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Artificial intelligence (AI) and the increasing improvements in the technology have been driving the implementation of bots throughout the workplace.

But what is a bot? You may be forgiven for thinking that a bot is a six-foot-tall, world domination hungry, mechanical and physical machine.

Bots are perhaps more subtle. While robots are mechanical and physical in presence, bots are software. Both excel at mundane repetitive and tedious tasks.

But bots can be built into existing systems and software to improve our ability to utilise this software.

The first generation of bots were single skill task bots, but the latest generation are powered by AI – making them multi-skilled and far more collaborative.

Bots are already changing the workplace landscape. They are able to take simple, repeatable and time-consuming tasks and do them with minimal effort and speed.

This can save employee time and resources and ultimately lead to far more productivity from employees.

How are bots being used in practice today?

 

LiveTiles’ (ASX:LVT) CEO Karl Redenbach spoke of collaborative robots ‘cobots’ at the company’s latest panel discussion in its New York offices that addressed ‘How to Introduce AI to the Enterprise.’

Cobots are collaborative and co-working robots that work alongside the employees to make their jobs easier and their output more productive.

Redenbach expects that we may soon start to see cobots in the organisational chart.

The bots used today in the workplace include the chatbot. Chatbots are being used throughout the retail and customer service industry to help customers answer simple, straightforward questions, such as ‘where is my order?’.

The chatbot can scan through all the relevant information stored on this query in relation to that customer to source the answer for the customer.

Bots are also used to serve up tailored recommendations and suggestions to customers – for example have you ever wondered how YouTube or Netflix recommends that show that you’ve never heard of but sounds right up your alley?

LiveTiles’ bot solution builds customised bots for a company or a department to help with their needs.

For example, an HR department may be overwhelmed with requests for holiday balances and basic information relating to an employee’s contract.

A smart virtual assistant bot (essentially the same as a chatbot) could help answer these simple questions in real time leaving the HR department more time to focus on other important policies and initiatives.

Bots are also being used to manage supply chains, automate basic finance and accounting tasks and to help sales teams better target customers and identify sales opportunities.

But why do we need bots?

 

Technically speaking we don’t ‘need’ bots. Human society has come this far without the assistance of bots.

However, bots will play an important role in continuing to advance and to grow productivity and the economy.

Bots can reduce a burden on an employee and a company. By giving employees more time in the day they will be able to focus on more high value tasks, thus improving productivity within the organisation.

Gartner expects that by 2021, more than 50 percent of enterprises will spend more per annum on bot creation than mobile app development.

For businesses in particular, adoption of AI solutions such as bots will be important to stay ahead of the competition.

 

This content is produced by Star Investing. Star Investing has a commercial partnership with LiveTiles. This content does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.