AI or Automation 

…and What’s the difference? 

Automation means understanding the process so well it can be taken over by a simple yes/no and if/then algorithm. Artificial Intelligence means giving a system access to an extensive source of knowledge and allow it to pick the answer on the flight. 

The application in customer support is great. Bots are often called AI, where in actual fact they are simply a rule based answering machine. We can argue this is just a slight improvement on having to pick an option when calling a call centre. We have to do better than that. 

As a society we demand a great service. And preferably at the time we want it in a format that is convenient. We want answers to our questions to be provided in an instant. As consumers, we are increasing our purchasing decisions based on speed of service. Amazon knows that and lists the delivery dates next to the price. If you have ever purchased anything on Amazon Prime, you know the initial amazement of being able to get an order that very same afternoon.  

Amazon has certainly mastered the automation and as a company they are undoubtedly working to amaze us once again with the application of AI in e-commerce. 

In B2B, the idea of having to wait for a quote has practically gone. With the exception of complex RFPs or custom project based sale, we are expecting for the price and the expected delivery to be presented in an instant using automation. As AI is perfected and implemented, even the most customised requirements using an extensive pool of interchangeables will be generated in an instant by AI. 

As a service oriented business, we are fantasising about AI run support, but the reality is that not a week goes by where another opportunity for automation is uncovered. For DOOH as a sector, where the pool of formats, audience and creative executions are vast, it is too easy to talk about AI. Where in reality, a good automation will revolutionise the whole industry. 

Automation will make it practical for tens of thousands of businesses to interact with the inventory. This will reinvent DOOH as an inclusive and more vibrant medium which I am sure will capture the attention of millions of people.