Virtual Personal Assistants and AIs have penetrated my home: Can’t mention the A-word any more without weird things happening! Only a matter of time until I can say “Dial me into my 3pm conference call” and my AI will know my calendar, access the dial-in numbers and place the call through my VPA speaker. But wait: to be equally successful in enterprise applications, AIs must understand the needs of enterprise IT:
- Security and privacy mindsets are different in professional IT departments: consumers may say they are concerned about “always listening” AIs, but still they buy: 12 million VPA speakers will have sold by year end 2017. IT managers are accontable; their jobs could be on the line, and enterprise will not buy unless AI vendors issue stronger and more detailed privacy statements than the ones published today.
- A device management console for IT manager to deploy, manage and monitor all the VPA speaker devices. Some companies such as Centralite, or Harman (through their AMX brand) offer a “dashboard that makes it easy to centralize the management and monitoring of AV equipment, lights, HVAC and other building functions.” (1)
- Individual speaker recognition through biometric authentication modes is already implemented, in limited manner, in connected home. Large enterprises will require a larger set of speaker IDs and real time speaker recognition.
- The AI’s integration into the enterprise authorization and asset management infrastructure is necessary. Support of OAuth frameworks, LDAP, or Active Directory Services link each speaker’s individual user rights with data, facilities, and applications. (See Gartner’s report on “Market Trends: VPA Speakers, Worldwide, 2017”)
- Enterprise sales and support programs support PCs and mobile phone sales into enterprises today. Buyers will expect the same from vendors of VPA speakers and AI deployments.
- Enabling AI access via AI endpoints other than VPA speakers: in connected home markets, AIs are making their way into lighting systems, appliances, and TVs. Similarly, AI access will proliferate (through far field voice reference designs) in enterprise assets such as conference rooms, door locks, etc.
- Enterprise IT buyers are smart about and are held accountable over privacy and confidentiality. While it suffices at the consumer level to say that privacy is being conserved, the IT manager expects to know how privacy is conserved and what measures guarantee data security.
- An ecosystem of 3rd party consultants in matters of UX, strategy and vertical domain knowledge provide best practices and implementation support for AIs
- Bringing AI functions into the edge and devices to address latency, network availability and privacy concerns is important, especially in heavily regulated verticals (healthcare, fintec, legal,…)
- Conservative IT managers’ mindsets must be addressed and overcome. AI and VPAs are disruptive and innovative digital phenomena that require an open-mindedness. Adoption drivers typically from customer-facing parts of the enterprise (CMOs, sales & marketing leaders,…) who want to improve client-facing experiences and compete effectively in markets where voice-UIs are beginning to become “table stakes”. AI vendors must help IT management understand and trust this disruption and overcome “no-can-do” attitudes.
All stakeholders have a long way to go before enterprise AI and VPA usage becomes mainstream: AI vendors must understand what enterprises are requiring, and the above list is only the beginning.
Footnote: (1) – see: http://www.amx.com/en-US/products/rms-ent
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