Generative AI has quickly become a part of the daily life of knowledge workers. AI systems based on large language models can be trained to understand human language and assist in tasks such as information retrieval and problem-solving. 

Recognizing the benefits of generative AI, Sitowise has closely followed the developments in this field at The Smart City Lab innovation community. To accelerate the adoption of AI solutions, Sitowise established the AI Center of Excellence and has been developing its own tools since autumn 2023, including the Saga AI assistant, first deployed in the Digital Solutions Business Area, which delivers GIS-based digital solutions for the public and private sectors.

Saga AI is intended for internal use at Sitowise, but ultimately, customers also benefit from it, according to Sitowise's Tech Lead Tuomas Ruohonen and Senior Cyber Security Engineer Tuuli Siiskonen. – Saga AI facilitates and enhances planning work. For example, it speeds up the production of features and functionalities in digital solutions developed by Sitowise, says Siiskonen.

Robust Internal Solution Ensures Safety

When OpenAI launched the AI-based ChatGPT in November 2022, Sitowise began considering its use. However, tools based on generative AI like ChatGPT entail significant cybersecurity risks as the data fed into them is used to train the underlying large language models and service development. Previously, there have been reports, for example, of Samsung's strategic business secrets becoming part of the language model. Due to the evident benefits and risks of publicly available AI tools, Sitowise soon decided to develop an internal AI solution. 

– All data fed into Saga AI and its responses are securely handled within Sitowise's services alone. This way, the data does not leak outside of Sitowise, Ruohonen says. – From the users' perspective, the advantage of an internal AI solution is that it ensures consistent and high-quality usability. We have aimed to create a solution that is easily approachable and manageable, continues Siiskonen. 

The Saga AI assistant is implemented using Microsoft tools, utilizing Azure Open AI technology. The service has been customized to Sitowise’s needs and is managed in Sitowise's cloud service. The service's secure usage is also ensured by verifying all content produced by Saga AI, such as source code, before its utilization. 

– The AI tool does not produce finished code, a human always reviews the outputs it generates. The AI is not trusted blindly but serves specifically as an assistant, Ruohonen says.

Base Code Generated in an Instant

What does Saga AI do, and who uses it? The initiative for development came from Sitowise's application developers, coders, and other creators of digital solutions, who are the primary users of the AI tool in the first phase. 

– Primarily, the tool was developed to meet the needs of application developers and for creating source code. Other potential uses are currently being explored, Ruohonen explains. Based on experiences so far, Saga AI has met expectations, says Ruohonen. He mentions one example of its benefits: a component had to be built into the user interface, which would have normally required extensive documentation. 

Now, obtaining the necessary base code was enough with a few questions and keywords fed into Saga AI, which mined the right answer instantly from its vast dataset.

Use Expanding Across the Entire Corporation

For now, Saga AI operates on the dataset with which OpenAI has trained it. Later, training of Saga AI can continue by feeding it Sitowise’s own materials, such as design guidelines and similar project work documents. – If Saga AI is given the opportunity to mine data from different business units within Sitowise, it will facilitate finding comprehensive solutions that benefit the customer and speed up, for example, the preparation of proposals, illustrates Siiskonen. 

Next, Saga AI will be deployed in other business areas throughout the entire corporation. Internal guidelines search functionality is currently being piloted in Sitowise's Infrastructure business unit.

Utilizing AI tools can give a company like Sitowise a clear competitive edge, believe Siiskonen and Ruohonen. Patience is also needed because technologies come and go, and handling trade secrets with high security is of utmost importance. 

– The AI field is moving forward at a fast pace. It's advisable to follow the developments but at the same time carefully consider what to engage in and what not. You shouldn't rush into every new wave, says Ruohonen.