Getting Started with AI and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology (ML) use to feel like a distant phenomenon. As these technologies continue to evolve, however, accessible services are now available to any business looking to get started. The major players in the industry, like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have pushed AI and ML forward to get an edge in their own business models.

What is super exciting today, is that most of these services are now extended into accessible platforms so that anyone can leverage AI or ML within their business solutions. Developers can more easily learn about and consume these services, integrating and customizing them to fit specific use cases.

From our own exploration in this space, here are just a few AI capabilities available today on Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud AI, Amazon AI, and other accessible platforms.

  1. Natural Language Processing (NLP) APIs describe services that analyze text which can allow for many uses, like content personalization or SEO
  2. Image or Video Analysis APIs generally dissect images or video content to provide helpful insights
  3. Speech recognition APIs recognizes and converts speech which can open doors for all sorts of transcription or accessibility use cases
  4. Machine Learning APIs allow developers to extract predictive analytics and operationalize it within their products
  5. Chatbot and other cognitive engagement APIs are on the rise to address customer service interactions across many industries.
  6. Automation APIs have been progressing for a long time, and now a lot of these services allow for approachable ways to train models for customized automation uses.

Where do you begin? Our clients and technology partners are always asking us, how can we embrace AI sooner rather than later?

As a start, narrow your focus down to a business use case that could be enhanced with AI.

Many of our clients have been incorporating chatbot technology into their existing platforms. This is one of many examples where it is important to find the right AI use case for you. Learning to leverage chatbot APIs won’t do you any good if your business has not validated the need or use case for customer service interfaces.


Artificial Intelligence Use Cases



That said, if there is a digital service that you have always wanted to incorporate but did not have the operational viability to justify it before, opportunities are opening up all around you. Within the chatbot example, maybe you did not have a 24/7 staff to support chat before but now you can configure and optimize particular chat interaction APIs to your business smoothly.

Chatbot magazine outlines a few additional questions you can ask yourself in this process, but these can be applied to any potential AI or ML use case.

After you identify an area to explore, understand the landscape of tools at your disposal and their costs and benefits.

For example, you may want to explore image analysis APIs so that you can better optimize your content for your customers. Amazon Rekognition, Microsoft Azure’s Vision API, and Google Cloud’s Vision API have these capabilities. We suggest making sure you know what’s out there, and then run through the pros and cons based on your target use case.


Artificial Intelligence Tools - Google Vision API



All three can enable features like facial recognition or inappropriate content detection, but only two can recognize logos. Think through what’s important to your business and then compare and contrast.

Finally, just go for it!

Here at Digital Foundry we’ve utilized and experimented with a number of helpful services in the last few years. In our experience, until you get developer hands on keys and start integrating these services, the AI and machine learning space will continue to be kept at distance or feel intimidating.

While we lean on our 20+ years of experience here at Digital Foundry, we constantly push our team to stay on top of the innovations in this space. Hooking up these powerful AI tools and services helps our clients stay ahead of the curve.


Digital Foundry Engineer


Let us know if you have any questions about embracing AI within your digital product portfolio. We are eager to talk more about the services that make sense.

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