In late 2020, the Google attention-based neural network AlphaFold 2 demonstrated a result some call worthy of a Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
This sort of Artificial Intelligence (AI) news is what most people imagine when they hear AI; expensive, often incomprehensible technology far removed from a business dealing with “normal” things.
It’s no surprise people get apprehensive when they hear, “We recommend your business implement an AI solution.”
But the truth is, AI is now attainable, affordable and, most importantly, a necessity for almost all businesses. A must-have that, especially after the pandemic, can no longer be denied.
This should not be frightening news for business owners. Something that was once solely for top companies is now available to everyone. You can literally let your imagination run wild, and the opportunity should be seized as soon as possible. Why?
Because if you’re taking your time now, know that technology is doing the opposite. Every day, it gets harder and harder to catch up, and to have a competitive advantage.
Companies that are implementing AI solutions aren’t doing so because they’re pressured. They’re doing so because they know the change reaps a number of benefits that are otherwise out of reach, and it is saving them money — either immediately or in the long run.
So, before spending resources on a project, consider not pushing AI to “later” but, instead, making it a foundational part of your business.
Incorporating AI is often as simple as replacing processes that we’ve long believed must be done manually. Making the move to process automation results in having an incredible competitive edge in no time, for a reasonable price.
We’d like to discuss the most notable benefits of using real-life use cases that STRV has worked on first-hand.
SAVING MONEY BY INCREASING SPEED & MITIGATING HUMAN ERROR
A great example of saving money by automating a process is product categorization. Manually transforming and integrating millions of products over hundreds of stores into a complex catalog system is very costly, error-prone and time-consuming. Not a great user experience.
With an AI solution, you can mitigate human error and categorize products very fast at a relatively cheap price. Cheaper, even, than without it. Case in point:
A few months ago, STRV prepared a pitch for a commission-free on-demand marketplace. We started with an internal hackathon to see how drastically we could improve categorization, and our Data Science team was able to categorize 10,000 products with an 85% accuracy and 20ms per item processing time — which is about 500x faster than when done manually.
We then went one step further, to avoid even more wasted resources and human bias.
AI planning can save 5% of a company’s costs by making transportation more efficient — so we tested a second AI solution by taking 18 locations throughout NYC with a goal of dispatching all orders from the depot to those locations, then returning to the depo. It took our AI less than 1 second to plan the perfect travel plan.
This is a prime example of saving immense resources by optimizing the engineering process from the very start. The project cost estimate that included building and implementing a custom AI solution came to $475,000 less than the cost estimate without AI.
SAVING TIME BY ELIMINATING CHAOS
Intertwined with the point above, saving time is about unerring efficiency. For example, take cloud-based tools regularly used by businesses like our own. Could they be a bit more foolproof, a bit more resistant to accidental errors?
At STRV, we use the tool Harvest for time tracking and client invoicing on a daily basis. What we began noticing is that the tool doesn’t account for common, repetitive mistakes. What if a contractor logs incorrect information, or miscategorizes it?
Thanks to data integration and analysis, we’ve figured out how to automatically uncover errors logged into Harvest.
By incorporating an STRV-made AI solution, our team no longer spends days at the end of the month doing sanity checks, scrambling to catch errors and ultimately accepting that some money will inevitably fall through the cracks.
You can always find a way to organize the chaos, and most companies gravitate towards taking that route. But today, eliminating the chaos is also an option — and should be preferred.
SCALING BUILT TO BE LIMITLESS
Imagine a company created a number of years ago, entering the market by making waves with a novel idea. It creates a solid foundation, makes headlines and scores millions in investments. AI is never really on its radar… until years pass, the product expands, and the only way to hit new milestones is through automating processes.
This was the case with Songclip, the world’s only patented messaging API platform offering millions of licensed music clips (and longtime STRV partner).
This past year, Songclip had millions of songs and clips in need of being manually analyzed, tagged and matched with exact lyrics, with its database expanding daily — impossible via manpower alone, but a matter of minutes with the right AI. Although the team wasn’t so keen on AI, our Data Science engineers convinced them to give it a shot.
Once implemented, our solutions got Songclip's capabilities from utilizing 4% of its database of clips to 100% in no time, which lets the company scale at a pace that was previously inconceivable — ensuring that Songclip remains groundbreaking, even years after its first big boom.
In fact, after seeing those results, Songclip went from being a team skeptical about AI’s value to a virtually AI-first company that considered building its own AI team.
COMPETING WITH THE BIGGEST PLAYERS IS AT REACH
Today, any company in the world can decide to take on the biggest players in the tech industry — and other industries, for that matter. Case in point: Cinnamon.
The video platform had multiple goals, one of which was enabling users to find video personalized content using an AI solution that would surpass the likes of TikTok or Instagram. This was to make Cinnamon stand out amongst the current competition.
STRV delivered a complex solution that did exactly what Cinnamon intended. On top of that, we took a second AI solution which Cinnamon had previously acquired — one that evaluates people’s facial reactions by analyzing expressed emotions — and improved it, by actually building a new version from scratch. Our results?
We delivered an AI solution that is 99% more efficient in terms of resources required, and 40% more accurate. Built with an immense focus on privacy and made to run on the client's side in a web browser or low-end mobile phone, our AI proved so valuable that Cinnamon was able to start offering it as a B2B standalone product to the likes of Hollywood studios straight away.
Ultimately, Cinnamon not only improved on the technology of the world’s biggest social media platforms, but also came with a second solution that is unlike anything out there.
AI HAS REDEFINED & EXPANDED THE POSSIBLE
The examples outlined above are just a fraction of what process automation through AI can solve. User retention, churn, customer segmentation, predicting future revenue, fraud detection (avoiding huge losses)... AI is fueling change and improvements across the board.
So many of the imaginative startups we’re seeing pop up exist thanks to the work of Data Scientists thinking outside the box — and professionally analyzing that box from every single angle.
With no risk and all reward, businesses that were once an impossibility can now transform entire industries.
Have a strong inkling about what should be next?