Artificial Intelligence is already starting to influence the lubes industry, particularly in the area of 'What Oil' assistance. Upstream exploration, data analysis, maintenance and product development are also benefitting from the new technology according to tech analysts.
But, for OATS Managing Director, Mike Skypala, while AI is a welcome addition to the industry's ability to analyse and deliver text-based data, voice recognition and information delivery for mobile phone users is a challenge that AI alone may struggle to overcome.
According to Skypala: "Asia in particular is very mobile communications heavy. Consumers are therefore much more likely to use their phone with a voice request, rather than typing questions into a tablet or PC, to research lubes information. While AI is a positive step towards delivering the data, language processing is complex - not least because the same vehicle type and model can, in reality, be very different in different countries. This, combined with regional accent variations, presents a significant challenge."
OATS is turning the spotlight on how best to develop data systems and structures that are compatible with both AI and voice capabilities. The strategy is particularly timely as the likes of Shell expand their AI-driven avatars into the Asian marketplace. Having initially launched virtual assistants Emma and Ethan in the US and UK back in 2015, the lubes giant is now set to introduce a new assistant, Shelly, to Asian consumers.
The news comes at the same time as Indian start-up Neuroplex has inked a deal with the Indian Oil Corporation to introduce its AI-based technology to fuel pumps at IOC's service stations. The technology will allow IOC to not only analyse consumer preferences, but also generate personalised offers at the point and time of pump use.
With AI driving the need for faster and more accurate data, regionalisation also takes on greater urgency. Mike Skypala states: "OATS has undertaken a great deal of work over the past few years to provide regionalised data to its clients. In particular, we have been building a database of motorcycles in India and South East Asia, given the continuing importance of this sector in the region."
Published 29th April, 2019
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