How will Cloud and Applied Intelligence affect your business? And more importantly, where are some of the opportunities hidden?

We were wondering this the other day, so we have come up with seven different themes that you can start brainstorming around, when it comes to Applied Intelligence and Cloud solutions. These could unlock some profitable ideas almost immediately.

  1. My first pick is Travel. This was the first industry in the history of the internet to collect more revenue on-line than through in-person sales. Considering that most of the travel agent’s job is tapping away at a computer, it’s easy to see how consumers can do much of the work themselves. AI can help here by predicting flight delays and also by offering dynamic pricing. Already, the price of practically every seat on any given plane on any given route is different, based on how often that passenger flies, how far in advance they booked it, what the demand was on the day they booked it, and so on. AI can help refine this even more, giving a welcome revenue boost to an industry known for its thin margins.
  1. Marketing. The marketing function is changing. Using AI and analytics, marketers will be able to more accurately predict the lifetime value of a customer, spot which customers are about to churn, as well as which customers are ready for cross-selling or up-selling.
  1. Healthcare. Since 2011, IBM’s natural-language AI engine Watson has been used in healthcare to recommend the best treatment options for patients whose diseases have been diagnosed by physicians. A healthcare provider with information on the purchases and health habits of its customers could mine that data and spot correlations that could lead to disease prevention.
  1. Social Media. My colleague Rory Moore recently wrote about how AI is helping portfolio managers by analyzing social media posts. In a field called sentiment analysis, AI can analyze what customers are saying about the companies they deal with, and portfolio managers can extrapolate that to how the company is doing, long before the official results are announced.
  1. Sales. Sales automation was one of the early applications of computing. CRM is a well-established field, and we partner with CRM providers whose platforms run in the cloud. The future of these systems includes much more accurate demand forecasting as well as the ability to offer targeted discounts and pricing, similar to the dynamic pricing used in the airline industry. I can’t wait for my supermarket to start accurately pre-populating my shopping list every week.
  1. Transport and Logistics. We are all familiar with the holy grail of transport and logistics: self-driving cars, trucks and planes. Tesla recently announced that its new software can accurately read speed limit signs. Interestingly enough, autonomous vehicles have been a dream for over a century. In fact, pilotless aircraft were built during and shortly after the First World War – more than 100 years ago. Since then, the dream has been to develop fully autonomous aircraft that can transport passengers safely and accurately without needing any human intervention at all. I saw figures from Boeing that estimate 80% of all aircraft crashes are due to human error. That’s even taking into account the company’s software problems with their 737 Max In 2018 alone, the aircraft industry spent over $1,3 billion on insurance premiums and aircraft failures (called “hull loss”) amounted to $762 million of that. The promise of AI is to cut both numbers by 80% – over a billion dollars in insurance premiums and over $600 million in hull loss a year. Similar savings can be expected for road logistics.
  1. Credit and Insurance. Using AI and data analytics, credit and insurance companies can predict claims and detect fraud. Most enterprises in this space have increasingly sophisticated systems to do just that.

The purpose of this laundry list of cloud-enabled AI, analytics and automation applications is to provoke ideas. How can some of these seven trends be applied to your own business? Perhaps you’ve experimented with demand forecasting or dynamic pricing or have looked at churn prediction or lifetime value of a customer?

I’d love to hear more about what you are looking forward to your cloud-based system doing for you.

Haydn Townsend

Haydn Townsend

Managing Director – Accenture Interactive, Africa

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