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Artificial Intelligence

Survey reveals UK AI skills gap and how it could impact marketing

A survey of 2,000 UK workers commissioned by digital marketing agency Add People shows that the majority of people in the UK have never used AI at work.

The poll, conducted by OnePoll, reveals that 70% of UK workers have never used AI tools at work. Given that the UK is aiming to brand itself as a world leader in AI technology, with Rishi Sunak organising an AI summit at the beginning of November, Add People says it’s surprising to discover that the majority of Brits are yet to experiment with tools like ChatGPT in their workflow.

Here, Peter Marshall, chief marketing officer at Add People, discusses some of the other findings of the survey and what they could mean for the UK’s position on AI….

As a digital marketing agency, many of our staff have started to experiment with AI tools to support their daily work tasks. While we can see that they are certainly not in a position to replace the work of actual humans, there are many uses for these tools that would bring great benefits to workers in every industry.

2 in 5 people think they will use AI tools in the future

The study also found that Only 38% of people believe they are likely to use AI tools in the future, with 34% of respondents deeming it unlikely. Despite ChatGPT reaching 100 million users in the second-fastest time for any app, it’s still not properly utilised in the workplace.

This suggests that many workers need to be made aware of how to use them effectively and potentially whether they are allowed to use them for work. Some solutions to this are training sessions, establishing AI champions at work to pioneer processes and establishing guidelines for how and when to use AI tools.

Only a quarter of people trust AI

Trust in AI is a major issue, particularly at work as an issue with generative AI reflects badly on the person using it. Longform results from ChatGPT and Google’s Bard aren’t of the highest quality and some initial experimentation by workers may have led to a loss of interest.

To be good at anything takes practice and the same can be said of AI. Encouraging your staff to experiment with these tools and report back on their results could help them discover new and effective ways of utilising the tools in their day-to-day lives.

14% of businesses have officially implemented AI tools

Though we’re still in the early stages of generative AI, some hesitance to use it at work could be compounded by silence from senior management on when and how to use it. Our survey also found that a third of people who have used AI did so without their boss knowing.

To encourage use of generative AI that is supportive of productivity without affecting the quality of work, some policies or guidelines around what kind of tasks can be completed, what kind of information shouldn’t be shared, etc. can be helpful for your staff.

Given that 60% of people want AI regulation in the workplace, this is a chance for businesses to get ahead of the game and showcase themselves as innovators.

Boosting Campaign ROI with Artificial Intelligence: A marketer’s new ally?

Marketing professionals are perpetually seeking innovative ways to maximise their return on investment (ROI). Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a potent tool in this quest, offering unparalleled insights and automation capabilities. Here’s how AI is revolutionising campaign ROI in the marketing world…

  1. Predictive Analytics:
    • Function: AI can sift through vast datasets, analysing past marketing campaigns, customer behaviours, and sales trends to predict future outcomes.
    • Benefit: With these insights, marketers can make informed decisions, ensuring their campaigns target the right audience at the right time with content that resonates, leading to higher conversion rates.
  2. Personalisation at Scale:
    • Function: AI algorithms can tailor content, advertisements, and product recommendations for individual users based on their behaviour and preferences.
    • Benefit: Personalised marketing enhances user engagement and boosts conversion rates, driving up ROI.
  3. Chatbots and Virtual Assistants:
    • Function: Using Natural Language Processing (NLP), AI-powered chatbots can interact with customers in real-time, addressing queries, offering product suggestions, and even guiding them through the purchase process.
    • Benefit: This not only improves the user experience but also reduces bounce rates and cart abandonment, further augmenting ROI.
  4. Dynamic Pricing:
    • Function: AI can analyse various factors like demand, competitor pricing, and stock levels to dynamically adjust prices.
    • Benefit: This ensures products are priced optimally, leading to increased sales and maximising profit margins.
  5. Content Creation and Curation:
    • Function: AI tools can auto-generate content or recommend content pieces that are most likely to engage a specific audience segment.
    • Benefit: This reduces the manual effort in content strategies and ensures that content is always relevant, enhancing engagement and conversions.
  6. Ad Spend Optimisation:
    • Function: AI can analyse the performance metrics of ad campaigns in real-time and allocate budgets to the most effective channels or audience segments.
    • Benefit: This ensures that marketing spend is always channelled to the highest-performing avenues, maximising ROI.
  7. A/B Testing Automation:
    • Function: Instead of manually setting up split tests, AI can automatically test multiple campaign variations simultaneously, learning from user interactions and tweaking campaigns in real-time.
    • Benefit: This reduces the time to find the most effective campaign version and increases the overall efficiency of marketing efforts.
  8. Sentiment Analysis:
    • Function: By analysing social media mentions, reviews, and other user-generated content, AI can gauge the sentiment around a brand or campaign.
    • Benefit: This feedback helps marketers tweak their strategies for better resonance and engagement, directly influencing ROI.

