Some of my favourite scenes from the film Iron Man are the ones that showcase the relationship Tony Stark has with Jarvis. Jarvis is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system that has unlimited access to and control of resources, devices and programs. Jarvis uses his own will to aid Tony with whatever he needs in the movie. Jarvis does all sort of things, from talking about the weather and answering the door to advising Tony in battles. It’s really cool!
While Jarvis is fictional, we are lucky enough to live in a world today that’s not far off from the one portrayed in Iron Man—where people and machines are working together more than ever.
Artificial intelligence has advanced in leaps and bounds such that investments from venture capitalists continue to break boundaries as businesses contemplate, explore and experiment with applying AI across a wide spectrum of the value chain.
McKinsey, in its Global Institute report, predicts that AI will bring about the next wave of digital disruption. Its report estimates that venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) firms invested five to eight billion dollars in AI in 2016. That figure is still far from the 2016 figures estimated for the investments by tech behemoths like Google and Baidu. Furthermore, the report helpfully reminds us that AI investments by VC and PE firms in 2013 was less than a third of what it was in 2016.
The world is moving towards an unprecedented digital revolution, and it is paying closer attention to artificial intelligence.
Today’s AI is far beyond asking SIRI “What did the fox say?”… but still, she gives you the best answer. (Go ahead, try it.)
AI has come far. For businesses, artificial intelligence is the here and now, especially in the field of communications. Artificial intelligence and unified communications are showing their strength as compatible partners in the drive to streamline collaboration.
In the 2017 Economist Intelligence Unit report, Artificial Intelligence in the Real World, 75% of more than 200 business executives surveyed said AI will be actively implemented in their companies within the next three years.
How can an AI assistant help businesses?
Combining AI and cloud communications is a perfect marriage to achieve higher efficiencies, automation, rapid innovation and better customer experience. Here are a few cases where combining AI and unified communications will improve users’ overall experience., In most cases we can expect to see these applications in the relatively near future, but a few are already fully available now.
- Book meetings.
It’s clear that collaboration is key for any organization to succeed in today’s workforce. The combination of UC and AI helps carry out programmable, automated tasks.
For example, let’s say I am working with Scott who’s based in the US while I am in Asia. As part of daily collaboration we have weekly status calls together. Here the combination of UC and AI could identify the best time for us to meet across time zones. How? It looks at our calendars and finds the perfect time that fits both our schedules while considering our respective time zones.
No longer do we need to check our calendars, convert our time zones and book our meeting personally. AI can take care of it with applications readily available today.
- Translate into many languages.
AI can also translate in real time, and in the near future, it will be able to translate colloquial language.
In the proper context, AI will automatically translate what the other party is saying in real time and UC portals will convey the message to you instantly. No longer will language be a barrier. Everything will be done right in front of you. Imagine having one language that everyone understands, all thanks to AI.
- Summarize meetings.
Imagine that you have a weekly meeting with team members and someone wasn’t able to join you because they were on vacation or for personal reasons. Instead of coming back to a whole week’s worth of videos and meetings to watch and follow up on, the person will be able to use an AI assistant to listen to the meetings; it will provide a summary of all the key points discussed.
AI will be able to listen into meetings and automatically determine what is important and relevant to the person.
- Improve meetings.
AI assistance will also be able to help in producing a more holistic meeting experience. By integrating AI into your UCC, imagine a scenario where your meetings start on time and with time management reminders put in place. You will also be provided with all the meeting materials immediately using voice-activated commands.
No longer will leaders need to pause and send a link to the chat. Everything will be opened for you by an AI assistant.
- Manage information.
As a project manager you often find your emails, texts, and even voice message inbox flooded with important conversations that need to be stored or shared accordingly. You spend a lot of your time filing emails into the right folders so that your team can see the latest project updates and work products.
Integrating AI and UCC platforms will allow you to deploy the AI engine to identify keywords and command it to store information in the right place immediately. This real-time capability and smart assistance will save you and your team valuable time and effectively manage your information for you.
- Improve customer service.
An AI assistant will also help improve customer service through its machine learning capability. The chatbots of the future will listen and learn so that they effectively deal with customer enquiries in a friendly and standardized manner.
Alibaba recently smashed its sales record for Singles Day, an one-day e-commerce shopping festival, bagging $25 billion in sales in a single day. Crucial to its success is its highly functional and effective chatbot. Alibaba claims that its chatbot is capable of handling 90% of customer enquiries and serving almost 3.5 million users per day.
What’s in it for you and your team?
The goal of AI and UCC is not to replace people, but to free up time so that people can focus on other activities.
It may sound like science fiction, but we’re close to saying goodbye to the old days of doing all these tasks manually. Soon we’ll be welcoming the new way of working with AI and UCC integration. You don’t have to be a superhero to use your own
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