How Comtrade’s Pop-Up Labs approach to AI could be a game-changer

11 Jun 2019

Comtrade Digital Services’ Dejan Ćušić. Image: Iain White/Fennell Photography

Industries from finance to manufacturing and travel are about to be transformed by AI, but where do they start?

Software engineering player Comtrade Digital Services has revealed an interesting approach to driving the future of artificial intelligence (AI) with the recent launch of its AI Pop-Up Labs in Ireland.

The service aims to helps Irish-based businesses learn how to leverage and implement AI. Drawing on the expertise and experience of the wider AI Collective – a global hub of thought leaders and more than 100 data scientists in the area of AI and agile transformation – this unique service will develop AI concepts that can enable companies to bring products and services to market faster, automate business processes, and reduce operational costs.

‘The goal of our AI Pop-Up Labs is to make the world of algorithms and AI as transparent and accessible as possible’

Having already engaged with clients in the US, Comtrade Digital Services predicts that the service will generate €1.5m in revenue in the first year in Ireland, with demand expected across a wide variety of industries including finance, travel and manufacturing.

Understanding the next technological wave

Speaking with, Dejan Ćušić, business director for Ireland and the UK at Comtrade Digital Services, explained that what is first of all needed for businesses to get the benefit from the new wave of technology is education and understanding.

“Many people have inflated expectations around AI and they need to gain a grounding in what is realistic, what is not and decide what is the correct priority in terms of data.”

Ćušić explained that there are a number of steps to the process that involves teaching firms how to implement AI in a way that streamlines their processes and facilitates a better customer experience. In turn, this will enable them to stand out from their competitors and grow.

As well as workshops, the Comtrade Digital Services team will conduct an AI maturity assessment for clients, including a week-long, on-site placement. During this process, the team will identify the digital capabilities of and opportunities for the organisation. At the end of the engagement, companies will have potential proofs of concept for relevant AI applications and implementation.

“Crucially, it is about providing a fundamental understanding and creating a roadmap for the future around the challenge of embracing AI.”

Žarko Kostić, business development manager at Comtrade Digital Services, explained that developing the roadmap is often hard work but has already provided results in the context of manufacturing, where just-in-time manufacturing has been revolutionised through a move to a more predictive model.

“Before you start spending millions on new equipment for manufacturing, AI can help you ensure that your existing equipment can be better utilised, for example.

He added: “The goal of our AI Pop-Up Labs is to make the world of algorithms and AI as transparent and accessible as possible, so that Irish businesses can leverage the knowledge to make smarter business decisions and innovate faster. By working closely with organisations, we can help to implement strategies that permeate throughout the whole organisation, not just with the CIO or senior team.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years