Konica Minolta is the first company in production printing in Europe, and is also a specialist in the optimisation of document and information processes. They offer high performance products, services and solutions in several business areas, including office equipment, digital printing systems, industrial materials and healthcare products.
Dennis Curry is VP and Director of Business Innovation and R&D Europe at Konica Minolta. He has overall management responsibility of the company’s medium- to long-term business development in R&D, portfolio Incubation, client development, VC/M&A strategy, technology direction, as well as the Leading Edge Partners programme within EU/EMEA.
At The AI Summit in San Francisco on September 28-29, Dennis will deliver a keynote demonstrating how AI enables an effective management of information flows in digital workplaces.
Ahead of the event, AI Business caught up with Dennis to hear about Konica Minolta’s current position in the AI for business landscape, where they are headed in the future, and the challenges that lie in between.
Dennis Curry of Konica Minolta
We began by discussing the key proposition of Konica Minolta in enabling an AI-powered business. Dennis begins by pointing out that “Konica Minolta is predominantly a digital information business” and elaborates to describe what AI can bring to this business:
“With the power of artificial intelligence we aim to automate and manage the oceans of information that are created within complex workplaces by the interaction of people, spaces and devices that together give shape to a digital cortex-like interface with the real world. By adding machine intelligence and advanced digital abstraction on this evolving environment, we aim to unleash an intuitive understanding of the world around us that will empower people to make better decisions about both their business and personal lives”.
Thinking about Konica Minolta’s position in the AI-enabled enterprise, Dennis first remarks that “in the last decade, workplaces have started to evolve towards digitalisation” before explaining what that means for the future:
“In the future people will work in digital places where personalisation is enabled, collaboration is improved and data sharing and information management are automated. It is apparent that such digital workplaces rely on the availability of oceans of data and more importantly on the augmented intelligence to analyse it and derive value from it. This is where Konica Minolta will lead the way with augmented intelligent hubs for the workplace”.
So where exactly might we see Konica Minolta’s artificially intelligent solutions in an industry setting? Dennis describes their potential applications in healthcare:
“In the UK the National Health Service loses billions of pounds each year on incorrect medicine prescriptions as a result of human error. When a doctor sees dozens of patients in one day, it is easy to make a mistake and write a wrong word in a prescription, which may lead to the patient receiving the wrong medication or advice. A smart data system will use optical character recognition and natural language processing to interpret the doctor’s handwriting and the overall intent of the prescription itself. AI will be used to validate the prescription against both local rules and the existing knowledge for actions based on certain test or other diagnostic results, and if these were not aligned an alert would be triggered to a second doctor or practitioner to check the prescription. This is a simple example of how Konica Minolta aims to add AI within complex digital working environments”.
In the short term, Dennis says, Konica Minolta is actively establishing semantic-based smart data services for enterprises:
“These services will make clients’ jobs easier and businesses more profitable. In order to overcome challenges regarding computational power and memory limitations, a more intelligent approach focuses on the individual user and builds services outwards based on the individual’s needs and actions”.
“In fact”, Dennis explains, “an individual’s complex pattern of digital activity can be described as a Digital Self”:
“By applying AI-based semantic technologies to the Digital Self we are able to establish implied relations and create a meta-information layer that is manageable and scalable. AI-based Semantic triplestores are a way of storing data that can read the complex relations between different pieces of information – the digital objects, people, places and events – creating a consistent, machine-readable map of a Digital Self.
“If a Digital Self can be considered a trail of information, then this Semantic Self is a type of database that logs the data trail in an organised fashion. AI-based data services are then able to extract the data and make logical and valuable conclusions. This is the first step towards increasing AI-based decision support systems that empower workers, employers and enterprises to outpace their competitors”.
Looking ahead to the future, Dennis describes how Konica Minolta is developing an AI-based enterprise-grade semantic search engine that transforms a company’s central document store into a dynamic, searchable knowledge base, enabling them to complete tasks faster and more accurately:
“By leveraging the data relations uncovered through the adoption of a Semantic Self approach, and combining with the use of natural language processing, combinational machine learning techniques and rule-based systems, the relevant metadata is extracted from the documents. Information such as the topic, the people mentioned, the temporal and location information and even the usage statistics including the person that last opened or edited the document, are all automatically available. The end result is a search platform that intelligently brings a business’s most relevant and valuable content to employees, cutting wasted time and boosting productivity”.
On a broader scale, Dennis outlines how the company is “striving to merge the real and digital worlds by creating intelligent, inclusive, multi-vendor platforms that enable clients to achieve their goals faster and more cheaply, make better decisions and focus on their outcomes rather than on the tools used to achieve them”.
So how will they turn this vision into a reality?
“We are creating a framework based on our strengths and assets that will allow us to reap the benefits of digitalisation in the workplace. In other words, we are building a bridge between our existing markets and the growth markets of the future. Starting in the office environment, next generation multifunctional printers will provide a hybrid offering by bridging cloud and intelligent edge computing, and enabling us to create a connected platform that integrates people, spaces and devices such as Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) and generate value for people and society as a whole”.
Going even further forward, Dennis says Konica Minolta are taking the first steps towards providing AI-based cognitive hubs for the workplace, the home, and for specific industry segments such as healthcare and manufacturing.
At The AI Summit in San Francisco on 28-29 September, Dennis Curry will deliver his keynote entitled The Evolution of Cognitive Hubs in the Workplace, exploring how AI, IoT, & connected collaborative environments will empower greater insight, intelligent augmentation and a new wave of decision support and predictive tools.
The event will host the most successful AI software developers together with 600+ CxOs from the world’s leading enterprises. To find out more, visit: theaisummit.com