By  Supriya R

“Data will talk to you, if you‘re willing to listen to it” says a wise quote by Jim Bergeson. Thanks to the Internet, social media and increased use of affordable smart devices, there is a vast amount of data and it continues to pile on! This data has given rise to a new age technology that has now become a jargon in industries – Artificial Intelligence.

Artificial intelligence, with the aid of machine learning, has the power to study and interpret this data, which is revolutionizing the way of functioning of industries, and has also given birth to two words almost all companies want to associate themselves with – ‘Digital Transformation’.

So, what exactly can companies do with Artificial Intelligence and how can they leverage it into their businesses in 2019? Several industry leaders provide their insights on Implementations of Artificial Intelligence and here is what they had to say:

Artificial Intelligence to Take the Front-seat in IT Set-up

AI has recently gained prominence due to its ability to integrate with technologies like cloud, analytics and security solutions. Further, owing to the rising storage costs and increase in the number of connected devices, AI has now taken a front seat in an IT set-up. This is further validated by a Gartner forecast that pegs AI-driven business value to reach $3.9 trillion in 2022.

When analytics is integrated with machine learning and AI, it can bring forth profound changes for businesses. In the exceedingly competitive landscape that exists today, in 2019, analytics and AI will play a huge role in getting ahead of the curb. The scope for AI adoption will further expand with sectors like education, transport, healthcare as well as government owned entities taking up this technology to improve their efficiency, says Makarand Joshi, Area Vice President and Country Head, India Subcontinent, Citrix.

Artificial Intelligence for Development Efficiencies without Human Intervention

The manufacturing industry has been seeing applications of Artificial Intelligence  and Machine Learning for a while now and it has been limited to specific processes or BUs within the enterprise. In 2019, more enterprises will use Artificial Intelligence for predictive maintenance, optimizing its supply chain, shop floor automation, reduce the threat of cyber attacks, and bring product design and development efficiencies without human intervention.

Manufacturing AI will see uses beyond engineering and R&D teams and activities like raw material sourcing, human staffing, financing decisions, inventory, maintenance of equipment, and energy consumption will come under the purview of mainstream AI needs of a manufacturing unit, says Mr Mritunjay Singh, Chief Executive Officer, AXISCADES.

Artificial Intelligence Workspaces

AI and related technologies are increasingly being used across workplace environments. At HCL, we strongly believe that although this will continue to grow, we will likely see standardization in terms of both functional and non-functional aspects of technology adoption. With standardization, we can expect to see fuelled intelligent interactions between humans and technology in a natural setting leading to intelligent collaboration and amplified productivity and efficiency within workspaces. We also expect the “wellness” aspect getting mainstream adoption driven by AI capabilities being incorporated in this space, says Mr Kalyan Kumar, HCL Technologies.

Artificial Intelligence to Enhance Customer Experience

According to Gartner, Inc., AI-derived business value has been forecasted to reach $3.9 trillion in 2022. The coming year will witness AI being implemented to enhance customer experience at a much larger scale across industries like healthcare and BFSI through AI-powered chatbots and digital assistants. With the rise of industrial artificial intelligence, the combination of data, smart manufacturing processes and AI – led predictive maintenance techniques will drive major cost savings and production value for businesses across industries. 2019 will witness AI continuing to help filter and report real-time alerts that automation can react to “automatically” and will be vital for longer-term planning to bring in efficient IT operations in a market that is undergoing a series of transformations, says Mr Sanjay Agrawal, Technology Head, Hitachi Vantara.

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

Technologies are beginning to disrupt the way humans evolve. Amongst several other areas there are a lot of exciting developments in healthcare specifically related to human biology (gene editing, disease prediction and resolution, customized medicines etc.), neurosciences and manufacturing – new material development coupled with 3D printing, says Mr Sandeep Parikh, Intelligent Automation Partner at EY.

