IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

Exclusive: Frost & Sullivan talks AI, robo-advisors and frictionless shopping

By Heather Wright
Tue 22 Aug 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Audrey Williams has a message she wants to make clear: Artificial intelligence is real and it’s here – and it’s impacting businesses across the board.

William, who is Frost & Sullivan’s Australia and New Zealand head of research for digital transformation, says the technology has moved beyond hype and is being explored – and embraced – by a diverse range of companies.

“Enterprises need to be looking at AI because there is a trend around the world whereby we are seeing that automation, analytics, robotics and artificial intelligence are changing the ways companies are operating,” William says.

“Today, companies are under a lot of cost pressure and are cutting costs, especially in countries where labour costs are very high.”

Among the examples she cites are a large Japanese life insurance company which now uses an IBM Watson AIB system – rather than 34 staff – to calculate medical payouts by reading medical certificates, factoring in length of hospital stay, medical history, surgical proceedures and so on and oncology doctors using AI to help with prescribing treatment for patients.

Across Australia and New Zealand, melanoma surveillance company Molemap is using Watson to help identify whether skin lesions are potentially cancerous – a move that is helps with a skills shortage of dermatologists and also provides a second pair of eyes.

“You can see the application in healthcare is going to be quite diverse,” William says.

But it’s not just healthcare being impacted. Universities are using AI and machine learning to better understand student behaviours and patterns and how they can better prepare for future curriculums and the needs of students.

Deakin University, which was one of the first global deployments for AI in the education sector, has described it as one of the most ambitious projects they’ve undertaken, William says. They’re project, which universities around the world are now looking to understand for their own benefits, incorporates the mobile interface, chatbots, AI and predictive analytics.

The complexity of the project is a hallmark of AI rollouts, William says.

“These are all part of very ambitious projects, so this [Deakin’s work] is probably only phase one.

“And the think with machine learning is that with all of these deployments it involves many years before the project is fully implemented and the machine becomes smarter over the years as well.”

While AI and machine learning are currently featuring predominantly in the enterprise space, William says it’s only a matter of time before it permeats to SMB.

She notes that Kiwi cloud accountancy software provider Xero, which provides services to SMEs, launched a chatbot which integrates directly with Facebook Messenger last year.

The chatbot leverages machine learning and historical transactional data to enable businesses to query financial data, including who owes them money, when their next bill is due and how much money is in their bank account, among other things.

“That’s a great example of how they are enablign AI today as part of their solution that is going out to SMB organisations,” William says.

But William doesn’t believe AI and robots are going to take over the world. Instead, she says AI is freeing up people to focus on more critical parts of the business.

“Like the oncology treatment – it means the assistant who was helping with that before can now be pushed into other critical jobs.

“It’s about driving efficiency and freeing people up from more manual and basic processes.”

She cites the example of ‘robo-advisors’ in the banking and financial services sector.

The robo-advisor provides services to cutomers on the back of machine learning and intelligent platforms which enable them to advise customers on easier topics such as potentially tax, superannuation, or the basics of how to apportion funds or saving.

“But when the conversation needs to become more sophisticated or complex, the the wealth manager or fund manager comes in to advise the client of the next steps to take.

“And it’s a process that will only get better over time as the machines and these platforms become more intelligent.

“The more they study, learn and digest, the more intelligent the platforms become.”

William says one are of big potential growth for AI is in retail – particularly with Amazon making its play for new markets, including Australia.

“That means retailers now are under tremendous pressure.

“You can have a store presence, you can have an online presence, but retailers will have to reinvent themselves and look at a mobile first, cloud strategy incorporating analytics and artificial intelligence so that when a customer shops online there is a seamless omni-channel epxerience when they enter the store.”

Amazon Go, with its checkout free shopping using computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning to enable customers to enter a store and have their shopping purchases logged automatically to their Amazon account, is offering up ‘frictionless shopping’.

But William says they’re not the only retailers harnessing AI.

“At this stage it’s fair to say the retail industry is seeing a lot of trials and implementations for AI technology.

