AI and the future of business

How is it impacting your industry?



Present-day artificial intelligence

The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) within the workplace is increasing every year, with organizations utilizing AI-powered devices and programs to streamline their everyday tasks and generate new insights to grow their operation.

AI offers benefits for countless industries: from predictive analytics to self-driving cars, data-crunching machines and automated business chatbots. Yet despite the technology’s prevalence in modern-day society, there’s still a long way to go for certain industries and regions. In the Middle East, for example, two-thirds of residents want to see AI in healthcare, but only 10% of healthcare businesses are AI-ready or have begun to adopt the tech.

Having said that, the workplace applications of AI are vast, and they typically don’t have the restrictive costs associated with complex healthcare technology. Instead, organizations can adopt office-based tools and devices that make them more competitive in the market, their employees more productive, and their product or service offering more attractive to a wider audience.

With Accenture research predicting that artificial intelligence will boost Middle Eastern industries by $400 billion by 2035, which sectors is AI impacting the most?


How is AI affecting different industries?

There are some major sectors where AI has taken off, not just in the Middle East but around the world, such as transportation, home security, infrastructure, and data optimization for workplaces.

AI for transportation: While Tesla and Uber are attempting to bring self-driving cars to the masses, other uses for AI in transportation are coming to the fore in the Middle East. In the UAE, for example, the State Minister for AI announced the nation would have autonomous cars on the roads in the skies in the near future, as well as intuitive, ‘self-driving’ robot police officers.

AI for home security: In the home security sector, AI has led to the creation of several new businesses and products. People can now purchase items such as home monitors via aerial drones, smart locks for doors, IoT-linked home security systems, smart doorbells and much more. And with nearly 110 million smart home devices shipped globally in 2018, the market is hungry for this type of technology.

AI for the workplace: Organizations that house huge amounts of data are using AI to sort through their information to derive useful insights – much faster than is possible from human data crunchers. Furthermore, as a branch of AI, machine learning is integral to numerous new workplace technologies. For example, Canon’s IRISXtract uses machine learning to automatically recognize documents and ‘pull’ the most important data for processing and validation.

AI for cities: Some are claiming AI is the ‘new oil’, which may not be so far-fetched when you consider Saudi Arabia is currently investing $500 billion into a brand new ‘smart city’. If successful, look for similar infrastructure-based AI projects to arise within the region and around the world.


Protecting yourself against AI risks

All the benefits of AI’s fascinating technologies also bring with them inherent risks and vulnerabilities. In such a connected economy, we’ve seen the emergence of newer, more insidious security threats from hackers and cybercriminals. The good news is that organizations can take security into their own hands and set up barriers against potential risks.

For companies that deploy Internet of Things devices in-house, there must be strict policies around which network those devices sit on, as well as rules about usage and regular security updates/patches. If it’s connected, it must be protected.

Business leaders can take the reins and create comprehensive security policies around any device that is open to attack, especially hardware that hosts confidential company data – such as multifunction devices.

Most importantly, with AI a constantly evolving technology, we must be aware of the past so we don’t repeat the same mistakes. Recent years have seen cyberattacks hit even the largest – and seemingly most secure – organizations, but with constant vigilance and respect for AI, you can adopt the technology in your workplace, use it to its full advantage, and ensure you are on the right track for the digital future.

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