Supahands to tap into the power of AI
By Chong Jinn Xiung November 2, 2017
- Developed its own AI solution called Diane to better manage jobs for its SupaAgents
- Diane is also offered as a SaaS solution for companies seeking to improve their workflow
ARTIFICIAL Intelligence (AI) has been adopted largely by companies in the United States and Europe, but it is still new and emerging in Asia.
However, that may soon change as Southeast Asia becomes more digitised and enterprises are looking towards automation to achieve greater efficiencies.
While the prospect of many jobs being taken away by automation is certainly frightening, Malaysian-outsourcing company Supahands is not bothered by this at all.
In fact, the company is taking measures to ensure it stays relevant in the coming age of AI. So, instead of viewing AI as a threat, Supahands has developed its own AI solution to empower employees on its platform - called SupaAgents by Supahands.
Supahands co-founder and chief executive officer Mark Koh said the company began to develop its own technology internally to speed its work processes up following its pivot from business-to-consumer (B2C) to business-to-business (B2B) in June this year.
“Developing Diane, our own AI work-management platform, was always part of the plan from the very beginning,” explained Koh, “though it was only this year that we seriously put time into Diane as we weren’t able to focus on it while we operated on our B2C model.”
Though Supahands declined to disclose the amount invested into the development of the AI system, Koh said the company doubled the size of its engineering team over the course of the past year and Diane is one of their key projects this year.
Diane is described as a predictive routing engine, that matches Supahands’ over 2,000 SupaAgents from across Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines to the jobs that suit them.
A simple analogy is to think of the solution as somewhat similar to the Uber app that matches passengers with drivers though it is more complex than that as it is not just about who is available and getting them from point A to B, but the system must be able to match their skills and technical capabilities to a job.
Supahands co-founder and chief operating officer Susian Yeap explained that Diane is able to break large projects down into a smaller assembly line, splitting the job between humans and machine. This would enable multiple people to work on a project while improving the speed, efficiency and accuracy of the work.
Now instead of requiring 100 people to do one job, a project may just require 10. So, despite the greater reliance on automation, companies will still need a human workforce to clean the data that is required to train the algorithms powering AI.
At present, Diane is still a work in progress and is due to be ready by Q1 2018. Moving forward, Supahands is hoping to offer its AI to multiple organisations, in a Software as a service (SaaS) model
Koh believes that regardless of how automation takes place, companies still need actual humans to do jobs.
“The growth of automation in the market means growth for Supahands too. We may not see jobs like data entry anymore but humans will still be needed to prove, verify and test algorithms for driverless cars or teach machines for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to read documents better,” he said.