Widespread lockdowns and social distancing due to COVID-19 brought big changes to e-commerce-related customer data and AI algorithms. Compared to e-commerce searches in March 2019, the retail intelligence company Stackline found the top online shopping categories in March of this year were disposable gloves (up 670 per cent), bread machines (up 652 per cent), cough and cold remedies (up 535 per cent), soups (up 397 per cent) and dried grains and rice (up 386 per cent).
Over the next three years, 78 per cent of contact centres in the US plan to deploy AI, mostly to support staff members rather than replace them, according to a survey by Canam Research for Bright Pattern, which provides AI-powered cloud software for contact centres. The leading uses being considered for AI are bots and self-service, with deployment goals including reduced costs (57 per cent) and reduced wait times (45 per cent).
Cloud-based artificial intelligence will be critical for industries facing unique challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including warehousing/logistics, conversational AI and healthcare/pharmaceuticals. ABI Research says that means annual demand for cloud AI chipsets will decline only slightly in 2020 and will then experience “a quick rebound”, rising to $12 billion by 2025.
The use of AI in homes and buildings is projected to grow nearly 15-fold between now and 2030, with a compound annual growth rate of 27.7 per cent, according to a recent analysis by Frost & Sullivan. That will mean a market worth $8.98 billion in 2030, compared to one valued at $610.2 million in 2019.
Worldwide sales of AI chipsets for edge devices are growing rapidly. Omdia predicts that revenues will increase from $7.7 billion in 2019 to $51.9 billion by 2025. Among the benefits of AI processing on the edge: fewer privacy concerns, lower latency, and reduced costs and bandwidth requirements.
More than half of the large companies recently surveyed by IDC say they are adopting AI to provide their customer with a better experience. “Early adopters report an improvement of almost 25 per cent in customer experience, accelerated rates of innovation, higher competitiveness, higher margins, and better employee experience with the rollout of AI solutions,” said Ritu Jyoti, AI program vice president.
Looking ahead to business recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, 40 per cent of US CFOs surveyed by PwC say they expect to accelerate automation and see wider adoption of technologies like artificial intelligence, drones and robotics. Another future consideration the survey highlighted: the need for technologies to help with workforce location tracking and contact tracing to manage infection risks in the workplace.
In global banking, the future advantage will go to organisations that can unlock the value of AI, agree 77 per cent of banking executives surveyed by the banking software company Temenos. Sixty-six per cent said they believe the sector will be driven by new technologies like AI, cloud and DevOps over the next five years.
Businesses are adopting AI more for customer service (60 per cent) than for any other purpose, according to a survey by MIT Technology Review Insights. Of the more than 1,000 business leaders surveyed, 73 per cent say they expect to use AI for customer service by 2022.
The number of research publications related to AI has grown by 23 per cent a year since 2015, according to a review conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. It also found that 28 per cent of AI-related papers published between 2016 and 2018 were by authors affiliated with China, while the share of such papers by EU, US and Japanese researchers has been declining.
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