The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the use of automation both in our day-to-day lives and from a business perspective. Companies across all verticals have quickly adopted or expanded their technology infrastructure to meet the demands of the new standard.
The shift from a knowledge-based economy to an automation-based economy
The importance of knowledge and technology has increased since the integration of technology in almost all alternative fields. A knowledge-based economy is an economy in which knowledge is the key asset. Faster creation of new knowledge and better access to diverse knowledge is the main resource for increased efficiency and competitiveness in a knowledge-based economy. A knowledge-based economy involves four stages: collecting data, obtaining information, building a knowledge base and making decisions.
However, given the speed at which data is created, whether it is an online or offline environment, it is really difficult for human resources to identify the information and gain additional knowledge. .
With the limit of the human brain to process every piece of information, we perceive an automation-based economy that is likely to prevail for the foreseeable future. An automation-based economy, in a nutshell, is automation and AI further separates the data available for analysis beyond human capabilities. The integration of AI helps businesses analyze their competitive data and helps them stay ahead of their competition. From production to customer relationship management, artificial intelligence plays an essential role in transformation.
How has AI helped offline businesses?
The paradigm shift from a knowledge-based economy to an automation-based economy has not only helped online businesses. Nonetheless, it paved the way for accelerated growth of offline businesses. According to a report by Forrester, the Indian retail market was valued at US $ 883 billion and is expected to continue to grow.
When we talk about the retail market, it includes both online and offline stores. While online stores have already put AI to work, a majority of India’s retail market remains offline despite the pandemic forcing many to go online. According to the IMF, India’s GDP is expected to reach $ 4 trillion by 2024-25 at the current growth rate. If we analyze the impact of automation on the economy, increased automation is certainly beneficial in several ways.
Take for example the retail stores. When we talk about online businesses, they have the luxury of collecting the full data of the customer journey and processing it to build a knowledge base which in turn helps better decision making. . Online businesses are able to collect the entire customer journey through different software cookies and process it through powerful AI tools.
On the flip side, a lot of real-world business is offline business (consider retail stores). Data collection in these offline businesses is driven by humans or through traditional technologies, for example, footfall calculation (via a sensor), sales data, etc.
But can we collect the data on demographic analysis as well as footfall, can we identify the premium customer in the store (before they buy anything), can we perform planogram analysis so to better understand our client’s preferences? Can we know the wait time? The answer is yes, with advanced video analytics technology, many companies are making it possible.
Increased efficiency of operations
The wide-scale adoption of AI-based technologies such as machine learning (ML) and RPA (robotic process automation) will help increase efficiency and safety while saving time and money . AI, which was once feared to lead to unemployment, is no longer seen as the enemy as businesses, employees and consumers understand that it can be used to create more jobs in the market , especially for intelligent automation developers and architects. New jobs and increased efficiency will undoubtedly increase economic development in the years to come.
So far, automation leads to production efficiency at the level of the sustained and improved customer experience on the front-end. The increasingly frequent adoption of AI will help create highly skilled jobs, thus providing more opportunities for economic development.
Better user experience
AI is now increasingly used by companies in the public and government sectors to drive the accelerated digital transformation of human touchpoints. The integration of intelligent automation improves the user experience which is to some extent lacking in the human workforce. Reducing paperwork and a better user experience, in turn, will improve human life, leading to economic growth and development. However, it’s also important to remember that while AI can increase efficiency and optimize costs, it cannot match the human brain. AI and humans working in tandem will be the ultimate progress for humanity.
The article is written by Atul Rai, co-founder and CEO of Staqu. The opinions expressed are personal.