In 1959, Esso, now ExxonMobil, launched a consumer advertising campaign in the US dubbed, “Put a tiger in your tank.” The slogan suggested that Esso’s petrol stood out from other brands because it was like adding the strength of a tiger to a car engine. The Esso ‘tiger’ became one of the most well-known ad campaigns of the 1960s.
These days, we’ve gone from tigers to llamas. The hottest topic today is not the petrol in your engine. It’s about the AI in your pocket. Consider Meta and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., the mobile phone chip company. They’re working together to optimize Meta’s Llama 2 large language models (LLMs) directly on-device with generative AI applications using the AI capabilities of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platforms.
Starting in 2024, generative AI models (like Llama 2) will be available on smartphones, PCs, VR/AR headsets (and don’t forget cars) to provide users with private, more reliable, and personalized experiences. This will allow intelligent virtual assistants, productivity applications, content creation tools, entertainment, and more.
So, as the roar of the internal combustion engine gradually gives way to the silent surge of instant torque of the electric car, the smartphone will perform (and look) a lot differently, too – thanks to AI. Within a decade, you could have a “llama in your pocket,” so to speak, offering up personalised recommendations in real-time, observing your precise location, writing emails on the fly, and acting as a personal assistant to guide you through food and menu choices based on your health profiles.
Already Samsung has three Galaxy S24 models that are expected to include generative AI capabilities. The company has also registered two trademarks; ‘AI Phone’ and ‘AI Smartphone.’ And companies like NICE, the CXaaS (Customer Experience as a Service) company, have reoriented their corporate focus to AI-inspired initiatives. Clearly the world is on the cusp of an entirely new era. The ‘smart’ of smartphone is poised for a big upgrade. The AI phone is at hand.
AI and Cloud Projects Grow in APAC
Until now, AI in smartphones has primarily played a supportive role (neural processing units embedded in chips have been instrumental in powering features like on-device translation, voice, image recognition (Google Lens), and virtual assistants such as Siri and Google Assistant). But smartphones are evolving into more than just endpoints; they are becoming active participants in the cloud ecosystem, particularly in APAC (read our last article on the growth of mobile within the region).
Consider the collaboration of digital payments between Apple Pay and Hyundai Card in South Korea which was supported by the government of South Korea. South Korea is the tenth Asia-Pacific country where Apple Pay is available. The fin-tech service already exists in Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Macao, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan, according to Apple.
As if to cement the East’s growing potential, reported by Nikkei Asia last month was the case of NVIDIA, whose GPUs power ChatGPTs servers, visited nearby Southeast Asia to discuss investments in AI infrastructure; a move that leverages the region’s established experience with technology supply chain. It’s one of the many decisions by global tech companies that are highlighting the emerging market’s path to advanced cloud innovation.
The accelerating demand for mobile payments, e-commerce, and other transactions makes AI in mobile a continuous cycle of benefits.
CX in Emerging Markets Trends Looks Bright
The arrival of AI with mobile-first cloud services will have a transformative effect in emerging markets, creating opportunities for innovation and economic growth.
This growing potential is not lost on even prominent cloud vendors from the established markets of North America, and Europe. 2023 Gartner Magic Quadrant CCaaS Leader, Genesys, reports of CX in APAC: “it’s now critical for organizations to have a connected voice and digital strategy that empowers customers across their journey.”
It’s particularly important when you consider that 63% of APAC consumers will pay more to buy from companies that support their values, and a third of respondents reported that they stopped engaging with a service after a negative interaction.
A challenge consistent to further CX innovation in the region is the issue of connecting technology and data to create end-to-end customer journeys. Without the capabilities of a well-integrated multichannel strategy, a customer that switches between a chatbot interaction and contact center loses their historical context leading to frustratingly longer resolution times of their cases. According to Genesys’ report, only 18% of APAC companies have achieved efficient communication within a multi-channel CX presence.
Languages Make Challenges. But Not Impossible Ones
To delegate tasks from human agents to automation, AI and LLMs need to be more proficient and handle more complex requests. Most popular LLMs have been based on the English language, posing challenges for deploying chatbots in non-English regions like Asia where there are dozens of languages with local complex colloquialisms. The sheer diversity of languages in these regions is no small feat for LLMs to master.
But within a decade, these limitations could disappear.
Singapore, both multilingual and flagship to technological innovation within Southeast Asia, is already initiating its own multimodal and localised LLMs to manage context-switching between languages in the region. In India, a travel service has utilized Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service-powered chatbot to accommodate customers in a country with 22 official languages and dozens of dialects. It caters to users who prefer voice interactions over smartphone apps for tasks like booking holidays. The travel service AI chatbots serve as intelligent assistants to human agents, enhancing their productivity and efficiency with more qualified leads.
The goal is to enable voice interactions in multiple languages, making the platform accessible to all Indians. This requires refining natural language models to grasp colloquial speech patterns typical in rural towns and villages. The travel service intends to offer a multimodal chatbot that integrates text, voice, video, and image interactions.
It’s still early in the game, and perfecting such a comprehensive system is a challenge yet to be mastered in the industry. But, considering the astonishing speed of AI progress since 2022 and the widespread adoption of ChatGPT and its competitors, the language barriers in emerging markets will be surmounted within 10 years or less.
Adios Tiger. Let’s Explore With LLama and AI
Generative AI, with its advanced capabilities like natural language processing, image generation, and predictive analytics, will enhance, improve, and deepen the smartphone experience.
The tiger in the tank today is the llama in your pocket. Unlike the tiger, who prefers solitude, the llama is a sure-footed and adaptable companion in your pocket who can take you to new and enhanced digital experiences. With AI in your pocket, you can go almost anywhere your smartphone suggests.