Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

 Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

The technology that powers most of today’s enterprises is powered by robotic process automation (RPA) systems. As we move into the Fourth industrial revolution, there are many new opportunities arising as a result of such developments. In this article, I am going to look at RPA and how one can implement to leverage the benefits of using these advanced technologies in your organization. Let us look at some practical examples below.

One of the major advantages of the use of robots as a part of an enterprise RPA strategy is that you will not require any manual intervention to get the tasks done but instead these bots help automate and streamline processes across your entire business. This means that they will automatically complete repetitive routine jobs like data entry and data processing. You can also benefit from them doing mundane data processing work like creating reports and generating analytics reports in real time. With the right configuration and monitoring from one platform, these bots can do even complex and high-value projects. These platforms are built through years of user experience with companies’ operations. Even if you are still unfamiliar with various business applications, the software you choose should enable your team to easily perform different tasks. If you have a customer support department for example, it would be helpful to consider implementing the bot to take care of customer queries. They will not need to rely on their human resources to handle customer issues. Now let us look at some other possibilities too.

Robots can manage various internal operations like inventory management, manufacturing, financial transactions, research and development, among others. There are several ways to integrate these into your company like building open source solutions, using API’s, integrating with third party platforms like Microsoft Dynamics or SAP. Some examples include Shopify. So now let us discuss how to use AI-powered RPA to transform various IT domains as follows.

1. Retail and Manufacturing

You can now use these technologies to create automated processes for businesses in retail as well as manufacturing. The concept here is to develop a solution that is able to understand consumer behavior and predict their needs. These products and services are often complex hence having chatbots and IoT enabled solutions will help enterprises manage these complexities with minimal involvement from humans. The main thing to note here is that these technologies also drive innovation on a broader level. It enables employees to learn to think and operate autonomously. These advances in technology promise immense growth in the future.

2. Financial Services

One of the biggest advancements in industry in 2018 was the integration of NLP and natural language processing (NLP). This combined with artificial intelligence (AI) has opened up new doors for finance industry too. The potential of combining both the two technologies has enabled businesses to deal with market data much more accurately than ever before. Moreover, these innovations are making banking more accessible, efficient and cost effective.

Now let us look at some of the latest opportunities that are emerging now. One area that has been taking leaps and bounds in terms of adoption in the last year is mobile payments. Mobile payments is enabling companies to send funds (through credit cards or non-cash alternative payment options) directly to a smartphone rather than storing them in servers and then sending them out as post payments. These advancements are likely to continue to play out across multiple industries like retail, hospitality, retail and travel. Here is how firms can start leveraging these innovations to grow and thrive.

3. Customer Service

Companies now have a wide range of customer service-related issues to deal with. From chat-bot interaction to fraud detection, automating customer interactions has now become very important and valuable. A chatbot can help customers navigate through difficult conversations with a few taps, much easier for businesses to maintain good relationships with them. Smart chatbots are coming especially to voice recognition and image recognition which can be used to capture images, audio and video inputs for better customer satisfaction. Let us look at some of the top-performing chatbots and what they can provide to consumers.

Google Assistant — Google assistant offers some interesting capabilities as discussed by one of its founders, Elon Musk. With over 30 million worldwide users, the product has already attracted thousands of brands including Amazon, Netflix, Uber, LinkedIn, VaynerMedia, eBay amongst others. The best part about this machine learning machine is that it is available in free speech and in natural language understanding (NLU). You can now receive notifications on your phone when a package arrives to your doorstep, for example.

Amazon Lex — Another great offering from Amazon is their Alexa smart speaker which helps with things like reading receipts, set alarms, answer questions and make calls. Lex is touted as being the first “natural sounding voice activated speaker.” Not only does it sound exactly like being spoken to, it also performs a variety of functions on your behalf. For instance, say you want to quickly turn off Wi-Fi. With this feature you can set the feature and ask for confirmation. Also, you can give certain commands which allows you to access specific features on your device.

Slack’s Bot — Another popular cloud-based workplace platform, Slack provides robust support and collaboration capabilities to all its customers to build and run distributed working experiences. Slack uses powerful Natural Language Processing (NLP) to enable its users to interact with their colleagues in natural communication methods such as text, chats, image and voice. Users can collaborate on files, documents and drawings without needing the use of email. All of this functionality enables businesses to offer more engaging and efficient workplace experiences. Moreover, all this comes at a price tag. The developers need to keep pace with emerging trends and keep up with ever changing customer expectations.

4. Fraud Detection

A decade ago, fraud detection and prevention (FDP) programs were developed in labs mostly for banks. But now, with advanced technologies and huge investments, there have been significant improvements in the ability of FDP to detect instances of fraud. FDP programs help identify fraud in real-time using proprietary technology. Today, fintech companies use sophisticated algorithms, computer vision and deep learning techniques to detect fraud and fraud-related fraud. Businesses here often use AI-powered anomaly detection tools to scan endpoints (computers, phones and other devices), which continuously monitor system alerts and actions. An example is Facebook which developed a tool to flag fake news posts and prevent them from spreading across the internet. Further, there is more awareness around online scams and phishing, which is rapidly growing thanks to disruptive events of recent months that have prompted people to stay away from traditional digital transactions. It is expected that advanced anti-fraud techniques will continue to evolve to provide safer and more secure transaction environments.

5. Voice Recognition

In 2017, there have been plenty of voices for AI-based voice services like Siri, Cortana, and Google Home or other similar services. Apple launched its first voice program Siri in October 2017 followed by an announcement by Microsoft in January that it had acquired the majority stakes in Boston-based startup Magic. Both Siri and Magic are currently under trial phase with their respective developers yet there is excitement about the prospects around voice recognition. Over the next five years, there will be more voice based products, perhaps Siri as well with more exciting announcements, like Amazon Echo and Samsung’s Galaxy Buds. Of course, one of the biggest milestones in the field of voice recognition is the deployment of the landmark voice-activated virtual assistant that uses machine learning. By 2020, there will be more virtual assistants, which mimic the way people talk and speak in real conversations.

6. Industrial Robotics

One of the greatest challenges facing today’s workforce is the lack of manpower to keep up with automation of tasks and processes. With increasing demand for low-cost robotics to increase productivity and automate simple tasks, companies across several industries have started investing heavily in acquiring and utilizing the right types of mechanical and electrical components. And there is no shortage of suppliers who are helping enterprises transform themselves from mechanized machines to autonomous machines. With increasing number of domestic and international buyers looking for inexpensive robots. There are plans to see increased sales in industrial robotics and these can include everything from self-driving vehicles and solar robots with automatic navigation, etc. To leverage these technologies, enterprises need to put proper planning, technical strategies, and regulatory clearances in place. Enterprises that try to go this far, face hurdles and setbacks along the way. We’re seeing a big shift towards intelligent automation and these technologies are not only helping organizations realize higher operational efficiencies, improve quality assurance and reduce risk, but are also paving way for numerous job vacancies in factories and other industries. More importantly, enterprises now have the opportunity to change careers and occupations as well as help shape our technological landscapes.

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