Intelligent machines on the rise
Information is key
Coming into contact with new technologies: VR, AR & more
Classification, sentiment analysis and predictive maintenance
Digitalization made easy: The first steps are taken!
Contact with new technology
The human-computer interface – a terrible technical term – is no longer limited to a keyboard, mouse, scanner and camera. Soon all types of devices, products and software applications are supposed to respond on demand. Instead of typing and pressing a mouse or touchscreen, we can simply speak a command. Not in a technical language, but in the same way we would communicate from person to person. The possibilities of natural language processing for ECM are currently the topic of a joint research project of the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) and SER.
Listening to the machine
Instead of reading for ourselves, the machine will tell us in a natural-sounding voice what our mail or documents say. It will be able to determine what is important or not. We will be able to have a dialog with the machine and ask questions about the content of documents and records, which the machine will answer. Future ECM software will feature language synthesis to find the right words in an understandable language and to translate what is spoken back into computer code.
This is a huge advantage for mobile use. Our ear essentially becomes another interface to the machine. In addition to getting the document we need, we can also get key data about business partners, business processes or a project. The next ECM generations will be able to utilize practically all of the IT innovations of the past several years. These include acoustic language recognition, context-based processing of spoken sentences, correct context assessments, and searches for the right answer.
No more user interfaces
In contrast to humans, virtual agents do not need user interfaces. In the future, user interfaces for capturing data and for searching, forwarding or filing information will not exist in the traditional sense. As evident already in financial transactions, humans will only get involved in the business process if the system registers an anomaly or is out of control. With such algorithm-based ECM systems, business processes and many decisions can be automated for the most part. These virtual agents can be integrated into one another simply per plug and play. Connecting virtual agents causes new syntheses.
The companies most likely to be impacted by this will be those of the financial services sector where the administrative staff is primarily processing information. Accounting departments will also benefit from AI. They have to deal with huge amounts of data and its growing complexity due to new legal regulations and stricter compliance requirements.
Automated inbound invoice processing is one means today of automatically processing or even of automatically posting a good portion of inbound invoices from all kinds of input channels. In all likelihood, this process will become almost completely automated. Furthermore, any mistakes or anomalies in transactions will be made transparent. As they have been in the past, the financial services sector and accounting departments will probably be early adopters of these AI-based ECM systems.
Digital mobility is making progress, and it is crucial that we don't ignore new developments. With every technological advance, a certain number of setbacks have to be suffered until the technology is ready for the masses. While laptops, smartphones and tablets are enough for us right now, they won't be in the mid-term. Apple, Google and others are already announcing the next era of devices: wearables. These mini-computers can be worn and operated directly on the user's body. They include smart glasses, smart watches, clothing items and much more. Not only do they provide information, they also use sensors to record information based on the context. Part of this information is directly processed on the device before being transmitted. Insurance providers – for example, health insurers in Germany – are experimenting with this right now as a component of their bonus programs. While ECM can store this kind of information, Doxis4 also factors in data protection aspects into the recording of who did what with which data and at what point in time.
Along with language control and keyboards, smart glasses (head-mounted display; HMD) are one of the most important ECM interfaces in communication between humans and artificial intelligence. They project information into the user's line of sight. In conjunction with augmented reality, they can also display virtual objects, thus melding the real environment with the virtual.
Smart glasses will be used in industry, retail, logistics, medicine or trade professions. They provide all the information a user needs right in the line of sight. For example, working hands-free through speech and movement, engineers, mechanics or technicians can view and read construction plans, maintenance manuals, etc. directly and without interrupting what they’re doing. Warehouse staff are shown how to get to goods in a warehouse thanks to augmented reality. Once the person is at the right location in the warehouse, there is no need for a hand scanner; the camera of the smart glasses reads the codes. During this process, the warehouse worker is given further details about the goods, the packaging unit, available warehouse quantity, a product description, etc.
Smart glasses will not be applicable to all use cases. And they don't have to be! It will also be possible to project documents, plans, etc. in high resolution images onto any surface, which can be operated by hand or speech. Even holograms seem feasible: Japanese researchers have managed to project a hologram with an ultrafast femtosecond laser. This femtosecond laser uses ionization to turn air molecules into plasma, which then emits energy in the form of light, creating points of light that display images floating in the air.
The Japanese researchers call this a voxel, a term originating from the words "volume" and "pixel". The Japanese team has successfully overcome the key problem of previous hologram attempts: the plasma field can be touched without painful burning. This technology is on the brink of a breakthrough. While traditional holograms have been simply too large to use on many electronic devices, researchers have now succeeded in making holograms ten times flatter than before using special quantum material. With these advances, holographic 3D projections could be feasible in business and in daily life.
Virtual reality (VR) in computer games is already a part of daily life, but it is still just a pipe dream in the working world. Given the immense potential of this technology, it is likely that VR will reach and change many work areas in the next couple of years. Practical use cases are imaginable for development and design processes, plant and mechanical engineering, building and landscape architecture, training, service and maintenance. Even before a machine and plant are complete, an adviser can already look at the object in the virtual world and provide relevant information.
Similar to a flight simulator, employees can learn to operate computers, machines and plants via virtual reality. Through VR, technicians can familiarize themselves with plants and buildings before performing service and maintenance. In all of these scenarios, ECM provides the necessary information on training, operation, etc. directly during work; there's no need to run back to the office. If there are questions regarding the maintenance of a design, construction documents and blueprints are visualized. Virtual reality and augmented reality are both steps towards paper-free maintenance.
VR will also join together our global world even more. Employees across various locations and from diverse companies can gather at a virtual location to not only work on a joint project, but also to explore a model within the project. Discussions at this virtual location require real information, which an ECM system can supply.
Page 1 - Intelligent machines on the rise
Page 2 - Information is key
Page 3 - Coming into contact with new technologies: VR, AR & more
Page 4 - Classification, sentiment analysis and predictive maintenance
Page 5 - Digitalization made easy: The first steps are taken!
Read on one page »