A look at lesser-known organizations putting AI to work

While Big Tech is busy racing for AI dominance, smaller companies are paving their own quiet journeys with AI, with efficiency, innovation and cost at the centre of their change.

Here are some you should know about.

Crater Labs

Toronto-based AI and machine learning (ML) research laboratory Crater Labs is helping original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to quickly identify and remediate defects using AI.

By generating thousands of high-resolution images and synthetic data, Crater Labs powers defect identification systems, for instance, determining the quality of cooling pipes at nuclear power plants. The company is also training ML models to predict defects before they even happen.

Greater Toronto Airports Authority

 In March, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) announced that it is leveraging Assaia ApronAI, an AI solution by aviation software company Assaia International AG, to monitor what is happening around an aircraft in real-time.

The AI solution, to be deployed at all of Toronto Pearson International Airport’s 106 gates, tracks every aspect of an aircraft at the gate to highlight and address inefficiencies, provide estimates of gate availability, and be more transparent with passengers regarding the timeliness of flights.

Dash Hudson 

A social media management platform based in Halifax, Dash Hudson recently announced the launch of its AI-powered Social Listening solution, which seeks to allow marketers to capture the full context of social conversations and surface data.

With the new Social Listening solution, a marketer can track exactly what people are saying about a company’s brand, Dash Hudson said. 

“With this data in hand, marketing teams can gain deeper insight into community sentiment across social and make informed decisions to drive success,” said chief executive officer, Thomas Rankin.


Coaching platform Pathlight has announced AI manager, powered by GPT-4, providing employees with real-time feedback and coaching.

AI manager, available in a chat window on the Pathlight platform, uses language models to analyze millions of points of Pathlight’s domain-specific performance data from employee key performance indicators (KPIs), goals, team benchmarks, and customer interactions to support employees when they need it.

The first version of AI manager will be available in a closed beta, and will be for frontline employees to use. However, in the coming weeks, Pathlight will make AI Manager available to managers looking to streamline training.


Chinese company Timekettle demonstrated how its AI Translator Earbuds, embedded with 40 languages and 93 accents, came to the rescue at an international event convening medical professionals.

The AI translator earbuds are embedded with Timekettle’s HybridComm system that subverts the need to pass a device back and forth between two people communicating in different languages, and seeks to redefine speech processing, simultaneous interpretation, and AI translation, the company says.

The device comes particularly handy for hundreds of thousands of immigrant communities who have the daunting task of learning and speaking a new language upon arriving in a new country.

The earbuds translators are priced at C$180-C$400 on Amazon.

Cosmo Pharmaceuticals


Irish pharmaceutical company Cosmo Pharmaceuticals is partnering with medical device company Medtronic to integrate NVIDIA’s AI technologies into its AI-assisted colonoscopy tool, GI Genius.

Cosmo will introduce a platform where third-party developers with a cloud-based platform can train and validate their own AI models with the goal to eventually distribute them through GI Genius.

“The possibility for GI Genius to host multiple real-time AI applications is a game-changer for physicians performing gastrointestinal procedures,” said Giovanni Di Napoli, president of the gastrointestinal business at Medtronic, adding that the integration will provide physicians with expanded access to tools and improve patients’ outcomes.


Vancouver-based NexOptic has announced NexCompress, which uses AI imaging solutions to enable significant bandwidth reduction of videos.

“People recognize the significant role AI-assisted video compression can play in reducing global pressure on internet bandwidth,” said CEO Paul McKenzie. “It can translate to reductions in energy consumption, and cost savings when applied to a variety of different video input scenarios and can be applied to many industries including the colossal video streaming industry.”


PR giant Cision last year acquired media monitoring AI tool Factmata, which tracks online narratives about a company and highlights ones that can hurt or help brand reputation.

Now Cision has created a new role to lead its AI strategy: Antony Cousins has been appointed executive director for AI strategy at Cision.

Cousins will integrate Factmata technologies and oversee the development of generative text-driven solutions, ensuring Cision develops responsible and ethical AI, compliant with regulatory frameworks worldwide.


LivePerson is best known for Conversational Cloud, a popular web chat for brands, which is now enhanced with large language models (LLMs) and generative AI capabilities, the company recently announced.

LivePerson’s AI is trained on a data set of billions of conversational interactions every month, to provide customers with human-like interactions and drive better business outcomes.

The AI also automates phone calls, accelerates bot creation, provides recommended answers to human agents, summarizes transferred or escalated conversations, and more.

But the company says it also has guardrails designed to make LLMs safe for brands, by restricting data access to a curated collection of knowledge.

The company hosted an AI launch event on May 2, which is now available on demand.


Search engine EarthGrid.com has announced the integration of natural language processing (NLP) and AI to help it generate more accurate search results.

It combines auto suggested queries, ranks them in order of relevance and offers users a number of features, including the ability to save their searches, set up notifications, and export search results to other applications.

Interestingly, members can ‘go deep’ into GPT and run custom macro personalities to generate specific results. Fact-checking is also available on the same page to combat AI’s tendency to make mistakes.

Something different

IBM is far from being lesser-known, but bringing generative AI to a golf tournament deserved a honourable mention. 

Along with using it in the Masters tournament broadcast itself, IBM added AI-generated spoken commentary to the popular Masters app and Masters.com. 

The solution produced detailed golf narration for more than 20,000 video clips over the course of the tournament. 

The company announced that it will introduce hole-by-hole player predictions to project a player’s score on each hole for the entire tournament.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Ashee Pamma
Ashee Pamma
Ashee is a writer for ITWC. She completed her degree in Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. She hopes to become a columnist after further studies in Journalism. You can email her at [email protected]

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