Artificial Intelligence

5 best AI apps and services for businesses in 2018

ai and big data

Using artificial intelligence in your own business may seem daunting, but an ever-growing range of solutions makes it easy to achieve a tangible benefit. Here are five of our favorite AI-enabled apps and services for 2018.
Artificial intelligence (AI) permeates many of the apps and services we use on a daily basis, fulfilling roles from image classification to algorithmic trading strategy to predictive maintenance. We’ve already written about the 2018 AI trends we expect will dominate, but what does this mean for businesses?

Sure, many of us only hear about AI when a robot passes a major national medical exam, but the more pedestrian use cases serve real function for businesses, including those at the small-business level. Those live chat operators at your favorite e-commerce website? More and more often, they’re chatbots. That auto-attendant who routes your call to the right person? You get the idea.

Using artificial intelligence in your own company may seem daunting, but the ever-growing range of solutions makes it easy to focus on specific aspects of your operations where intelligent features may quickly yield a tangible benefit. In many cases, it only takes one or two smart apps to save real time, streamlining existing processes and enabling data-driven decision-making on a faster timeline.

We’ve listed our five favorite AI-enabled apps and services for this year below so you can better incorporate the tech into your business.

1. Clara

This AI automates meeting schedules, confirmations, and follow-up for businesses. It’ll even reserve a conference room. The app integrates with unlimited calendars, allowing it to check availability, suggest appropriate meeting times, and interact with participants if schedules change. If your business requires a large number of meetings, the time savings here can add up quickly.

2. AnswerRocket

AnswerRocket performs “search-based data discovery,” which sounds pretty mundane until you actually dig into the product. Ask it a question in plain English, and it answers you in detailed reports and charts. AI makes turning natural language directly into surprisingly-detailed business intelligence possible—otherwise, you’d need to ask a data analyst to generate this information on your behalf.

3. Fyle

With this service, you can automate your business’s expense reporting. Fyle even includes a mobile app so employees can scan, upload, and track company receipts. From extracting the relevant information from those receipts to automating expense approvals, Fyle’s fundamental concept is intelligent expense management, with AI influencing nearly every aspect of the software. It’s a simple way to increase productivity across your whole team.

4. Acquisio

Acquisio leverages machine learning for digital advertising, using predictive algorithms to manage and optimize bids. It trots out phrases like self-improving and unimaginable to assure prospective partners its solution will achieve results a team of humans could not possibly match. This quality is no surprise in the complex, big-data world of digital ads; the future is here, and it’s really good at selling us stuff—Acquisio just makes the selling easier and better.

5. Apptus

This app provides AI-powered e-commerce optimization that integrates with many major platforms. It enhances these sites through predictive merchandising, recommendations, and streamlined search and site navigation. Much of the value proposition here is in operational efficiency, as merchandising is often a particularly time-consuming task that can tax lean teams.

AI is increasingly being implemented in SaaS offerings, and in many cases those apps are plugged into machine learning interfaces from major providers including Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. In addition, services such as Blockspring and If This Then That enable integration between apps that are AI-enabled and those that aren’t, extending the reach of AI even further.

What this means, of course, is that more AI technology is coming to more apps and services on a near-daily basis. Business, large or small, stand to win back time and efficiency by letting computer intelligence influence a range of everyday tasks—and it’s never been easier to do so.

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