Kaspars Kauliņš, International Business Development Manager, Tilde
When the pandemic started companies in the entire world focused on survival: looked for new sales channels, dealt with supply chain problems and re-arranged internal processes to accommodate distance working. Currently, the situation has slightly changed, and businesses have different priorities for the next year to return to the path to growth and development.
The technology company Gartner recently published a report on a study during which 2400 companies from the entire world were surveyed and concluded that in 2022 direct business investments in technology solutions would increase the most. At Tilde, we have also asked for opinions on the technology innovation trends that will affect companies this year.
In the nearest future, most businesses will focus on AI-based solutions. It will allow to further increase company efficiency, save human and financial resources, and to improve user experience. Greater investment in the IT infrastructure and solutions will allow to compete in the ever changing markets, while those that miss the AI-technology train will lag behind the competition as they will be unable to secure the same business indicators as more technologically advanced competitors.
Investment in smart chatbots will exceed current forecasts
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), in 2022 the total investment in AI-enabled solutions will reach EUR 68.5 billion. It is three times more than forecasted four years ago. Considering Tilde’s business area, I would like to focus on smart language technologies. The pandemic had significantly accelerated the establishment of AI virtual assistants or chatbots in businesses.
When people could not physically go to stores and customer service centers, companies in the entire world had a greater focus on the introduction and development of chatbots to ensure 24/7 distance customer support ensuring better user experience and improved customer satisfaction.
Market and consumer data analyses company Statista also expects that in 2025 the global chatbot market will be valued more than EUR 1 billion. It means unbelievable growth as in 2016 the estimated value of this market was just EUR 168 million. Considering this spurt mostly made possible due to the pandemic, this year we can also hope to see the introduction of many new chatbots or expansion of the current solutions: our tireless virtual assistants will become more knowledgeable and will help to solve many more new problems and become available to an ever larger number of users.
As technologies develop, virtual assistants will speak several languages. We already have the first good examples n Latvia.
The first AI logistics chatbot that really knows all three Baltic languages, as well and English joined the international delivery company DPD this year. The smart virtual assistant allows to serve customers faster and to deliver packages to a large number of customers in all three Baltic countries with greater efficiency.
The virtual assistant technologies develop and mature, and respective user expectations become clearer. Simple solutions that are comparatively easy to introduce and maintain, but do not offer the benefit of maintaining a human-like dialogue in the natural language may become a disappointment. Thus, we can expect that their share will decrease. It means that organizations will prefer solutions featuring AI natural language processing technologies that also allow to link chatbots with internal information systems and databases of companies.
Expansion of the knowledge base of virtual assistants that allow users to receive information and support on as many topics as possible is one of the hottest routes for development.
As virtual assistants are used in a larger number of sectors and as AI solutions are employed in more or less related scenarios, the so called masterbots that are able to manage other virtual assistants or their knowledge bases have also been introduced. Together with the Culture Information Systems Centre and the State Chancery, we are active in this area. This cooperation has resulted in the public administration virtual assistant Zintis that is unique for Europe as its knowledge base allows to provide support to close to 100 public administration bodies and their customers.
Pandemic restrictions have also significantly changed internal and external communication processes. As most meetings are remote, there is an ever greater need to efficiently manage such measures. AI solutions help businesses with this, too.
The first virtual meeting assistants or digital secretaries have already been made available in the market — they can help to plan and organize meetings, as well as participate in meetings in one of the communication platforms, perform various tasks received via voice commands such as record meetings, prepare meeting transcripts and minutes, book the time for the next meeting, send e-mails to meeting participants or give written tasks to specific participants.
Smart technologies that understand and imitate human speech
Due to rapid introduction of neural networks and advanced machine learning, speech technologies is an AI language technology niche that has been reinvigorated during the last five years. Speech recognition that allows to transform voice or recordings into text is also rapidly developing in Latvia.
For example, Tilde’s Speech Recognition System that transforms speech into text has at least 95% success rate if the quality of the recording is good. As the quality of this technology improves, the range of its use also expands.
The Baltic States is one of the European frontrunners in using speech recognition solutions in the public sector. These solutions help and make the work of many professional easier, e.g. in the Estonian courts AI ensures automatic generation of proceeding transcripts. It is expected that the speech recognition tools will become more popular this year also for the purposes of recording analyses and service quality improvement.
To ensure that information and services are available to as many users as possible, the developers have to think about various communication channels.
The European companies are also increasingly relying on automated phone calls or robocalls to reach those population groups that prefer telephone calls for communication. Integration of AI speech and natural language processing technologies offer new generation solutions for phone communication, i.e. the so called telebots.
They are able to not only play a pre-recorded message to a user, but also to understand human speech and help to find answers to various questions about a specific product or a service, and to deal with simple technical problems that users may experience. It is expected that the first such virtual telephone assistants will start operating in Latvia this year.
AI that adapts to user emotions
Emotional artificial intelligence or artificial emotional intelligence that uses technologies to determine and assess the emotional state of a person is also becoming more popular. Facial expressions, eye movements and voice timbre are used as an input. Gartner expects that just in a year 10% of personal smart devices will feature emotion recognition technologies.
As early as in 2019, Tilde started cooperation with the University of Latvia to study human-computer communication and its emotional aspects. During the joint project, we are developing an algorithm that is able to recognize human emotions and to analyze user communication with Customer Service Reps by assessing individual emotions during the conversation. It will allow to provide an adequate response and avoid customer dissatisfaction. And to ensure close-to-natural communication with the virtual assistant that includes voice communication, Tilde is currently developing expressive voice synthesis solutions.
Machine translation to be supplemented by editing
Of late, various AI-based machine translation solutions have become very popular as they have made content translation much faster and simpler. Specialized machine translation solutions are developed for ever more languages and sectors.
Various integrated solutions also rapidly develop: they offer more opportunities for the use of artificial neural network machine translation technologies. For example, provision of homepage content in local languages in markets where exports of goods or services are planned has become very simple and comparatively inexpensive as no programming, human translation or page duplication is needed — the website translator just creates a website plug-in that can be easily integrated into all types of sites or e-commerce platforms. As new technologies develop, editing also becomes more popular allowing to save even more time and resources of businesses while delivering outstanding results and good quality.
AI will become a part of business decision-making
According to Gartner, the so called decision intelligence is another area where growth is expected. As businesses and individuals can accumulate and store great quantities of diverse data, AI-based technologies, which are able to process these data, learn from them and model their possible development scenarios, rapidly develop making data-based decision making more efficient and faster.
It is expected that during the next two years approximately a third of large global companies will use such technologies to analyze huge quantities of data and make more grounded and systemic decisions.
At the end, I would like to remind that of late the technological development has become much quicker as due to the pandemics companies have made decisions much easier and adapted innovations to their operations. The train of digital transformation is running ever faster, thus, it is important to get on it not to lose in the competition game.
Book a demo today to see what Tilde’s AI chatbot can do for your business tomorrow.