Picture a world where drone bees are used to pollinate crops, cars drive themselves, doctors can predict the development of diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's with astounding accuracy, and machines assist with brewing better-tasting beer. It sounds futuristic, but it's not. All of these advancements are very real, thanks to artificial intelligence.
While these examples demonstrate the more extensive applications of artificial intelligence, chances are you encounter AI on a daily basis. You ask Alexa what the temperature is before getting dressed, then request your favorite song while getting ready for the day. You use Face ID to unlock your iPhone simply by looking at the screen. When booking a trip, you download apps like Hopper, which predict when airline ticket prices will be at their lowest. And at the end of the day, you open Netflix to see which titles the streaming service has suggested for you. None of this would be possible without AI.
Long a buzzword bantered about the technology sector, AI is defined as the ability of a computer or robot to complete a task normally executed by a human. As consumers, AI has undoubtedly made our lives easier—think meal suggestions and shopping lists prepared by our grocery-ordering apps, or self-checkout lanes at our favorite retailers—but it's also a boon for business.
"You can leverage technology to solve non-technical problems or non-technical challenges," says Joe Hinrichs, vice president of IT and product development for Bailiwick. "I say 'challenges' because it doesn't have to be something that's major or catastrophic to look at artificial intelligence to provide some efficiency or some problem-solving."
This is the foundation of Bailiwick Integrated Intelligence, a solution that uses AI to analyze data from common area cameras, sensors, and other infrastructure technology to identify trends, problem areas, guest behaviors, and more. Powered by Realwave, an intelligent video surveillance solution company based in California, the technology works by capturing curated "events" that make it easy to enhance security measures, create efficiencies, aid in loss prevention, and increase customer engagement (read upcoming blog posts to learn more).
Most conveniently for clients, the Bailiwick Integrated Intelligence solution seamlessly integrates with existing surveillance technology. "Our enterprise-level customers have already made a big investment in the cameras at their locations," says Hinrichs, explaining how the data from those cameras appears on a single dashboard. "This is more than intelligent video."
While the goal of AI is to replace the need for a human when it comes to certain tasks, a real person is still needed to train a machine to learn. "A lot of sci-fi movies have been talking about AI for years. You know, the machines becoming alive," says Hinrichs. "Well, the machines are trained, and behind any model building, there's a human."
The first step involves reviewing and annotating thousands of images within video footage to classify what appears in each scene so the AI technology can start to recognize specific events. Models are then created to track those objects identified in the video footage in order to gather data on which way those objects move, or how long it takes for them to get from point A to point B.
"When you put multiple models together, that's called a 'model ensemble,' and the output of the ensemble goes through a pipeline that will then end up with some type of visualization on a dashboard, or trigger a notification like an email or a text message," explains Realwave CEO John Sullivan. "I think it's always important to understand how you're going to consume the data so we make sure you get the right output."
Put into practice, this might look like cameras tracking how long a customer is in line so that, when a certain time threshold is met, a business can deploy extra employees to speed up the checkout process. Or perhaps it's monitoring which direction people walk when they first enter a store, so a retailer can build a better floor plan. Cameras backed by AI technology can even alert company leadership when safety or assets are being compromised so they can develop solutions.
"You build a model that can train off what a human has done, but you can do it more efficiently, because once it's trained, just like anything else in statistics, it becomes more precise the larger the sample size is," says Hinrichs. "As you continue to build and grow what you're trying to solve for, it gets better and better over time because the learning continues. It's not scary. It's not sci-fi. It's really as good as the people who create the models."
Artificial intelligence has already transformed the way we live, but Sullivan believes we're just starting to realize the capabilities of AI on video. "We're on the forefront," he says. "AI is just starting to make its way into the video side of things, but I think it has a long way to go. Most of the platforms and applications weren't really designed with AI in mind, so I'm excited to see how those technologies evolve [...] and permeate in a regular workflow to help customers. AI is helping customer service, it's helping sales, it's working its way into all aspects of business."
For Bailiwick clients, making space for this emerging AI technology begins with a curious conversation to explore wants and needs, followed by tailored suggestions to solve problems and create more room for success. "The incredible flexibility is what I'm really intrigued by," says Hinrichs. "We have strategic conversations with all of our partners, and one of our questions is, ‘what keeps you up at night?' What are these nagging things, that if you could just figure out would make life a little better, a little easier. Through those conversations, we are able to think about different ways we can help with artificial intelligence."