EVRY ASA is an IT services provider in the Nordics region. It provides digital solutions to simplify daily life for users, modernize business processes and make customers more competitive. In a conversation with Dataquest, Ramamohan P R (Ram), Senior Vice President – Strategy and Business Development of EVRY India, talk about the scope of AI in India, challenges faced by the company while deploying AI and their GTM strategy for India. Excerpts:
Q. What is the scope of AI in India and how is EVRY using AI in business?
AI is widely acknowledged as an altering force in the world economy in the next few decades – businesses and the governments across the globe are working on strategies around embracing AI and India is no exception to that. Last year the Central Government had constituted a task force on AI for India’s Economic Transformation. It has been asked to make recommendations to leverage AI for the country’s economic benefit. Our expectation is that this should result in some level of government funding for AI research and also foster change in schools and colleges to make students better equipped for the skills required in the future.
The start-up ecosystem in India is also responding to the challenges. Case in points are acquisitions by companies such as Tuplejum and Halli Labs by Apple and Google over the last couple of years. On the other hand, larger Indian IT services companies are reinventing themselves since traditional services and business processes are being transformed by technologies related to Automation and AI. We foresee an increasing interplay between IT services companies and the start-up ecosystem in the future.
We at EVRY India are helping our clients in digital transformation and AI is one of the core components of the digital strategy. We have developed solutions using AI technologies like Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Deep Learning.
Some of the solutions that we built around AI technologies are:
- Vehicle Damage Assessment to assess minor car damages based on the pictures uploaded by customers using their mobile phone after an accident. This solution could be used by insurance companies to automate their claims processing.
- Oil Well Yield Prediction helps organizations to understand what attributes contribute to increasing oil yields for different types of oil wells.
- HVAC Energy Optimization helps organizations to manage their building energy requirements efficiently using IoT Platform.
- EVRY India’s CX Calibration product has a recommendation engine that uses AI to help customers plan their customer experience strategy in a predictive and pro-active manner.
- Intelligent Portfolio recommends customers as to what kind of investments they can make related to stocks, mutual funds, bonds, fixed deposits based on their risk profile, annual income, short term and long term financial goals.
- Aisle Monitoring solution helps retailers to understand as to how their recent product promotion is doing based on the traffic pattern analysis of aisles where these promotional items are placed. It also helps store managers to open and close POS (Point of Sale) terminals based on the traffic patterns in the store.
- FAQ Bots (Intelligent Digital Assistant) which helps organizations to answer basic questions of customers thus freeing up valuable employees’ time to answer complex questions as well as spend sufficient time in engaging with the customers.
Q. What are the challenges faced by the company while deploying AI in business?
We are seeing a surge in the adoption of AI technologies by many of our customers in the recent past. Most of them have started with projects that consume APIs from cognitive service providers and leverage capabilities around Natural Language Processing, Image Recognition, etc. and enhance the experience of their customers. A relatively smaller portion of them has started to embed AI capabilities into their core applications, which require building custom AI models by engineers with data science skills. This talent, as of now, is in short supply. Moreover, enterprises too are going through a learning curve by building PoCs (Proof of Concepts) and validating the results through experimentation. However, the skills and expertise are building up and the scenario will keep improving in the future. Another inhibitor could be the availability of training data since AI-based results are dependent on the amount and quality of data. This situation too is rapidly changing as the number of data increases with applications “learning on the job” in certain cases. Just as in the case of the self-driving car that became increasingly reliable with increased exposure to live conditions, so will AI-based applications become increasingly accurate with controlled exposure leading up to live deployments.
Q. What is your GTM strategy for India? What are your investment plans?
EVRY recognized the importance of India and the Indian talent over 10 years back when they started the process of acquiring an Indian company. Today, EVRY has two centers in India — in Chandigarh and Bangalore — with a growing base of people working for multiple customers in the Nordics. The Chandigarh center has a state-of-the-art facility and is comparable to any of EVRY’s global offices. Another state-of-the-art facility was also inaugurated recently (in Jan 2018) in Bangalore. Both locations are now equipped with ultra-modern facilities that will provide employees an inspiring workplace to collaborate with co-workers and customers across the globe.
In the last few years, EVRY has taken many important steps to strengthen its initiatives for Digital. These include setting up a Design Studio, forging industry partnerships with leading players such as IBM, Google, Apple and AWS to name a few. EVRY has recently created a new Business Area, called the Digital Platform Services which will focus on and give impetus to the Digital initiative.
EVRY India’s Digital Innovation group is strategically placed because they work closely both with US customers as well as Nordic ones. This helps EVRY leverage developments across markets for the benefit of its customers in the USA and the Nordics. EVRY India has a Digital Lab setup that works closely with customers to build and demonstrate potential solutions using technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Computer Vision and Virtual Reality amongst others. This brings in a co-innovation model that is much appreciated by the customers. EVRY India’s Digital Innovation group also invests in building assets or IP, which is an important part of EVRY’s overall strategy in the Digital area.
Q. What are the technology trends that will dominate in 2018.
Many of the technologies we have seen in 2017 will increasingly be deployed in 2018. In no particular order, some of the ones that we have invested in are;
AI / Machine Learning / Cognitive Computing
Augmented / Virtual Reality
Internet of Things (IoT)
Intelligent Digital Assistants (IDA) / Virtual & Physical Bots
Robotic Automation Processes (RPA)