AI Lends a Leg Up in Business

Many businesses are curious about artificial intelligence (AI) but are unsure as to how or where to first implement this technology. It’s completely understandable to feel slightly overwhelmed by the scope and veracity of cutting edge technology. It’s helpful, however, to see how other companies are using AI to garner ideas as to how your own business might take advantage of this technology. 

Predictive analytics can help companies cater to customers and meet their needs; smart software can prevent machine breakdowns and schedule maintenance in industrial settings; facial recognition systems are in banks, airports and many other places to gauge emotion, as well as identify and ultimately offer security. Read on for a few examples of clever ways companies across various industries are using AI.

McDonald’s

The fast-food giant has been collecting data and is now running AI programs with this information in several ways, one of which is in its menus. The new digital menus will be able to adjust to the time of day and the temperature. In the morning the menus will promote breakfast items, while in the evening they’ll focus on dinner options. The menu will also be able to promote cold drinks on hot days, and warm beverages on cooler ones. The menus have been used in Canada and have resulted in a 3-3.5% increase in sales. 

McDonald’s also has an app that allows customers to avoid lines in the store and at drive-up windows. It was created in part to make ordering and pickups quicker. It can also recommend or upsell extras. The app was tested in Japan where consumers spent 35% more money.

H&M

The clothing store, H&M which is one of several retailers who gained primacy by offering non-brand clothing at cheaper prices than department stores, is also turning to technology to help with its slumping sales. H&M is using AI to better stock its stores. Based on data taken from returns, receipts and loyalty cards, H&M is learning how a store in Stockholm might sell a certain sweater in a larger volume than a store in Chicago, and responding accordingly. So instead of 20 unsold sweaters in Chicago, they’ll be far fewer, because given data, H&M will know this type of sweater won’t sell well in Chicago. 

H&M is also partnering with google on a fashion house called Ivyrevel, which is using AI to create fashion designed around the way clients live their lives. The application monitors your activities, places you go, and general lifestyle, from which it produces customized designs or the “Data Dress” as its called on the app. Imagine never worrying that someone else will be wearing the same dress at the next party you attend. 

Manufacturing uses for AI

Large scale manufacturing is more and more machine-dependent. That means that the maintenance and upkeep of machines is crucial. The Maximo Asset Health from IBM uses data from the famed Watson computer to monitor machine equipment. The technology uses sensors on the machines to determine if or when a piece of machinery might go bad. The software also takes into consideration the age of the machine and its use and maintenance history. 

According to a case study with AGR, a company that manages gas and oil production plants— often in remote, hard to access areas— the data gleaned from the Maximo Asset Health has resulted in “significant productivity gains – enabling AGR to reduce costs and improve time to service for clients.”

Facial recognition Software in Banks

There are several companies, such as IntelliVision or Kairos who offer facial recognition programming that can help businesses, including banks with their security. The software is trained by machine learning that shows thousands of images of human faces from various angles and in disparate lighting. It functions by integrating known facial identities into its software. The software could be exposed to new faces via a security camera at a bank or an ATM for example, which would be integrated into the database. According to Emerj an AI and Research company’s blog, “the system can then verify their name if it is uploaded into the system and record the person’s face to a shortlist of current patrons for the time they are inside the bank.” IntelliVision has raised 6 Million in venture capital. 

While the future of AI is certainly bright. There are many, many uses and ways to take advantage of AI in business.  While each situation is different, it’s a great time to be thinking about how AI could help your business rise above the competition.

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