation
RPA works by automating the end-to-end supply chain, enabling the management of all tasks and sections in tandem. It allows you to spend less time on low value, high frequency activities like managing day-to-day processes, and provides more time to work on high value, exception-based requirements, which ultimately drives value for the entire business.
PwC estimates businesses could automate up to 45% of current work, saving $2 trillion in annual wages. “In addition to the cost and efficiency advantages, RPA can take a business to the next level of productivity optimization,” the firm says. Those ‘lights out’ factories and warehouses are becoming closer to a reality.
Four key elements need to be in place for you to take full advantage of robotic process automation in your supply chain:
- robots for picking orders and moving them through the facility;
- sensors to ensure product quality and stock;
- cognitive learning systems;
- and, artificial intelligence to turn processes into algorithms to guide the entire operation.
In addition, you’ll need strong collaboration internally and among suppliers and customers to tie all management systems back to order management and enterprise resource planning platforms.
Artificial Intelligence In Supply Chain Automation
AI is changing the traditional way in which companies are operating. Siemens in its “lights out” manufacturing plant, has automated some of its production lines to a point where they are run unsupervised for several weeks.
Siemens is also taking a step towards a larger goal of creating Industrie 4.0 or a fully self-organizing factory which will automate the entire supply chain. Here, the demand and order information would automatically get converted into work orders and be incorporated into the production process.
This would streamline manufacturing of highly customized products.
Artificial Intelligence In Supplier Management And Customer Service
Organizations are also increasingly leveraging AI for supplier management and customer management. IPsoft’s AI platform, Amelia automates work knowledge and is able to speak to the customers in more than 20 languages. A global oil and gas company has trained Amelia to help provide prompt and more efficient ways of answering invoicing queries from its suppliers. A large US-based media services organization taught Amelia how to support first line agents in order to raise the bar for customer service.
Artificial Intelligence In Logistics & Warehousing
Logistics function will undergo a fundamental change as artificial intelligence gets deployed to handle domestic and international movement of goods. DHL has stated that its use of autonomous fork lifts is “reaching a level of maturity” in warehouse operations. The next step would be driver less autonomous vehicles undertaking goods delivery operations.
Artificial Intelligence In Procurement
AI is helping drive cost reduction and compliance agenda through procurement by generating real time visibility of the spend data. The spend data is automatically classified by AI software and is checked for compliance and any exceptions in real time. Singapore government is carrying out trials of using artificial intelligence to identify and prevent cases of procurement fraud.
The AI algorithm analyzes HR and finance data, procurement requests, tender approvals, workflows, non-financial data like government employee’s family details and vendor employee to identify potentially corrupt or negligent practices. AI will also take up basic procurement activities in the near future thereby helping improve the procurement productivity.
Artificial Intelligence in new product development
AI has totally overhauled the new product development process.by reducing the time to market for new products. Instead of developing physical prototypes and testing the same, innovators are now creating 3D digital models of the product. AI facilitates interaction of the product developers in the digital space by recognizing the gestures and position of hand. For example, the act of switching on a button of a digital prototype can be accomplished by a gesture.
AI In Demand Planning And Forecasting
Getting the demand planning right is a pain point for many companies. A leading health food company leveraged analytics with machine learning capabilities to analyze their demand variations and trends during promotions.
The outcome of this exercise was a reliable, detailed model highlighting expected results of the trade promotion for the sales and marketing department. Gains included a rapid 20 percent reduction in forecast error and a 30 percent reduction in lost sales.
AI in Smart Logistics
The impact of data-driven and autonomous supply chains provides an opportunity for previously unimaginable levels of optimization in manufacturing, logistics, warehousing and last mile delivery that could become a reality in less than half a decade despite high set-up costs deterring early adoption in logistics.
Changing consumer behavior and the desire for personalization are behind two other top trends Batch Size One and On-demand Delivery: Set to have a big impact on logistics, on-demand delivery will enable consumers to have their purchases delivered where and when they need them by using flexible courier services.
A study by MHI and Deloitte found more than half (51%) of supply chain and logistics professionals believe robotics and automation will provide a competitive advantage. That’s up from 39% last year. While only 35% of the respondents said they’ve already adopted robotics, 74% plan to do so within the next 10 years. And that’s likely in part to keep up with key players like Amazon, who have been leading the robotics charge for the past few years.
What is the mantra ?
These examples showcase that in today’s dynamic world, AI embedded supply chains offer a competitive advantage. AI armed with predictive analytics can analyze massive amounts of data generated by the supply chains and help organizations move to a more proactive form of supply chain management.
Thus, in this digital age where the mantra is “evolve or be disrupted”, companies are leveraging AI to reinvent themselves and scale their businesses quickly. AI is becoming a key enabler of the changes that businesses need to make and is helping them manage complexity of the constant digital change.