Infosys launches AI-first, cloud-first customer engagement platform

Infosys, a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting, today announced the launch of Infosys Cortex, its customer engagement platform, aiming to “humanize customer experience, empower agents and drive intelligent operations for enterprises”.

The platform leverages technology from Genesys, a global leader in cloud customer experience and contact center solutions, along with Contact Center AI services from Google Cloud and its managed artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics services.
Infosys Cortex aims to revamp customer care operations by providing intelligence to aid purposeful customer communication, smarter and faster decision-making, and deliver value at scale.
Using the power of cloud and a modular microservices based architecture, it helps enterprises achieve up to 40 per cent faster and more effective agent hiring and learning, the company said.
It also brings up to 30 per cent improvement in agent performance with training before operationalising the contact center, it added.
Furthermore, Infosys Cortex drives up to 30 percent improvement in satisfaction for customers through intent prediction and self-service, along with up to 40 per cent improvement in operations through cognitive automation and analysis of contextual data across systems using Infosys Data and Analytics Platform powered by Google Cloud.
Together with Google AI-powered voicebots, chatbots, interaction analytics, and an industry-leading IVR from Genesys, businesses can shift from being remote-ready to driving digital customer service from anywhere. They can also grow the effectiveness of their customer care with increased first-call resolution, reduced average handle time, decreased call volume, and improved service-to-sales conversion.
“Our experience of managing the IT landscapes of large complex enterprises, expertise across industry domains, and strengths in enabling workforce learning uniquely equips us to help businesses deliver customer delight. With Infosys Cortex, we can now share with them the digital capabilities to future-proof their customer relationships”, said Ravi Kumar, President at Infosys.
“The next wave of CX (customer experience) solutions are built to improve decision velocity. Machines can make 100 decisions per second, humans can make one per second but often get bogged down in management committee for weeks,” said Ray Wang, Founder and Chairman, Constellation Research, Inc.
“When AI is applied to CX, agents have the context they need to make faster and more precise decisions. As agents are augmented by AI, they can deliver more personalized experiences.”
Infosys’ new product is part of the growing interest in AI-power customer service. In fact, $13.9 billion was invested in CX-focused AI and $42.7 billion in CX-focused Big Data and analytics in 2019, with both expected to grow to $90 billion in 2022, according to IDC.

Avalanche Computing develops hyper-scale computing technique for speed and high-scalability AI projects

Taipei based Avalanche Computing, a hyper-scale computing technique provider has launched a one-click-through AI framework that allows for speed and scalability.

Avalanche Computing’s AI framework aims to train AI model in parallel or distributed mode on multiple GPUs without changing the algorithm, reducing AI project costs. It is also capable of deploying AI models from one to many edge devices in one command, the company said.

As such, it focuses on the deep learning environment and training in parallel, lightening the trained model, and then deploying the AI model at a hyper-scale.

The company presents that the proposed AI framework will help increase the speed of manufacturing and medical applications, including predictive maintenance, anomaly detection, machine diagnosis, defect detection, supply chain analysis, operation optimization, EGG signal, breath sound, medical signal, medical speech to text, anomaly detection, lung cancer detection, amongst others.

“Our mission is to help our customers who focus on intelligence services and applications save time, staff numbers, and money during AI development. With our deep tech and computing domain knowledge, we aim to provide an excellent workflow for AI development and deployment in one platform at scale. Besides, our many alliance partners, academic collaborations, and computing hardware partners have further helped our AI customers succeed in global business,” said Avalanche Founder and CEO Jay Chen.

“With our AI experience with global enterprises, we can help customers achieve high-speed AI training, reduce waiting time, and quickly scale the inference system without building a new engineer team.”

Cloud computing makes corporations more flexible, adaptable and reduces costs by hosting data and applications in the cloud.

AI capabilities work in tandem with cloud computing environments to help organizations manage their data, find patterns and insights from information, improve customer experiences and optimize workflows.

According to Statista, the global AI market is estimated to reach $89 billion annually by 2025, and a significant percentage of which will occur as artificial intelligence powers cloud computing.

Cognizant to acquire Servian, an Australian data and analytics consulting firm

Cognizant will acquire Servian, a Sydney-based, private enterprise transformation consultancy specializing in data analytics, artificial intelligence, digital services, experience design and cloud.

