Emerging from the Hype: Voice and AI Conference Takeaways
Consensus in Washington DC! Pragmatic AI Use Cases Emerging from the Hype
Bowen attended the Voice and AI conference in Washington, DC, on September 5th-7th. Not surprisingly, AI-based applications were the talk of the town, but surprisingly, there was strong consensus on the major themes. Most interesting was the view that pragmatic AI applications are emerging, and we are now challenged with how to harness, deploy and optimize this foundational shift in technology in enterprise solutions. Below are our key takeaways from this conference:
- Money Don’t Lie. AI is happening on a major economic level. Industry forecasts predict Generative AI will be a $1.3T industry by 2032. This seemed ridiculous until Nvidia forecasted revenue of $16B for the third quarter of fiscal 2024, and their stock exploded by over 200% in the last 12 months. With the growing adoption of AI tools by businesses expected to surge in the coming years, data centers are poised to face challenges in keeping pace with the rising need for computational capacity. As it stands, approximately 20% of total data center capacity is being utilized to service AI, and this number will only continue to increase. Enterprises are demanding and paying for AI capacity and processing, with investment in global AI infrastructure projected to reach $422B by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 44%. Companies all along the tech stack are actually investing in Generative AI, and they’re writing big checks to do so.
- Speed of Adoption. It IS happening as fast as it appears. This is not an illusion. Testing and proof of concepts (POCs) are taking place at a breathtaking pace. Every Information Revolution (Cotton Gin, Electricity and Automotive, Computing, Digitization) has had a material increase in its “pace of adoption” relative to the one that came before it. Gin Mills took 100 years, Electricity and Automation took 50 years, Computers took 40 years, and Digitalization took 15 years to reach mass penetration. The AI revolution is predicted to take 7-8 years for mass penetration, and we are arguably at the end of year one. (We were recently asked by a prospective client, “what inning of the AI evolution are we in?.. and we said we are in inning one – but the game is now 7 innings, has been shortened to two hours, and the bases are larger.) Rapid adoption of AI is being driven forward by existing accelerated computing power, digitally native consumers, buyers, and employees, and an insatiable corporate appetite for increased efficiency and profits. The pace of play is faster than ever! One industry expert said, “If you are not testing and trialing AI use cases, you are not doing your job. Previously, executives, CIOs, and CTOs would roll their eyes at AI deployment proposals, but now their anxiety related to quickly executing pragmatic trials is palpable”. The industry has emerged from the hype trough and moved into rapid trialing and deployment. Game on!
- Use Cases Are Wide and Deep. Almost every industry is imagining how AI can transform and automate their fundamental workstreams. Imagine the cost-benefit of automating and designing 2-3 steps OUT of your customer care, marketing, manufacturing, or education processes. Can you afford to ignore the potential efficiencies? Workflow automation and transformation utilizing AI-based solutions will be an integral theme during the next decade.
- AI Enables “Upskilling” of the Global Workforce. People worry that AI will disrupt and dislodge workers, and this is true. All technology revolutions have forced changes in the workforce. As the world moved from horse and buggy to automobiles, computers, the internet, and now AI enablement, workforces have needed to evolve and adapt to the new innovations. Horse and buggy pooper scoopers morphed into auto mechanics; computer programmers emerged, as did web developers and designers. Now, we are seeing the demand for AI programmers, large language model (LLM) supervisors, and bot managers. Yes, these are new real-life job titles in the new AI-influenced world. People will learn to adapt.
In summary, Bowen sees amazing opportunities in recent industry developments, and we work with our prospective clients and buyers to find unique solutions that harness the growth and monetize the revolution. AI is not a silver bullet but rather a new tool that will need to be incorporated into all business workstreams over time. AI has pivoted out of the hype trough and into a steady growth stage where opportunities abound for years to come. Hopefully, that’s something we can all agree on.