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Why visual AI? Why now?

According to McKinsey’s “State of AI in 2022” report, 34% of companies have deployed computer vision, also known as Visual AI, in their daily operations

Computer Vision (CV), also known as Visual Artificial Intelligence (AI), is becoming increasingly common in business. In a variety of industries across the world, Visual AI is being used to improve productivity, processes, communications and decision-making.

Most people use it every day. It is the technology used when your vehicle is in reverse vibrating or beeping to warn you if objects are approaching from either side. More complex uses involve models that interpret events as they occur on video. The most cutting-edge use integrates with a company’s current camera security system, analyzes video footage in real-time, identifies certain pre-programmed events, and sends alerts related to those events while tracking recurring patterns.

Visual AI has proven valuable in retail operations, where the ability to analyze and improve store processes is critical to providing an optimal customer experience. Some auto dealers may be wondering if Visual AI is a necessary technology or if it’s still too futuristic to be of practical use. Here are a few reasons why the time for AI is now.

Need for data analysis

The ability to analyze accurate data is paramount in today’s fast-moving and competitive business environment. Efficient data analysis reveals operational strengths and weaknesses, identifies new opportunities and improves decision-making. However, data analysis is easier said than done.

Cameras capture valuable information daily. Unfortunately, much of the data they collect is not particularly valuable. Therefore, none of us have the time to review it. Until now, we have been missing a layer of data analysis that Visual AI uses to tap into this data.

The average auto dealership uses 14 different software systems to run their stores on a daily basis; including the DMS, CRM, appraisal, data mining, service scheduling, and so on. Employees are required to enter copious amounts of data into all of these systems, which then generate reports to be analyzed. The problem is, there is no way to gauge the accuracy of the data needed for clues as to what drove the financial results.

The interpretation of data in reports is also subjective, and can be interpreted in several ways. Visual data is more objective, and less open to multiple interpretations. A picture is worth a thousand words. Moreover, visual data is difficult to dispute.

Visual AI analyzes reams of visual data in real time, identifies pre-programmed events, and sends alerts with video snippets that take seconds for a human to view and interpret. No other technology system can provide as much insight regarding what is happening—or not happening—in your dealership.

Better use of resources

The combination of recent supply chain issues and a slowing economy means that today’s dealers need to do more with less. Visual AI can help dealers make better use of their existing resources.

It instantly identifies successes and workflow bottlenecks if a process isn’t being followed or a benchmark not achieved.

The ability to visualize process breakdowns as they occur in real-time allows for immediate intervention, paving the way for more successful outcomes. AI is also useful for identifying successful processes, which can then be duplicated. In this way, Visual AI helps dealers allocate more resources where needed and fewer resources where they are not.

Technology maturation

Every so often, new technology disrupts not only the way we run our business, but our entire lives. Remember how amazed you were when you saw your first fax machine? First computer? First smartphone? AI can potentially disrupt our lives and businesses to an even greater extent than all of these previous technologies.

In recent years, Visual AI has matured into an incredibly useful technology. According to McKinsey’s “State of AI in 2022” report, 34 percent of companies have deployed computer vision, also known as Visual AI, in their daily operations. Two top use cases are for service operations optimization and customer service analytics.

In auto dealerships, Visual AI is designed to optimize sales and service processes, increase safety and security, gauge employee performance and improve customer satisfaction. In five years, the use of Visual AI in business will be ubiquitous. First adopters will gain a valuable head start in their Visual AI strategy evolution.

Modernized customer experience

The advent of digital retail has changed consumer expectations, which in turn have altered the traditional dealership sales model. Consumers now expect to be in control of the vehicle purchase process, and total transparency is a necessary part of doing business. In order to thrive in this post-pandemic world, dealers must establish consumer-centric sales and service processes.

Every dealership is different, so applying a process template from one store to another doesn’t always work. Trial and error may be needed to develop the right process for your store, in which case the sooner you can identify and eliminate errors, the better.

For every customer complaint, imagine if you could view what actually happened. With Visual AI, you will soon be able. Not only does this eliminate instances of he said/she said, but it allows you to see which process steps are working, why they work, and what needs to be changed, improved or eliminated.

The time for Visual AI is now. The why is your dealership’s future success.

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Mark Queen
Mark Queen
Mark's focus on improving dealership operations began more than 25 years ago. He has a long history in automotive and was instrumental in building Elead, the leading CRM company in automotive retail. His current passion for artificial intelligence (AI) led to the founding of SKAI Vision in 2021. SKAI's software uses AI to transform video data into real-time alerts.

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