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What I learned from customers and partners at Next '23: AI is happening

September 18, 2023
Adaire Fox-Martin

President, Google Cloud Go to Market

Adaire Fox-Martin, president for Google Cloud Go-to-Market, shares her highlights from this year's conference in San Francisco, the first in-person Next in four years.

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It’s been a few weeks, but the excitement from Google Cloud Next ‘23 is still going strong. For the first time in four years, our customers and partners from around the world came together at the same place at the same time — to learn, connect, and once again plug into the energy that only comes from being together. 

Hearing the announcements and experiencing the rich panels, the meetings with customers and partners, and the action in all the booths — it really drove home for me what a critical moment this is for our customers and partners. 

We share an opportunity today that really only comes along once or twice in a generation. Generative AI has the potential to completely reinvent the enterprise and even entire industries. It’s exciting to see how organizations are getting significant value from it today; and it’s even more thrilling that they are just getting started. 

Fortunately, Google has been laying the AI groundwork for a long time, and this means we are more than ready to help our customers move quickly from gen AI use cases to gen AI value. Our passion for technology has given us a 10-year head start in AI, and we’ve made it our mission at Google Cloud to put this head start to work for our customers. 


Adaire Fox-Martin with Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud, and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, onstage at Next '23.

Solid foundations, solid momentum

We had an impressive rhythm of announcements at Next that showcased both the sheer amount of innovation that’s coming out of the generative AI space, as well as incredible customer momentum. During the keynote, we shared the stories from across regions, industries, and segments - from the gen AI unicorns joining us to the wave of Fortune 500 organizations embracing this technology.

We shared the latest on our platform, including significant features in Vertex AI that are the foundation to a lot of generative AI work happening today. We unveiled or advanced many of our products, including the general availability of Duet AI for Workspace, your new collaborative work companion. And we shone a light on our incredible partners, including strengthened relationships with NVIDIA, SAP, Workday, Salesforce, and many more.

We have nurtured these partnerships around AI for years, alongside others with SaaS providers, infrastructure and platform partners, data providers, systems integrators, and leading consultancies. What this all means is that together with our partners we have primed the market for mass adoption of generative AI, and there has never been a better time than now for organizations to get started and to accelerate their AI journeys.

AI in action

So much of Next was about hearing firsthand from business leaders how generative AI is already transforming their business. “Fear of missing out” has matured into sharing lessons learned, and I was truly impressed by the many ways that, together, we’re bringing AI and cloud technology to life — both for our customers and for their customers.

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I met with Major League Baseball, for example, and they’ve developed a whole suite of offerings on Google Cloud. Each season, there’s around 2,400 games, and they now have cameras around the ballpark that capture 100 frames per second for each pitch, and 300 on every swing of the batter. Each of those is a data point, and with AI, they can analyze each one. It’s petabytes of data each season, and they can still identify each moment using AI. 

Then let’s say you’re a fan of a particular team who loves stolen bases, or grand slams. You can go into MLB Film Room, and with a few simple, plain language commands interpreted by AI, you can create your own highlight reels of all the stolen bases or grand slams for that team in a season — or even over many seasons, since we’ve helped analyze their archives, too. It’s services like this that are transforming the fan experience, and the customer experience for organizations well beyond MLB.

And then we have customers like WPP, the global marketing and communications company. Through their investments in generative AI and the people supporting and embracing such new technologies, they’ve been able to cross reference the massive amount of data they’ve accumulated on their campaigns in the past, all this amazing historical data, to better determine which new ideas will work and which likely won’t.

Google has been laying the AI groundwork for a long time, and this means we are more than ready to help our customers move quickly from gen AI use cases to gen AI value.

What’s next is now

These are just two of dozens of customers I had the pleasure of connecting with, and both illustrate two of the biggest lessons for every enterprise. 

First, organizations are out there doing this — and they're and doing it now. You can’t sleep on AI, it is happening, and the only ones who aren’t getting value from it are those who haven’t yet embraced the opportunity. 

Second, those who have done the work to get their data in order ahead of this wave are the ones who are getting the most out of generative AI. They are using generative AI to write and design content, synthesize information, automate business processes, and build amazing customer experiences. 

Now we’re taking the show on the road and demonstrating at locations around the world how the potential of generative AI translates into value for specific geographies and industries. Regardless of location, sector, or segment, our generative AI capabilities are helping organizations realize what’s next today.

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