Shabnam Katoch • 09 Nov 2023

How to build and use Custom AI Solutions in 2024

Learn how custom AI solutions can address your specific business challenges and boost efficiency in 2024

How to build and use Custom AI Solutions in 2024

AI isn’t new. However, the field of big data is revitalizing the subject and more organizations are relying on AI models to scale their operations, support staff in working better and faster, to uncover hidden insights from data.

A custom AI solution is a combination of algorithms built specifically to meet the unique requirements and objectives of your business. These objectives can be anything, be quality control, fraud detection, and inventory management to increasing sales, reducing operational costs, expanding market reach, etc.

All businesses have their own set of challenges and objectives based on the operational model, competition in the market, and customer demographics. Custom AI solutions are developed to align with these specific aspects, offering more targeted and effective outcomes than generic AI solutions.

How can Custom AI cater to specific needs?

Your business's data is unique in structure, volume, and relevance. Custom AI solutions are developed keeping your business's data, workflows, and end goals in mind. For example, if you run an online retail store, a custom AI could be designed to recommend products to customers based on their browsing history, thereby increasing sales through personalization. If you own a manufacturing unit, AI could predict equipment failures before they happen, thus reducing downtime.

Be it customer service, optimizing logistics, or streamlining manufacturing, a custom AI is developed keeping these factors in mind, and by leveraging AI tailored according to your business, you can gain a competitive advantage through improved efficiency, cost savings, and enhanced customer experience.

Can I create my own AI software tailored for my platform?

Yes, businesses can create their own AI software, but it requires a clear understanding of the problem to be solved, access to relevant data, and expertise in machine learning and software development. The process starts with Identifying the problem and collecting data, and based on this you choose the right tools and technology required like choosing a code or no-code-based AI, checking how well it will integrate with your current systems, and then developing the AI solution.

You can outsource the development or assemble an in-house team of AI experts but do consider the return on investment as it is a costlier alternative.

Now after the custom AI solution has been developed you need to train the AI model and test the AI thoroughly to ensure it meets your needs and keep on updating it based on its performance and the feedback from the customers.

What are the cost implications of building a custom AI solution versus using an existing AI platform?

Based on the latest data from WebFX, the cost implications of building a custom AI solution or using an existing AI platform can vary widely depending on several factors including the type of AI, the complexity of the project, and the specific features required.

For a custom AI solution, companies might pay anywhere from $6,000 to over $300,000 per solution. This price includes development and rollout. If ongoing AI services like consulting are required, costs generally depend on the consultant’s hourly fee, which can range from $200 to $350 per hour.

In comparison, third-party AI software can cost from $0 to $40,000 per year. This could be for services like a pre-built chatbot. For eg. Bodt.io caters to all its customers, be they a startup business or a well-established one. They provide various plans ranging from $19 a month to $499 a month, and can also provide customized plans as per your requirements and business.

Cost Implications of Building a custom AI Using existing AI platform

How does custom AI development compare to using platforms like ChatGPT?

Custom AI development is focused on creating a solution that is specifically designed for a business's unique needs, which can offer a competitive advantage and better integration with existing systems. Platforms like ChatGPT provide a broad range of capabilities but will require additional customization.

Custom AI:

  • Custom AI is developed specifically for your business, ensuring that the solution is tailored to your requirements, data, and workflows.
  • Custom development allows for greater flexibility in terms of integration with existing systems and as your business grows.
  • The development of custom AI solutions can be resource-intensive, requiring significant investment in time, money, and expertise.
  • You are responsible for the ongoing maintenance and updates of the AI system, which can be complex and costly.
  • You need access to AI expertise, either in-house or through a partnership with a vendor, to develop and maintain the solution.

ChatGPT:

  • Platforms like ChatGPT are pre-trained and ready to use, allowing for rapid deployment within your business.
  • Using an existing platform typically requires a lower upfront investment compared to custom development.
  • These platforms are designed to be user-friendly, often requiring less technical expertise to operate.
  • The platform provider is responsible for maintaining and updating the AI model, which can include improvements and new features over time.
  • While platforms like ChatGPT are versatile, they may not fit perfectly with every unique business process or data set.
  • When using third-party platforms, you may need to consider the privacy and security of your data, especially if sensitive information is involved.

In essence, custom AI development is like building a house that is designed exactly as per your specifications while using platforms like ChatGPT is similar to renting a place that was already built; you can move in quickly, but you have to work within the existing structure. The decision between the two should be based on a strategic assessment of your business's needs, resources, and long-term vision.

How can creating a custom AI solution drive business value and competitive advantage?

