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AI will transform Adriatic economies – Microsoft

| 2024-04-23 2 min read

AI will transform Adriatic economies – Microsoft

Reading Time: 2 minutes

By 2030 Artificial Intelligence could be contributing as much as 11.5%, or USD 700bn (EUR 6.55bn), to the GDP of Southern Europe, including the Adriatic region, Kalin Dimtchev, country manager for Microsoft Adriatic, said in a recent interview about the AI transformation.

Both the public and private sectors are embracing AI across the Adriatic region, according to Dimtchev. Governments in the region have been amongst the first globally to adopt AI technology, he noted, adding that: “We are already seeing a lot of promising steps both in the Adriatic region but also in neighbouring countries across south-east Europe.”

AI already fixture in customer service sector

Many of the current uses of AI cited by Dimtchev were customer service-related, but the emerging technology could soon significantly impact healthcare, auto, financial services, retail and manufacturing, Dimtchev told Forbes Serbia in an interview.

In Croatia, Infobip, a global cloud communications platform has already integrated GenAI solutions through Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI technology. “Laqo Insurance used Azure OpenAI Service through Infobip’s cloud communication platform to develop a digital assistant named Pavle, and it has become Croatia’s first fully digital insurance provider,” Dimtchev said.

In Serbia, the local chamber of commerce recently introduced BizChat – a digital service based on artificial intelligence that enables entrepreneurs and companies to quickly and easily obtain business-relevant information in real-time, 24/7, ranging from chamber services, market analysis, business conditions and investment, to labour market potential and the education system,” he said.

 ”BizChat is one of the first chatbots in Europe aimed at the business community, established by a business association. It is a fully automated informational service, based on the Microsoft Azure AI platform, designed to provide key information to the economy, using advanced AI techniques for process optimization and improving business decisions,” Dimtchev added.

IKEA Bulgaria uses AI, expansion into Greece planned

Regarding the retail sector, Dimtchev said a collaboration between Microsoft and IKEA Bulgaria “resulted in the launch of Sofia, an AI chatbot assistant powered by Microsoft’s OpenAI GPT-4 technology. Sofia assists customers… from product search to handling inquiries about online orders, store hours, warranties, and more. We expect this project to expand to Greece as well.”

Greece is seeing AI affect the way its government operates. The Greek government has implemented Generative AI in collaboration with Microsoft as part of a “strategic plan to make the public sector more accessible, effective, sustainable and people-centred”, he said.

The Greek Digital Governance Ministry’s first public-facing chatbot had 26,000 interactions in its first 24 hours, he added. “This chatbot runs on government websites”, Dimtchev explained, and provides “accurate and up-to-date information on a wide range of services, policies, and procedures, without making users navigate across websites or contact multiple offices”. This is allowing civil servants more time for more complex-solving issues, he said. 

Microsoft AI already present in Albanian gov’t

“The public sector of Albania has meanwhile introduced a virtual assistant… designed to streamline citizen interactions with public institutions and simplify residents’ lives,” Dimtchev said.

“The system fulfils the government’s needs for robust security and governance and is engineered to be adaptable for future growth. The (Albanian) government is currently making plans for its ‘2.0 version’, which will offer voice and image capabilities, further improving the digital governance experience,” Dimtchev underlined.