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How AI Can Give Your Business Real Intelligence

January 17, 2019 No Comments

Featured article by Alice Clarke

Ever since E.M. Forster’s ‘The Machine Stops’, people have been dreaming of futures where machines, robots and AI can look after their needs – preferably in less apocalyptic scenarios.

Although 2018 hasn’t yet yielded the flying cars promised by The Jetsons, there’s plenty AIs, widgets and bots waiting to help remove pain points from your home and business. The trick is being able to work out which ones suit your home and business’ style, and ignoring those which will only create a different kind of friction.

Here are some ways smart tech and bots can help you and your business:

Home Assistants

Google’s Assistant, Siri and Alexa are a long way off being able to replace human assistants. However, they can help streamline processes in the home, small business, and segregated office environments.

One example is setting up a morning routine that turns on the lights and climate control, plays the shop/office playlist and gives you a rundown of the planned events for the day by saying “OK Google, good morning”. That not only saves a few minutes each day, but also means that if you’re home sick, it’s easier for someone else to start the day’s processes without major instruction.

They’re also great for keeping you focussed on work. We’re all guilty of occasionally falling down the rabbit hole of going to search for one thing, and then accidentally finding ourselves on the Wikipedia page for Belarus’ 2011 Eurovision entry an hour later. Being able to just ask “Hey Google, what’s the GDP of Belarus?”, “Hey Siri, what are the first seven digits of Pi”, or “Hey Siri, what’s 8765.82 times 0.08?” keeps your, and your employees, eyes and focus on work.

As more people use these assistants, their parent companies and programmers will give them more skills and cater more to those who use them. Obviously, Google Assistant will be more flexible, however those with privacy concerns have more reason to be worried about Google’s data sales.

Smart Locks

One nightmare most small business owners with employees have faced at least once is having the person in charge of opening up in the morning lose the key. It’s an expensive problem, because not only do the locks now need to be changed, but waiting for the locksmith takes time away from serving clients. One solution is to install a smart lock, like the Kwikset Kivo or August Smart Lock, which can be unlocked using a phone instead of a key. Both have the capacity for you to message someone a “key” for guest access if they need to get in for a one off; great for when your usual opener is sick, or a trusted tradie needs early morning access.

There’s not really a lot of places for smart locks to go in the future, other than growing out of using batteries and becoming more secure. That said, someone creative is probably currently working to prove me wrong on that.

Chat Bots

Customers always want someone to be available to help them 24/7, same as how new employees need a lot of help and training, and any good new employee will be full of questions. Both of those things are time consuming and resource intensive. However, a lot of the time a well-programmed, adaptive chatbot will be able to answer common questions and solve problems without having to escalate to a human, saving everyone time and money in the process.

LiveTiles uses Microsoft’s Bot Framework to give businesses the opportunity to choose the abilities for their bots, and make them better able to cater to their employees and customers’ needs, even making it so each employee has their own customised assistant.

What makes it better, though, is that they’re easy to deploy and don’t require any coding, making them more accessible to businesses who either don’t have a large enough IT department, or lack the specialised skills to create their own.

The more info these bots are fed, the more they’ll learn, and the better they’ll become at anticipating needs. In the future, they’re only going to get smarter, better, and more intuitive.

Recruitment AI

Another area AI bots are proving hugely useful is in talent acquisition. IBM’s Watson has been very helpful with not only assisting candidates have a better job search experience, but also aid recruiters to find better talent, faster. Watson uses machine learning to help companies better find what they’re actually looking for in terms of skills, rather than just how much university they’ve completed, or experience they have.

As more jobs are becoming automated, and job descriptions are changing to adapt to the current workforce, having a bot like Watson is a key to making sure the right people are in the right jobs.

Better Intranets to increase productivity

One of the big issues when it comes to company-wide collaboration is that it can be difficult to get everyone working on the same page. Using the native Office365 and Google Drive sites can be good temporary measures, but having something tailored to what your team needs can take a lot of the friction out of work, allowing you and your team to be more productive wherever you are.

LiveTiles SharePoint can help take a company intranet from generic, to a fully customised and integrated workspace in as little as one day.

The benefit of using SharePoint is that there’s no coding required, and it’s easy to design to give it a consistent look and feel for your business. It’s compatible with Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint, and can also handle 150 integrations including Google Drive, Box and Facebook. They easily work across desktop and mobile, and although they don’t require coding, the Custom and Code Snippet tiles allow developers to configure their own features if they want even more control over their space.


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