The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the West is several steps ahead of markets like India, with brands like Amazon taking it to a whole new level by introducing Amazon Go. The store works on the mechanism of a customer scanning a code on the Amazon Go app to enter the store and can pick items off the shelves using AI algorithms. Although not as developed, in India, too, several brands are waking up to the immense potential of AI and its effectiveness in reaching out to consumers. Companies like Myntra are designing fashion lines using its AI platform Rapid. It picks up signals from the sales catalogue and public images from the Web through geolocation to figure out what is trending. Discovery Communications India also used AI to analyse consumer behaviour with data from multiple sources to find the right target audience for the shows on their new channel Discovery Jeet.
In fact, the government, in the Union Budget 2018, recently gave a major thrust to the Digital India programme.
It allocated Rs 3,073 crore in 2018-19 towards AI, machine learning and IoT (Internet of Things). Sectors like health, manufacturing, BFSI, etc, are using AI to quite an extent. “The retail sector is a little slow in using AI due to the presence of brick-and-mortar stores, but is getting there through in-store innovations,” states Rakesh Barik, partner, leader, technology, Deloitte India. “In fact, the government is also looking at using AI to plan smart cities. But the jury is out on how it will change people’s buying behaviour.” Industry experts believe we are in the early days of how AI can transform the marketing landscape. The most common use of AI in India is chatbots, which has yielded mixed results at best for marketers, as per Kabir Kochhar, MD and business head, The Glitch. While there are different approaches to AI such as NLP, semantic analysis, probabilistic modelling, etc, the most significant and profound impact is being created by machine learning/deep learning, state experts. Chatbots are also increasingly being replaced by voice-assisted AI platforms that brands such as Ola, Zomato and HDFC are experimenting with. As per a recent International Data Corp (IDC) report, AI is expected to drive worldwide revenues from nearly $8 billion in 2016 to more than $47 billion in 2020, across a broad range of industries.