Virgin Australia has reported its use of artificial intelligence (AI) has helped the company cut down the time taken to build predictive models by a staggering 90% whilst improving accuracy at the same time. AI is the key to any successful business these days. Those that implement AI now will appreciate it later. Those that don’t, probably won’t be around in 10 years time.
To help in its mission to integrate AI into its business model, Virgin Australia turned to DataRobot for help. DataRobot is a Massachusetts-based, automated machine learning platform that uses AI to help companies increase productivity in a number of ways. “We want people within our program to be able to redeem points for great experiences, and to do that, we want to be able to better predict when is the best time for particular people to redeem points and what should they be redeeming them against,” said Oliver Rees, GM of Torque Data at Virgin Australia.
Through the use of DataRobot, Virgin Australia will create predictive models that will show which customers are most likely to travel, the type of travel they’ll take, and the price they’re willing to pay. It will also be able to predict how important aspects such as accommodation and experience is compared to the actual travel aspect itself. “We have the ability to run multiple different statistical techniques against the same dataset in a very short space of time and have this competitive element whereby the models compete against each other for the best outcome,” said Rees.
By using an automated AI machine learning service, analysts are free to spend more time on the actual analyzing of data opposed to manipulating it. “We’re actually moving really smart people into different roles where we’re using their intellect in a really powerful way,” continued Rees. “People are very interested in building their understanding around how new technology is going to impact their work. Giving people the opportunity to learn how it works and recognising that we’re all on this journey together…I think it’s been a real positive for us.”
According to Rees the real problem large organisations face when it comes to AI is not the implementation of it, but the repercussions of not implementing it. “It can be very easily seen as something that creates extra work, creates extra stress, creates extra pressure,” he says. “We can’t ignore what we need to do on a day-to-day basis at the expense of developing new capability.”