By Mor Philosoph, Head of Wix ADI Technology
Only five years ago, artificial intelligence (AI) was for science fiction films only. It is only recently that it has become a part of the day to day business vernacular. Within a very short space of time it has stopped being fodder for futurists’ conversations and charged headlong into the here and now.
A quick look around will tell you that AI is more prevalent that you might think. Banks use it to detect fraud (most of us have had our bank card cut off when you are abroad), while it is even used to feed us tailored advertising – probably on this very site. Looking ahead, the possibilities being talked about in medicine and automotive industries are phenomenal. But the notion that AI is solely for big corporates, film-makers and academic university graduates couldn’t be further from the truth.
The fact is, embracing AI and harnessing its ability to shape your business is nothing more than a click away for every small business owner throughout the UK. Consider this – a recent survey by RedShift Research revealed that over 50 per cent of British micro businesses (five employees or less) don’t have a website. In fact, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) cites the lack of online presence as one of the top three reasons for startups and small businesses to fail. Set in the context of SMEs being the backbone of the UK economy and it’s easy to see that there is a very clear and present gap that needs addressing.
Competition for consumer attention and need to make a lasting impression quickly, has never been fiercer and technology is key for UK SMEs looking to stand out. Nowhere is this more prevalent than online with a captive digital audience running into the millions. There is no reason why this shouldn’t be the case. Creating a website has gone from being a complex, lengthy and expensive process and required resources and expertise beyond most small businesses to as staple a part of daily life as a business card or mobile phone.
Of course, the pressures on UK’s SMEs are great with owner managers being responsible from everything from the admin to business growth. Little wonder then that many of those perhaps lacking in digital skills don’t have creating a website as high on their priority list. From the outside, it is easy to see why it could be seen as intimidating while businesses running on a shoestring may not have adequate budget to afford a web designer, not to mention the content creation and social marketing skills.
This is where we believe that the introduction of AI tools will make a difference. Simply answer a few questions, point the machine in the right direction and it will do the rest based on what it learns about you, your business, your style and your existing digital presence. This is exactly what we have done with Wix ADI.
Take any small business or location, for instance, a plumber, in Nottingham. By using Wix ADI the business owner would only need to fill in a few simple questions relating to the industry, the competition and the local area. From there, ADI takes a look at what other plumber’s websites created with Wix offer, and uses them for inspiration. It also searches the Web for information about the service (like reviews), which it then tells the business owner about in case there is a desire to include it in the website. Of course, the business owner may wish to make amends – to content, style and layout but this is easily done with a few further clicks and taps of the mouse.
Artificial intelligence is not just the future of website design, by the end of this decade, AI will be part of our everyday life, whether it’s helping to build a website, drive cars, predict the weather, fight cyber terrorism or even helping us to lead healthier and lives. I am excited to see the innovation in this space and particularly for business applications. The positive effect this technology will have on growth potential and working efficiency will be immeasurable.