Servian is Cognizant’s 10th digital-focused acquisition announced since January 2020, showing Cognizant’s strategy to accelerate capabilities and growth in priority areas of data and artificial intelligence, digital engineering, cloud, and Internet of Things across the globe, the company said.  Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Cognizant expects the acquisition of Servian to expand its integrated, end-to-end digital transformation capabilities in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) to help clients move to the cloud, build digital products and services, unlock value from data, modernize enterprise applications, and achieve operational efficiency.

“Enterprises in Australia and New Zealand are at an inflexion point in their digital adoption,” said Jane Livesey, CEO, Cognizant Australia and New Zealand. “Cognizant’s extensive digital expertise combined with Servian’s strengths as the premier technology partner in the region will open up the full power of digital transformation for our Australasian clients. We look forward to welcoming Servian’s talented digital-native professionals to Cognizant.”

“Enabling clients to leverage their data assets for accelerating business transformation and driving competitive advantage is at the heart of our success,” said Tony Nicol, Founder and CEO, Servian. “We share Cognizant’s passion for innovation powered by digital technologies. With Cognizant’s deep industry expertise and global scale, we will be able to apply our strengths in strategic advisory, engineering delivery, and managed services across an even broader spectrum of challenges and opportunities presented by the digital economy.”

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory clearance and other closing conditions.

Tencent invests $279 million in AI chip startup

Tech giant Tencent has invested a staggering $279 million (1.8 billion yuan) into an artificial intelligence (AI) semiconductor chips manufacturing company in China.

Enflame Technology, headquartered in Shanghai, has received funding from Tencent and several other investors including China’s state-owned conglomerate group CITIC, and investment firms China International Capital Corporation (CICC) and Primavera.

Tencent’s investment will allow it to segue into the booming semiconductor chip industry, which is currently dominated by NVIDIA, AMD, and most recently, Intel after its acquisition of US chipmaker Xilinx.

This move by the Chinese tech company is also expected to contribute to China’s plan to become more self-reliant in the technology sector after numerous tech-related bans by the US, such as TikTok and Huawei’s 5G development.

Founded in 1998, Tencent is best known for messaging app WeChat and multiplayer video game League of Legends. The company reported $5.88 billion in profit in the third quarter of 2020, a 29% year-on-year increase.

This is Tencent’s fourth time injecting funds into Enflame Technology, which was founded in 2018.

Semiconductor chips produced by companies such as Enflame Technology are becoming more important to the global tech market, because these chips are capable of processing large amounts of data which are used to train AI models and power data centers.

AI technology is taking over

Technological developments, increase in demand for Big Data and analytics, and increased digitisation across all sectors are factors fuelling the growth of the global AI hardware market.

The onset of COVID-19 has fuelled utility & adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) hardware, due to its ability to screen, track and predict the present and future patients affected by coronavirus infection.  According to the NewVantage Partners, the number of companies that invest over $500 million annually in big data increased to 21.1% in 2019 from 12.7% in 2018, indicating the importance of AI and Big Data across organizations, hence propelling industry growth.

Meanwhile, Asia Pacific market is anticipated to experience robust growth over 2020-2027, owing to increasing investment in AI technology by different end-use industries, and rising demand for big data and analytics in the region.

Microsoft launches AI Pilipinas Coalition to promote responsible use of artificial intelligence in the Philippines

Microsoft, the Department of Trade and Industry, and a number of other stakeholders have launched the AI Pilipinas Coalition to democratise and promote responsible use of artificial intelligence.

The Coalition will bring together key organisations, leaders in Government and the private sector to empower people through the use of AI.

AI is expected to play a critical role in helping the Philippines respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic by building resiliency and increasing the country’s competitiveness on the global stage.

But to make sure this is done responsibly, the AI Pilipinas Coalition was set up.

“A number of startups in the country are offering AI solutions to consumers and businesses. And they are accelerating the integration of AI technologies and tools in day-to-day transactions, making them more accessible to the public,” said Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez.

During the launch of AI Pilipinas Coalition, Secretary Lopez emphasised the critical role technology will play in the nation’s economic recovery, adding that AI in particular is poised to make a significant contribution to enabling Filipino individuals and enterprises for the future.

The Department of Trade and Industry will support industries to address these barriers, including the lack of financial and technical capacity and poor infrastructure.

“Even as there is an increase in use of AI and other Industry 4.0 technologies, our industries have yet to harness the benefits of such technologies and overcome key challenges to their adoption,” said Secretary Lopez.

