Infor Coleman cuts new mustard for AI

IBM named its AI engine Watson after its first CEO, Thomas Watson. Salesforce called its play in the AI game Einstein, alter Albert, obviously. Much of SAP’s machine learning and AI is encapsulated in its SAP Leonardo offering, named in deference and reverence to senor Da Vinci, once again, obviously.

Cloud-specific applications company Infor named its digital AI technology Coleman, but it wasn’t after England’s fiery brand of mustard.

Infor Coleman is in fact named after the physicist and mathematician Katherine Coleman Johnson, whose trail-blazing work helped NASA land on the moon.

During more than 35-years at NASA, Coleman (who is 100-years old at the time of writing) became known for her work using computers to master complex manual calculations.

The new Infor Coleman Digital Assistant was unveiled at the company’s Infor Inforum event this September in Washington DC. To be clear, Coleman was actually first introduced last year, this new release features a new slew of extensions and optimisations.

Natural language extensibility

The technology is designed to help maximise human work potential by enabling ‘natural language extensibility’ (an ability to talk to it, in real conversational humanspeak) and accessibility of Infor CloudSuite.

This conversational interface provides a route to the Infor OS platform, the underlying foundation of Infor CloudSuite. It offers custom skill building, a voice user experience (UX) and navigation and natural language processing (NLP) extensibility.

As a digital assistant, Coleman uses a conversational UX and natural language processing – with ‘deep domain’ and industry knowledge – to chat, hear, talk and in the future, it is expected to analyse images.

Features (or perhaps we should say ‘behaviours’) include:

  • Advising. It can provide intelligence insights designed to help users make decisions.
  • Augmenting. It can serve as a partner to help amplify a user’s work and provide key information at critical decision points.
  • Automating. It can complete low-value, repetitive tasks to enable users to focus on more valuable work.
  • Conversing. It can offer a better user experience with more efficient interactions.

The Infor Coleman Digital Assistant also is expected to be integrated with Amazon Alexa for Business – which provides tools to manage Alexa devices, enroll users and configure skills with added security across those devices – by the end of 2018.

This technology is described as a pervasive machine learning platform that operates below an application’s surface. It mines data and uses machine learning to help improve processes such as inventory management, transportation routing and predictive maintenance.

Inform says that this technology is specifically designed for non-technical, business users and is built upon a foundation of industry-specific data.

Digestible technology

The Infor Coleman AI modeling environment is ‘digestible’, in that it doesn’t require as complex of a skill-set as other AI tooling, nor is it designed to require an exhaustive service engagement.

“Users can understand, relate and trust the output, given the focus on user-experience and embedded connectivity to the entire applicable enterprise suite,” claimed Infor, in a press statement.

Infor insists that organisations can work to gain a competitive advantage by creating models from their proprietary data and the Coleman platform enables them to pass along advantages, up and down stream, using their AI intelligence.

Citizen developer toolset

According to Matt Hendrickson, IT director at Headwater Companies, the Infor Coleman AI Platform’s citizen developer toolset and embedded nature make it attractive to his team’s business. This customer points to Coleman’s embedded system with rapid deployment options as key.

Among the capabilities that Infor expects to deliver with its Infor Coleman technology stack are barcode and QR code scanning and custom image training, or image recognition technologies, known as Infor Coleman Vision.

Future augmentations and enhancements to this Coleman AI Platform line will feature additional embedded machine learning models next year, in Spring 2019.

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