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40 percent of TMT companies surveyed by Deloitte say they've gained “substantial” benefits from cognitive technologies, versus just 26 percent across all other industries.

Published: 21 June 2018

A new report from Deloitte, Technology, media, and telecom get smarter, offers a practical guide to cognitive computing, exploring various use cases and how the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) sector is arguably the most instructive for companies looking to enter the era of artificial intelligence (AI). It also explores the multitude of benefits cognitive computing can bring, and how TMT companies are an example for others to follow.

Backed by a series of case studies, the report explores just some of the real-world uses of cognitive computing, including:

  • Robotic and cognitive automation (R&CA) of back-end operations that frees up staff to perform value-added analysis.
  • Data mining which allows businesses to generate cognitive in­sights and make sharper decisions.
  • AI which better connects with customers, anticipating their needs and questions.

"An R&CA system can be easily trained to routinely fetch required data for itself, and if the in­formation already exists in digital form, and its format and location is consistent, the task is simple," says William Chou, Deloitte China national leader for TMT industry. "But sometimes, inconsistently presented data disrupts the process. That's where AI's ability to trawl unstructured data, make sense of and present it comes into its own."

TMT lights the path

The first reason TMT is an exemplary sector for AI is that it faces challenges which are particularly suited to cognitive computing solutions, the report suggests.

In technology, chips will soon have more than 10 billion transistors, encouraging manufacturers to go beyond computer-aided design with machine learning that increases design efficiency. In media, companies are being squeezed by traditional business models contracting at the same time as their range of distribution options expands – AI can help them decide what content to produce, and how to match it to their diverse customer bases. Meanwhile, in telecom, users are much less 'sticky', changing providers at will, so companies can use cognitive computing to support and personalize customer engagement.

"Computers can now handle customer support functions traditionally routed to call centers, allowing companies to deliver uniform, high-quality customer support, including engagement through sophisticated, personalized AI-interaction," Chou explains. "Natural language processing is a core enabling technology here, as it means the AI can understand everything it's being asked and follow the conversation."

The second reason TMT can be considered exemplary is that it already appears more accepting of cognitive technology.

Some 40 percent of TMT companies surveyed by Deloitte say they've gained "substantial" benefits from cognitive technologies, versus just 26 percent across all other industries. They believe it allows them to stand apart from their competitors and is a boon to new product development. That said, the sector does have some dissenting voices – some TMT players argue they don't need to go into AI because it doesn't relate to their current operations.

Even so, Deloitte continues to recommend these companies at least develop some form of in-house expertise, and keep up with developments in AI, so they understand how cognitive computing can evolve to transform their business. In the long run, it will also be better for them to develop in-house rather than buy AI solutions 'off the shelf', as Chou concludes, "For every genuine breakthrough like 'Deep Mind', there are another 20 vendors promising their AI will be similarly game-changing. It can be difficult to differentiate between those offering a truly innovative solution, or just riding the zeitgeist."


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