A new era is coming. A golden era of technology in which not only the big enterprises operate in, but the smaller businesses too. It’s more than just digital transformation. It’s digital elevation. We will see technology reach new heights and it will impact us all.
Technology trends such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have been touted by the world’s biggest technology leaders for some time. Over 18 months ago, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos himself said “we're on the edge of the golden era”. But technology moves fast. So fast in fact that we’re moving away from the edge and hurtling towards the centre.
There is an abundance of examples (more than most perhaps realise) where emerging technologies are reinventing what it means to be digital. We are being taken to a new era of technology. AI-based chatbots, for example, are being used extensively in a range of industries to optimise back office and consumer-facing systems and processes.
The financial industry has embraced chatbots in a big way. Capital One, MasterCard, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander are just a handful of institutions using them. So too has the legal sector. Clerksroom is using Billy Bot, a junior robot clerk, to automate many of its administrative processes. As a result, it has saved its clerks around 200 hours per month and been able to focus on higher value activities for enabling growth.
What’s clear is that organisations are quickly seeing the value in AI, and we will see investment rocket in 2018 and beyond. Particularly because companies are now offering APIs and frameworks that allow businesses to create their own intelligence services for a fraction of the cost of building an API from scratch. AI will become accessible for all.
Even the government is placing its bets on AI. When Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his annual Autumn budget in November last year, he said: “A new tech business is funded every hour and I want that to be every half hour. So today we invest over £500 million in a range of initiatives from artificial intelligence to 5G and full-fibre broadband.”
It’s not the first announcement from the government to invest in technology of this kind and it certainly won’t be the last. We are already seeing investment put into action. The West Midlands CCGs offers its patients in the West Midlands access to healthcare through the Ask NHS mobile app, which uses Advanced’s Odyssey clinical decision support technology. The AI virtual nurse, Olivia, empowers patients to self-help rather than contact an NHS service, helping reduce the number of patients who need to see a GP.
Let’s not forget the Cloud too, which will become the backbone of most digital projects – AI or not. It’s been a growth area for some time now, but we are confident the Cloud will reach tipping point if expert third party providers like Advanced continue to improve confidence among businesses and educate them on the specific benefits of the Cloud. We’ve seen an increase in uptake from our customers and we can expect more uptake this year.
The bottom line? Digital transformation will continue to dominate in business strategies in 2018. At Advanced, we are really excited to see how AI and machine learning will take digitisation to the next level – and for the smaller organisations to jump on board. Maybe SMEs can even challenge the “big beasts” by snapping up AI benefits first.
If your business is yet to be disrupted, it won’t be long. And, if you don’t lead the change yourself, someone else might. So don’t miss out on a golden opportunity. Make 2018 your year of AI and use its capabilities to completely reinvent your business like never before.