Embracing Inevitability: Projection and Impact of Conversational AI in 2019
Conversational AI-powered applications will represent an essential element of this automation that span workflows, customer service, supply chain, and other mundane business operations
The digital realm is all set to witness transformative changes this year affecting various facets of our lives – business-consumer interaction, shipping, and even healthcare access among others. This is, therefore, also the most opportune time for companies to re-strategize while keeping an eye on technological trends; emphasizing on Conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) in particular.
According to Rewire for Growth, AI is estimated to boost India’s annual growth rate by 1.3 percentage points by 2035. In other words, the technology has the potential to add $1 trillion to India’s economy by then. Furthermore, India was ranked third in the world in AI implementation in manufacturing, ahead of nations such as Germany, with 19per cent of companies in the sector already using AI to a significant extent. Conversational AI, a system where computers can communicate with humans in lifelike manners is expected to play a major role in the growth and adoption of this technology.
Hence, enterprises comprise the biggest adopters of conversational AI. This is because the solution is both cost-effective and allows human employees to focus on other tasks rather than the time-consuming ones; which can easily be automated. For instance, a McKinsey report observed that while few occupations are fully automatable, about 60per cent of them have at least 30per cent technically automatable activities. Hence, conversational AI-powered applications will represent an essential element of this automation that span workflows, customer service, supply chain, and other mundane business operations.
The following trends are likely to shape the significant integration of conversation AI in 2019.
Voice Assistants – Voice assistants like Alexa (Amazon), Siri (Apple), and Google Personal Assistant are speculated to see increased adoption in consumer tech and business while becoming part of everyday human-computer interactions. Almost one-third of 3.5 billion searches conducted on Google today consist of voice searches; these will comprise half of all searches within the next two years. The novelty factor will soon wither, and voice interfaces will be embedded in our lives as these technologies possess a sharpened sense of recognizing human speech.
Business Execution – Initially, conversational AI was predominately task-based: “Alexa set an alarm at 6 am in the morning” or “OK Google; check the temperature.” However, this year will see continuous interaction between humans and virtual assistants, especially on an enterprise level viz. answering claims/inquiries, executing menial diagnostics, preparing insurance quotes, troubleshooting computers, or changing phone plans.
‘Human Face’ on Automation – Both MNCs, as well as start-ups, will begin adding virtual assistants to their user experiences on various platforms like websites, apps, or social media platforms. Conversational AI has the ability to develop human-like emotions and qualities while understanding and responding with empathy or even humour. Hence, personalization will see the introduction of a new ingredient, thus elevating standards to unprecedented heights.
A Voice and Ear for Every Brand – Technology has truly progressed leaps and bounds this century in retrospect. Brands began by seeking an online presence, and later found an e-commerce presence, which is also complemented with a social media presence today. While such a presence envisages vision, Conversational AI will allow the introduction of new senses; a two-way street in speech and hearing. It is hence predicted that brands will strive to identify and maintain a unique voice presence, creating brand-consumer relationships like never before.
Remaking Service Desk, Healthcare and Insurance Processes – Certain industries have failed to provide efficient customer service, particularly through telephones or computers. They now have the opportunity to turn over a new leaf in this regard as well as save on costs. For instance, mundane tasks like password reset or checking bank balances can be handled by virtual assistants rather than humans. This will elevate a huge burden from human service to focus on higher-level jobs. In addition, virtual assistants will easily be able to locate suitable medical providers and even book appointments for patients. Hence, medical attention can be sought, medication use can be tracked, and symptoms can be reported in a seamless manner.
Insurance will also witness immense improvement with the help of Conversational AI. For instance, insurance consumers will no longer need to navigate unstructured or complex websites, or even fill in long questionnaires. A virtual assistant can instead walk consumers through the enrolment process.
It is crucial for businesses to ensure that employees are up to speed with Conversational AI while adopting the technology. It is advisable to partner with another evolving company to ease the integration process. In addition, companies that embrace Conversational AI before it becomes an expectation will be key trendsetters this year. This will position such businesses for success while also enabling them to prepare for further technological shifts in the years to come.
Ram brings over two decades of experience in enterprise software. Previously Ram was the President of Social Computing at TIBCO. He founded the division and built the business from scratch into a leader in Social Business Software with 9 Million paid users in just two years.
Earlier in his stint at TIBCO, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for eight years, leading the company’s marketing and product strategy efforts to support growth from $200M -$1B. Prior to joining TIBCO, Ram was with Accenture, a global consulting firm, where he specialized in supply chain and e-commerce strategy consulting with Global 500 companies.