By processing data your business generates, custom AI can provide insights that are highly relevant and actionable. This can inform strategic decisions, from optimizing supply chains to personalizing marketing campaigns, leading to better outcomes and a stronger competitive position. Here we have listed a few ways in which AI solutions can help your business:

  • Custom AI solutions can automate routine tasks which can allow human employees to focus on more complex and value-adding activities. For instance, a logistics company might use a custom AI to optimize delivery routes based on real-time traffic data, weather conditions, and delivery windows. This can lead to faster delivery times, reduced fuel consumption, and increased customer satisfaction.
  • AI can provide personalized experiences for customers, which can be a significant differentiator. For example, a retail business could develop a custom AI recommendation engine that suggests products to customers based on their past purchases, search history, and preferences. This level of personalization can enhance the shopping experience, leading to increased loyalty and sales.
  • Custom AI solutions can analyze large volumes of data to uncover insights that can help make informed strategic decisions. A financial services firm might use AI to predict market trends and provide personalized investment advice to clients. By offering more accurate and timely advice, the firm can position itself as a leader in the financial advisory space.
  • AI helps reduce costs by optimizing business operations. A manufacturing company might implement a custom AI system to predict when machines will need maintenance, thereby preventing costly downtime and extending the lifespan of its equipment.

How do I create a custom AI solution for my specific business requirements?

To create a custom AI solution, start with identifying the business problem and goal, whether it is customer service, sales forecasting, inventory management, or something else that you need as it will help in deciding the specifics of the AI that you need. Then collect, organize, and preprocess the data that the AI will learn from. Ensure you have the right infrastructure to store and process this data securely.

Next, choose the appropriate AI model and algorithm, this could include machine learning frameworks like TensorFlow or PyTorch, cloud computing services, and programming languages such as Python. After that, train the model, and integrate it into your business processes. Before full deployment, the AI solution should be thoroughly tested in controlled environments and then in real-world settings. Feedback from these tests is used to refine and improve the model. After the solution is rolled out, continuous testing and updating ensures that the AI model remains effective. As the AI solution proves its value, you may scale it to handle more data, more users, or additional tasks. AI is not a set-and-forget solution; it should evolve with your business and the changing environment.

The other option is to outsource the development or use existing AI solutions in the market which provides flexibility and can be tailored as per your business needs. One such example is Bodt.io which offers a no-code AI conversational chatbot that can be integrated into your website which automates and enhances customer interactions on your website. It also provides valuable insights, and improves operational efficiency, all while being easy to set up and customizable according to your business.

What are the steps involved in developing a custom AI from scratch?

Developing a custom AI solution from scratch is a complex process that involves several stages, each requiring careful planning and execution. Let’s understand it while taking an example of an e-commerce business.

1. Conceptualization and Goal Setting

  • Identify the Problem: For an e-commerce business, the problem could be cart abandonment or a need to improve personalized product recommendations.
  • Set Objectives: The goal might be to reduce cart abandonment rates by 25% or increase cross-selling and up-selling through better product recommendations.

2. Feasibility Study

  • Assess Data Availability: Check if you have sufficient customer browsing and purchase history data to train an AI.
  • Evaluate Technical Requirements: Determine if your e-commerce platform can integrate with AI technologies.
  • Conduct Cost-Benefit Analysis: Estimate the return on investment by considering increased sales against the cost of AI development.

3. Data Collection and Preparation

  • Gather Data: Collect data from user interactions, transactions, product catalogs, and user reviews.
  • Clean Data: Ensure the data is accurate and consistent, removing any irrelevant information.
  • Label Data: For supervised learning, label the data with the outcomes you want the AI to predict, like which products were eventually purchased after being added to the cart. Split Data: Segment the data into training, validation, and testing datasets.

4. Choosing the Right Tools and Technology

  • Select AI Frameworks: Choose frameworks that are strong in recommendation systems or predictive analytics.
  • Programming Languages: Python is often the language of choice due to its robust data science ecosystem.
  • Infrastructure: Consider cloud-based solutions for their scalability, especially during high-traffic events like sales.

5. Building the Team

  • Hire Experts: You'll need data scientists for model development, AI engineers for system integration, UX designers for interface design, and project managers for oversight.
  • Define Roles: Assign clear responsibilities and ensure the team has a good understanding of e-commerce dynamics.

6. Model Development

  • Algorithm Selection: Use algorithms suited for recommendation systems, such as collaborative filtering or deep learning.
  • Model Training: Train the model on historical data to identify patterns in customer behavior.
  • Model Evaluation: Validate the model's accuracy in suggesting products or predicting cart abandonment.

7. Integration and Deployment

  • Integration: Integrate the AI model with your e-commerce platform, ensuring it can access real-time data for dynamic recommendations.
  • Deployment: Deploy the model in a staging environment to test its performance with actual user traffic.