“In the next 12 to 18 months there will be a lot of tirals around machine learning and AI and cognitive services by retailers and we can definitely see real life deployments after that,” she says.

“AI is going to change the face of retail in a big way.”

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
Zscaler, AWS accelerate onramp to the cloud with zero trust
Zscaler has announced an extension to its relationship with Amazon Web Services, as well as innovations built on Zscaler's Zero Trust architecture.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Aqua Security, CIS create software supply chain security guide
Aqua Securityand the Center for Internet Security have together released the industry’s first formal guidelines for software supply chain security.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Threat actors ramp up their social engineering attacks
As people get better at identifying potential threats in their inbox, threat actors must evolve their methods. Their new M.O? Social engineering.
Story image
Commerce Commission
ComCom puts electronics sector on notice over resale price maintenance
The Commerce Commission has concluded an investigation into allegations that television manufacturers were engaging in illegal resale price maintenance.
Story image
trust
Consumers want personalisation, but don't trust brands with their data
Customers expect personalisation during every brand interaction but they don't trust brands to keep their personal data secure and to use it responsibly. 
Story image
SaaS
Varonis strengthens security capabilities for AWS and S3
Varonis has strengthened and expanded its cloud and security capabilities, with a critical aim of improving safety and boosting data visibility in Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3).
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Salesforce harnesses automated solutions with new developments
Salesforce has launched Sales Cloud Unlimited, a new feature to help accelerate productivity with AI and automation.
Story image
Cloud
Cloudflare outage in 19 data centers worldwide due to own error
Cloudflare says its outage for 19 of its data centers yesterday was because of a change in a long-running project to increase resilience in its busiest locations.
Story image
Healthcare
Workday winning on culture and family focus
This family-first approach sees all employees receive access to family-wide private healthcare cover, as well as income protection and life insurance policies.
Story image
B2B
Corpay partners with supply chain platform PracBiz Exchange
Corpay's new partnership with PracBiz’s allows more than 4000 B2B suppliers on the latter's platform to use Corpay's global payments services.
Story image
Ransomware
Rapid7 report examines use of double extortion ransomware attacks
New insight into how attackers think when carrying out cyber attacks, along with further analysis of the disclosure layer of double extortion ransomware attacks, has come to light.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Greater API usage raises concerns for protection - report
Radware has released its 2022 State of API Security report, which shows a rise in APIs, with 92% of the organisations surveyed significantly or somewhat increasing their usage.
Story image
Robotic Process Automation / RPA
rapidMATION helps Coates achieve success with landmark RPA solution
A strong Robotic Process Automation solution (RPA) can help solve many complex issues that businesses face daily. 
Story image
Manufacturing
Sternum joins NXP, collaborates on IoT security and observability
Sternum has announced it has joined the software partner community of NXP Semiconductors, a manufacturer of and large marketplace for embedded controllers.
Story image
Citrix
The best ways to attract young talent during labour shortages
New research from Citrix reveals hybrid working and ventures into the metaverse are top of mind for Gen Z workers.
Story image
Orbital Insight
Orbital Insight solution set to drive better data-driven decisions
The company says the new Site Intelligence solution will provide granular visibility, behaviour analytics and deep insights about customers and competitors at any location. 
Story image
Network Security
Netskope announces zero trust network access updates
Customers can now apply zero trust principles across a range of hybrid work security needs, including SaaS, IaaS, private applications, and endpoint devices.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Ingram Micro launches vendor-backed security program
Ingram Micro has unveiled a new program intended to give resellers the effective offerings their customers need to stay safe in the evolving threat landscape.
Story image
Hybrid workforce
Why hybrid working is here to stay and how to ace it
Citrix's new report reveals hybrid workers are more productive and engaged at work than their office and completely remote counterparts.
Story image
eInvoicing
Airwallex, Xero extend partnership with easier invoice payments
Airwallex has extended its long-term partnership with Xero by releasing a new payment link integration for Xero invoices that will make receiving them easier and faster for Australian businesses.
Story image
Sustainability
Schneider Electric ups the ante on sustainability strategy
