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The Early Majority: Takeaways from our New York Panel on AI and Big Data

We work with AI and data and we love to talk about AI and data! We interact with big players in the market, exchange opinions. Teach, and learn.

This is why, last week in New York – where one of our three offices is located – we hosted a panel with the title “The State of Applied AI and Big Data in CPG”.

The event was moderated by Ivy Cohen and our panelists were Jeff Reine (Director Global Digital Strategy & Business Development at Coca-Cola), Jason Schmidt (Vice President of Data Solutions at Condé Nast), and Maciej Szczepaniak (Global Strategy Lead for Omnichannel Measurement at Google).

Together with them, we talked about the role that artificial intelligence has for consumers and for CPG companies, its importance and the effects. We tried to “predict” the future by examining trends and evaluating possibilities and risks.

It was a fruitful and exciting conversation, of which these are the main takeaways.

How is AI changing the behavior of consumers?

Artificial intelligence obviously impacts consumers in many ways. New services and technologies are at their disposal and together with them, come excitement and perplexity.

More and more, users expect a highly personalized experience. They want easy-to-use services and apps that “talk” to them in a fast and simple way. At the same time, they care about privacy and information on how their data is handled.

Companies need to strike a balance between serving the consumer and relying on systems and technologies that are transparent and leak-proof.
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How is AI changing the behavior of companies?

On the other side, companies are more and more aware of the crucial role artificial intelligence can play. Tools, apps and software systems are built to help them explore the market and understand it better.

Our product is a good example of it; we work with CPG companies exactly in this way, developing AI-powered solutions to solve their problems.

Together with a deeper awareness of the importance of AI for business, though, comes a fair level of wariness toward the usefulness of different services. Not everything that is developed is useful, and companies are diving deep into whether or not something adds real value to their business.

Embracing Artificial Intelligence: the Early Majority

One of the main points that emerged from our discussion with Jeff, Jason and Maciej is the need to accept AI as a useful tool for businesses and customers.

Things often seem new, unclear or unnecessary at first, but the truth is the time for early adopters of AI already passed. Gone are the days when entrepreneurs believing in AI were laughed at.

We are now in the so-called Early Majority phase. Companies are openly interested in AI-driven technologies as they have seen their clear potential.  As said above, as much as they are getting pickier, they clearly recognize their potential.

What might be missing, instead, is a certain “AI literacy”, that is, knowledge of what exactly can or cannot be done with artificial intelligence. This applies to consumers and, more importantly, to companies.

Although CPG players are at the forefront of the AI-for-business revolution, many other markets will have to understand what AI can do and how to use it, if they want to keep being competitive.

What the future will bring for AI and CPG

Exciting new advancements lie ahead, but maybe not at the pace we would expect for them to have.

One thing we can be certain of, though, is that data visualization will keep improving and serving an ever-higher number of businesses and industries.

But nothing can be foreseen with certainty, as we move into uncharted territory. AI is big, maybe even bigger than data and business tools, and we are here to work with it and unlock its potential.