Column: What is pervasive intelligence, and why does it matter?
Is Your Organization Prepared for Pervasive Intelligence?
Chiradeep BasuMallick Freelance Contributor, HR Technologist
It isn’t enough to generate or have access to massive data volumes – this data must be adequately leveraged in order to generate value. That’s why pervasive intelligence is a key technology trend today, promising democratized access, faster monetization, and easy scalability. In this article, we discuss:
- What is pervasive intelligence?
- How does it affect your workforce?
- What are the prerequisites for getting started with pervasive intelligence?
With big data volumes rising exponentially, there is an imminent need for new monetization pathways. Currently, enterprises have streams of data flowing in from various digital touchpoints, but often without the means to realize its full potential.
Pervasive intelligence takes existing business intelligence (BI) platforms and democratizes access to the widest possible employee base. This allows full utilization of data at every level, right from the blue-collar front lines to the C-suite. But are organizations ready to implement pervasive intelligence? And what are its impacts on the modern workforce?
What Is Pervasive Intelligence?
Pervasive intelligence – also known as pervasive BI or pervasive data intelligence – is the next logical step in the evolution of AI. Instead of discrete smart devices working independently, there is a unified and centralized network empowered by AI. Employees across the organization have access to this data, and they can unlock insights as per business needs. Pervasive intelligence is applicable across industries. For example:
- In logistics, sensor-embedded vehicles can relay data on driver behavior in real-time, ensuring safety.
- In healthcare, medical devices, wearables, and hospital equipment could become networked with AI, improving the quality of care.
- In agriculture, sensors embedded in fields can provide farmers with daily updates on environmental conditions and the optimal pesticide/fertilizer scenarios.
And the list goes on. Given the massive scope of pervasive intelligence, its impact on your workforce will be transformative. Whether you are already invested in AI technology or only starting to explore this terrain, pervasive intelligence is a major leap on this maturity curve.
How Will Pervasive Intelligence Impact Your Workforce?
Technically, pervasive intelligence isn’t a new concept. It has its roots in AI and data analytics, leveraging raw enterprise information to extract valuable insights. Traditionally, this was limited to data scientists and employees in C-level roles. Due to AI’s cost component, investment at only the strategic level was feasible from the ROI point of view.
But the landscape has changed radically in the last half-decade. Data visualization techniques have advanced significantly, condensing terabytes of data into human-readable natural language. This lets anyone – even without in-depth data literacy – understand the data and obtain useful insights from it. This is further simplified via AI engines that spot patterns, anomalies, and possible future forecasts.
Today, it is possible to imagine an environment where data insights are readily available to any employee at your organization. Here’s how this affects your workforce:
1. Building a data culture
With pervasive intelligence, there’s no longer a designated team or vertical for data exploration. Every employee will have access to and must take ownership of data-related activities, including collection, cleansing, processing, and monetization.
As a result, HR, team leads, and business unit heads must clearly communicate the value proposition of data to each employee. It’s only when your workforce feels that data exploration adds value to their workday that pervasive intelligence can be truly effective.
2. Offering continuous learning
Culture must be supplemented by data skillsets – at both rudimentary technical levels as well as from a business perspective. For example, employees in manufacturing should be trained on the different types of datasets and how they can transform operational tasks.
And because pervasive intelligence is democratized across the organization, this learning must be continuous (anytime, anywhere, and from any device), giving employees the freedom to learn at their convenience.
3. Assigning change advocates
Typically, change management is a one-time activity following a particular phase in organizational transformation. Pervasive intelligence, on the other hand, will be continually updated via the addition of new data sources, AI capabilities, and consumption platforms.
This means that you need change advocates in every employee group, team, and business unit, spearheading transformation from the grassroots level.
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Getting Started with Pervasive Intelligence: Do You Have These Prerequisites?
Pervasive intelligence cannot be implemented in a vacuum. There’s no single platform or solution that you can adopt, democratizing access to data and making BI ubiquitous overnight. It is a staggered process, built on the following prerequisites:
- Connected data sources: Do the various digital interfaces at your organization come with networked capabilities?
- Advanced analytics: Do you have systems in place to process data (structured and unstructured) and extract insights?
- AI engine: Can your AI engine intelligently convert complex insights into executable action points?
- Data visualization: Do you have powerful dashboards to create data stories that can be understood by both lay and technical users?
- Infrastructure: Does your current hosting platform support the scalability needed to constantly onboard new data sources, dashboards, and BI capabilities?
Once you have answered these questions, you can accurately position your organization in the pervasive intelligence maturity curve.
Remember, this is only the technical foundation – any major digital transformation must be complemented by a steady focus on the people aspect. This is especially applicable to pervasive intelligence where the success of the technology hinges on the willingness, engagement, and involvement of its users – i.e., your employees.
Pervasive Intelligence Could be Closer Than You Think: The Future is Now
Organizations are well on their way towards making this vision of pervasive intelligence a reality. Such initiatives contribute directly to building a pervasive intelligence network, replacing standalone AI and big data analytics applications with a company-wide framework for democratized access.
Your people assets will be integral to driving this transformation at every level. That’s why it is so important to build data competencies, inspire a culture of data-driven decision making, and institute change management measures that streamline deployment without interrupting productivity.