The impact that Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies are having on our industry is undeniable. Organizations who are able to quickly embrace and adapt to technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) will find themselves with a wealth of exciting new opportunities for growth.
Artificial Intelligence is one such technology, which will continue to grow in importance in our industry. As I mentioned previously, remote working is here to stay, and the modern enterprise needs to be mobile and robust. To achieve this, businesses must work smarter and become more efficient.
Printing & AI: a new era of document solutions
Reducing costly downtime continues to be high on the agenda for today’s business leaders when it comes to printing. As the old saying goes, “prevention is better than cure” and, in this regard, AI will prove to be invaluable.
The ability of devices to self-diagnose, predict behaviors and address potential issues before they happen will help drastically reduce frustrating downtime. This, in turn, enables organizations to dedicate even more resources – time, manpower, and finances – to creating greater value for their customers.
The benefits offered by AI are not restricted solely to printing devices, however. Document management, an area which has already undergone a tremendous transformation in the digital age, will see further improvements in efficiency, especially when it comes to managing unstructured data thanks to the ability to classify and index data without manual intervention. This saves countless hours of work from professionals who can instead dedicate their time to tasks which can add real value to organizations.
Looking at how technology has become so finely intertwined with our daily lives, I believe we will see a significant change in the way users interact with their documents. Document management software will continue to learn from our behaviors and be able to recommend quick ways to draft and automatically review documents, for example.
Like all advancements throughout the history of mankind, there will always be initial resistance to change – artificial intelligence has been no different. The way we work today is incomparable to that of decades ago, and this rate of change will only continue to accelerate in the years to come. Evolution is a part of who we are, and the only way to truly advance is by embracing these new technologies. Quite frankly, there is no other option.
Working together with technology
Many people continue to fear that AI, robots and things like machine-learning have arrived to destroy their jobs, but I believe that, rather than looking at the situation as “us against the robots,” we need to take a different approach; by working together with these new technologies, we can achieve things which were unthinkable a decade ago. By taking care of laborious and manual tasks, AI will allow us to focus on value-adding activities in our work.
This is, of course, a transition and a process of continuous learning and we, as business leaders, have the responsibility to ensure that the correct training and development programs are put in place so that employees are provided with the tools to prepare them for a new era of working.
In previous articles I have alluded to the resilience of the printing industry, how we have been able to successfully transition from analogue to digital, and from hardware to software solutions, and I am confident our industry will once again demonstrate this adaptability.
Furthermore, it is naturally easier to accept new technology when it delivers tangible benefits. Regardless of industry, all companies are looking to find new ways of creating greater value for their customers.
AI collects real-time data and is able to analyze customer printing behavior. This not only helps generate recommendations with regards to optimizing printing fleets, but it also provides key insights on how to reduce costs while creating upselling opportunities. Such endeavors help organizations position themselves in the eyes of the customer as a true value-added partner.
A winning formula
The day-to-day interactions with our dealers and customers, and the relationships that we develop over the years are what make our industry so special. The personal touch is something that we value extremely highly here at Kyocera. We take pride in becoming closer to our customers with each interaction and we have seen how greatly customers appreciate us going that extra mile.
AI will not replace this human approach; it will, in fact, help us strengthen these relationships by enabling us to add value to everything we do. These technologies will allow us to better understand our customers, their behaviors, pains and needs; and I’m extremely excited about what new opportunities such data and insights will provide for our industry.
President & CEO
KYOCERA Document Solutions America, Inc.