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Predicting 2024: AI will become embedded, and customers will expect more

Some of the trends we’ve seen in this include visual configurations and the ability to offer 3D visualization.

Artificial intelligence, or AI, has been increasingly present in everyday life for decades, but the launch of the conversational robot ChatGPT marked a turning point in its perception — © AFP/File Camille LAFFONT
Artificial intelligence, or AI, has been increasingly present in everyday life for decades, but the launch of the conversational robot ChatGPT marked a turning point in its perception — © AFP/File Camille LAFFONT

This time of the year sees several predictions being made for the year 2024 in terms of business and technology. Looking into the key elements of the year ahead for Digital Journal is Henrik Reif Andersen, chief strategy officer of Configit.

Andersen’s concerns include the pace of development of artificial uintelligence, especially the trend that as AI takes hold, the bar for customer expectations will only get higher. This leads onto the necessity for a need for a cohesive, comprehensive view of the technology as businesses rush to adopt it.

Andersen begins his assessment with weighing up how, as AI becomes mainstream, customer expectations will similarly rise. He finds: “There’s a battle going on in terms of customer experience. Everyone is looking to ensure they can offer their customers a wonderful Omni channel experience.”

In terms of what has been taking place. Andersen lists: “Some of the trends we’ve seen in this include visual configurations and the ability to offer 3D visualization, and that’s going to continue. We’ve crossed the Rubicon on that one. Once you start making these types of things available to customers, they come to expect them and it becomes table stakes.”

Moreover, Andersen states: “And as you keep pushing the boundaries of what makes a great customer experience, the bar gets raised for everybody in that regard. The next frontier of this is going to be AI based. And it’s going to be a situation of how much guidance can you get? Are you as the consumer actually making choices or will you just tell an AI model some of the things you want and then it will give you the available options? This might be the way we interact with things going forward and that could be a game changer”.

How should businesses be responding? Andersen recommends: “Part of what manufacturers will continue to realize with this is that they can spend a lot of effort on making the front-end / user-interface look great, but if you don’t match that on the back-end, it won’t matter. You need to ensure your data is aligned in the background to support these efforts on the customer-facing side. And especially if you want to offer that same sort of consistent experience across different platforms and different applications, such as your partner portal, your sales service portal, and your direct sales portal.”

Building on this, Andersen also stresses the necessity for a cohesive, comprehensive view being central to the business vision: “The confluence of these trends, as well as the further adoption of AI, is going to lead to an increased recognition of the need for an end-to-end solution for operational visibility.”

What this means in reality is: “As you collect data from all of the different areas and associate it together, this is going to require a cohesive solution that can help different departments access all of the available information and determine how this informs the configuration of their products. In other words, it means establishing a shared source of truth regarding product configuration information. The only way to know what to manufacture or deliver or service is to capture the product configuration that the customer initially purchased. Today consumers aren’t so much buying products as they are purchasing configurations.”

Andersen concludes by asserting: “This is what organizations will have to manage moving forward. They’ll have to have that single shared source of information of what they can sell and of what configurations are possible. This will be key – because it’s that visibility that will help with feeding AI tools with the right data, meeting sustainability requirements or enabling traceability.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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