Kathy Gibson at Huawei Connect in Shanghai – As digitalisation moves to the mainstream, organisations are turning to artificial intelligence and machine learning to drive efficiency and competitiveness.

As soon as 2019, companies expect to see 46% of their perceived value from digital products and services, according to Gartner.

“Digital transformation based on cloud computing has now entered the era of value creations,” says Zheng Yelai, president of Huawei’s cloud business unit and IT product line. AI is going to be central to creating additional value, he adds.

“But today our AI research is still about the simple application of a single AI technique. If we wish to empower AI to create more value to enterprise systems, we need to integrate these techniques to address more complicated scenarios.

“Using cloud, we can fully unleash the potential of AI.”

The new popularity of AI is being driven by new capabilities brought about by algorithms, combined with technology advances that allow massive amounts of data to be processed within a variety of applications.

“We believe that AI is a technology,” Yelai says. “We need to be practical and apply the technology in business, finding the most suitable application.”

Huawei has launched its Enterprise Intelligence (EI) cloud that integrates platform services with general AI services to create scenario-specific solutions.

The Huawei Cloud EI launches with three services: image recognition for realtime video processing; dumb device identification to increase efficiency; and optical character recognition that improves accuracy by up to 97,37%.

Insurance company CPIC has applied EI in its own digital transformation project, speeding up claim resolution.

The organisation has also launched a robot service that reaches out to prospective customers and provides them with a risk analysis.

Yang Xiaoling, chief digitalisation officer at CPIC, says the AI robot insurance advisor, Alpha InsurAdvisor, has already had about 2-million interactions with customers since its launch just four days ago.

”The robot has been utilised by many passionate users, and many of them chose to forward their friends’ information as well,” Xiaoling says.

The advisor helps Chinese families to define their risk defence index. It has been primed with massive amounts of data, and continues to learn, so it should become smarter as time goes by.

Internal business process are also benefiting from the efficiencies that AI brings.

“The buzzword today is fintech, and traditional financial services companies are under attack from new entrants,” Xiaoling says.

The most prominent problems relate to customer pain points and internal efficiency.

CPIS is a traditional financial service institution, with a range of insurance products covering diverse industries and scenarios. It has more than 10-million subscribers and 800 000 agents.

“We strive to be the leader in the healthy and robust development of insurance in China.”

The company launched its digitalisation strategy last year that aims to achieve five goals:

It is aiming for a digitalised client; a supply chain that supports end-to-end interaction and communication; computer capacity building to support the supply chain; agile development and ecosystem to add service while reducing products; and digitalised security to reduce the risk factors.

The company aims for 80% digital coverage, and a 50% paperless rate as a result.

CPIC works with Huawei on joint innovation relating to data centres and cloud, big data and EI, and security.

It is deploying optical character recognition (OCR) to speed up claim settlements.

Xiaoling explains that processing of claims documents is labour-intensive and takes a long time.

The implementation means that customers can simply take a picture of their bills and upload them to the insurance company. Intelligent OCR can read the bills and allocate them automatically.

By speeding the process, its cost is reduced by about 50%.

Huawei itself uses its EI services in enabling an intelligent supply chain. The system has helped to raise the forecast accuracy of shipments by 30% while reducing the time to process documents from 25 hours to less than one hour. Unplanned logistics costs have also been cut by 30%.

In the financial department, the EI platform enables intelligent finance by reducing graph matching analysis to seconds. It can handle up to 100-billion complex graph calculations, and perform millions of incremental calculations in milliseconds.

This allows fraudulent transactions to be analysed, identified and blocked before the transaction is even complete.