AlI in Sales Series - Part1 - Revolutionising Traditional Products and Services

As sales professionals we sell a product or service to our end consumers. For enabling the same we build various types of channels to cater to the right target audience. We also build sales teams to help improve the processes… We also build various processes and systems to help improve the efficiency and to improve the efficiency of the processes and increase the market share compared to our competitors. As per market/ consumer requirements we then modify the required product and services, which also leads to the creation of new/ enhanced products or services for non-consumers. I remember how the introduction of mobile phones and laptops helped improved the efficiency and productivity of sales professionals like me. During the lockdown as well, we have found ways to stay in touch with our consumers using technology, channel partners and teams to ensure that the sales process continues to work seamlessly and efficiently. There are several technologies which are at the tipping point from a user perspective. Some of the key ones are as below.

  1. AI or Artificial Intelligence
  2. Blockchain
  3. Virtual Reality
  4. Augmented Reality
  5. Big Data
  6. IOT

Felt it would be helpful if we could understand some of the ways in which AI is being implemented successfully by some of the companies which would help us also look at ways for implementing the same in our organizations as well. Artificial intelligence has been around for more than 50 years. What has changed in the last decade or so is the way we have changed our approach to AI which is when developers started looking at developing AI the way the human brain works. 

Please refer my articles in November 2017, January 2019 and April 2021 to get some inputs on the same. When we do something for the first time the human brain creates a new pattern in the brain. When we repeat the same activity again and again it gets reenforced. Over a period of time, it leads to the creation of what is called a habit. Once it is a habit its execution is taken over by the sub conscious mind which is why if we make a habit of keeping your car keys in a particular place you always end up keeping it there itself though very often you might not even remember doing it It is when developers started using the concept of neutral networks that AI started developing faster. The creation of huge amount of data that is created with the adaption of smart phones on a daily basis is also one of the other enablers’ AI becomes more and more efficient with the availability of more data, which it then uses to learn implementation of the process in a better and better way. The improvements in speed and efficiency of mobile networks while moving from a 2G network to a 4G network have also enabled. Today we will take the example of company which produces something all of us use on a daily basis to move around. A traditional product and service that we all use… Kone…which produces elevators and escalators, which helps people to commute faster and efficiently... We have all been using elevators for a very long time. I remember during the peak office times during morning and evening in Mumbai how you sometimes have to wait for so long for the elevator to actually stop on your floor during this time…We also come across similar situations in malls where you keep waiting and waiting for the elevator to stop and when it does stop, its too packed for you to get in.. With the restrictions of Covid 19 automated doors is another main product which is being implemented in all buildings to enable contactless entry and exit.

So how has a company having a very traditional product started using AI? Kone has fitted sensors on its machines that can pick up the start and stop time of elevators in each floor, the acceleration, the temperature, the noise levels, and the frequency of the vibrations. In places where they are managing full buildings, they are also trying to understand people movement at various periods of time. This information are then fed to the cloud and using the data that is available, machine learning algorithms can understand the varies movement trends in the building which is then fed to the group controls of the elevator systems which coordinates the way multiple elevators operate together and ensures the best decision to move everyone around efficiently is taken. Kone has also separately packaged this service and now sells it to other operators as well, hence building a new revenue stream. This also enables AI to predict potential failures of the machines in advance so that planned preventive maintenance can be done to ensure the machines continue to operate at full efficiency during the peak demand times. The above example was the case of how AI could be used to improve efficiency of a traditional product where the interaction between the company and the consumers is continuously there for the full lifetime of the product to improve its market standing and hence its sales. I will be covering how AI is being adopted by companies in different sectors and different segments and addressing different sets of consumers in my articles going forward. So watch this space for more…