By integrating AI into their strategies, marketing professionals can not only gain deeper insights into their campaigns but also automate various processes, ensuring optimal resource utilisation. The result is a marked improvement in campaign performance and a tangible increase in ROI. As AI technology continues to advance, its role in refining and enhancing marketing campaigns will only become more pivotal.

Learn more about how AI can supercharge your campaigns at the Digital Marketing Solutions Summit.

AI startups raised over $5bn venture capital funding in 2022

The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) has captured the attention of venture capital (VC) investors globally. Against this backdrop, 3,198 AI startups received $52.1 billion funding across 3,396 VC funding deals during 2022.

However, an analysis of GlobalData’s Financial Deals Database reveals that 2022 experienced a subdued VC funding activity across sectors and AI space also felt the brunt of a dent in investor sentiments. Although VC funding deal volume as well as value in the AI space declined in 2022 compared to the previous year, the impact was more prominent in terms of value.

Aurojyoti Bose, Lead Analyst at GlobalData, explained: “The number of VC funding deals announced in AI space globally declined by 4% in 2022 compared to the previous year, whereas the corresponding deals value was down by a massive 41.8%.”

AI deal volume experienced a fluctuating quarter-on quarter (Q-o-Q) trend throughout 2021 and 2022. Meanwhile, deal value declined for the six straight quarters through Q3 2022. However, there was a rebound in both VC funding deals volume and value in Q4 2022.

Some of the notable VC deals announced in the AI space during 2022 include $1.5 billion fundraising by Anduril Industries, $580 million raised by Anthropic, and $500 million fundraising by Black Sesame Intelligent Technology.

Bose concluded: “The subdued VC funding activity in the AI space seems to be for short-term while long-term prospects are likely to be promising and the rebound in both deals volume and value in Q4 2022 could be seen as an indication of it.”

ChatGPT, WebAssembly, and Serverless will spur app modernisation this year

DevOps will be a dominant driver in the cloud computing arena in 2023, as enterprises advance their app modernisation strategies using the likes of ChatGPT and other AI-driven tech.

This prediction came about as part of research by GlobalData Technology Analyst Charlotte Dunlap, who notes that significant innovations in sophisticated application architectures will usher in new serverless deployment integrations with various cloud services, abstracting complicated configuration requirements.

Dunlap said: “Ground-breaking new artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot achievements based on large language models (such as ChatGPT) will ease developers’ cumbersome coding requirements by automating the writing/converting of scripting, particularly programming languages developers are unfamiliar with.

GlobalData reveals that increased AI/automation advancements and accessibility will significantly escalate in 2023, playing a greater role in easing next-generation app development capabilities among developers and DevOps teams.

Dunlap added: “A primary example that highlights 2023 AI/automation innovations is the recent release of ChatGPT, version 3.5. The Natural Language Processing (NLP) model, developed by OpenAI, is trained on a massive amount of text data, so it’s able to generate human-like text and response. In addition to using the prototype AI chatbot to outright create new code without having to know any programming languages, a major use case will be in improving the Natural Language Understanding (NLU) of apps targeting customer service to provide more human-like responses to user-inputs. Such technology advancements will result in a newfound prioritization of DevOps among enterprises, based on a new wave of developer technologies, which significantly remove obstructions hindering deployment of modern apps.”

Additionally, over the next 12 months, developers will have access to integrated serverless app deployment options through key services including database management and app development tools, paving the way for serverless computing to be paired with event-driven architectures.

Dunlap conlcuded: “Since its rollout a few years ago, serverless computing hasn’t lived up to expectations due to the problematic underlying architecture. However, in recent months, providers have worked through some of those issues, including abstracting scalability configuration requirements.

Furthermore, game-changing developer tools, including WebAssembly, will leverage traditional web browser technology to create new uses with containers and Functions-as-a-Service (FaaS). The new technology is able to provide more robust cloud management of apps at scale on the same cloud infrastructure.’’

Conversational AI will reduce contact centre agent staff costs by $80bn in 2026

Conversational artificial intelligence (AI) deployments within contact centres will reduce agent staff costs by $80 billion by 2026, according to Gartner.

