Companies consider Artificial Intelligence interesting but distant

  • According to an enquiry directed to companies in Southwest Finland nearly half of the companies do not yet know how to utilize Artificial Intelligence
  • However, 60% of the companies find the subject interesting
  • Education, concrete examples and experiments to be realized in cooperation are among the top wishes of the companies

Utilizing AI (Artificial Intelligence) in business operations is still at an early stage in the companies of Southwest Finland. 78% of the companies which answered the enquiry directed to business companies in Turku region said that AI expertise cannot be found in their organization. Almost half of the answerers do not know how they could utilize Artificial Intelligence in their operations. Nevertheless, 60% of the answerers were interested to receive further information about AI.

About one fifth of the 201 companies that answered the enquiry said that they have AI expertise. Correspondingly, 45% of the answerers considered that the possibilities to utilize Artificial Intelligence were unfamiliar to them.

– The companies can be divided into three segments on the basis of the results. Experts are frontline companies which use and develop artificial intelligence in their daily work. Companies that can be classified as pilots are interested and able to start AI experiments. The third group consists of prospects which have not yet become aware of how they could utilize Artificial Intelligence, says Michael Lindholm who is the person responsible for the AI network of Southwest Finland in Turku Science Park Oy.

According to Mr Lindholm the results emphasize the need to carry out experiments that last e.g. 3-6 months.

– Companies are clearly looking for better understanding of the concrete opportunities offered by Artificial Intelligence. More practical examples and training are needed that will clear the way for joint experiments as wished by the companies. It looks as if companies do not experience this as a competitive situation, and even international cooperation in the pilots is hoped for. Nevertheless, the test cycles must be quick, so that competitors will not overtake us.

Noccela helps find out about purchasing behaviour

Noccela Oy is one of the companies in the Turku region which utilize Artificial Intelligence in their products. Started in 2014, the company has developed an intelligent, real-time product protection system for e.g. the XXL and Intersport chains. Based on precise indoor positioning and the data it collects, the system is able to follow the routes used by thieves and thus identify the situations in which shoplifting is more likely than normal.

– In the same way, the trade sector can develop their own systems by learning from the customers’ purchasing behaviour in the shop. Until now it has only been possible in e-commerce to follow the way in which the customer proceeded with his products or at what stage the purchase was interrupted. Artificial Intelligence makes it also possible to follow the entire purchasing process in brick and mortar retail shops, as sales points supporting campaigns can be given the best possible location in the shop, explains Tapani Talvitie, Chairman of the Board of Noccela.

According to Mr Talvitie the utilization of Artificial Intelligence requires practising and advancing in short steps, but in fast cycles. It is also important to remember customer-oriented thinking, by which solutions are searched for repeated challenges of the customers. It was also important for Noccela to succeed in recruitments a few years ago, when there were plenty of experts in telecommunications technology with a background in Microsoft and Nokia available in the labour market.

– More efficient data protection has also been a benefit. Our technology does not follow people but products, which has made the development of our services easier in the era of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), Mr Talvitie continues.

Artificial Intelligence is not dependent on the branch of business

Mr Lindholm from Turku Science Park Ltd reminds that the utilization of Artificial Intelligence does not depend on the line of business of the company. Global reports show that it has diversely spread into different businesses. In many cases it also involves the company’s own data which should be collected and utilized systematically.

In addition to Turku Science Park Ltd, Turku University also participated in the AI mapping of the Artificial Intelligence Network of Southwest Finland. Other partners included Yrityssalo Oy, Turku Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Finnish Enterprises South-West Region and Turun Yrittäjät (Association of Turku Enterprises). During the period October-January a total of 208 answers were received, of which 201 were representatives of companies. Based on the results, Turku Science Park Ltd will develop their services aimed at utilizing Artificial Intelligence for companies in the area.

– We have already commenced the development of so called AI Academy, which will offer joint training packages. Apart from the public sector, we want enterprises and business organizations to join the entity of 20 ECTS credits. In this way we could support companies to move towards piloting and more extensive utilization of Artificial Intelligence, Mr Lindholm explains.

Further information please contact Michael Lindholm in Turku Science Park Ltd. The enquiry report is available (only in Finnish) here.