Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the sexy side of technology, maybe even out-performing ‘big data’ as the hottest area of technology right now.
It’s not hard to see why. From the out-there (yet so close) possibilities of driverless cars,
automating the tedious parts of routine jobs, and controlling robot drones, AI promises to free humans from the close attention needed on repeatable, predictable and less creative activities.
In fact, disruption is forecast across many industries, from the manual to the professional – it may be that increasingly quickly the very world of work itself may be turned topsy-turvy. Education, accounting, HR – even managing customers – medicine… the list could cover every function and sector.
Right now there are AI’s trading shares on stock markets, guiding doctors into better diagnoses, and keeping organisations safer from malware and hackers. It’s helping weather forecasters make better predictions, and to save transportation and passenger firms money on fuel by plotting the best routes between the biggest markets.
Smart video gets smarter with AI
It’s perhaps when paired with smart video that AI can make the most startling impact on our lives.
Forward thinking shops on the high street are getting in on the action, using AI and smart video to analyse happy and annoyed faces when shoppers view merchandise, to optimise routes through the store, and to alert staff when queues get too long, or exits get blocked – among many types of activity where a pair of electronic eyes and some intelligence are a useful tool in making a better customer experience.
Within a warehouse or construction environment AI on the smart video platform can spot safety concerns like workers without safety helmet, vehicles being driven to fast or without lights or in the wrong places and automatically send alerts to the foreman, or sound a warning.
This may be how the average person gets the most out of AI – when they see it taking effect beyond the digital, in the real world around them.
In the hotel industry guests can experience much more tailored services when smart video can allow hotels to free staff from monitoring old fashioned security cameras, and instead flag suspicious behaviour to a team of staff at once if someone moves to a zone or room that they are not authorised, or if there is movement at times when movement would not be expected. If that means there’s an injured guest, or one that has gotten confused, that means help can be sent much quicker.
Staff armed with mobile devices can even go and check on situations from remotely, not having to run to a control room. Hotel concessions or retailers can even use the same system to better count customers, who lingers near windows, displays or merchandising – and assess how best to market, attract, and help customers. And restaurateurs can really fine tune just how long customers are waiting without having to distractingly hover over patrons’ shoulders!
In education, smart video and AI can help teachers assess student learning more quickly, and even allow them to improve their performance through self-coaching. It’s already happening in pilot studies where pedagogic best practice, AI and smart learning can come together to give teachers a helping hand.
Shavington Primary School is piloting an approach that shows the value of smart video applied to new environments. The AI isn’t part of the story (yet), but it’s easy to see how it may be applied soon. Right now a teacher is using smart video to help her track how students respond to her teaching, comparing key moments of teaching against a best practice scoring system. In the future, such methods can be applied in real time as an overlay on top of the smart video feed, with a running commentary on how to break through to struggling students and guide the top performers.
It’s possible to adapt in innovative ways to new technologies to gain unexpected benefits. At Shavington, again, this teacher has students write answers on small whiteboards, held above their heads so the camera can see. This allows her to go back and mark them later, and lessons to continue without having to break to hand in papers. She even asks students to use a ‘traffic light’ system to say as thy go how they understand new concepts: Red, amber or green show if they are confident, almost there, or not at all sure about a topic.
The future of… everything?
AI is already at work, suggesting other products we might like when we purchase online, or increasing our pension pots with those automated trades. That’s all happening behind the scenes.
With smart video using AI, our world will get a lot more intelligent as the power of computing is brought to bear on the world outside of the database and spreadsheet, using sensors and video cameras as eyes to look out onto the world.
Read more: How AI is going to shake up education
The benefits in convenience, in better interactions with instructions and businesses, in personalised services, will be visible across every industry where people are involved. Which is… every industry. Ideally, such technologies will be employed in ways that allow staff to devote their time to what they do best of all – look after people, adding value with the personal touch and their emotional intelligence.