In short, the AI technology is making consumers smart, but businesses smarter
Not so long ago, artificial intelligence was the whim and fancy of sci-fi authors and filmmakers where they conceptualized and created characters that left us in awe.
Those fantasies have come to fruition. According to a report from CB Insights, in the last three years, the investment in AI has grown to a massive $2.38 billion from barely $415 million.
Siri, Cortana and Google's recent WhatsApp competitor, Allo, is proof that we have started interacting with AI technology on a daily basis. Car giant Tesla and Google are building AI technology in self-driving cars. American cloud giant Salesforce is building artificial intelligence capabilities into its core to deliver advanced AI capabilities to sales, service, and marketing.
In India, IT/ITes majors such as Infosys, Wipro and TCS have also launched their own artificial intelligence platforms. Take for instance, Wipro's HOLMES, an artificial intelligence platform that is designed with a focus on enterprise use cases from IT and business process areas. It also has the ability to continuously learn from new data, recommend a solution, and predict failures.
TCS' Ignio is a neural science based automation platform, a product it started testing four years ago, manages over 600,000 infrastructure resources and is saving over $20,000,000 in productivity. In April this year, Infosys launched Mana, a platform that brings machine learning together with the deep knowledge of an organization, to drive automation and innovation -- enabling businesses to continuously reinvent their system architectures.
Apple’s Siri, Miocrosoft’s Cortana and Google's recent Whatsapp competitor, Allo, is proof that AI technology is a reality. Tesla Car giant Tesla and Google are building AI technology in self-driving cars.
Not just the IT sector. A large number of startups in India have platforms based on artificial intelligence technology.
India accounts for over 50 startups in this space distributed across various sectors such as healthcare, energy and utilities and IT services among others. With over 19,000 technology-enabled startups, India ranks third in global tech startup exit activity.
Clearly, India's startup ecosystem is growing at a spectacular pace and the 50-odd startups might seem like a drop in the ocean of 19,000 such technology-enabled enterprises. However, this puny number is not undermining AI’s potential. In fact, it is only strengthening it.
Why? Because a lot of enterprises are leveraging platforms built by these startups and catching on the AI wave.
Startups meet enterprises
According to Nitin Babel, co-founder of Niki.ai, a Bangalore-based startup backed by businessman, Ratan Tata, one of the biggest challenges that enterprises face is the ability to understand human needs and decode into deliverables in the form of a product. We have witnessed brands building interactive platforms for their user base from time to time. But in a lot of cases, the experience is still not there yet. AI can be leveraged to achieve that.
The company has designed an (AI-based ecommerce chatbot, Niki, that handles 25,000 requests and caters to over 10 verticals now including hospitality, travel, food, home services and utilities such as bill payments and recharges. It is working with both startups and established businesses such as Ola, Uber, OYO Rooms, Burger King and Paytm to name a few.
“Traditional channels generally provide a conversion of 1-2 percent while with Niki, we are seeing over 30 percent conversion rates,” said Babel.
There are other Indian AI startups building chatbots such as Skedool.it, Fynd, Lawbot, Gupshup.io that provide virtual-assistant like services to a range of verticals in India.
Shonit, on the other hand, is an automated AI tool developed by a Bangalore-based startup Sigtuple that enablestele-haematology and performs blood count analysis of patients living in tier-2 and tier-3 Indian cities, facilitated by senior pathologists/doctors based in tier-1 cities - in a matter of minutes.
The AI startup is also developing solutions for andrology (semen analysis), urine analysis, chest X-ray analysis and retina scan image analysis. All of these are cloud enabled, and agnostic of geography.
“We are building a series of AI based solutions which automate the screening (and partially diagnosis) process in various fields of healthcare. Our initial focus is on the analysis of medical images,” said Rohit Kumar Pandey, its co-founder.
While Shonit is not commercially available yet, Pandey said that Sigtuple is already working with leading hospitals, healthcare organizations and lab chains in India.
Saying goodbye to mundane
All Things Cloud founders, Mukundhan Srinivasan and Amruth Puttappa are determined to solve the country’s energy problem by building smart hardware devices and intelligent software systems that provide robust web and mobile experience. It is a Bangalore-based IoT and AI startup in the Energy and Utilities sector.
“AI has started becoming lucrative after the inception of the Digital India initiative and the penetration of the internet. The technology has a lot of potential,” said Puttappa.
Today, All Things Cloud is solving the energy problem of the top three power companies in India. “Enterprises see a lot of value in AI and IoT. However, the problem is implementation and how it translates to labor productivity and improved efficiency,” he added.
Slowly, but surely
According to Vinay Kumar, co-founder of a Mumbai-based startup, Arya.ai says, IoT is yet to become mainstream and gather enough training data to even create an AI system.
The startup creates advanced AI tools that developers can use to build robots that can assist professionals from different fields in their tasks. A majority of Arya.ai’s customers (at least 70 percent) are enterprises outside India.
“In India, many institutions are at an exploring phase. The real use cases are yet to come to production. It might take some time in India to see a good AI application being used by customers or by the enterprises directly,” he added.
However, there’s one common viewpoint that they all share: Indian enterprises too are adapting AI in its ‘early’ form. Whether it is chatbots, predictive analysis, computer vision and visual intelligence platforms, they are developing these capabilities organically, by acquisitions or using innovative startups thereby developing the infrastructure – slowly, but surely.