The AI Pilipinas Coalition designed an AI Action Agenda to spark positive transformation and digital acceleration in the Philippines. 

The Agenda is built on six key pillar actions, including establishing a clear mandate from the highest level of Government for Philippines’ AI vision, defining clear roles and responsibilities with Government, building trust in AI by encouraging implementation of responsible AI, supporting data-driven innovation that is central to AI, providing legal and regulatory clarity to encourage responsible use of AI, and preparing the workforce for an AI economy.

“AI is a defining technology of our time. We are working to make it accessible to every individual and organisation in the country, infusing AI into what we do, in order to amplify ingenuity with intelligent technology,” said Microsoft Philippines Country General Manager, Andres Ortola.

The other stakeholders in the AI Pilipinas Coalition include the Makati Business Club, Infocomm Technology Association of the Philippines (ITAP), Institute of Corporate Directors, Women’s Business Council Philippines, and the US-ASEAN Business Council.

“Today is a good start but there is still a lot of work to be done. We, in the private sector – the businesses, the academe, our citizens, together with the Government – need to frame our national effort to build a strong foundation for AI,” said Carlo Subido, the President of ITAP.

“We support data driven innovation that is central to AI. We have a lot of talents here in the Philippines so there is no reason we cannot play globally in AI,” he added.

Trust is the foundation of Microsoft’s work in AI, with a focus on human-centered design, fairness, inclusiveness and transparency as well as the shared responsibility it creates with customers and partners by providing practical guidance, best practices and tools to enable the responsible creation of AI.

“The business sector and business orgs need to be responsive to technological and economic change. We have to embrace AI and its potential applications. This Coalition, which welcomes other businesses and organisations, represents the business sector’s commitment to promote national and economic development through responsible AI,” said Coco Alcuaz, the Executive Director of the Makati Business Club.

Recent years have seen AI move increasingly into mainstream products thanks to the massive computing power of the cloud, the availability of enormous datasets that can be used to teach AI systems, breakthroughs in developing AI algorithms and improvements in AI methods such as deep learning. 

With far-reaching impacts permeating all areas of society and economy, a study by McKinsey estimates that AI techniques will have the global potential to create between $3.5 trillion and $5.8 trillion in value annually.

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India’s Tech Mahindra disrupts digital transformation with new Intelligent Cloud platform

Tech Mahindra, a leading digital transformation service provider in India, announced the launch of a new intelligent cloud operations and subscription management platform.

iCOPS aims to improve corporate efficiency by leveraging artificial intelligence for IT operations and analytics with data security and cost optimisation, simplifying existing cloud operations for global enterprises.

Vivek Gupta, Vice President and Head of Global Cloud Services at Tech Mahindra, said iCOPS will ‘help global enterprises move towards a zero-touch cloud operations model while ensuring complete security and transparency in operations’.

The iCOPS platform will be merged with Tech Mahindra’s existing infrastructure operations platform TACTiX, and mPAC 3.0, a hybrid and multi-cloud management platform. This combination demonstrates the company’s commitment in creating a centralised IT system to improve business efficiency.

iCOPS will have four key focus areas: tech optimisation (‘TechOps’) to enable zero downtime, security optimisation (‘SecOps’) for zero vulnerability, development optimisation (‘DevOps’) for Zero manual interventions and finance optimisation (‘FinOps’), enabling continuous cost management. 

All four areas aim to streamline diverse cloud operations and reduce spending via said streamlining.

Besides cloud computing, Tech Mahindra is also focused on developing next-generation technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity to disrupt and enable digital transformation.

This comes at a time when India is making rapid advances in becoming a digital society, as tech giants and global players in the scene are entering the country to be a part of a US$4.9 billion opportunity, including Schneider Electric, Equinix, NTT and Legrand Data Center Solutions.

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DBS Bank and AWS join forces to digitally transform 3,000 staff with AI training

DBS Bank has joined forces with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to train more than 3,000 staff members in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), in an effort to digitally transform its business.

The Singapore-based bank and cloud computing giant will run tutorials and a virtual racing league on the newly launched DBS x AWS DeepRacer League where staff can compete with their own coded autonomous race car.

DBS’ Chief Data and Transformation Officer, Paul Cobban, said: “We have never believed in limiting digital expertise to a small team.”

The bank’s newest digital initiative follows their continuous efforts to scale up their digital learning tools to digitally transform their operations and stay ahead of the technology curve.