8. Testing and Iteration

  • Performance Testing: Test the AI's performance, particularly during peak traffic periods.
  • User Acceptance Testing: Get feedback from a select group of users to ensure the recommendations are relevant and the user experience is smooth.
  • Iterative Improvement: Refine the model based on user feedback and performance data.

9. Monitoring and Maintenance

  • Monitor Performance: Continuously monitor the AI to ensure it adapts to new products and changing customer preferences.
  • Update Models: Regularly retrain the model with new data to keep the recommendations fresh and accurate.

10. Scaling

  • Expand Capacity: If the AI is successful, consider expanding its functionality to other areas, such as inventory management or fraud detection.
  • Extend Functionality: Add new features, such as visual search or chatbots for customer service.

11. Documentation and Compliance

  • Document the Process: Keep thorough documentation of the AI development process, including data handling, model architecture, and changes over time.
  • Ensure Compliance: Stay compliant with data protection regulations like GDPR, especially with customer data.

12. Feedback Loop

  • Gather Feedback: Collect feedback from customers on the relevance of product recommendations and the overall user experience.
  • Continuous Learning: Use this feedback to continuously improve the AI system.

Can ChatGPT be customized to fit into my business model?

You can build custom solutions around ChatGPT or use it as a component within a larger system tailored to your business. Here's how you can leverage ChatGPT for your business:

OpenAI provides an API for ChatGPT that you can integrate into your business's software systems. This allows you to use ChatGPT's conversational capabilities within your website, app, or customer service platform.

You can create custom interfaces for ChatGPT that align with your brand. For example, you can design a chat interface on your e-commerce site that uses ChatGPT to interact with customers.

ChatGPT can be integrated into your business workflows for tasks such as generating descriptions for products, answering frequently asked questions, or providing initial customer support before escalating to a human agent.

ChatGPT can be combined with other AI systems or business logic layers. For example, it can be used in conjunction with a recommendation engine to provide personalized product suggestions within a conversation.

What kind of data infrastructure is needed to support a custom AI solution?

The data infrastructure needed to support a custom AI solution is critical, as the performance and scalability of the AI system will heavily depend on it. Here's a breakdown of the components typically required:

1. Data Storage:

Databases: Relational databases (like PostgreSQL, MySQL) for structured data and NoSQL databases (like MongoDB, Cassandra) for unstructured or semi-structured data. Data Lakes: For storing large volumes of raw data in its native format. Services like Amazon S3 or Azure Data Lake can be used. Data Warehouses: For storing processed and structured data optimized for querying and analysis, such as Google BigQuery or Snowflake.

2. Data Processing:

ETL Tools: For Extracting, Transforming, and Loading data. Tools like Apache NiFi, Talend, or cloud-based services like AWS Glue. Data Pipelines: For moving data from one system to another and processing it in real-time or in batches. Apache Kafka for streaming data, and Apache Airflow for batch processing.

3. Data Analysis and Processing Frameworks:

Big Data Processing: Frameworks like Apache Hadoop for distributed storage and processing of large data sets. In-Memory Processing: Technologies like Apache Spark for fast processing and analytics.

4. Machine Learning Platforms:

ML Frameworks: TensorFlow, PyTorch, and Scikit-learn for developing custom AI models. AutoML Tools: Google AutoML, AWS SageMaker for automated machine learning processes.

5. Compute Resources:

GPUs/TPUs: For training complex models with high computational requirements. Cloud Computing: Cloud instances from providers like AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure to scale resources as needed.

6. Data Governance and Compliance:

Data Catalogs: For organizing data assets, metadata management, and data discovery. Data Privacy Tools: To ensure data is anonymized and complies with regulations like GDPR or HIPAA.

7. Data Security:

Encryption: Both at rest and in transit to protect sensitive data. Access Control: Robust identity and access management (IAM) to control who can access what data.

8. Monitoring and Operations:

Monitoring Tools: For tracking the health and performance of data infrastructure, like Datadog, Prometheus, or Splunk. DevOps Tools: For continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD), like Jenkins, GitLab CI, or GitHub Actions.

9. Backup and Recovery:

Backup Solutions: Regularly backing up data to prevent loss. Disaster Recovery: Strategies to restore data and system functionality in case of an incident.

10. Scalability and Flexibility:

Containerization: Using Docker for containerization and Kubernetes for orchestration to manage and scale applications.

11. API Management:

API Gateways: For managing and securing APIs that connect AI services with other applications.

12. User Interface:

Web Frameworks: For building dashboards and user interfaces that interact with the AI system.

Final Thoughts:

Custom AI solutions require significant investment in time and resources, but offer a tailored approach that aligns closely with your business goals and processes.

For a business, particularly in the e-commerce field, the ability to leverage data can be a game-changer. Whether you choose to build a custom AI solution from scratch or utilize an existing platform like Bodt.io, the key is to focus on the needs of your business and customers.

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