Tag Archives: Artificial Intelligence

Network Rail Embraces AI: Oakland’s Partnership Marks a New Era in Rail Industry Innovation

Oakland, a leading Microsoft Data and AI SolutionsPartner, are collaborating with Network Rail to address the challenges of knowledge management within the rail industry.  Leveraging the power of AI, Oakland has developed a solution to revolutionise how Network Rail harnesses its wealth of information and insights.

Network Rail has just started their new financial period (CP7) – committing an investment of £44 billion in the UK railway infrastructure throughout 2024 to 2029. This significant investment aims to achieve ambitious goals, including a 20% reduction in delays, a 30% increase in capacity, and a 70% decrease in carbon emissions.*

Like many complex organisations, Network Rail faced challenges when it came to managing valuable information and how it was stored across various formats such as PDF and video, meaning there was an opportunity to better leverage these as data sources. Acknowledging the broader challenges faced by Network Rail, Oakland identified an opportunity to leverage AI to share insights from past projects before and throughout the lifecycle of new projects. This proactive strategy is designed to prevent issues later in the project timeline, improving overall efficiency and effectiveness.

The project harnesses generative AI capabilities to allow users to interact with the language model through a dynamic chatbot interface. This solution enables users to pose queries and receive tailored responses drawing from Network Rail’s extensive library of thousands of learned lessons and valuable data sources. Powered by cutting-edge AI algorithms and Azure AI Services, it represents a significant advancement in knowledge management not just in the rail industry, but with the potential to be deployed across all sectors.

Having worked together for over a decade, at the heart of the partnership with Network Rail and Oakland thrives on a shared goal of innovation and operational excellence, driving industry-leading solutions and best practices. 

Jack Evans, Principal Consultant at Oakland, adds

“Network Rail saw knowledge management as a prime candidate for AI. By placing AI at the heart of the solution, they can unlock a wealth of possibilities to make a real, positive impact for years to come. This is a game-changer for sharing and leveraging knowledge across the organisation.”

In an era defined by rapid technological advancements, Network Rail remains steadfast in its dedication to innovation to improve collaboration in the organisation and seek efficiencies. Implementing AI-driven knowledge management solutions reflects the commitment to harnessing cutting-edge technologies to propel the rail industry forward.

Mo Momodu, Programme Manager – Rail Infrastructure Centre of Excellence, shares;

“The deployment of generative AI capability within the learning from lessons library will transform the way we harness knowledge, enrich insights, and encourage cross-industry learning”

Boardroom leadership needed to manage AI risks and drive trust

  • Businesses urged to take steps to maximise the opportunities of AI and lay foundations for responsible use of new technologies
  • AI use in finance must be built on trust in order for it to succeed in rollout and application

 

Chief executive officers (CEOs) and chief financial officers (CFOs) need to build trust in artificial intelligence (AI) by taking steps in their organisations to manage the associated risks.

 

As AI plays a greater role in the accounting and financial reporting of businesses, CFOs and financial controllers will have to be confident about the adequacy of oversight and controls of AI systems.

 

In the first in a series of insights, AI monitor: trust, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) urges finance professionals to ensure that AI governance and AI risk management is in place, beginning with:

 

  • Investing in AI literacy and skills development: finance professionals must invest in education and training to critically evaluate AI outputs, communicate clearly with key stakeholders, and make informed decisions.
  • Collaborating via cross-functional teams: finance professionals should actively engage with IT, data science, legal and risk management teams.
  • Developing an AI governance framework: beginning with critical uses, finance professionals should take steps within their organisation to establish clear policies, oversight and governance practices.

 

AI presents many opportunities to businesses such as providing more insights from a wider array of information sources, driving greater efficiency and better customer experiences. But it also poses a challenge to trust in accounting and finance reporting with new dynamics being introduced to the traditional trust mechanisms that underpin corporate accounting.

 

Alistair Brisbourne, head of technology research, ACCA, said: “Introducing AI is both about trust in the systems and trust in the people that we work with, and how we bring those two elements together.

 

“CEOs and CFOs need to focus on making the changes needed to harness the many potential opportunities but also retain trust. This includes upskilling to deal with the technology and introducing new knowledge into their organisations. They also need to focus on the governance, the oversight and culture required to allow different teams to work together effectively. It’s about bringing change management and governance together.”

