19 December 2016
As we have seen in the news this week robotics and AI are quickly becoming a real thing in both business and the home. In the next few years we will see more and more of this type of technology taking on more and more of the administrative type roles in businesses around the world. In this blog, I share my thoughts on this trend and some of my very own personal experiences…
I am strong believer that we can predict B2B technology trends by looking at what happened in the B2C world 12 to 24 months earlier. In my experience, business technology trends usually follow those that happen in the home a couple of years later.
If you look at some of this year’s B2C trends, I think that 2016 will be remembered as the kick starter year for AI in the home. £50 devices like the Amazon Echo are transforming our homes into a fully connected internet of things. These new devices allow us to get accurate information easily and automate complex tasks with simple commands.
I recently bought a £50 Amazon Echo, Alexa (Note to my wife: purely for research purposes, honest!) and taught it that when I say “Good Night”. It turns off my TV, sets the home alarm, turns the down stairs’ lights off, sets the thermostat to 19c, turns the bedroom lights on, looks in calendar for the next day and sets my wake up alarm accordingly. In the morning when the alarm goes off, Alexa can tell me the traffic to work, the day’s weather, turns on my kitchen lights and coffee machine!
There is no doubt that these devices are amazing and are impressive when you use them, however they are not clever enough to do all of the above on their own. The key to these devices are their ability to connect to the cloud to get information. But what it does really well is allow third party products to connect and work with it.
For example – and this shows just how clever these devices are; after only a few days my wife and I started to treat Alexa like a real person – if I ask Alexa to play a certain song, it makes a request to Spotify.
Spotify then decodes this request and finds the right song for me. If I say “Good Night” to Alexa and the lights go out – that is your smart bulb manufacturer communicating to Alexa via the API – and this is the Key. Amazon have done an amazing job of harnessing the power of the cloud but also creating a way that other providers can interface their products with it.
For me this means that robotics and Artificial Intelligence will only be as good as the integration methods that it ships with them.
If HCM technology companies want to keep pace, we all need to make sure we are easy to integrate with to be able to get the support for the services we think are the future. Going back to Alexa, the makers of smart devices’ are falling over themselves to support it as they see it being a key to getting people bought into their systems. When that Robotic game changer hits businesses, we all need to be ready.
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