By Rashmi Vittal, Conversica CMO

Last year, we saw the proliferation of AI-assisted technologies in our everyday life, from self-driving cars, to healthcare, to digital voice assistants in our homes.

But what can we expect to see for AI in the new year? In a recent fire-side chat, I sat down with Conversica CEO Alex Terry and Chief Scientist Sid J. Reddy to hear their predictions for the evolution of AI this year. Each of these Conversica AI leaders shared their forecasts for AI as it relates to B2B Marketing and Sales in 2019. We’ve captured some of the key points shared in our fireside chat in this blog. 

AI then and now

“A couple of predictions I have for 2019 is that you’ll see more powerful implementations of conversational AI, and more companies adopt AI in multiple departments,” said Terry.

We may just be at the start of 2019, but we are already seeing some of these predictions come true. According to Statista, 84% of enterprises believe that investing in AI applications will create a competitive advantage, while 75% believe that AI applications will create new business opportunities. While there are many applications of AI, one that is gaining a lot of traction is conversational AI.

What is conversational AI?

Conversational AI is the technology that enables people and computers to communicate with each other in a natural, two-way conversation. Some emerging use cases include chatbots that handle customer service requests, a virtual assistant that answers HR benefit questions, or a marketing AI assistant that sifts through thousands of leads to understand which people might be interested in your products and goods.

At Conversica, our flagship AI Sales Assistant helps companies create new revenue streams from their customers and generate more revenue. Last year, we released the AI Customer Success Assistant, which focuses on cross-selling and up-selling to increase retention and customer satisfaction. The release of the Customer Success Assistant aligns with a major AI trend we’re seeing now – companies implementing AI technologies in different departments.

Augmenting your workforce with AI

One of the key trends we’re already experiencing is marketers augmenting their workforce, giving their team the best tools to be successful. What is important to note is that AI isn’t replacing marketers, but rather helping them to do their jobs more effectively.

In marketing and sales, there’s a lot of routine work. Whether your lead is at the top of the funnel or close to closing, much of the work revolving around reaching out, engaging, and following up with leads can be automated. Conversational AI technology has come a long way in recent years, enabling humans and computers to have two-way conversations that feel more natural. More importantly, these conversations are personalized to the individual’s needs and solve real business problems.

We see 100% coverage on our inbound leads. We have assurance that all those leads are getting followed up on — not only consistently, but in a relevant, personalized manner that drives great customer experience.

Virtual assistants are getting smarter

The ability for virtual assistants to progress from that simplistic kind of chatbot experience to being able to handle complex conversations will be key for 2019. People want to interact with a smart assistant – and part of being smart is having the memory of past interactions with and understanding the context to move conversations forward.

Reddy spoke about some of the exciting advances in a new field of AI, called affective AI, or emotionally intelligent AI. He sees affective AI becoming a major theme in conversational AI to help interpret the emotional intent of the user. Whether it’s joy, sarcasm, humor, or something else, being able to determine the tone and intonation will further enable AI assistants to deliver personalized experiences and drive results.

Want to see more AI predictions for 2019? Watch our fireside chat 2019 Predictions: 10 Ways Conversational AI Will Change The Way We Work.