 

AI monitor: trust highlights some of the risks of AI in accounting systems, such as:

  • Impacting decision-making without clearly explaining the rationale of the forecast or recommendation;
  • An over-dependence on AI procedures in auditing and assurance and a decline in use of human intervention and judgement;
  • Concern over AI bias or error in fraud detection, risk assessment and compliance monitoring;
  • Over relying on AI-powered virtual assistants which give inaccurate or inappropriate responses.

 

Lloyd Powell, head of ACCA Cymru/Wales, said: “In the AI era, the role of finance professionals is to focus on the outcomes driven by technology. Value lies in understanding how these outputs inform decisions and actions that drive business outcomes.

 

“As we recognised at a recent roundtable held in Cardiff, AI will change the finance function and there will be new roles as a result, but accountants will remain central to the success of Welsh businesses and organisations.”

 

In 2024 future issues of the AI monitor will explore talent, risk and controls, the relevance of effective data strategy, and sustainability applications.

 

Read Enabling trust in an AI-enhanced world

 

Visit ACCA’s website for more information.

Medallia launches four breakthrough AI innovations

Medallia, the global leader in customer and employee experience, has announced at its Experience ‘24 conference four ground-breaking artificial intelligence (AI) innovations that will fundamentally change how organisations can personalise customer and employee experiences.

Ask Athena, Intelligent Summaries, Smart Response, and Themes will further enable leading brands to democratise insights, activate employees, and individualise experiences using cost-effective, responsible, and scalable AI and intelligent automation. All four solutions will become available to Medallia customers as part of Medallia Experience Cloud.

“These incredible new generative AI solutions mark a fundamental shift in customer experience, moving from looking at data and analytics, to taking action, in real-time, through automation, to deliver a personalised, instant experience,” said Joe Tyrrell, CEO at Medallia. “We are delivering against our vision of a future driven by responsible AI, built to continually adapt real-time to new information at every point across the customer and employee journey, dynamically training itself with each new signal to personalise every experience and to empower humans to be more effective on the critical tasks they take on.”

The four new solutions will transform how companies use generative AI to deliver more personalised experiences across every interaction:

  • Ask Athena: Simply Ask Athena a question and get a quick, intuitive, and informed answer, generated using an organisation’s experience data, or any relevant data points. Ask Athena understands the context of the question and returns an AI summarisation of the results and additional data, graphs, charts, and more information. It’s easy to see the performance of a specific business line, go deeper to regional or customer segments, or drill down to detailed feedback records and see suggested actions — all through easy, conversational questions.
  • Intelligent Summaries: Save employees thousands of hours with AI composed summaries of any interaction, profile, and more, that include details that matter most to those who serve customers or employees — like reasons for contact, issue resolution, and customer satisfaction. Intelligent Summaries eliminates the need for employees to do the tedious work of reviewing millions of records and instead delivers concise and accurate summaries, appearing exactly where employees need them in records and record lists, and can be utilised across the entire experience platform.
  • Smart Response: Provide a personalised, empathetic, and accurate response to customers, in real-time, with Medallia’s generative AI Smart Response. Organisations can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty by empowering every employee to close the loop faster than ever. Employees can spend less time writing responses and more time ensuring everyone who should get a response does, all using generative AI to automatically create contextually correct and personalised responses to specific feedback. Employees have full control as responses are both editable and can be sent by individuals, providing control over the final response and an easy opportunity to tailor offers or services even further when needed.
  • Themes: Achieve faster time to insight with more granular, action-oriented Themes that now leverage generative AI, complete with Intelligent Summaries generated on each Theme. Employees of all levels are now able to identify issues faster and streamline root cause analysis and data exploration. With the ability to track emerging trends in reporting over time, organisations can easily investigate how and why KPIs change.

Since launching AI-powered Text Analytics in 2008, Medallia has continuously developed enterprise-grade, secure AI capabilities, including speech analytics, speech-to-text, AI-powered automations, experience orchestration and more. Like those capabilities, the new generative solutions are built with enterprise-grade control to protect data at every layer and serve the complex business needs of global brands.

Medallia has created an AI Moderation Council to promote innovation while maintaining ethical, responsible, safe, and inclusive use of AI for its experience products. The Council is made up of members from Medallia’s Legal, Privacy & Security, Compliance, Engineering, Product, and Customer organisations.