"We've made some progress but to avoid a major energy challenge, all data centres - including distributed edge data centres - must be more sustainable."
Story image
Disaster Recovery
Eaton provides business continuity with disaster avoidance application
Many SMBs often struggle with problems relating to UPS and IT assets due to the sheer amount of time and resources required to run effectively. 
Story image
INTERPOL
Hundreds arrested, millions seized in global INTERPOL investigation
A two-month-long investigation by INTERPOL this year involved 76 countries and clamped down on organised crime groups behind telecommunications and social engineering scams.
Story image
Contact Centre
Customer service agents don't want to return to contact centres
A new report has revealed that 85% of customer service agents want to work full-time at home and not return to contact centre offices.
Story image
Open source
DataStax secures US$115 million to fund database expansion
DataStax has secured US$115 million in funding, which it will use to develop and expand its Astra DB multi-cloud database and Astra Streaming service globally.
Story image
PagerDuty
Ready for anything with the PagerDuty Operations Cloud
In a world of digital everything, teams face increasing complexity. Ever-growing dependencies across systems and processes put customer and employee experience, not to mention revenue, at risk.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Cybersecurity priorities for digital leaders navigating digital transformation
In recent years, Asia-Pacific has especially been a hotspot for cyberattacks, and as we continue into 2022, it’s evident that the problem is becoming more significant.
Story image
Data
How a single mandate changed software development forever
There’s conjecture about exactly when it was issued and by whom, but a mandate made twenty years ago is continuing to shape the software development process today.
Story image
Apple
Jamf updates healthcare IT to protect data on Apple devices
Jamf has rolled out new functionality to help healthcare and IT teams protect patient data and streamline clinical access for their Apple fleet.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Significant security concerns resulting from open source software ubiquity
"The risk is real, and the industry must work closely together in order to move away from poor open source or software supply chain security practices."
Story image
Market growth
Salesforce unveils new offerings for consumer goods companies
Salesforce has announced new products for consumer goods companies to help brands navigate increasing market complexity more easily.
Story image
Partnerships
Microsoft expands APAC Enabler Mentorship Program
"Mentors are the key to success for every professional. A good mentor is a coach, a guide, as well as a vocal advocate."
Story image
Digital Transformation
Apptio adds portfolio enhancements to promote digital strategy
"While digitalisation creates opportunities, it also makes budgeting far more complex, leading many companies to waste substantial funds."
Story image
Testing
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Tricentis
Tricentis provides software testing automation, and software quality assurance products for enterprise software.
Story image
Dark web
Cybercrime in Aotearoa: How does New Zealand law define it?
‘Cybercrime’ is a term we hear all the time, but what exactly is it, and how does New Zealand define it in legal terms?
Story image
DNS
DigiCert acquires DNS Made Easy and affiliated brands
Greg Clark comments, says, "This combination enhances the security of certificate validation and enables the automation of future validations."
Story image
10 Minute IT Jams
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Rimini Street
Today we welcome back Daniel Benad, who is the GVP & regional GM for Oceania at Rimini Street.
Story image
Entelar
How TruSens air purifiers can create healthier workspaces
The pandemic has heightened our awareness of our own and others’ health, and made us all much more conscious of the environments we work in.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Boomi, Limepay, Thales, VMware & Zoom
We round up all job appointments from June 6-16, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Government
Cyclone selected as NZ MOE software licensing partner
Following a recent Request for Proposal (RFP), Christchurch-based company Cyclone Computer Company Ltd (Cyclone) has been selected as The Ministry of Education’s software licensing partner.
Story image
Electricity
Canstar finds Flick Electric NZ’s favourite provider
Canstar’s annual research to find New Zealand’s favourite electricity provider reveals Flick Electric has come out on top.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Why is NZ lagging behind the world in cybersecurity?
A recent report by TUANZ has revealed that we are ranked 56th in the world when it comes to cybersecurity - a look into why we're so behind and what needs to be done.
Story image
Microsoft
Volpara, Microsoft project to detect cardiovascular issues
Volpara Health Technologies is working with Microsoft on a research and development project to speed up creating a product that detects and quantifies breast arterial calcifications (BACs).
Story image
API
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.