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Shift: from 'Mobile first' to 'AI first'

Thomas Smolders
Resident Writer

Last Tuesday, we gathered at Quartier Papier in Brussels for an evening on artificial intelligence. At Shift, a series of events focussing on emerging technologies, three experts gave a keynote on AI. These are the key takeaways!

Don't forget the human

Dirk Bollen, Product Manager and strategist at In The Pocket, said AI should operate on the sweet spot between business, technology and humans. All too often companies only focus on the first two, but in order to create winning ideas you have to solve a certain need of your customers.

Taking into account the people who use your product of course has an impact on the user experience. The UX, Dirk said, will always be determined by the reciprocity between their interactions and the technology. This is not always easy. According to Dirk, you can expect the transition of your enterprise company to machine learning to be about 100x harder than your transition to mobile.

Perhaps the most interesting quote came at the end of the talk:

"It is not AI that’s going to replace humans, it's the humans that don’t use AI that are going to be replaced by those that do use AI."

Find the right use cases

The second keynote of the evening was given by Kenny Helsens, AI Lead at In The Pocket. ‘AI first,’ he agreed with Dirk, ‘is about understanding your users.’ Companies that want to work with artificial intelligence must start by mapping all their processes. AI can help their business in three ways: it can improve existing algorithms, it can optimize processes (for example by supporting human tasks) or create completely new business services.

The technologies that are linked to AI (Computer vision, NLP, sensor mining ...) can help us understand the context and the intentions of the users. When we have a clear picture of that context, we can better support the user in his activities, make recommendations, prioritize, or make autonomous decisions ourselves. Because it's not just about the technology, but especially what you do with it. That’s why it is important that you rank your use cases with the help of a few criteria.

The ‘1 second rule’, for instance. How long does a specific task take for a human? Can a child of five years old do it? Who’s impacted by the use case - is it only you or a larger audience? How often do you use it? And is there a certain human bias? If you checked off multiple checkboxes, AI might be the tool you’re looking for.

Telenet and AI

At the end of the evening, Matthias Vanderoost, responsible for e-commerce, self-service & digital transformation projects for Telenet and Base brands, spoke about a specific case that the Belgian telecom operator developed together with In The Pocket. Telenet wants to transform their business by 2020, to become a digital first and flexible future proof operator. This transition to digital first, underpinned by simplification, will deliver a better customer experience and generate significant cost savings.

One of the main challenges Telenet wants to tackle are the installations of devices such as their Digicorder. By enabling customers to install those themselves, the operator can reduce calls to customer care and thus costs. Another advantage is Telenet noticed is that customers who use self install solutions are customers that are more satisfied, and there’s less churning.

They decided to increase the self-install base from 8% to 30% while maintaining a great customer experience and joined forces with In The Pocket to create an application that combines AR and AI to recognize cables and guide customers during the installation of their Digicorder.

One of the most important things we’ve learnt from this experiment is that AI is only a part of the solution, the integration with a visual layer (AR or 3D) is key. Platform thinking is always central to the business case: it drives scalability, there are long-term benefits and it’s future proof if more ideas arise.

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