“The AI Moderation Council reflects the importance we place on our customers’ data privacy, security, and responsible use of their data,” said Simonetta Turek, Chief Product Officer at Medallia. “To further these efforts, we are also launching an AI Advisory Board that will include participation from our customer and partner communities, creating a space where the exchange of learnings, challenges, and best practices can be shared, as well as a focus on the responsible and ethical use of AI.”

For more information about these solutions and Medallia’s leadership in AI, visit our AI Leadership page.

University AI Accelerator programme announces new cohort companies

A business commercialisation programme, which helps innovative companies using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to maximise their full potential, has announced its new 2022/23 cohort.

The AI Accelerator, delivered by The University of Edinburgh’s world-leading Innovation Hub for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, the Bayes Centre, has selected a group of emerging companies from Scotland, the UK and other parts of the globe for this year’s programme.

Among the 12 cohorts are EtiqAI, a female-founded company whose technology is designed to increase transparency and minimise any unintended bias within AI algorithms; Edinburgh-headquartered Vahanomy, which is driving the roll-out of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles; and US start up MindTrace, which was attracted to Scotland by The University of Edinburgh’s credentials in AI research and talent development. The company uses AI and imaging to further enhance positive outcomes in brain surgery.

The full list of all 12 new AI Accelerator cohort companies can be found here.

The AI Accelerator has supported companies and helped them attract more than £10m in grants and investment over the last year. The programme will be delivered both digitally and in-person by the Bayes Centre, and Edinburgh Innovations, The University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service on behalf of all the University’s Data-Driven Innovation Hubs.

To qualify, participating companies must use AI for wider societal benefit to deliver solutions in core areas such as health and wellbeing, social care, and environmental stewardship. Participants benefit from a package of support focused on building connections, as well as from leadership mentoring and support with product development to help transform their AI businesses into world-leading companies.

Previous programme participants have included Oxford-based iLoF, which raised over £4m for its AI-driven drug discovery and development technology over the summer, and Roslin-based medtech firm Carcinotech, which secured £1.6m investment to accelerate its commercialisation and global expansion plans. Milan-based Indigo.AI, whose technology enables companies to easily build, scale and analyse bespoke conversational experiences, had a 60% stake of its business acquired by another company since joining the programme, demonstrating the AI Accelerator programme’s impact in enhancing the investability of its cohort companies.

The AI Accelerator, partnered by global strategic design consultancy NileHQ, is also supported by Huawei UK and The University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh Earth Initiative.

This year’s AI Accelerator programme welcomes John Brodie to the role of Entrepreneur in Residence. John was founder of data analytics consultancy Aquila Insight, which he grew into a 200+ employee company and sold in 2017. He is an active advisor and investor within the Scottish start up community and has been named as one of Data IQ’s 100 Most Influential People in Data.

John said “I am hugely excited to be joining the AI Accelerator and working with the fantastic organisations selected this year.  My two passions over the last 20 years have been driving actionable data science projects and enabling early stage businesses to scale. This role allows me to combine both of these and I am very much looking forward to helping these companies develop their potential”

 

Charlotte Waugh, Enterprise and Innovation Programme Lead at Edinburgh Innovations said: “Congratulations to all the companies selected for the new AI Accelerator. As we have seen from the progress of many past participants, the programme has a successful track record in helping companies using AI for good to scale their business and make them investable so they can achieve their maximum potential.”

 

Professor Iain Gordon, Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Science and Engineering at The University of Edinburgh, said: “As a world leader in AI research, the University’s role is pivotal in supporting innovative companies which are applying AI to help address key societal challenges such as climate change and healthy ageing. This exciting new cohort of AI tech companies will benefit from cross-fertilisation of research and ideas as well as the expertise on offer to scale their tech businesses for the benefit of us all.”

KellyOCG Collaborates With Globality to Transform its Services Procurement Solution

KellyOCG, the outsourcing and consulting group of Kelly, and Globality, the world’s first AI-powered digital solution for sourcing services, today announced a partnership to transform KellyOCG’s Services Procurement solution so organizations can optimize their services spend and find the right suppliers with increased speed and efficiency.

The new alliance means KellyOCG clients can use Globality’s intuitive, user-friendly digital Platform and Marketplace to automate and simplify the sourcing process, allowing business stakeholders to source their service needs quickly and easily for faster results and cost savings of up to 20% per engagement.

