In this chapter of our thought leadership series, AI Business caught up with the Senior Vice President of Product Marketing at ABBYY, Bruce Orcutt. Today, ABBYY is a global leader in intelligent capture and provide organisations throughout the world optical character recognition, document capture and language software for both PC and mobile devices. Powered on AI, ABBYY’s technologies leverage deep learning and multi-level analyses to process text, documents and data to function like a high powered human brain. Today, their intelligent technologies are helping to augment business teams to achieve greater efficiency, accelerated decision-making, and higher revenue.

In our interview, Orcutt emphasises that the financial services industry is currently the most active sector for AI adoption and he predicts that the harnessing of data will offer limitless opportunities moving forward with new waves of innovation likely to develop as a result from all over the world. Bruce advocates for organisational transparency and accountability to counteract security concerns associated with the widespread adoption of AI.

‘Transforming business documents into business value’

We began our discussion talking about the array of solutions ABBYY have to offer business leaders today;

‘We deliver value through digital transformation by enabling enterprises, government agencies, and developers to automatically unlock and understand business and possess critical data and relationships from their documents,’ Orcutt explains. He argues that this frees up costly and critical human resources to focus on higher value tasks and deliverables.

‘ABBYY transforms costly manual processes that require human interaction into automated straight through systems that deliver better results with faster decisions at lower costs. We focus on the ability to automatically understand text, context, and relationships previously locked within business documents, forms, and correspondence. ABBYY AI, machine learning, and natural language processing (NLP) capabilities classify documents and content into logical categories and classes,’ he says. ‘We then automatically convert the text into meaningful and tagged data that drives the decision engines, and we then normalize all the content so it can be leveraged by any system or process within the enterprise.’

ABBYY’s services can be accessed using their integrated cloud platform, enabling customers and developers to use them to enhance their applications, processes, and solutions. ‘The entire portfolio is packaged as cloud-ready applications that can be delivered for those seeking a full product solution for their use case. This approach gives the most flexibility and control to the customer to ultimately decide how they want to solve the specific tasks and problems related to transforming customer documents, text, and communications into meaningful process-ready data to accelerate and automate the user experience and transaction.’

Who are they trying to help? ‘Our cloud customers could be a CFO or VP of Finance seeking to automate the AP process, a shared service centre of an enterprise trying to automate the processing of claims or loan applications. They could also be a developer seeking to integrate classification, recognition, and text analytics services into their offering as a value-added solution.’

AI adoption in industry: predictions for the next five years

Estimates show that around 70% of millennials use mobile banking apps and payment services, which Orcutt argues is spurring the technological transformation of the financial sector. ‘With digital payments becoming more widespread and customers having developed such an expectation, we see financial services as the most aggressive adopter of AI and our capabilities,’ Orcutt explains.

He argues that there is ‘additional pressure’ on other industries to follow suit, including insurance, public services, transportation, logistics, and healthcare. They need to keep up the pace in order to stay relevant in the minds of their customers while delivering on growth and profitability for investors.’

Insurance is already a key sector for investment in AI-based systems. ‘Many insurance companies are seeing opportunities to reallocate adjusters and human capital focused on claims or customer onboarding with automated and intelligent systems,’ he explains. ‘This reduces the need for brick and mortar and field resources. It also means that they can be more responsive to customers and deliver a better user experience.’

It doesn’t end there, however. Orcutt believes that this increased utilisation of AI in industry will place greater pressure on government agencies to improve engagement, onboarding, and customer experience. ‘Governments serve their constituents and that user base has expectations for service formed by the innovations of financial services and insurance companies. More importantly, government agencies have to focus on controlling costs—which fits well with ABBYY solutions.’

The changes stemming from the AI revolution will affect much more than specific industries, Orcutt predicts. ‘We view AI as a global opportunity which will be led by the advanced economie but will rapidly benefit emerging markets. Innovation and research is emerging from all parts of the world. North America as the largest market is a target for a lot of innovation around AI. However, AI is going to have a significant global impact, rendering services and solutions available to users and constituents who would never have had this capability due to investment and costs. Innovation will come from all over the world.’

Securing the future of AI

If consumer data fuels AI, there are wide-reaching implications for the future of data protection and consumer privacy. If these are not contended with effectively, it could jeopardize the development of AI as we know it. As the EU’s record $2.7 billion fine of Google recently demonstrated, consumer protections are becoming increasingly important issues. Penalties for those who fail to comply can be severe.

‘Security and privacy are paramount to the success and growth of AI. There is an inherent trust between users and the systems/organisations with whom they share personal information,’ Orcutt argues. ‘Data protection is something that all in the industry must respect. This is a huge challenge as governments have now become engaged in the process to protect their citizens.’

‘We have a responsibility to ensure that this trust in AI is not broken,’ he contends. ‘We all have a responsibility to the market, our partners, and our customers to ensure that we are securing their information and not allowing the capabilities to be used for deception or fraud. Transparency is key, and organisations must be open and willing to answer difficult questions in order to keep users and their information safe.’

‘ABBYY has seen a growth in organisations using our text analytics and data extraction capabilities to monitor content and information leaving their networks and data centres to ensure compliance. It is a very interesting time as the need for data protection and privacy will create many new opportunities for AI. It will also present new challenges in ensuring this data is protected and only used for the defined and desired outcome.’

ABBYY at AI Summit San Francisco

ABBYY is very excited to be participating in the AI Summit. Our goal is to gain a deeper understanding of the current capabilities within the AI space and see some of the amazing future developments that will be coming to market shortly. We are very interested to meet and network with the attendees as the audience comes from every industry, market, and geography. We are therefore extremely excited to be part of the AI Summit—not only to share our substantial capabilities to transform business documents to business value but also to learn from those in attendance to better prepare ourselves for what the future could deliver.’