Runny nose, fever and aching body. Not a good day for work, and not much energy to log on and cancel meetings. But imagine if your phone did this for you.
Your smartphone is with you the whole day, knowing every step you take. Imagine a smartphone able to recognize when your daily movements deviates from your normal activities. Imagine if your phone knew when you were sick, cancelled your meetings for you and let your colleagues know.
This could be the reality in years to come with Artificial Intelligence (AI), predicts Thor Are Helge, Development Manager for Emerging Technologies in Visma Enterprise, delivering software solutions nationally and internationally for government and large accounts.
“Perhaps the most interesting part of AI is how pervasive it will be. One solution will give output, which another solution uses for extended functionality. Tools will improve to make it cost effective to analyze and adapt anything, from key placement on the screen to your own career advisor in your pocket,” says Helge.
Artificial Intelligence is everywhere
AI is the development of computer systems able to work and react like humans, and you may not think about it, but AI surrounds us everywhere we go.
Image recognition and self driving cars are the most well known examples of AI, to Apple’s own personal Iphone assistant “Siri”, video games and customer support chat functions.
In September last year, Helge transferred from Visma Consulting to Enterprise to start the Emerging Technologies team, which investigates this new form of technology for Visma. The team is currently working on machine learning, building pilot solutions and showing how the technology can be used.
With AI comes boundless opportunities. As technological development becomes increasingly important, the challenge increases for established companies to stay competitive, and AI is a huge priority.
“We’ve already seen it in cloud and mobile, and the pace is increasing. Companies that leverage new technology well can disrupt the market and gain considerable advantage,” says Helge, and continues:
“Visma will build experience with new technology early, in order to know how and where to use it.”
Machine learning is an Artificial Intelligence technology that can be used to automate processes by training it on examples created by humans.
“We believe that AI eventually will change applications even more than web and mobile has done. Machine learning will impact how humans work and communicate,” predicts Helge, and adds:
“There is a lot of potential in automating administrative tasks. We can use it to find the best applicants for a job, categorize expense reports, detect fraud, improve sales and much, much more,” he says.
In February earlier this year, Helge was one of the speakers at the Software 2017 conference in Oslo, hosted by Norway’s biggest IT association, DND. He talked about how to take a good AI concept and turn it into a functioning service. While many are working on ideas for AI, Visma have put the first solutions into production.
The experience Visma gains through pilot solutions are used to train and advise the rest of the organization on how they can be successful with machine learning. It is also used to train product developers, build further solutions and gather business opportunities for leveraging the technology.
Agile and forward-thinking
We can only imagine where we are 10-15 years from now. One thing is sure, adapting to changes in technology requires employees to stay ahead of changes, and understanding where technology is going.
“Visma is always the target to beat for startups. We need to be as agile and forward-thinking as the new challengers that appear. And as the landscape changes more and more quickly, companies need people who thrive on change and exploit its possibilities,” says Helge.
We are yet to see smartphones able to detect our physical condition, but AI will without a doubt continue to impact our daily work life in years to come. And as a software company there’s an imperative need to be a part of this technological change.
“However, we must also make sure that the technologies we introduce are a true benefit both to customers and end users. Do you really want your phone to know when you’re sick? In Visma we are focused on exploring these challenges as well. We are just as focused on using technology right as using the right technology,” he says.
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