AI Business recently did an interview with Volume Global’s Chris Sykes about how it is to work in an AI-powered business, and the future aspects of the company. Volume is a leading global technology and innovation company, responding proactively to Industry 4.0 by developing award-winning content in a future-ready format. Using a core set of services from smart-machine providers such as IBM Watson™, they are one of just a few companies to have taken artificially intelligent applications to market; one of the only businesses to have resident robots; and the first in the world to have a cognitive website: the Digital Concierge™.

Chris Sykes
 

Chris is Chief Executive of Volume, an award-winning global provider of digital content, technology and innovation. Chris established Volume in 1997 and was an early adopter of Marketing Automation Technology. In 2000, Chris set up Marketing Resource Management vendor Then UK Ltd, which was acquired by Aprimo inc. (Terradata) in 2004. Since then, Volume has been a leader in developing bespoke enterprise-class applications for clients such as BP Castrol, Dell, Epson,HP, OKI, Oracle, Plantronics and Virgin Media Business. Volume became an IBM Watson™ ecosystem partner in April 2015 and is one of the few partners with three ‘With Watson’-verified applications in market. Chris also heads up Volume.XO (extraordinary), one of the UK’s first Centres of Competence for Cognitive Computing.

If you still are curious to see how artificial intelligence looks in practice I advise you strongly to visit Visiting Volume Global’s website. It is a company website unlike any other, giving its visitor(s) a first-hand experience in putting artificial intelligence in practice. You can ask their cognitive website questions such as “what the size of their company is” – either by typing the question or by saying it out loud. The answer then slides over your screen, saying: “Volume is a medium-sized global company, with around 115 employees in five offices worldwide – including our 12,000-square-foot Digital Campus in Wokingham, England”.

 

AI Business was curious to know the reason why Volume Global has chosen to implement AI in their business – besides creating virtually impressive websites.

What is the key proposition of Volume Global in enabling an AI-powered business?

“Our focus is to optimise human performance through Smart Machines”, Sykes said. “Fundamentally we are relieving people from carrying out mundane and repeatable tasks to drive them to higher value interactions, which ultimately are infinitely more rewarding. The aim for customers is to deliver a better customer experience by automating first touch and extending the self-serve cycle”.

Several surveys and reports published over the past year have shown exactly this – that the most obvious benefit of artificial intelligence, is that it relieves you from having to spend a huge amount of time doing mundane tasks. Volume Global is aware of this and have therefore ‘hit the nail on the head’, by focusing on challenging this.

The company supports their clients through five key areas of competence: Client Services and Support; Creative Agency; Learning and Development Practice; Technology Practice; and Volume.XO, our Centre of Excellence for Cognitive Computing, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Could you outline a couple of key enterprise use cases for your products and solutions?

“A Technical Advisor which is a Cognitive Q&A app that provides first line technical advice to customers using industrial lubricants”. “We also have a Virtual Consultant Cognitive Sales Performance Optimisation app that provides a ‘know-as-you-go’ learning platform”. This enables sales people in the telecommunications sector to query the adviser about products and solutions, Sykes explains.

AI Business was curious to establish where Volume Global see themselves in the future. We asked: What is your enterprise strategy for Volume Global in the short- and long-term? Are there any particular industry verticals you are focusing on for your solutions going forward, or any particular applications on the horizon?

“We are focused on the B2B sector but are moving into retail and health and education, which is where we see wider possibilities for use cases and applications”, Sykes explains. Following in the steps of many AI-powered businesses, they are planning on expanding their range of industries as the request for artificial intelligence in all industries are increasing rapidly.

However, despite the demand growing rapidly there are challenges facing these businesses as well.Sykes explains how customers very often take for granted that they are not required to do any effort on their side, and that the answers will just automatically ‘fall into their lap’

“The customers’ understanding around skills and resources their side”, Sykes explains. “A lot of customers have moon shot expectations with no expectations of level of investment required”.

What new products and solutions can we expect from Volume Global in the immediate future?

“We are currently developing a Cognitive mental well-being app or ‘smart work buddy’ which is able to detect early signs of sustained periods of stress, anxiety and low mood in employees to allow positive intervention and support, mitigating against absenteeism in the workplace”, Sykes tells AIBusiness. “It will endeavour to help the employee seek support and if dismissed, will send an alert to the line manager, where early and positive intervention can help the employee return to a more positive and productive mind-set. It’s Cognitive Sales Agents that understand a customer’s personality, tone and behaviours”.

AI Business is very eager to follow the development of Volume Global in the future, and see where their company will go further.

You can follow Chris Sykes on Twitter for exciting updates about their company at: https://twitter.com/cikes

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