Your Startup can Benefit from AI
It’s perhaps fair to say that AI and machine learning still occupy the realm of science-fiction within our minds, yet there’s a strong chance that something using artificial intelligence already exists in most of our homes. Voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, while far from truly self-aware, are still clever enough to amaze first-time gadget users with their apparent grasp of language, problem-solving, and even humor.
The possible applications of business-oriented AI can be on the spectacular side of things – or downright mundane. Harvard Business Review indicates that artificial intelligence comes in three forms that can aid any kind of company, namely, the automation of processes, pattern recognition in data, and engagement with customers. The latter refers mainly to things like chatbots and non-human customer service agents.
As far as data sorting and pattern recognition go, the Houston Methodist Research Institute in Texas claims to have reached 99% accuracy in converting raw patient data into cancer diagnoses using AI. In a different industry altogether, a sports betting company called Beth.bet has created algorithms to tip off the winners of today’s horse races by analyzing past races and other useful data, demonstrating the versatility of modern computing.
Of course, for a start-up, the more fantastic types of AI programming can be cost-prohibitive and a bit of an early hurdle for the less technologically blessed business. Arguably, the best place to start, then, is with something that has a demonstrable ability to pay for itself, such as marketing tools and anything that aids with customer acquisition and retention. As mentioned, this can mean intelligent chatbots.
Research company AI Multiple claims that chatbots enjoy the most popularity in five sectors – real estate, travel, education, healthcare, and finance. While cost and talent needs can still pose a problem when deploying artificial intelligence, all the existing data suggests that their use can increase revenue by up to 67% (Forbes). This figure is naturally dependent on company size but those demonstrable returns do exist.
How is it Done?
The question that remains to be asked is just how do start-ups go about adding a chatbot to their customer journey. In many cases, they are built online using WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors and platforms similar to WordPress, SurveyMonkey, or MailChimp. A few examples include Chatfuel and The Bot Platform, which claims Mark Zuckerburg’s Facebook as a customer.
Like many products, chatbot costs vary by users, company size, and the amount of technical support that a start-up requires. So, while a small blog with less than fifty users might get a basic bot for free, a company on the scale of Zuckerberg’s social network will have to pay large amounts of money on a rolling monthly or yearly subscription. The ability to scale technology with needs and growth is a key selling point of these products, though.
Overall, while AI can seem like the domain of big brained-people in white coats, it can be as simple to deploy as anti-virus solutions or an Adobe platform.