Artificial Intelligence in Automotive Industry

We believe that 2019 will witness the usage of sensor data to drive several AI/ML use cases in asset health and performance management, shop floor planning, and improving the overall equipment effectiveness. Field force and the shop floor operators will get AI/ML driven personal assistants that will provide seamless access to relevant information over voice commands, help in resolving complex issues and troubleshooting. We will also see a wider usage of complex AI/ML in the automotive sector for autonomous vehicles.

Explainable AI (black box to glass box algorithms) will garner more investments and main stream adoption. Models like deep-learning behave like black boxes and typically fail to provide an explanation for predictions made by the model. For example, if an ML model recommends rejection of a loan application, typically it is difficult accurately determine ‘why’ the model has rejected it. Some regulated industries and other specific use cases require this causal analysis hence there will be a lot of focus on this, says Mr Ankur Pawa, Senior VP-Digital Services, Sasken Technologies Ltd.

5G Roll-out and IoT: Fuel for Artificial Intelligence

We are witnessing unprecedented levels of advancements particularly in perception AI technologies such as computer vision and natural language processing. This combined with sensors, cameras, and IoT everywhere, will enable businesses to innovate at the speed of thought. With the rapid evolution of AI, use cases will further expand to include areas not part of the core business. AI will heavily impact sectors such as retail, healthcare, telecom, travel, and Fintech in the upcoming year. Further, human-machine interaction will advance swiftly through the democratization of deep learning and speech recognition.

India is beginning the 5G roll-out trials and combined with IoT, I expect an explosion in the availability of digital data, which is the fuel for AI. However, there are two risks I clearly see. Firstly executives will need to be careful in seeing through the AI hype and carefully choose AI projects they should pursue and secondly, as policymakers in India take steps to implement data protection regulation, they need to be careful, lest they starve good AI of its crucial resource, “data”. I remain extremely bullish about the potential of AI in having a transformative impact on every business in the year 2019, says Mr Rohit Maheshwari, Head of Strategy & Products, Subex.

Artificial Intelligence for Fraud Analytics

Technology advancements, driven by Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Computing will dominate 2019 in redefining enterprise competitive advantage and create a base for future enterprise progression. AI will play a key role in solving enterprise challenges ranging from predictive analytics, fraud analytics, customer 360, location analytics etc.

Deep Learning and Machine Learning will increasingly be leveraged for pattern recognition, computer vision, gesture recognition, natural language processing, robotics etc. AI is on an accelerated path to being ubiquitous and is getting seamlessly integrated with everyday lives of end users, says Dr Jai Ganesh, Senior Vice President and Head of NextLabs, Mphasis.

Artificial Intelligence to Spur Demand for Data Scientists

There is clear demand-supply issue for qualified data scientists in the market. This is a driving force behind democratization of AI and auto-ML where complexity of model building, training and deployment is being simplified by platforms like Amazon SageMaker and Google Cloud ML as well as few niche vendors like BigML and DataRobot. On technology front, Natural Language Processing or NLP will take center stage with every aspect of customer experience being augmented with NLP.

Deep learning has come out of its academic research shell and will get leveraged heavily in medical diagnostics, digital pathology etc. Nascent initiatives around Explainable AI or XAI, responsible AI and ethics will evolve in more consolidated point of views or frameworks by regulators and or industry bodies, says Ms Rashmi Tambe, AI & ML – Head of Business and Strategy, Persistent Systems.

Artificial Intelligence in Wealth Management

Wealth management industry will see an increased adoption of AI by wealth managers to transform client experiences across the full client lifecycle. Predictive Analytics will help wealth managers optimize large client investments. Technology advancements are creating opportunities for Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI), especially when AI is combined with Natural Language Processing (NLP), Data Science and Voice Search to provide value-added services for the tech-savvy end customer. With digital banking on the rise, Conversational UI will see increased adoption for a huge chunk of search queries made on mobile apps. Following this, NLP-powered Chatbots will see a heightened interest, especially in the FinTech space, which will mimic human behavioural systems and help overcome natural communication barriers.

In 2018, the IT industry fell prey to many targeted cyber-attacks – most of which were detected much later. AI will be used by enterprises to automate cyber threat detection more efficiently as compared to software-driven defense mechanisms, says Faisal Husain, Co-founder and CEO, Synechron.