Furthermore, worldwide end-user spending on conversational AI solutions within contact centres is forecast to reach $1.99 billion in 2022.

“Gartner estimates that there are approximately 17 million contact center agents worldwide today,” said Daniel O’Connell, VP analyst at Gartner. “Many organizations are challenged by agent staff shortages and the need to curtail labor expenses, which can represent up to 95% of contact center costs. Conversational AI makes agents more efficient and effective, while also improving the customer experience.”

Gartner projects that one in 10 agent interactions will be automated by 2026, an increase from an estimated 1.6% of interactions today that are automated using AI. Conversational AI can automate all or part of a contact center customer interaction through both voice and digital channels, through voicebots or chatbots, and it is expected to have transformational benefits to customer service and support organizations within two years.

“While automating a full interaction – also known as call containment or deflection – corresponds to significant cost savings, there is also value in partial containment, such as automating the identification of a customer’s name, policy number and reason for calling. Capturing this information using AI could reduce up to a third of the interaction time that would typically be supported by a human agent,” said O’Connell.

While the benefits of conversational AI are compelling, the technology is still maturing. A fragmented vendor landscape and complexity of deployments will result in measured adoption through the next two years.

“Implementing conversational AI requires expensive professional resources in areas such as data analytics, knowledge graphs and natural language understanding,” said O’Connell. “Once built, the conversational AI capabilities must be continuously supported, updated and maintained, resulting in additional costs.”

Complex, large-scale conversational AI deployments can take multiple years as more call flows are built out and existing call flows are fine-tuned for improvement. Gartner estimates integration pricing at $1,000 to $1,500 per conversational AI agent, though some organizations cite costs of up to $2,000 per agent. Therefore, early adoption of conversational AI will be primarily led by organizations with 2,500 or more agents with budget for the requisite technical resources.

Data literacy to be most in-demand skill by 2030

Just one quarter of employees believe their employer is preparing them for a more data-oriented and automated workplace (25%), including in the marketing industry.

That’s according to new research from analytics provider Qlik, despite most business leaders predicting an upheaval in working practices due to the rapid onset of artificial intelligence (AI).

With 32% of employees surveyed reporting they had changed jobs in the last 12 months because their employer wasn’t offering enough upskilling and training opportunities, there is a stark need to better upskill workforces to support the workplace transition that is already underway.

The report, Data Literacy: The Upskilling Evolution, was developed by Qlik in partnership with The Future Labs and combines insights from expert interviews with surveys from over 1,200 global C-level executives and 6,000 employees.

The findings, which were largely consistent across all geographies surveyed, reveal how the rapid growth in data usage is extending enterprise aspirations for its potential and, in turn, transforming working practices. As organisations shift from passive data consumption toward a state of Active Intelligence, where continuous data becomes integrated into working practices to trigger immediate actions, the report predicts how this will impact skills requirements and professional opportunities.

Data literacy: The most in-demand skill in the future workplace

The study found that business leaders and employees alike predict that data literacy – defined as the ability to read, work with, analyze and communicate with data – will be the most in-demand skill by 2030. And 81% of executives believe it will become as vital in the future as the ability to use a computer is today.

This reflects the greater appreciation of data in the enterprise. Global employees surveyed report their use of data and its importance in decision-making has doubled over the past year. While 86% of executives now expect all team members to be able to explain how data has informed their decisions.

Underpinning more intelligent and automated working practices

The demand for data skills reflects the significant shift in the workplace, due to the rise of AI. The enterprise leaders who took part in the study believe employee working practices will change to become more collaborative, with intelligent tools helping them make better decisions (80%) and become more productive (82%).

To realise its potential, 37% of C-level respondents predict their organisation will hire a Chief Automation Officer within the next 3 years, rising to 100% within the next decade. But the investment cannot end at senior hires; those on the front line need support during this transition. And 57% of employees surveyed believe that data literacy will help them stay relevant in their role with the growing use of AI.

“We often hear people talk about how employees need to understand how Artificial Intelligence will change how they complete their role, but more importantly we need to be helping them develop the skills that enable them to add value to the output of these intelligent algorithms,” said Elif Tutuk, VP of Innovation & Design at Qlik. “Data literacy will be critical in extending workplace collaboration beyond human-to-human engagements, to employees augmenting machine intelligence with creativity and critical thinking.”

The true value of data literacy on the talent market

The shift toward a more data-oriented and automated workplace creates a massive opportunity for those with data literacy skills. Every single business leader surveyed reported that they would offer a salary increase for candidates that could demonstrate their data literacy. On average, they would offer a 24% salary increase for demonstrating this skillset. For the average UK employee, this translates into an additional £7.6K to their annual salary.

