Arccos Featured at Microsoft AI Event Highlighting the "Unicorns" in AI

Wal-Mart, Anheuser Busch, Adobe and Arccos.

At Microsoft's "Conversations on AI" event in San Francisco, three of the biggest companies in the world and a startup from Connecticut looking to revolutionize golf were on stage to discuss the future of AI. 

It's heady company for Arccos to share, but alongside Microsoft, we've created the "World's Smartest Caddie" to democratize the caddie experience and provide a caddie to any golfer – no matter their skill level or course they are playing.

Microsoft included Arccos as one of the "unicorns" in AI, part of only 4% of companies who are using AI successfully. Our mission is to help golfers play better golf and have more fun, and after one year, Arccos users improved by an average of 3.79 strokes. That sounds like a lot more fun to us.

Click here to read more about the event.

From the Microsoft recap:

“We had an ‘a-ha moment’ about providing a virtual caddie for every player. Just like a human caddie, ours would know the player, know the course, know the weather and provide the player with a club recommendation,” said Jack Brown, senior vice president of product & software at Arccos Golf. “So we thought, ‘Why don’t we use AI to create a virtual caddie?’”

Arccos had access to huge volumes of data to help choose a winning strategy: the player’s shot history, the experience and behavioral patterns of the platform’s other users, weather conditions such as wind speed and direction, elevation changes and the hole layout.

At that point, the two-year-old startup faced two questions that a growing number of companies now find themselves asking: Where do we start with AI? And how do we use it to our best business advantage?"

Understanding an enterprise’s AI maturity is often the difference between a company that aims too high with AI and fails, versus a company that finds the best entry point to start with AI — one that delivers real business value — and expands from there.

Arccos reached that conclusion early on. The golf startup had some natural advantages in adopting AI: it was already a data-intensive company, its information already lived in the cloud and leaders had articulated a strong business case.

But, importantly, the executive and technical team also resisted the impulse to try to answer every question and use every piece of data out of the gate, Brown said.

The first iteration of the Arccos Caddie used data about a golfer’s shot history and the layout of the course to give recommendations about how to play a hole straight from the tee. The second incorporated real-time environmental data such as elevation and wind speed, Brown said. The third version released earlier this year is able to readjust after each shot — if a player makes a mistake and winds up in the rough, the AI caddie offers recommendations based on that new reality.

“Probably the biggest hurdle right off the bat — because we are so data rich and we can always pull more — was to figure out how to keep things simple. Initially you think ‘Hey I want to know how much it rained yesterday because the grass will be wet and the ball won’t roll as much,’ and then you have to say, ‘No, stop. Don’t grab everything just yet,’” Brown said. “Let’s do something that works first and really shows value to our customers. Then we can build on that success."