Before getting to a few companies that I believe can be transformational, a few comments on the event in general. This week the annual gathering of the Business Communication industry occurred in Orlando. While the formal name is Enterprise Connect, this year I would refer to it as Easy Connect. Virtually every session and presentation included the easy or simple or intuitive word to describe the user experience.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Masergy, a leading provider of secure SD-WAN, cloud communications, and managed security solutions, announced today the launch of a new Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered virtual agent. Masergy Intelligent Virtual Agent powers virtual assistant and chatbot features for Masergy Global UCaaS solutions. It also serves as the queueing agent for Masergy Cloud Contact Center.
Artificial intelligence is one of those concepts that is thrown at, into or added whenever someone wants to demonstrate they are using this new concept. Traditional AI is not something that is achieved or ever finished; it is a process by which you incorporate various kinds of machine technology with human efforts. Today various kinds of machine intelligence in the form of cognitive behavioral analysis, natural language processing, analysis of vast arrays of data and larger computing efforts are used to solve all the problems we face each day.
Image credit: Pixabay
Despite being in widespread use throughout countless industries, machine learning remains commonly misunderstood (much like AI in general), even though it’s a fairly straightforward concept. To clarify, it involves programming computer systems with the capability to adapt their operations based on the data they receive and the conclusions they can reach from it.
This may be oversimplifying things, but IT had better have an answer ready when it comes from executive management. It’s a highly loaded question, since it implies that you should have AI – whatever “AI” actually means. For those in IT circles, AI has a lot to do with technology, but your management team is likely thinking more about business outcomes and how to keep pace with competitors. Worse yet, they may see AI as the latest shiny ball they must have, and that it will somehow make the business more successful.
I can’t speak for the rest of my BCStrategies colleagues, but I am incredibly tired of the hyperbole surrounding artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, automation and “digital transformation.” The truths are:
Assistants and bots have reached a new adoption high. Opus Research found spending on intelligent assistants will cross the $2 billion mark in 2018 and will exceed $5 billion by 2021. However, many businesses are finding their projects harder to scale than they expected.
In this Industry Buzz podcast the BCStrategies Experts address a variety of recent news items.
I just returned from a quick trip to New Hampshire for a client engagement. Three or four weeks ago my client booked a hotel room on my behalf and I received an email confirmation from the Crowne Plaza. I went to put it on my calendar, and found that my Big Brother had already read my email and entered it for me. Aha! I thought. This time Brother Google made a mistake. Brother Google got the dates right, but he noted I was staying at the DoubleTree.
Turns out Brother was right. A week before my arrival the hotel changed ownership.
8x8, Inc. has announced the acquisition of MarianaIQ, a startup focused on AI and deep learning. With this acquisition, 8x8 can add MarianaIQ’s deep learning capabilities to its X-Series, bringing new key Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities to its enterprise communications line.