Enterprise hits and misses - real world AI uses cases get a review, retailers get a customer loyalty test, and NFTs sneak into our metaverse

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed May 9, 2022
This week - real world AI use cases get a closer look, while retailers grapple with consumer (dis)loyalty. Blockchain for identity verification and gets a surprising nod, and Atlassian reviews its outage (and gets reviewed). AI also whiffs.


Lead story - Real world AI use cases - lessons and cautions

The only way to put tech hype in context is through real world use case cases. Mark put AI in focus via a pair of customer stories, starting with How Midea uses AI-driven insights to meet customer needs.

How is the world’s largest manufacturer of home appliances using AI? Mark:

The firm is using Birdie’s Competitive Analysis module to monitor thousands of reviews. The company uses the tool to identify the attributes that consumers value when buying a product.

Midea's marketing team had a specific goal in mind:

[They] wanted to create campaigns for its customers that would address the real-world benefits of Midea’s new IoT-enabled products by listening to customers’ unsolicited feedback in as close to real-time as possible across a range of platforms.

Pilot complete - the functionality is now available to internal teams.

The implementation means Midea can use qualitative data that would otherwise be missing from its decision-making processes.

The results so far?  A 25% increase in product awareness and record engagement rates. Next up, Mark looked at Artificial Intelligence gives Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park a performance boost. The use case?

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is using artificial intelligence (AI) to create real-time insight that helps improve the flow of visitors around its venues, transport systems and retail facilities.

This was accomplished by feeding 32 CCTV cameras into a computer vision system. Mark quotes Olympic Park:

Having a real-time data feed on the movement of people and different modes of transport in the area is very important to us because we need to know what the user numbers are and what the user approaches are in and around the park all the time, because it's changing so rapidly.

How is privacy accounted for?

Fyma's AI system is trained to never recognize or process human faces, for instance: Fyma blurs out human faces on images used to train its AI system, so algorithms – and the data science teams that process the information – never see any human faces. Camera-feed data is automatically deleted once it passes through AI analysis.

This data has both commercial and safety implications:

The team is also using the AI system to analyze how people are using e-scooters. They consider key questions, such as the routes they’re taking and where potential conflict points with pedestrians and other forms of transport might occur. These AI use cases point towards the real-time data emphasis, both for course corrections and faster analysis.

Unlike an AI use case I will crush critique later (read on), these AI applications have a narrow focus - and don't raise the same ethical concerns as AI for social "welfare." Yes, privacy must be accounted for. But at least in the Olympic Park example, the corporate commitment, technology and regulatory framework seems to encompass data privacy. We can't always say that.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:

A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Jon's grab bag - Chris takes us inside an RPA acquisition in SS&C sees new colors in Blue Prism. Mark looks at how CIOs are creatively responding to talent shortages in CIOs begin to rethink apprenticeships and training.

Madeline taps into career advisory in What I’d say to me back then - Rachel Obstler, EVP of Product at Heap, on why it pays to be picky. Finally, Stuart looks into Starbuck's gambit as we finally talk NFTs on diginomica: Starbucks goes 'trenta' on NFTs and Web 3.0 to create the digital third space, but is the timing right? (Good luck with that, Starbucks!). Sidenote: I burned a lil' hole of my own in the metaverse critiqued the metaverse in my attempt to disrupt Constellation Research's DisruptTV last week.

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven

  • The World’s First Verifiable Credentials - Mark it down, folks, Constellation's Steve Wilson mentions blockchain without blowing a gasket. Time for Wilson's update on the push for modern/secure identify verification: "New waves of work are now underway on novel Verifiable Credentials with decentralized key management. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Aries are hosting standards efforts; dozens of vendors have launched new VC solutions since 2020."
  • Atlassian implements 'soft-delete' policy and improves backups to avoid another outage - Very good to see Atlassian taking a vigorous post-mortem on the tech side of this outage. However, as I told Atlassian directly, I believe the communications part of this deserves a public post-mortem as well. Yes, only a small number of customers were directly impacted, but a two week outage changes many things. I agree with most of the sentiments in this piece sent by Clive Boulton.
  • The Hadoop Conversation Is Now About What’s Next - Gartner's Merv Adrian adds to his hot streak of worthy database blogs with this data-informed review on what the Hadoop market has evolved into.
  • Why are graph databases beginning to take off? - If graph databases have been around for two decades, why are they taking off now? And what are the use cases? Ian Murphy digs in.
  • How US consumers are feeling, shopping, and spending--and what it means for companies - McKinsey tries to nail down the elusive priorities of the Vaccine Economy consumer. The data tells us this much: brand loyalty is (barely) a thing anymore. A major (concerning) culprit: inflation, which is causing price sensitivity.
  • Cloud economics and the six biggest mistakes to avoid - Had to dump an AI skills piece for being too flimsy upon review, so we'll double dip on McKinsey instead.
  • Agile and the Long Crisis of Software - If you can spare the time for a deeper critique of Agile (with a capital A, meaning the methodology), you'll find a fresh view from a worker/team perspective. Teaser: "What I discovered was a long-running wrestling match between what managers want software development to be and what it really is, as practiced by the workers who write the code."

Overworked businessman


Let's get the scowling whiff out of the way first:

An algorithm that screens for child neglect raises concerns. Yeah, that dorky typo is mine, but look, if you're going to wade into the AI deep waters of scoring "at risk" family situations, you better be prepared for blowback. AI is good for many things - this smacks of a tech overreach.

Goofiest headline of the week was a tight race. I thought about Rome's wild boars ruining picnic season, but I ultimately went with NASA's Cinemax play: NASA scientists aim to attract aliens by sending nudes to space.

Maybe we don't need self-driving cars, just well-trained pooches:

self driving dogs are better than AI
(self driving dogs are better than AI)

See you next time...

If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does. Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed.

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