Leveraging Power of AI to build a Digitally Inclusive SL

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Jan 18 2021
FT Leveraging Power of AI to build a Digitally Inclusive SL

It is estimated the global digital transformation market will grow from US$ 470 billion to US$ 1010 billion, with a CAGR of 16.5% in the next five years. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is now pushing businesses towards automation and accelerating their digital transformation. The next generation of tech, utilising Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data analytics and IoT, is taking over the business world at an exponential rate.

In line with the growth of this industry, Enterprise Business Intelligence (EBI) Pvt Ltd has taken initiatives to introduce this concept to Sri Lanka with plans to convert the island into a novel ‘smart nation’. 

The company focuses on combining AI with IoT, RFID, Bluetooth, GPS, Beacon and QR code technologies to deliver diversified business applications through mobile and web-based platforms. EBI prioritises efficiency, cost-effectiveness and customer satisfaction in all their projects and in doing so, has generated unmatched recognition from clients locally and overseas. But how exactly did this movement begin?

In conversation with Dr. Prasanna Lokuge, Director and CEO of EBI, it was stated that the company’s vision for Sri Lanka entailed the creation of a digitally inclusive society with complete digital equity. Simply put, this society is one where each and every member has access to affordable and transparent ICT knowledge and skills which may be used to improve their lives. 

How is EBI changing Sri Lanka?

EBI specialises in the use of Artificial Intelligence. The technology, which has paved the way for machine learning, neutral networks and natural language processing to be the future of industrial processes and corporate businesses alike.  EBI is already a part of various sectors developing apps and digital platforms for banking, insurance companies, health management, education programmes and many more. 

EBI is invested in harnessing the full potential of the internet; taking it beyond computers and smartphones. With the concept of IoT, the company has made use of digital signatures tagged on machines, objects and even animals, to transfer data over a network. This has enabled businesses of all scales to have better control over their environment, and therefore enhanced productivity and business performance. 

The benefits of using AI in different sectors

Over the past decade, artificial intelligence has gone from being a buzzword to a very real phenomenon. Entire industries are now being disrupted with technology reshaping the way we work. Recognising this, EBI is already at work enabling several sectors to harness the benefits of Artificial Intelligence. Dr. Lokuge shared a few examples of the areas EBI is currently working in. 

One of the key focus areas of EBI is in agri-tech where the company developed the AI-based “Smart Wagawa” platform. The agricultural sector of Sri Lanka plays a huge role in the country’s economy. Complementing this, the AI-based “Smart Wagawa” platform leverages several technologies to help farmers. These technologies include Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, IoT, QR codes, GPS/GIS, image processing, drones and others to name a few. By utilising these technologies, farmers can more accurately plan their harvests, automate fertiliser management, monitor supply chain, improve resource management, etc. Ultimately, this allows farmers to ensure that necessary precautions can be taken to minimise potential financial risks – making the agriculture sector more attractive to investors.

A growing research area for EBI is blockchain. It has the potential to create new foundations for our economic and social systems. Blockchain is an especially promising and revolutionary technology because it helps reduce risk, stamps out fraud, and brings transparency in a scalable manner for a myriad of uses. EBI is researching blockchain adaption in the supply chain industry and ways in which to overcome challenges in adaption. It strongly believes blockchain will lead to shrinking supply chains, produces a better-quality product, saves product development time, and increases the customised offering to the customer. EBI forecast that blockchain has the potential to add significant value to the supply chain industry in the future that will gain significant benefits to the entire economy.

EBI is also looking at enabling the healthcare industry to utilise Artificial Intelligence. What started out as a simple network connecting doctors, hospitals and nurses to patients, is now making its way to be one of the biggest game-changers in the field of medicine. EBI is in the process of developing an intelligent healthcare solution, capable of diagnosing patients remotely with the help of Artificial Intelligence. This same system will also help healthcare professionals better predict the spread of diseases and to establish a more efficient monitoring platform through the concept of a neural network, data modelling and GPS technology.

The Future of EBI in Sri Lanka

A key component to the success of Artificial Intelligence and the digital transformation industry has always been raw data. This data is usually obtained through people’s lives, leading to a growing concern with regard to the exploitation of private data. EBI states that in order to overcome this, they are working closely with governing bodies to minimise data duplication and develop initiatives which clearly define data sharing restrictions. This would enable data companies to demarcate their data for AI purposes while preserving the integrity of subjects’ personal information.

Finally, Dr. Lokuge emphasises the importance of the proper utilisation of AI technology, and not to be merely viewed as “a solution to everything” concept. Using the power of Artificial Intelligence to solve simple problems is considered a waste of resources by the developers at EBI. Therefore, a critical part in the company’s success has been the recognition of areas that would reap the most benefits with the use of AI-inspired digital transformation; and EBI strives to find opportunities that would benefit the most from artificial intelligence in Sri Lanka, working towards their goal of converting the island into the next ‘Smart Nation’.

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Jan 18 2021

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