Today’s emerging “Artificial Intelligence” (AI) technology promises to enhance productivity while cutting the costs of virtually every business process, including communications. “AI” refers to the programming of computers to perform “thinking” functions like reasoning, perception, and learning. “Machine learning” (ML), a type of AI, refers to a computer’s capacity to continuously build algorithms that use statistical analysis to predict ever-more-refined outcomes. Applying AI and ML to the communications sector is already generating never-before-imagined opportunities for collaboration as machines and humans engage almost like peers.
Rapid Adoption Demonstrates High Value
Many companies are already using AI to improve functioning across their entire enterprise. In a 2016 survey, 30 percent of respondents indicated that AI predictives related to the activities of workers, customers, and corporate health were the primary reason they adopted the technology. Another 27 percent noted their reduced costs because of the AI- and ML-associated automation of repetitive functions. And 14 percent said their AI programming was unmatched for its 24/7 monitoring of (and alerting to) the full scope of corporate activities.
No Known Adoption Timeline
Ironically, because there is not yet sufficient data from which to pull information, today’s AI software is unable to predict a timeline for when all industries will have their AI technology fully integrated with their standard (non-AI) technology. Some AI technologies, such as self-driving cars, are more advanced than others, and at a March 2017 conference, experts predicted that, by 2030, automated-driving vehicles would account for as much as 50 percent of all highway miles driven.
The growing value of investments in the AI and ML sciences indicate that interest in the development of AI is at the top of the to-do list for most corporate leaders. At the previously mentioned conference, one expert posited that, by 2022, investments in AI and ML capabilities would account for as much as 20 percent of all tech investment.
Artifical Intelligence + UC = Amazing Communications
In the unified communications sector, AI is changing the way companies structure their workflows, decision-making processes, and strategy planning. When coupled with analytics, AI programming helps leaders make better employee, customer, and production decisions based on both existing circumstances and AI-predicted future events. Some examples:
- Contact Centers and Chatbots – In the contact center, AI has already disrupted customer services by injecting the “chatbot” into the customer service process. These “virtual assistants” – software programs designed to act like humans but are actually just digital portals – automatically engage in “conversations” with consumers while also managing their transactions.
- Mobile Messaging – AI will also impact how customers connect to their vendors by embracing and streamlining the capacities of mobile messaging. Presently, only two percent of customer inquiries come into a service center by way of mobile messages. However, AI automation gives corporations the tools they need to embrace customer-related mobile messaging at the same speed (or close to it) their customers are adopting it. Additionally, the automation capacity of AI will connect through mobile messaging not just consumers to customer services, but also to a host of content and commercial functions tied directly to that individual consumer.
Considering the already impressive realities of AI and ML technologies, it is almost impossible to imagine the future capacity for collaboration between man and machine.