Artificial Intelligence Chatbots to Flourish

2018 can easily be called the ‘Year of the Chatbot’. While most chatbots have been rudimentary FAQ replacements, we should start seeing further influences of natural language processing that will propel the chatbot evolution to further ‘seamless interactive’ heights. Now, broadening that overview, one can comfortably say that AI has matured

quite quickly over the last few years and is easier to implement now, than ever before – thanks to computing and storage access, connected systems and the data deluge. For instance, 2019 will definitely see aggressive AI implementation in fields like healthcare and retail where extensive groundwork has been carried out over the recent past. Looking inward, AI, as the child of IT is an inherent part of the industry and will increasingly drive more aspects of the software development life cycle like application testing and cybersecurity, says Aiko Klostermann, Technology Consultant, ThoughtWorks.

On the same note, “From a business perspective, most organizations – both small and big – have either started to or are looking to adopt AI-led technology in their customer service process. So in 2019, watch out for more interactions with smarter Chatbots or Virtual Agents, who will be able to drive intelligent and decision-based conversations with consumers. AI along with Machine Learning (ML) and Analytics will be increasingly used to sieve through enormous amounts of data to establish patterns and identify new areas of productivity and revenue generation,” says Ram Mohan Natarajan, Sr. Vice President – Business Transformation & Innovation, HGS.

Only 1 to 3 Percent Data Utilized so Far

We believe Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have significant impact in India and globally in the coming years. About 90% of global data was created in the last couple of years but only 1 to 3% of this data has been analyzed. The AI and analytics journey is just at the beginning and there is immense opportunity to derive value from the rapidly increasing volume of data. Governments and organisations are increasing their investments in the development of ever more intelligent solutions. Be it banking, healthcare, agriculture, financial tech, the opportunities for AI are massive, says Mr. Prakash Mallya, Managing Director, Sales & Marketing Group, Intel India.

Artificial Intelligence to Work Next to Humans

Four out of five executives surveyed by Accenture agree that in the next two years, AI systems will work next to humans in their organizations, as co-workers, collaborators and trusted advisors.

The frantic pace of technological advancement is set to continue at the same or even faster rate, leading to bold predictions such as the fact that AI will be primarily responsible for new life sciences discoveries in 5 years, or that within 10 years, one or more countries are likely to ban human-driven cars, says Arati Deo, Managing Director – AI   Practice, Accenture Advanced Technology Centers in India.

Artificial Intelligence to move upstream in HR functions

AI is used in recruitment to perform functions such as sourcing, screening and interviewing candidates. Given the rate of progress of AI, 2019 is likely to witness the technology being increasingly used in learning process and improvement processes such as Onboarding, Training & Development. AI uses huge amounts of data, which can thereby be utilised to understand employee patterns and design specific training processes accordingly, says Mr Ankur Sharma, VP, Analytics, Instamojo.

Artificial Intelligence for Personalization

We are witnessing the next wave of effort by firms in converging digital and data to render significant ‘Intelligence led’ capability. Data consumption patterns have evolved dramatically over the last decade and analytics is being applied for better customer experience, personalization, acquisition and retention – to enhance business capabilities leveraging AI and ML techniques. As adoption of Analytics becomes mainstream, organizations have started integrating the AI & ML capabilities as part of their product offerings, with tight integration across the data spectrum, says Debasish Chatterjee, Chief Data Office, ITC Infotech.

Artificial Intelligence to Transform Education Sector

We believe AI is going to completely transform education system across the globe. Eventually, AI will play the role of a mentor, who can assist a learner throughout his learning journey. With AI, we will be able to provide differentiated and individualized learning, as everyone’s learning needs and patterns are different. As AI gets more sophisticated, it might be possible for a machine to read learner’s facial expressions and figure out if student is struggling to grasp the subject and accordingly modify a lesson to respond to that, says Mr Anil Nagar, CEO and Founder, Adda247.