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How Small Businesses Will Use AI for Good in 2024

3 Mins read

It’s hard to miss the discourse surrounding generative artificial intelligence (AI). While most of it seems to focus on large enterprises, there’s a world of opportunity for small and medium businesses (SMBs), too. Contrary to popular opinion, advanced AI capabilities are not exclusive to industry giants with abundant resources and vast budgets to spend. Generative AI is poised to be a game-changer for small businesses. In fact, it’s already enabling SMBs to achieve previously unimaginable things. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Turning language barriers into bridges

MagellanTV is a streaming service based in Armonk, New York, where 20 employees manage a library of over 3,000 documentaries. Founded by documentary filmmakers committed to storytelling that contributes to a lifetime of learning, the company uses generative AI to help automate content localization and enable expansion into global markets. Traditional translation, transcription, and dubbing methods are both cost and time-prohibitive for a company of MagellanTV’s size, to the point where expansion into global markets proved incredibly difficult.

Previously, it had relied on third-party software with high per-minute charges for translation and transcription. When it came to dubbing, it would take 60 hours for MagellanTV’s sole video editor to dub a single hour of footage, with the entire process consuming 70 percent of their time.

The company worked with Mission Cloud to develop a new pipeline for localization that combines various services and generative AI. Now, localization that had taken hours only takes minutes. The solution automatically accounts for regional idioms and cultural sensitivities in translating and dubbing content. It also automatically integrates the new dub with the original content, adjusting the speed of delivery to ensure the original viewing experience is maintained.

MagellanTV previously spent $20 a minute on dubbing alone. Now, the entire process costs less than $20 an hour, and the company has a clear path to reaching curious minds in hundreds of languages around the world.

Helping businesses track and reduce carbon emissions

FlexZero is a sustainability platform, carbon management, and disclosure tool. It enables customers to track their carbon data, generate actionable insights, and reduce their emissions with the help of generative AI. The platform combines multiple cloud services, including serverless compute to run code, and optical character recognition to extract printed text and data from documents. Generative AI is integrated into its carbon emission analysis and reporting, providing users with instant support and guidance.

As an example, FlexZero customers can use its chat feature to find out what they need to do to remain compliant with local regulations, what greenhouse gas (GHG) scope category should be targeted for reduction in their factories and much more. As its name suggests, the platform is incredibly flexible, and customers are free to define the data it ingests, how they want the app to process that data, and what reports it should produce.

Making elite coaching and insights accessible to all

Based in San Marcos, California, Blast Motion provides motion analysis and performance insights. Combining the biomechanics of movement with sensor data, video capture technology, and cloud-based software services, Blast Motion helps sports players refine their skills and elevate their game.

Professional athletes have been relying on Blast Motion technology for years to gain a competitive edge; something the company wanted to make more accessible to more sports enthusiasts. However, professional athletes benefit from professional coaches who can interpret and action the data provided by Blast Motion—something up-and-coming athletes lack. The solution to this challenge arrived with the emergence of generative AI and the development and integration of Blast iQ™ technology into the company’s offerings.

Sensors capture the user’s movements—whether that’s a golfer, softball, or baseball player practicing their swing—and turn this into actionable data. Blast iQ™ combines machine learning, data mining, and AI to automatically assess and score a player’s movements to determine their swing quality based on their level of play. It will then identify strengths and areas for improvement with training recommendations, offering the kind of insights that have traditionally only been accessible to pro athletes via their pro coaches.

Blast Motion used a generative AI framework and foundation models to develop the generative AI technology, which leverages features to ensure data security and anonymity. This means that amateur athletes get all the benefits of elite coaching insights without the risk of giving away secrets of their sporting success to competitors!

Most sports enthusiasts seek to emulate their favorite players, but, until recently, have been unable to unlock the secrets of how to do so. Now, generative AI is democratizing access to the kind of elite coaching available to such teams. At the same time, pro sports players are realizing the benefits of the technology to gain real-time feedback: over 70 percent of the MLB teams and all of the NPF teams use Blast iQ™.

Leveling the playing field

These are just some examples of how innovative SMBs use AI to compete, disrupt, and thrive in the digital age. Cutting-edge technologies are not exclusive to large enterprises. With the rise of user-friendly and cost-effective generative AI solutions, small businesses can now harness AI to create new products, cut costs, optimize operations, and ultimately secure sustainable growth.

Ben Schreiner is the U.S. Head of Business Innovation for Small and Midsize Business, Amazon Web Services.

AI stock image by Andrew Angelov/Shutterstock

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