Avatar By: Matt Cowell

Birmingham Tech Leaders Present the Value of AI

Last week QuantHub hosted an event focused on how Birmingham-based businesses are harnessing the power of AI (artificial intelligence). As, “AI,” has become a common phrase in tech vernacular, we wanted to help tech and non-tech leaders gain deeper understanding of what that means practically. So, we asked local experts from Mercedes, Deft Dynamics, and Shipt to share how AI is not just a vague descriptor, but a powerful business force.



Below are helpful takeaways from each presenter:

Jason Eisele, Mercedes Benz, Data Scientist:

  • Jason shared how Mercedes has built a powerful end-to-end integration within the maintenance ecosystem. A good example of the results from this system is the ability to detect an abnormal condition before a robot failure happens. With this quick insight, they’re able to predict and prevent a downtime incident.
  • He also helped our audience understand that success for data-driven projects requires:
    • Making the data accessible
    • Providing the right tools
    • And, enabling team members through training

“We want people to be as comfortable with AI techniques as they are with Excel.”

Jason also emphasized the key role data engineers play in AI-driven projects. He recommended hiring a data engineer before hiring a data scientist when building an advanced analytics team to ensure your project is successful.


Austin Gurley, Deft Dynamics, C0-Founder & CTO:

  • Austin shared how a device he and his team created for APEX Pro uses data to increase performance and uses edge computing to power a small device placed on a car’s dashboard. The device uses a simple visualization to help a driver quickly improve his or her performance.

  • Austin gave great tips for Machine Learning success:
    • Accept fewer data sources if they are consistent across installations
    • Filter to reduce input size without losing information
    • Store parametric data, not time-series
    • And, output only actionable results.

As he concluded his talk, Austin shared the power of the social data users create every time they drive their car around a racetrack, which gives users an “Optimal Driving Line” for motorsports parks around the country.


Bart Masters, Shipt, Data Science Manager:

  • Bart, our final speaker, kicked off with an important framing question for data science projects, he said,

“The most important question to ask is not always HOW to approach a data project, but whether the project should be done at all.”

He focused on the important first-step in a data science project that’s not always covered in school: identifying the business use case.

  • In addition, Bart isolated two common opportunity costs data scientists face.
    • One: creating a project or model that sits on the shelf
    • Two: a data scientist spending time on projects better suited for a data analyst.

Bart helped the audience understand how Shipt uses AI to help predict what products might be out of stock, and preemptively get a second choice from the customer to eliminate the back-and-forth communication between shopper and customer. It was a perfect example of how choosing the right business use case creates a better technology product, increases business value, and serves the customer.


A huge thanks to Jason, Austin, and Bart for presenting at QuantHub’s AI event. Our three presenters’ unique backgrounds and perspectives remind us that people are the most important part of AI. Without great people, these innovative projects fail to deliver business impact.

And, a big thanks to everyone who attended QuantHub’s Birmingham event! We can’t wait to see you at our next one.

The QuantHub Team at Avondale Brewing


Through QuantHub’s data science assessments, data engineering assessments, and more, hiring managers can build great teams with confidence. Learn more about how QuantHub can help shrink your hiring pipeline, validate your technical candidates, and upskill your employees to be data literate.


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