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AI/ML Opportunities in Nepal IV

This article is the fourth in a series where I explore the implementation of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies in Nepal. Some of these can include businesses that are working in this space, based out of Nepal.

In the last part, I went through the application of AI/ML in customer support, robotics, and vehicle traffic monitoring.

This time, I talk about AI/ML opportunities here in Nepal in matters of national security, eCommerce, and personal financial management.

National Security

For security systems here in Nepal, two effective AI/ML options are comparatively easy to implement – fingerprint scanning and facial recognition.

Biometric Fingerprint Attendance systems are already in use in many corporate offices throughout the nation. Employees go to the fingerprint scanner, sign in or sign out, and the data gets fed into the HR database. This tech can be implemented nation-wide.

For instance, fingerprint scanners at every entry point in and out of Nepal will allow the authorities to keep track of foreign nationals. Their fingerprints will be scanned when entering the country and scanned again when they leave, confirming their exit.

Most of these systems use machines with specialised equipment and local storage. However, with the advancement of fingerprint scanning tech such as with present-day mobile phones, smart fingerprint systems that offer cloud-based storage are available. Not only will these perform better, but they will also be more cost-efficient.

Current market trends suggest that personal financial management solutions are evolving into AI-driven personal financial coaching. Through AI, such apps provide suggestions and recommendations that not only save money but can allow users to actually make money.

Facial recognition systems can further help with effectiveness.

Using existing CCTV cameras in airports and border entry points, we can find out whether or not a foreign national is in the country by checking their data. Their names or other personal information will not be necessary for this.

Using computer vision and biometric data, the authorities will have quick and easy access to necessary information without a hassle. This basic implementation can be started swiftly.

Gradually, once the computer vision tech is connected throughout the nation, high-level threats such as terrorism or espionage can be tackled in a much more efficient way – by allowing for the authorities to track the whereabouts of any person of interest using their fingerprints and facial detection anywhere in the country.

eCommerce

Since the turn of the century, eCommerce has been gradually growing into prominence. Companies such as Amazon and Alibaba lead this space globally but, here in Nepal, businesses like Daraz and Sastodeal are doing well following in their footsteps.

AI/ML helps bring the right products in front of the eyes of the right market through search algorithms and recommendations based on correlation.

For instance, people who have bought children’s toys are more likely to purchase child-care products so they will be automatically recommended to the buyers based on their searches and purchases. Sellers simply focus on their product and input metadata, which the AI/ML software will use to handle the showcasing.

Also, AI chatbots can help in operational procurement by placing purchase requests and receiving, filing invoices as well as payments or order requests, and setting and sending actions to suppliers in regards to governance and compliance materials.

This brings a bit of automation to the process and allows for increased productivity and profits by decreasing the workload of staff so they can be more efficient and focus on higher-priority duties.
There is a further increase in efficiency if we leverage ML technology for supply chain planning and warehouse management.

ML tech can forecast inventory, demand, and supply which allows for a just-in-time inventory system that reduces the cost of inventory. Instead of staff figuring out the shipping date, order size, inventory requirements, etc. on an excel sheet, the software will handle this automatically.

Compared to developed countries, logistics and supply chain systems are still archaic in our nation. Even simple AI/ML software implementations can help propel Nepal faster in the path of progress.

Personal Financial Management

Personal finance management apps have been growing rapidly over the past few years. Apps like Mint allow users to manage their finances on their smartphone by creating and managing budgets using information from bank accounts, bills, etc. to track cashflow.

Current market trends suggest that personal financial management solutions are evolving into AI-driven personal financial coaching. Through AI, such apps provide suggestions and recommendations that not only save money but can allow users to actually make money.

For example, using the data from an existing bank account, the AI may suggest that the user stop paying for certain features or even switch to another account type. This essentially is data-driven financial advice.

Instead of paying a heavy amount for a financial adviser right away, such apps can be used as a guide for suggestions as per your personal goals.

Banks and financial institutions can implement deep learning and power their apps through AI to provide a helpful feature to their customers. The data should also help devise more personalised offers for people with different circumstances.

For the individual, this means that they find better options quickly and without extensive research. For the business, this means better service and increased profits.

As citizens budget better and spend appropriately while the profits of banks and financial institutions increase, Nepal will be on the fast track to development.

In the next part, I want to talk about AI/ML in aquaculture (fish farming), healthcare (drug discovery), and domestic robots.

Ayush Neupane is the CEO of Audio Bee, an on-demand AI data service provider for speech technologies.

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