In the last few years, the trend of deploying automation and AI tech has grown in several sectors. Companies from sectors like banking, healthcare, Fintech, retail, and entertainment have realized the benefits of implementing automation-related technologies, and the adoption rate is growing steadily. However, this shot up in an unprecedented manner after the first quarter of 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic forced millions of businesses to rely on automation. As reducing human contact and enabling remote workflow has become important, deployment of automation has become more commonplace in workplaces.
Understanding the major advantages of using AI tech and automation
The pandemic hit the world like a bolt from the blue, and after that, nothing was the same! Schools, colleges, and workplaces were closed rapidly across the world, and work from home mode became normal. As the government in many countries struggled to cope with the pandemic and tried to recover from economic losses caused by the lockdown, the advantages of using AI and automation became clearer.
- Minimizing human presence and intervention– The pandemic is lingering, and the mutant virus continues to evolve and thus keeps the medical community on its toes. Even though government and private sector organizations have resumed operations, they are running with a reduced workforce. To ensure productivity is not hit badly, businesses have started deploying automation and modified their workflow accordingly. Through automation of processes, human intervention and presence can be minimized, and this reduces the risk of contamination spreading at workplaces.
- Lowering of running cost- For thousands of organizations and companies, the pandemic came as a shocker. They lost a lot of revenue, and many resorted to laying off employees and reducing the remuneration of the workforce. Even now, many entities are resorting to cost reduction methods to stay productive and meet revenue targets. Through automation of workflow processes, reduction of running costs is possible. Regular and repetitive processes which were run by human staff can be automated to an extent.
- Enhanced work quality- When automation technologies are deployed at workplaces, it becomes easier to reduce errors and maintain accuracy. This helps in enhancing the quality of work eventually. In a pandemic situation, most of the employees work under stress and anxiety, beyond doubt. This continual stress may take a toll on their alertness, presence of mind and memory, etc. Inadvertently, they may make mistakes at work, and those can have serious repercussions. By using automation, such human errors can be minimized to a great extent.
- Better analysis and forecast- The pandemic has necessitated cost reduction and cautious moves by businesses across all sectors. Businesses from all sectors are now careful about making new moves, and they want to assess the risk factors well before taking any steps. These include launching a new product range, expansion in new markets, planning mergers and acquisitions, etc. By using advanced AI tools, businesses are able to make more accurate predictions, and these help them take steps that lead to revenue boosts in the future.
- Time-saving- By deploying automation and AI tools, businesses can save time. When automation technology is used, repetitive tasks take less time to be completed. In banks, hospitals, diagnostic clinics, and many other entities, tasks like customer and patient verification, service delivery need to be documented properly. Such tasks can be executed faster when the processes are automated.
- Reduce the risk faced by frontline workers- From the beginning of the pandemic, a section of frontline workers, including the doctors and cops, have succumbed to the grasp of the killer virus across the world. By using automation technology, the risk level can be reduced to an extent. In several places, including airports and security checkpoints, automated scanners, thermal devices, and sensors are being used for temperature reading and health metrics analysis.
How AI and automation tech are benefitting the organizations in the pandemic situation
- Ever since the pandemic started, the healthcare sector staff, including nurses and physicians, have been under immense stress. They are coping with more than normal workloads continually. By deploying automation tools, they get relief from the stress to an extent. The doctors can attend to some patients through remote monitoring tools, and this helps reduce workload as well as the risk of contamination when fewer patients visit the clinics and hospitals, which ensures reduced workload on the medical staff.
- In many sectors, the deployment of automation technologies has resulted in a reduction of paperwork. The customers are filling online forms instead of paper-based ones at most places. When most of the procedures like billing, claim to process, and managing inventory are made digital and online, paper usage can be minimized. This not only helps to reduce the risk of contamination but helps in the safe storage and retrieval of records. This eventually proves to be beneficial for all parties involved.
- The government in many countries is relying heavily on automation and AI technology to develop strategies to combat the pandemic-induced complications. For example, they are using advanced AI tools to analyze vaccination and infection data obtained from multiple sources. This helps them figure out regions that are vulnerable and need a priority vaccination drive. The advanced reports generated by AI tools help such entities choose the appropriate Covid combat strategies as well.
- In many sectors, the usage of chatbots has shot up after the pandemic set in. This is a fine example of automation technology at work! From food delivery companies to banks and e-commerce giants, many entities have deployed AI-powered chatbots to reduce the load on human support agents. The chatbots are getting more advanced with time. Experts think within a few years; chatbots will be able to deal with complex customer queries without needing any human intervention.
- In the last few years, people have become accustomed to using voice-controlled digital assistants. Voice assistants for platforms like Android, Windows, iOS, and Mac have sprung up, and with time, these virtual assistants are getting smarter. In a pandemic situation, these digital assistants can prove to be reliable companions, say the experts.
For example, your nifty smartphone voice assistant will no longer be limited to suggesting sleeping time and guiding you through GPS on the road. It may be able to remind you about vaccination and taking medications as per the schedule and set up appointments. This can be useful for people leading hectic lives or those coping with memory retention issues.
- In many manufacturing units, automation technology is being used to replace a section of human workers with robots. This is extremely useful in assembly departments or setups where high precision and high-risk activities take place. In the pandemic situation, the human workforce has to adhere to physical distancing norms, and many setups are operating with 50% capacity, even now. This may slow down workflow and reduce productivity. This is not the case when AI-powered robots are used.
What does the future of AI tech and automation look like?
As the world is learning to adapt to the changes triggered by the pandemic, experts predict that AI and automation tech will become a part and a parcel of human life. These technologies are evolving quite fast, and the accuracy level is getting enhanced. From smartphones to home appliances, every gadget you use may become AI-driven in the near future. This will make life safer and less complicated, for sure. However, it is also necessary to develop better and regulated protocols for using such cutting-edge technologies safely.