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  • AI is taking jobs - but not in the Channel

    Posted by Jacqui Rand October 9, 2018 - Category: News/Updates 243 views - 0 comments - 0 likes - #Channel  #AI 


    Elon Musk has been vocal in his concerns about AI, among other things. The Tesla owner and therefore man at the forefront of at least one branch of artificial intelligence has said that he expects “robots will be able to do everything better than us… I mean all of us”. He’s talked about just how disruptive AI is likely to prove to be in our working lives.

     And he’s not the only one. Bill Gates has expressed concern, and Stephen Hawking left us with the cheery supposition that AI “could spell the end of the human race”.

    It’s scary stuff and brings the fictional “Skynet” into sharp reality. But while the rise of artificial intelligence seems to be inexorable - coming at us hard from science fiction into the real world with an inevitability that makes the Terminator look undecided - there is still hope.

     The thing with humans, and anything created by them, is that things never really go quite as we imagined them. The invention of rockets hasn’t led to personalised jet packs, and when text messages were invented, nobody imagined they would become an essential way for us to communicate in the future.

     And so it is with AI, which is experiencing an increasingly rapid take-up across all types of business, and evolving in all sorts of interesting ways. A recent study by Deloitte claims that nine in ten UK companies will have invested in some form of AI by 2020 – and more than half of those will have invested more than £10m.

     As the benefits become clearer, AI presents a potentially huge opportunity for the channel. Already, some resellers are starting to see a return. The WellWatch, a smartwatch due to launch next year is a collaboration between a UK health provider and Microsoft partner RedPixie. Constantly monitoring bodily conditions which are transferred to the cloud, where they can be parsed with data from other users and deployed to predict potential health risks for individuals based on past events.

    Potentially, this kind of data analysis could revolutionise the way healthcare is delivered, providing resellers with countless opportunities to make use of the technology and the data.

     Cambridge-based developer Arcus Global has created a platform based on Amazon’s Alexa AI that has been deployed by Aylesbury Vale District Council. The system allows residents to use their Amazon Echo speaker to contact the council and receive answers to a huge range of standard questions, which means they don’t need to speak to a council employee.

     In each case, a partner relies on software built by vendors, but the collection of data and use of AI also allows them to develop their own intellectual property. As some of the big cloud players move to sell direct, without the need for resellers, developing your own IP, that can be reused for a variety of clients, can help create a new, repeatable and sustainable business model and develop new areas of growth.

     This approach may mean that providers need to upskill in new software development and appropriate resources, or collaborate with those who have them using a service like Channeliser to find the correct partner. But if the benefits to clients are clear enough – and as Deloitte’s numbers show, they clearly are – the investment is likely to prove well founded.


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