Data and people must provide the fuel for Esoft’s AI journey

Artificial intelligence and human knowledge must go hand in hand if Esoft is to succeed in one of its greatest business transformations ever, which will impact virtually every aspect of the organisation: from development and production through sales and marketing to recruitment.

A data science development department consisting of 20 new employees in Denmark alone – including highly educated civil engineers, computer scientists and top researchers, who Esoft has successfully recruited in fierce competition with other companies

A project portfolio of 10+ data projects, including advanced data manipulation and the development of deep neural networks.

And not least a self-developed AI infrastructure which, among other things, will soon result in the first commercial solution in the form of an AI engine to be used in Esoft’s production for, initially, image editing and enhancement.

Data-driven in all aspects of the business

A lot has happened since 2017, when Esoft’s board of directors decided to launch one of the company’s biggest business transformations ever – taking Esoft from being a traditional IT company to being a tech company, first and foremost by integrating AI – artificial intelligence – into a wide range of the company’s processes and solutions.

“The vision is to move Esoft towards being the first company in the industry to be data-driven in all aspects of its business, ranging from mathematically based optimisation of production flow to the development of AI-based solutions that can upscale the business to a larger volume and ensure a higher quality,” explains CIO Michael Sloth, who joined Esoft in January 2018.

Processing power can unleash human creativity

He emphasises that there is a higher and more important purpose to becoming more technology-driven: a purpose that goes far beyond the next annual accounts or the size of the profit margin.

“Today, we humans do enormous amounts of very monotonous, repetitive work, which could be performed much better by a computer. Why not use the processing power made available to us by technological development to place humans at the centre of the refining process, inventing new ways of collaborating and unleashing employees’ creativity? This is one of the core ideas for me, and one of the big drivers of Esoft’s transformation,” says Michael Sloth.

Faster, smarter, better

Therefore, among other things, he has been leading the process of establishing a completely new development department from scratch, hand-picking specialists from, particularly, the academic world. This includes the University of Southern Denmark, with which Esoft is currently doing a PhD project on neural networks for image editing, along with a plethora of other research projects.

These specialists are the ones who will contribute to placing an extra layer of AI on top of the services that Esoft already provides: pictures, text and video for the real estate industry. Just faster, smarter and of even higher quality, thanks to the artificial intelligence.

One example is a form of AI engine that is being implemented in Esoft’s production. Other examples could be classification of housing images via AI or automatic generation of housing advertisements.

“In principle, our imagination and our abilities are the only limits. However, it is important to emphasise that Esoft’s end product will never be AI. We do not develop AI products, but solutions which are made possible by AI,” says Michael Sloth.

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