Artificial Intelligence (AI) is gaining immense popularity across the world. The technology is rapidly growing in many different business sectors to make the processes within organizations faster, more accurate, simpler and cheaper.
Many businesses are either already adopting AI solutions, e.g. for managing and analyzing huge amounts of data, or planning to do so in the near future.
AIDirections is a distinguished AI company that provides awareness, consultancy and develops custom-made AI solutions for organizations for the best implementation of AI in the UAE and GCC.
Dr. Angelika, the CEO of AIDirections talks to Day of Dubai telling us in-depth information about what AI Directions is going to do and how AI will change the world we live in – all covered in this exclusive interview!
Could you please give a brief about yourself and AIDirections?
Dr. Angelika said, “AIDirections was found with the aim of empowering organizations to make the best use of AI. As we have seen in the past, not all AI projects were completed successfully. According to a Gartner study, up to 85% of AI projects worldwide are either failing or are lacking behind the expectations. This is a sad number and we want to change this number, particularly in the UAE and GCC.”
She added, “I have a background in mathematics and at the time of my PHD, I came in contact with AI. I found the subject very fascinating but then, we did not have enough connectivity, data and not enough computing power. The ideas were already there but the implantation was not successful. So, I worked in security field for a long time and there I developed the worldwide well- known standard ISO/IEC 27001, maybe some of you have implemented and I do hope you liked it. I also developed the cyber security strategies for Dubai, together with my friends from the Dubai Electronic Security Centre. After all this security work, I decided that it’s time to work for AI again.”
What makes AIDirections different from other AI companies in GCC?
“AIDirections is a UAE founded and based company – we are here when we are needed! I am here in UAE for 9 years and experienced in this time that local presence is very important. Flying experts in does often not work, they are rarely available when needed and have little or no experience regarding the local culture.
Unlike many other companies, we are providing the whole AI journey, starting from awareness and training, assessing an organization’s AI readiness, followed by developing an AI strategy for the organization – every organization should have one! When it comes to implement the AI strategy, we can provide own solutions as well as pointing our customers to other solution, through our partners and by researching the possibilities. Finally, we are also providing on-going support, and if an organization decides for one of our solutions, we keep improving them,” Dr. Angelika said.
She added, “Our solutions are neither depended on connectivity, nor on cloud services (such as Microsoft, Amazon or Google, which is what a lot of the others do) – all AI we are using is our own, self-developed AI. This has the advantage that we do not need any connectivity, and that sensitive data does not leave the UAE, which is a requirement to be complied with by all governments.
We do not sell boxes! We strongly believe that AI is not “one size fits all”, we are extremely flexible and tailor our solutions to the needs of the client.”
What is the reason for the current AI hype, and what does this mean for our current technology?
Dr. Angelika said, “We are seeing a hype for a number of new technologies, AI, IoT, Blockchain, etc. All these are important developments that are about to revolutionize our industry and technology. Given the possibilities of what AI can do, the hype is absolutely justified.”
“Yet, it is also important to see that we currently do not even have the real “AI”, we have a number of machine learning techniques that are used in fairly narrow, specific applications. And yes, it can do miracles there, but in the minute a problem is not as well suited to the machine learning techniques, the results might be less good. So, it is necessary to understand that AI cannot yet solve all problems, and if the hype is about such misconceptions, it is not helpful,” she added.
Which areas of the business sector will AIDirections focus on?
“This is a little bit dependent on the particular service or solution we are offering. Obviously, all our consultancy services can be applied to any sector, we can tailor them to particular sector needs, but in principle they apply throughout,” Dr. Angelika said.
“We also offer a pretty unique pain detection solution (this is done just using a normal camera, therefore totally non-invasive, and we won the Frost & Sullivan award for this; this is a reward that is only given out once a year, covering the Mena region) – this obviously applies to the healthcare sector.
Our other solutions are applicable across most sectors; the sentiment analysis solution is useful whenever you need to understand customer satisfaction, so all customer-related services can apply this. The facial recognition solution is useful to have easy and fast access control and can also be used to identify loyal customers. The people flow solution is useful for any kind of crowd management,” she added.
As a business perspective do you think Artificial Intelligence will take over the major shares of technology in all the sectors?
Dr. Angelika said, “It is true that there will be no area of business or technology that will not be in one way or the other addressed by AI, the possible use cases are incredible. Yet, what we are seeing at this point in time, and this will possibly remain for at least the next 5 years, is that AI is working together with existing (and new) technologies, rather than completely replacing them.
So, it is more an issue of integration and influence than taking over.”
As a Future Goal- What does AIDirections aims to achieve on the business grounds?
“Our solutions are currently mainly based on computer vision. One area we want to have more represented in AIDirections is data analytics; first steps in this direction have already been made.
Furthermore, our current solutions work mostly “as well as the human”, which is good, but we want to make this much better. We are actively researching on improvements, aiming for accuracy above 90%,” Dr. Angelika said.
“We also working on our participation in several university-driven activities to build more AI talent in UAE,” she concluded.
What is your message to our viewers on Artificial Intelligence?
Dr Angelika said, “There are a number of important messages I would like to pass on:
1. AI is not the magical wand that turns businesses around with one touch – it is a lot of hard work and rather math than myth. It is extremely important to understand, particularly for the leaders, what AI can do – and what it cannot do!
2. Every organization needs to have an AI strategy, and a roadmap for its implementation! It is necessary for organizations to assess which areas of their business can benefit from AI, and then take the appropriate action. To wait until others have made their first experiences (and maybe even mistakes) is the wrong strategy as in AI, the early adopters will be the long-term winners.
3. Choose your AI projects wisely! As stated before, the number of possibilities is huge, the more important is it to choose a first AI project that promises at least return of investment, is relatively quick and easy to implement (6 -12 months) and speaks to the core values of the business.”