Nine ways Artificial Intelligence will affect the print industry
Artificial Intelligence WILL change the printing industry
Print is no different from any other industry: it will face major challenges and be offered big opportunities as AI becomes more commonplace. The pace of change may be high. In my last article I highlighted how many people were not prepared for the scope of change that is likely to be coming.
In an attempt to make members of the print industry more informed about what might happen, here are my nine ways in which I think AI will change our industry.
The printing industry should be bracing itself for huge amounts of files to be produced by AI. Much of the writing will be created by AI too. I am writing a separate piece about this as it could cause problems for many printing companies.
AI already effectively exists in estimating programmes. But I am expecting them to get a lot smarter. Potentially they can also work with MIS systems in real time to understand loadings and what will make a profitable job.
I don’t see the actual sales function being taken over by AI (I could be wrong!). However, sales people will need to understand and sell the AI capabilities of their company. They will also need to be able to deal with AI generated files from clients.
AI can pretty much take over the customer services position. It will be able to deal with the day-to-day admin easily – and often more quickly and efficiently than humans. If a customer needs to speak to someone, chatbots can fulfil this function. The challenge may be to achieve good communication between customer production-led AI chatbots and print company customer service chatbots…
This is another function that already has a lot of AI built in. I expect the next moves to be in building more automated communication to workflow systems.
There are systems that can create some sophisticated scheduling solutions at the moment. I predict that AI will be able to manage scheduling in real time, rearranging jobs as schedules change and production issues occur. The customer will be able to enter their job and expected file date in order to reserve a scheduling space.
If the right parameters are entered, it should be possible to run good quality control with the right hardware – cameras, spectrophotometers, scales and calipers. The danger here is to manage customer expectations so that they do not set unrealistic quality control parameters.
Printing companies will be able to receive insights on a previously unachievable basis. A chat function on an MIS system will generate instant answers to any production questions, as well as creating any required reports on a regular basis.
AI will run remote diagnostics and preventative maintenance. Your machine may be updated, fixed or service without you realising it. What this might do to the structure of maintenance contracts is another question…
Some of these predictions have already started to take shape
Much of the software used in the printing industry is already using AI at varying degrees of complexity. However, I expect the rate of development in these areas to speed up exponentially.
Some may feel that certain of my predictions are too technically complex or unlikely to be wanted by the industry. Not all the developments in AI may be welcome. Nonetheless, I predict that AI will successfully replace many humans in the industry, especially when it is combined with robotics.
Radical? Yes. Something our industry should be preparing for? Absolutely!
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