More Data, Less Hassle: The AI Assistant of The Future

10 Apr 2018

By Scott Hoffpauir, CTO of BroadSoft

Artificial intelligence (AI) has long been a topic of discussion at both the enterprise and consumer levels. Last year marked a meaningful trajectory for AI -- although one might argue it was a time of flash instead of substance. 2018 marks a pivotal year in business adoption of AI and automation -- it may be the year where the hype will give way to actual implementations of applied intelligence.

I believe companies will start to realize and embrace the benefits of AI, whether these benefits come from voice-powered assistants or less obvious and more fundamental technologies like behavioral algorithms and suggestive searches.

The Perfect Workplace

Let’s face it: Most business meetings are unproductive. Valuable time is spent simply finding a common time to meet and an appropriate location. Phone calls can be hard to hear and video can be difficult to set up. Even once the meeting takes place, time is spent looking for relevant documents and drafting notes.

What would all this lost time look like with the help of AI? Enter the office of the future.

The workspace of the future may not be the space-age dream we once envisioned. Even so, I think we are all coming to realize that tomorrow’s office is all about collaboration, integration and communication.

Imagine an office where sensors and lights provide cues for when and where meeting spaces are free or in use. Smart calendars will act as our personal assistants. An AI-powered bot will take notes during the meeting, pulling relevant documents that were mentioned in the conversation. These notes and documents will then come together to provide efficient action items stemming from the conversation, personalized for each participant.

Beyond these scheduled meetings, collaboration in meetings will be improved through unlimited memory and attention to detail. With valuable time no longer devoted to finding the appropriate email or file, more time will be available for teams to actually work and share meaningful ideas. Simple interactions throughout the day will be faster and offer more value for each contributor. All of these tools will culminate in a personalized, virtual assistant. Each employee will have a virtual chief of staff, with infinite patience, infinite memory and the ability to ultimately make proactive recommendations.

Imagine an office like this, in which you have the whitespace to do your best creative, constructive thinking. An office that takes out the work of working together. We aren’t as far away from this office of the future as you might think, and there are ways to strategically implement AI into today’s workplace.  

The Natural Course Of Implementation

The message to businesses today is this: Embrace AI or go home. For those who have taken advantage of the potential of AI tools, the results speak for themselves. Accenture Research is predicting that AI technologies will increase labor productivity by up to 40%. We are living in the age of AI-enhanced productivity, but enterprises and employees need to be ready to work alongside machines in order to reap any potential benefits.

The focus should not be on when to implement AI, but how. Who will get this technology first? How will it move to the rest of the company? If you aren’t ready to go all in, begin by picking a small project or a small group of employees who could benefit from cognitive technology.

Look for the employees that exchange a lot of information and require others to make lots of decisions. They will be a smaller group that can not only test out the technology but also demonstrate the benefits to the entire organization. This could be the sales team or another small group within the organization. These groups will be naturally more inclined to utilize collaboration tools which will, in turn, allow the entire organization to witness the benefits before joining in.

Growing Up Fast

Artificial intelligence is growing up fast. We are already seeing the fruits of the initial attempts at conquering complex tasks related to productivity and workplace practices. As we gather more data on how we work and connect to others, the power of AI will expand, analyzing and searching for patterns, helping employers to automate and systematize processes often driven simply by instinct.

That’s just in the short term. In coming years we will witness the much wider impacts of AI on the economy, society and business. When it comes to the possibilities of AI, there are lots of opinions out there. Only time will tell what will be the closest to our future reality. One thing, however, is clear. When it comes to AI, the adventure has just begun.


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