Questions answered by Peter Serati, Divisional Head of Managed Services at Alteram Solutions.

  • PROFESSIONALS, CONSULATANTS & ADVISORS offer insight and expertise.

Q:  What advice should be expected?

A:  Just accept it, AI is here, and it is here to stay.  AI will eventually simplify the decision-making      process for businesses.  In the future, AI will play a pivotal role in industries such as:

  • Security (physical and logical)
  • Manufacturing
  • Mobility
  • Marketing, through big data and analytics
  • Share and stocks


  • SOFTWARE companies are already offering solutions that utilise AI that augment the technology needs of enterprises.

Q:  What is available?

A:  AI platforms are currently at an infancy stage.  Users choose the AI platform depending on what they need to do.  This approach reduces any technical demands and keeps hassles at a minimum.  A standard tool will unlikely do everything that you require.

Insurance companies such as Dial Direct and Discovery Insure are already using AI in the form of telematics, big data and predictive analytics to assess the driving behaviour of their individual clients, in order to create a client-specific risk profile.

Fleet management companies such as Car Track and C-Track are some of the companies that use AI to map the driving patterns of their clients.  Through AI, they are able to view travel patterns, detect a car accident as well as to see if a client’s car has been stolen and is travelling on a route that the client would not normally use.  This prompts an emergency alert and leads to preventative action.

Mark Newman founded HireVue (a video interview platform) in 2004.  The platform allows candidates to record answers to interview questions and upload them to a database where recruiters could easily compare how applicants presented themselves.  Today, HireVue uses AI to screen candidates.  This is achieved through a combination of proprietary voice recognition software and licensed facial recognition software in tandem with a ranking algorithm to determine which candidates most resemble the ideal candidate.

  • HARDWARE, ROBOTICS, GAMING, SMART DEVICES & SMART CARS are examples of the applications where AI is already having an impact.

Q:  What opportunities, products, services and risks are there?

A:  The big opportunity within AI is big data analytics.  Take the loyalty store card as an example, it contains basic attributes about you as a shopper and your shopping habits.  In the near future, shops with loyalty cards will have targeted marketing and could possibly be able to pre-order monthly groceries for customers.

Big data will be the driving force behind how business and the government conduct business in the near future.  Future business models such as B2B (business to business), C2C (customer to customer), B2C2C (business to customer to customer), B2G (business to government) will rely on AI and the analysis of data in servicing customers.  Each manufacturer in IoT (The Internet of Things) develops things to their own specifications which makes communication between IoT devices complex and difficult.  For example, Apple may not communicate with Samsung, but AI can and will bridge that gap.

Travel is possibly the most overlooked sector within AI.  With machine learning, a traveller on one side of the world can communicate with a person who is on a completely different side of the world in their native language.  Virtual reality, augmented reality and AI could allow travellers to visit different parts of the world without a passport.

  • TRAINING & SKILLS DEVELOPMENT plays a vital and strategic role in the development of practical skills to understand and efficiently operate in this evolving environment.

Q:  What skills need to be developed?

A:  The traditional training environment has a human instructor but with AI, the instructor is a computer software with a huge collection of data and information relating to the subject at hand.  The AI application can reference hundreds of sources and present insightful content with unparalleled depth that a human may only ever achieve a fraction of.

The main reason for the evolution of AI is autonomous automation, speed and accuracy in production.  Automation on its own has some degree intelligence.  South Africa is somewhat at a disadvantage compared to the rest of the world.  Our education system should be the first step taken in rectifying the skills required in a world that will be dominated by AI.

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