How consumer businesses are using artificial intelligence

Kisaco Research

BT and Ticketmaster are more than just global leaders in their industries – they are example enterprise organisations already implementing artificial intelligence technology like Natural Language Process, Digital Assistants and Text Analytics into their strategies to improve customer support, experience and business growth.

With the news of Google’s DeepMind machine learning system and IBM’s breakthrough artificial (AI) imitation of brain neurons, it’s easy to assume that AI is still designated to hi-tech facilities with scientists in white lab coats and robots rolling past – and business leaders are not exempt from this belief.

Although common rebuffs about artificial intelligence claim ‘there aren’t many use cases in the space’, AI within enterprise businesses is already available and being implemented – perhaps just not on the same scale or format of what we see in media today (ie the all-robot staff at the Henn-na Hotel in Japan).

“We’ve identified 191 discrete use cases where artificial intelligence is being used today, or will be used in the near future,” notes Clint Wheelock, CEO, managing director of Tractica, a market intelligence firm focused on human interaction with technology.

“These use cases span 27 different industries and range from well-known applications like algorithmic trading or static image recognition to more specialized emerging areas such as emotion recognition or processing of healthcare patient data.”

The most common (but not exhaustive) applications within enterprise include:

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP), in which a machine is ‘taught’ to comprehend the human language and its context dynamic. One way of leveraging NLP is through social media analysis – a time-saving and cost-effective way of tracking and auctioning conversations taking place between consumers online.
  • Virtual Digital Assistants (VDA, Chatbots, Virtual Agents) combine the use of NLP and voice recognition, in which customers provide written or vocal commands. Consumers are already familiar with VDAs like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa Echo, however, businesses also use VDAs within their call centres to enhance support.
  • Text Analytics, or Text Mining, in its complex state can analyse the sentiment of sentences. This is most useful for businesses that have high levels of required documentation analysis, such as in eDiscovery and other legal aspects.

“AI has been really helpful to the Virgin Trains Customer Relations team as a tool to triage customer correspondence and ensure that it is handled by the right people in our team,” says David Franklin Customer Insights Analyst, Virgin Trains Customer Relations. “For us, it was about freeing up our people from time-consuming administration to allow them to focus on the customer and help make their experience with us the best it can be.”

Artificial Intelligence at BT – 25 Years in the Making

Dr Nicola J. Millard, Head of Customer Insight & Futures at the BT Global Services Innovation Team has been working with artificial intelligence for over 25 years.

“In those days, AI was mostly about ‘building a better brain’, says Dr Millard. “I soon realised that we already have a pretty great brain, so let's build something that enhances the capabilities we already have - and that's been my approach to AI ever since.”

The approach at BT wasn’t to use artificial intelligence as a substitute for current customer care, it was to enhance the customer experience – something many other businesses are reflecting in their use of AI.

“Rather than replacing the talents that we already have - the ability to create connection, empathy, caring, creativity, innovation - let's look at building something that takes on the things that we aren't so good at - repetitive tasks and processing massive amounts of data,” she continues.

“Our early attempts at AI experiments in the 1990s involved call centres. They weren't designed to replace the advisors but to help them create conversations whilst the AI did complex diagnostics in the background. Many years later, we looked at using AI to sort through massive amounts of social media data and route relevant content to advisors with the right skills to have the conversations that customers wanted to have. So, rather than building a better brain, let's build smart technologies that combine with smart people to create something remarkable for customers.”

A Pulse of How Companies Are Using AI

For more on AI, Chiefs, VPs, Heads and Directors from IBM Research, Microsoft UK, Telefónica, Barclays, Virgin Media, Ticketmaster and JJ Food Service will share case studies at the AI & RPA for Enterprise Congress in London from November 23-24, 2016.

Get a copy of the ‘Guide to Artificial Intelligence for Businesses’ online at

Kim Vigilia, Chief Operating Officer, Kisaco Research

Tel: 020 3696 2920



Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.