“We wanted to adopt a different approach from our previous digital and data skills revolutions. In line with our ethos of keeping work and learning fun, we sought to introduce gamification elements to better engage our employees,” added Mr. Cobban.

This is not the first time that DBS has been involved in AWS’ DeepRacer Leagues, as their Executive Director of Technology, Ray Goh, beat out other F1 professionals to become a global champion at the F1 ProAm Event in May.

“I’m delighted to be able to do Singapore and DBS proud, and more importantly, to inspire my colleagues to join me in developing a deeper level of mastery in AI and ML,” celebrated Mr. Goh.

Four other DBS employees successfully placed in the global top 20 at the same F1 event, and another six have successfully qualified for the AWS DeepRacer Championship Cup, which will be held in Las Vegas at the end of the year.

The new corporate league by DBS and AWS is expected to be the largest run by an Asia-based organisation.

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New security system using AI and cloud technology looks to reduce car theft and greenhouse gas emissions in Thailand

Frasers Property Thailand has launched a new innovative security system that uses artificial intelligence and cloud databases in the hopes of reducing car theft and greenhouse gas emissions.

The project known as Dashway equips CCTV cameras with the ability to recognise license plates, predict traffic density and calculate exhaust emissions in real-time.

These enhanced security abilities to keep Thailand safe from premise intrusions and parking violations are powered by machine learning embedded in cloud databases.

Dashway’s data visualisation displays information on traffic density and exhaust emissions.

Display license plate recognition information and classification of cars enter-exit

Yan Khek Wee, the EVP of Investment Property for Frasers Property Thailand, said: “Dashway helps to reduce our operation costs and also provides a seamless experience to our customers.”

The project will be deployed for the first time at Frasers Property Logistics Park to solve the problem of manually handling site security of the facility that accommodates more than 2,000 vehicles per day.

Dashway will provide a non-intrusive experience for customers by deploying Automatic License Plate Recognition technology connected to barrier gates, allowing authorised personnel into the park and reducing traffic congestion.

The project’s Automatic Intruder Detection technology captures 360-degree movement

Geo-fencing technology (GFA)

The cloud database will store information on the types of vehicles to enable predictive analysis and even a future use for targeted advertising.

The project provides real-time notifications to security teams and visualisations of the data to help keep Thailand safe from car theft and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This article is produced in partnership with TCC Tech.

VinGroup’s VinAI to be the ‘first in Southeast Asia’ to deploy the NVIDIA DGX A100 data center solution

VinAI Research, VinGroup’s AI research arm revealed, has claimed to be the first in Southeast Asia to deploy the newly-launched NVIDIA DGX A100 data center solution.

Vietnam’s first artificial intelligence research lab looks to use the supercomputer to train large AI models for language and videos by enabling more natural human interaction with machines through voices, gestures and biometrics.

VinAI will scale up AI research with NVIDIA’s DGX A100

Dr Bui Hai Hung, the Director of VinAI Research, said: “We have some exciting models and experiments waiting for the new machine.”

Around 70 scientists, residents and engineers will make full use of the new AI system that can reduce the time required to complete an experiment from more than one week to less than 24 hours.

He added: “Our lab’s computing-facility utilisation is always maxed out at 100% so there is no shortage of workload.”

The research lab contributed to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by automatically analysing tweets for COVID-19 events and enabling face recognition of people donning face masks.

VinAI, founded in 2019, is prepared to scale up their research for applied AI projects, enabled by systems like NVIDIA’s DGX A100.

Dennis Ang, NVIDIA’s Director of Enterprise Business for the SEA and ANZ Region, said: “The new NVIDIA DGX A100 will empower VinAI to optimise computing power and resources to accelerate diverse workloads including data analytics, training and inference.”

The investment in AI is part of VinGroup’s long-term strategy of becoming a technology-focused corporation.

The NVIDIA DGX A100 was revealed in May 2020 as the world’s first five-petaflops server that can be divided into as many as 56 applications running independently. The system includes NVIDIA’s new A100 GPU and will cost around US$199,000.

Jensen Huang, NVIDIA’s Founder and CEO, said in a keynote recorded from the kitchen of his California home that the system allows a single server to either “scale up” to race through computationally intensive tasks such as AI training, or “scale out,” for AI deployment.

NVIDIA estimated that a data center powered by five DGX A100s working on AI training and inference can do the work of a typical data center with 50 DGX-1 systems and 600 CPU systems consuming 630 kilowatts and costing over $11 million.