Despite being perceived as critical to the success of the enterprise – both today and in the future – just 13% of employees surveyed feel fully confident in their data literacy skills. Yet, the most common belief among UK enterprise leaders is that it is an individual’s responsibility, over that of their current employer or educational institutions, to prepare themselves with the skills for the future workplace.

Where organisations are increasing their data literacy training, our research shows that it is primarily offered to those working in specific data related roles (59%), such as data analysts and data scientists. Far fewer organisations offer this training to those working in marketing, HR and finance (10%, 17% and 13% respectively) despite the majority of employees working in these functions stating data literacy is already necessary to fulfil their current role (69%, 56% and 75% respectively).

Over three-quarters (76%) of employees are instead investing their own time and money (58%) to plug the professional skills gap needed for the future enterprise – with these employees spending an average of nearly 7 hours each month and nearly £2.6K each year. Some vote with their feet, with 32% of employees reporting having left a job in the past 12 months due to their employer not offering enough upskilling and training opportunities.

“Over the past few years, investments in digitizing most business processes have transformed the data resources available, and this will continue as we move toward a more intelligent and automated workplace,” said Dr. Paul Barth, Global Head of Data Literacy at Qlik. “But investment in leading-edge data platforms has revealed a large—and expanding—gap in data literacy skills in the workforce. To become a data-driven company, where employees regularly use data and analytics to make better decisions and take informed actions, business leaders need to make investments in upskilling workers in every role to close the data literacy gap.”

The Data Literacy: The Upskilling Evolution report can be downloaded here.

Boostify partners Third Foundation on customer experience tech

Yorkshire-based Boostify has teamed up with machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) start-up Third Foundation to strengthen its customer experience optimisation (CXO) platform.

Specialising in behavioural targeting and advanced content personalisation, Boostify’s solution enables brands to collect in-depth data insights and segment website visitors, allowing them to deploy customised messaging and offers throughout a user’s entire site journey.

Integrating Google Cloud Partner company Third Foundation’s ‘Prime Radiant’ technology enables machine learning to help highlight trends in consumer behaviour that would otherwise be unidentifiable. Additionally, it can reduce the time businesses spend manually building customer segments and minimise human error and decisions driven by predictions.

Boostify’s CEO and founder, Jonathan Thirkill, said: “Joining forces with Third Foundation takes smart and engineered data insight to the next level.

“Using advanced machine learning and AI technologies, Third Foundation will improve the quality of our platform’s targeting features, thus enabling us to make content more relevant to individual website visitors.

“This will empower brands to have a better understanding of their online users’ behaviours quickly. And, by really getting to the heart of what content makes them tick, organisations can yield more conversions in less time.

“We’ve been looking to expand Boostify’s offering with machine learning and AI – this solution ticks all the boxes.”

Third Foundation’s CEO, Michael Ward, added: “This is a truly exciting partnership which brings together two businesses at the forefront of their respective industries.

“By combining Third Foundation’s specialist data engineering and machine learning features with what is probably the most advanced CXO platform on the market, we are creating an exciting proposition that could revolutionise the industry.

“In this new dawn of relevance demanded by consumers, this partnership will allow digital marketing agencies and brands to deliver a more relevant online experience, for more of their customers, more often.”

Privacy concerns hindering Allo’s chance of messaging success?

Although reports have suggested that Google’s newly launched messaging service, Allo, is already causing some privacy concerns, the multinational technology company is defiant in ensuring users can safely navigate the app – despite its integration with Google’s new artificial intelligence (AI) assistant, which requires all messages to be sent without end-to-end encryption.

As a result, not only can Google’s Assistant access and read the messages, but Google as a whole can too; as well as national security organisations. With its developers announcing back in May that Allo would include revolutionary message retention policies unheard of among other messaging apps such as iMessage and WhatsApp, industry insiders have found that all messages are linked directly to an account and stored indefinitely – failing to keep its promise of ‘transiently’ storing chat logs and making sure all conversations are not permanently placed on Google’s servers.

A Google spokesperson said in a statement: “We’ve given users transparency and control over their data in Google Allo. And our approach is simple – your chat history is saved for you until you choose to delete it.”

“You can delete single messages or entire conversations in Allo. We also provide the option to chat in Incognito mode, where messages are end-to-end encrypted and you can set a timer to automatically delete messages for your device and the person you’re chatting with’s device at a set time.”