Appier is a technology company which aims to provide Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms to help enterprises solve their most challenging business problems. Appier was established in 2012 by a passionate team of computer scientists and engineers with expertise in AI, data analysis, distributed systems, and marketing. Appier serves over 1,000 global brands and agencies from offices in 14 markets across Asia, including Taipei, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Osaka, Sydney, Ho Chi Minh City, Manila, Hong Kong, Mumbai, New Delhi, Jakarta, Seoul, and Bangkok.
The company’s first product, CrossX, transformed the digital advertising space, and Appier has built on that success with Aixon, a data intelligence platform. Aixon allows enterprises to use AI to discover new customers, expand their reach, enrich their understanding, and make predictions.
When Innovation is Core
Appier has brought a fresh take on AI and has demonstrated how easy it is for enterprises to implement it in their business operations without the need to build their own team of data scientists. Six years ago, the company disrupted the digital advertising industry by using AI to help brands reach their target audiences in the most effective way.
Appier continues to pursue AI innovation. Recently, a team from Appier presented a paper at the 32nd AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-18), one of the world’s leading conferences in AI. The company also designed an AI model that mimics the human ability to put together and design outfits after observing and learning from the examples of good design. Appier did this with deep learning techniques in combination with new types of unsupervised machine learning algorithms called generative adversarial networks or GANs in short. AI’s ability to create and design items that humans will find appealing is considered the next important breakthrough in the field. Appier’s research suggests that the day when AI can help designers in their day-to-day work might be closer than we thought.
The Visionary Leader and the Experienced Team
Chih-Han, Co-founder & CEO of Appier has been involved in the field of AI since the late 1990s. He started his research career in the US about 17 years ago, and his work in the field includes AI-based cross-screen analytics, transformer robotics, and four-legged autonomous robots. While working on his doctoral degree in computer science from Harvard University, he collaborated with the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering to develop self-adapting robotics systems to help polio patients walk correctly. His doctoral thesis was nominated as the best thesis of the year in the field of multi-agent AI. Prior to Harvard, Yu earned his master’s degree from Stanford University where he participated in the school’s winning DARPA Grand Challenge self-driving car team. Chih-Han has authored various research articles in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and machine learning, and holds two US patents.
The founders of the company have been working in the field of AI even before it became a hot area in technology. They had always seen the potential for AI to help enterprises solve tough business challenges because of its unique ability to process enormous amounts of data, identify patterns and make intelligent decisions. The team successfully built their first product, CrossX, in the digital advertising space and leveraged the same to develop Aixon. The company continues to look for new areas in the enterprise where AI can help.
Strong Foundation Which Supports Innovation
Appier has a founding team that has a strong background in AI research and the company continues to recruit the best talent in the industry. Appier has a database of over 2 billion anonymized user profiles and AI thrives on the big data. As a private and independent company, Appier is able to focus on helping enterprises solve problems that larger technology vendors may overlook. The company also has a very strong portfolio of investors such as Sequoia, UOB, Temasek (through Pavilion), Alibaba (through WI Harper), JAFCO and now SoftBank, LINE, and EDBI, that provide support in areas such as market access.
Learning from Challenges
In the early days, Appier faced a challenge of having insufficient data. AI needs large volumes of high-quality data in order to work at peak efficiency and this used to be a problem for the company. The situation has become a lot better but of course, there are still large volumes of unlabelled and unstructured data which require more effort to integrate and analyze.
Awards and Accolades
Appier has been recognized as an innovator by industry partners and leading independent research companies worldwide.
• In 2016, the World Economic Forum named Appier CEO and co-founder Chih-Han Yu as one of their Young Global Leaders and one of the few Asians on the list.
• In 2017, Fortune magazine identified Appier as one of the world’s top 50 companies leading the AI revolution.
• Appier has made it to the CB Insights’ AI 100 Companies list twice in 2017 and 2018. The AI 100 accolade recognizes promising private companies from around the world working on ground-breaking AI technology.
Predictions for the Future of AI
AI reached an inflection point in 2017 and Appier expects this year to be a year of consolidation before becoming mainstream in 2020. The company predicts the following important trends for AI this year.
1. AI will become faster, more accurate and more versatile
Time to market for innovative new products and services will speed up as AI helps to automate application development and delivery. Mass manufacturing could disappear as brands can now target narrow market segments with small quantities of customized products, updating them as tastes change.
2. AI will become validated as a business consultant
AI has already begun to make sense out of business data, providing insights and predictions to enhance marketing and improve business performance today. Vendors would be able to showcase success that reflects both quantitative and qualitative benefits of AI technology. More businesses will be comfortable with adopting AI systems and relying on recommendations from AI as they experience positive results for themselves.
3. AI will become a core technology
Appier forecasts that AI will appear in more core technologies. AI showed promise from 2011–2015 and will be increasingly commercialized from 2016–2020. From 2020, AI will become an essential part of our lives and technology that we can effectively use to solve problems.
4. AI will gain trust as a user interface
Chatbots and voice-activated digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa will become smarter and more versatile in 2018, encouraging more people to use them to get things done, and businesses to implement them for first-level customer service.
With all these developments, Appier is very positive about the future of AI. This is a technology that will remain relevant for many generations ahead and the company sees numerous areas where they can apply AI.