By integrating Globality into its process and technology stack, KellyOCG will be better able to support clients’ sourcing needs at scale providing increased value by expanding its competitive spend management activities as well as enhancing the user experience.

Partnering with Globality is the latest step in the KellyOCG strategic roadmap to develop alliances with cutting-edge digital solution providers, complementing the investment in its own, industry-leading tech stack – Kelly Helix – and contributing to its Leader position in the 2021 Everest Group Services Procurement PEAK Matrix®.

“Our partnership with Globality reinforces our strategy to integrate leading technology into our solutions to provide greater value for our clients,” said KellyOCG President Tammy Browning. “Companies today need to operate with speed and agility when sourcing services that support productivity and innovation while also keeping an eye on the bottom line. The Globality Platform will allow our clients to focus on remaining competitive by connecting them faster to the right suppliers reducing time and costs.”

With the billions of dollars of services each Global 2000 company buys increasingly viewed as a critical source of transformational innovation, enterprises are actively seeking ways to reduce costs, gain efficiencies, and improve their bottom line. Globality’s Platform is used by Fortune 500 companies including BT and Santander to transform the sourcing of high-value services by automating the demand creation, supplier identification, proposal evaluation and statement of work (SOW) creation process with an intuitive self-serve experience.

“Companies are increasingly utilizing new digital technology to improve the stakeholder experience as they tap into external expertise for their high-value service needs,” said Globality Chief Revenue Officer Keith Hausmann. “Our AI advisor, Glo, provides a seamless, consumer-like interface that will enable KellyOCG clients to accurately scope their service needs, and identify and evaluate the right suppliers, quickly and easily, while delivering significant cost, time and labor savings.”

iET Solutions adds artificial intelligence into its IT service management suite, iET® ITSM

New release of iET® Enterprise Technology platform includes AI to optimize ITSM processes and enhanced security features

ASCHHEIM, GERMANY, July 13, 2022 – iET Solutions, a division of UNICOM® Global, which offers comprehensive, high-performance solutions for IT service management (ITSM) and software asset management (SAM), has introduced new artificial intelligence (AI) functionality in the latest version of its iET® Enterprise Technology platform, enabling customers to optimize their existing iET® ITSM applications. The new release also provides enhanced cyber security, with support for two-factor authentication and the adoption of secure ‘salted’ passwords which are harder for hackers to crack.

AI in IT service management

iET Solutions has included a number of pre-built AI models that provide insights organizations can use – without any AI expertise – to increase the efficiency of their service management processes, as well as an open API that lets customers also run their own existing AI models.

One iET® ITSM AI model predicts whether incoming service desk incidents are likely to be resolved in time or will exceed timeframes specified within service level agreements (SLAs). Service desk users are automatically notified, allowing them to take remedial action to fast-track incident resolution and avoid financial penalties for overshooting SLA targets.

Another pre-built AI model uses machine learning to accurately forecast the number of incidents, problems and changes that are likely to occur at any given time on any day of the year. This allows organizations to identify the optimal times for scheduling major changes to IT infrastructure to avoid disruption to business users. Service desk managers can also use these AI-supported forecasts to plan team shift patterns and ensure that the right number of staff are available to handle the predicted workload.

End users also benefit from AI in self-service. For example, when they search the knowledge base, content on similar topics is suggested to them, and recommendations are displayed when they order products.

Carsten Owerfeldt, Head of Development at iET Solutions, said, “AI has the power to help organizations deliver a better user experience and make their processes more efficient. We are committed to helping our customers embrace its potential. The new AI models we have included in our solution make it easy for them to get started. And those who have already created their own models can integrate them with our open API. Moreover, customer-specific AI models can be trained and deployed with our software. And importantly, for privacy and data-sensitive organizations, the AI engine can be hosted on-premises. No data used by the AI models ever needs to leave the security of the data center.”

Two-factor authentication and enforced ‘salted’ passwords

For extra security, the new release provides enhanced protection against cyber attacks for users of the iET® ITSM suite. Customers have the option to adopt two-factor authentication to control user access. With this, users who want to log in to iET® ITSM must enter their password followed by a unique 6-digit code they will receive via the Google Authenticator app they will need to install on their phones. Organizations can decide whether to activate two-factor authentication for all end users, deactivate it or only use it for certain user groups.

