I’ve recently returned from attending Adobe’s 2023 EMEA summit. As is the case across the tech world right now, generative AI was the star of the show.
As a technologist and futurist, it’s hard not to get excited about the ways that this transformative technology is being forged into all sorts of amazing tools and applications. Adobe is renowned as a world-leader in software that empowers creatives, so I was particularly keen to see what they are planning.
Spoiler alert – I was not disappointed! For a while I’ve been sure that AI – and generative algorithms in particular – will define the way humans interact with technology for the near-future. But everything I have seen in recent months has confirmed to me that the future is here, and no one – particularly those working or innovating in creative fields – can afford to ignore it.
So here’s a rundown of my own highlights of the event, along with my thoughts on what they mean for the future of creativity, enterprise and innovation:
Some may have been wondering recently just how much generative AI there is left to see. However, at their EMEA Summit 2023, Adobe demonstrated new ideas and innovations that should make it easier than ever to augment our human ideas and creativity with the technical powers of AI.
At the heart of their offering are two generative AI packages - Adobe Firefly and Sensei GenAI.
Firefly is natural language image generation engine that takes a text prompt from the user and uses it to create pictures, designs and any kind of artwork. Attendees at the summit saw how this powerful functionality has now been integrated into Adobe Express, the all-in-one content creation platform designed to allow non-professional designers to quickly and simply create high quality images, social media posts and promotional content. It is also coming to other Creative Cloud applications like Photoshop, as well as Illustrator, which will receive a new Generative Recolor function allowing designers to experiment with color and palettes via natural language prompts. Some functions are available now in beta releases, and others will be coming soon.
We also learned that Firefly will launch later this quarter in an enterprise form. It will have functionality that will include allowing businesses to use a custom dataset for training, allowing it to come up with more brand-focused outputs. Adobe says that this service is designed to put the creative power of Firefly in the hands of every employee across a business
One feature that Adobe were keen to make known regarding enterprise Firefly is that it’s exclusively trained on Adobe’s vast library of licensed and public-domain images. This is important because the issue of copyright around AI-generated imagery has not been legally tested or resolved as of yet. This means that businesses using images generated by other generative AI applications trained on images owned or trademarked by other brands could potentially find themselves in murky waters, depending on how legislation evolves around AI in the future. Thanks to this, the company says it will offer to indemnify customers against copyright claims stemming from AI generated content – a first for the generative AI market.
Customer Experience - the Key to Business Success
Customer experience means creating meaningful connections and intuitive, hassle-free customer journeys, from the buying decision, to user experience, to after-sales support. Recent research unveiled by Adobe at the summit finds that particularly among the younger generation, expectations of a great experience from businesses only goes up during tough economic times. It also proudly announced that its Experience Cloud platform is now used by 87 percent of Fortune 100 companies.
Relevant announcements here centered on Adobe’s Experience Cloud, which is a collection of tools including the Adobe Real Time Customer Data Platform (CDP), Journey Optimizer and Adobe Analytics. Journey Optimizer will be supercharged by AI in order to give data-driven insights on customer journeys as they move through the sales and marketing pipeline. Adobe Product Analytics is also available now, helping manufacturers to develop a 360-view of how their physical goods are sold and used across their entire customer base. Additionally, products including Adobe Experience Manager will benefit from deeper AI integration and new intelligent features, powered by the Sensei GenAI algorithms.
Personalization-at-scale is seen as a crucial ingredient of customer experience. Using data and AI, it’s possible for brands to deliver mass-market services that generate that feeling of uniqueness and exclusivity that was previously confined to high-end and bespoke luxury brands. Isn’t it nice if everyone can feel special, rather than just the super-rich?
To this end, new functionality around personalization have been built into tools and applications across the Experience suite, including Real-Time CDP, Experience Manager and Journey Optimizer. This functionality is powered by Adobe’s analytical AI engine, Sensei. One example of how it can be used that was demonstrated at the conference is creating automated marketing copy in Adobe Experience Manager, optimized for customer-facing use-cases such as websites, emails and mobile apps.
Customers love personalized service and bespoke products, and Adobe understands that providing brands with the tools to create them is key to keeping its own B2B and B2C customers happy. Importantly, it also emphasized the fact that it understands this needs to be delivered while remaining respectful of privacy, and without appearing intrusive through its use of personal data. This is certainly important for any business looking to capitalize on the demand for personalization.
Adobe Real-Time CDP will provide businesses with as-it-happens, 360-degree overview of customer behaviors and engagement with their products and services. In the world of AI-driven business, data becomes even more essential than ever, and Adobe’s focus on building out its suite of analytical tools shows that it understands that this is just as much of a hot topic as generative AI.
Newly launched to its enterprise customers, Adobe Mix Modeler integrates Adobe’s Sensei AI to give businesses an overview of budgets and expenditure, and provide machine learning-powered financial forecasting. It will also automatically create AI-generated captions for charts and graphs in Journey Analytics. Additionally, new AI-powered chat functions were unveiled for the Marketo Engage platform, which will provide automated interactions and responses for customers who engage through web interfaces and social media. During his keynote, digital experience lead Anil Chakravarthy spoke about the fact that Sensei can now analyze marketing content and provide direct insights on how everything from the tone used in the copy, to fonts and color schemes, will play its part in communicating the brand’s intended message.
Across the two days of the summit, Adobe showed that in-line with the rest of the industry, it sees generative AI as the primary driver of innovation in the enterprise technology market.
While AI can’t be a replacement for human creativity, it’s a powerful tool for augmenting our skills and assisting us with technical aspects of creative work.
Additionally, it plans to use AI to improve the customer experience journey by giving us more powerful analytics tools and deeper insights into decisions that will impact the customer journey.
The plan to use Enterprise Firefly to put generative AI in the hands of every one of an organization’s employees is particularly exciting. Anything that eases the challenges of enabling AI to permeate a business’s culture across all functions is likely to bring big benefits.
Adobe clearly believe that we are only just seeing the very early stages of the transformational journey that generative AI will take us on. By confidently staking its claim for a place at the top table of AI enablers, it clearly also believes it will play a big part in its own future.