Further security is provided by enforcing the use of ‘salted’ passwords. These are highly secure because a secret string of characters – unknown to users – is added to each password before being hashed and stored.

Responsiveness and ease of use

The iET® ITSM suite offers a simplified, intuitive user experience with the most important information directly at the user’s fingertips. Forms have been streamlined, providing a clean and clutter-free view, while allowing staff members to access additional detail at the click of a button. Responsiveness to users has been further improved by implementing WebSockets to optimize the loading of forms.

Further information on the iET® ITSM service management solution can be found at https://www.iet-solutions.com/products/

Sheffield tech firm launches AI to predict tenants’ rent debt up to six months before it happens

As social housing rent arrears hit £1bn earlier this year, an innovative tech firm has launched first-of-its-kind artificial intelligence (AI) to help housing associations predict when residents are likely to fall behind with their rent – up to six months in the future.

Pivigo’s Rent Arrears Prediction AI platform means social landlords can reduce the number of tenants struggling with debt and drive down lost rental income needed to run services and build new homes.

By predicting arrears early, staff can focus on positive prevention and support for tenants – including the most vulnerable – rather than focusing solely on recovering missed payments. According to the Chartered Institute of Housing’s #ShineALight campaign launched in 2020, around one in three social housing tenants in rent arrears are experiencing mental health problems.

The Pivigo platform is the first of its kind in social housing to predict rent arrears up to six months before they happen.

Alex Willard, CEO of Pivigo, said: “Our technology is giving social housing new-found abilities to see far over the horizon. We have trained our AI on tenancy data with multiple housing associations to develop an accurate and reliable model to predict future arrears and understand the likelihood of them becoming a long-term problem.

“We differentiate the high-risk cases from temporary ones, enabling social landlords to make better use of their resources to benefit both residents and the organisation.”

Using AI to predict who is most at risk of falling into arrears means income and support teams can contact the right tenants at the right time so they can avoid the stress and anxiety of being in debt.

It comes at a time when housing providers have seen a rise in rent arrears as the Covid-19 pandemic has affected residents struggling with furlough, reduced working hours and redundancy.

Pivigo, based in Sheffield, build and manage AI Services for social housing. This approach means that social landlords need little in-house IT expertise to benefit from AI, as the platform is cloud-based, deployed in 8 weeks and can be connected to existing housing management systems.

Alex added: “We want to make the benefits of AI accessible across the entire social housing sector, regardless of whether the landlord is big, small, tech-advanced, or on a budget.”

AI is Here: Prepare to succeed – New Book Provides a Practical Guide to an AI-Enabled World

When real-world Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications first hit the mainstream in 2014, many commentators voiced their fears of humans being replaced or bypassed altogether.

While this is not the case, it is clear that AI has started to have a profound impact on society. Many people already use or experience AI on a daily basis, even unknowingly. In his first book, You++, John Michaelis argues that AI cannot replicate many key human attributes and that people should use AI to enhance and augment what they do, be it at work, in business, and for their personal lives and hobbies.

John’s specialist knowledge regarding the implementation and benefits of AI to individuals and businesses is evident from his distinctive track record.

He is an active angel investor and Board Advisor for early stage AI companies and Consultant to businesses of all sizes. Within You++, John shares his expertise in a practical guide for a non-technical audience, via real life examples of how individuals may use AI both at work and in their spare time to gain new insights and develop personal initiatives.

You++ vividly depicts how AI is already impacting our daily lives, from how organisations use data, derived from our Internet use, to present us with targeted adverts and content, to the virtual assistants that are becoming common features of the home and the biometric security that the majority of smartphones now employ.

John believes passionately that given the right knowledge, everyone can benefit from AI and the many fulfilling jobs and opportunities that will emerge for those who embrace it. For example, John writes that side hustles become easier to set up, grow and market using AI but he is keen to stress that individuals and their ideas, not AI tools, will make or break a business. John also reflects on how the structure and roles within the workplace will change and cites a variety of ways that industry can use AI to be more successful – including fighting diseases, transportation, learning and development and customer engagement.

The 2020s is set to be the decade in which AI is going to make its mark. You++ is an ideal read for ambitious individuals looking for ways to be better and more fulfilled in their job, those looking to turn a passion or hobby into a way of making money, those wanting to increase their productivity and those simply looking to gain knowledge.

To learn more, visit: https://www.collaborative-ai.com/