Markus Hannebauer is co-founder and CEO of think-cell, where he is in charge of Marketing, Sales, Operations and Finance. He is a Computer Scientist by training and holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from Technical University Berlin. In this conversation, Markus talks about think-cell 9, a PowerPoint add-in that uses AI to help you create amazing charts.
Geetesh: think-cell is a highly capable product — and now think-cell’s version 9 ups the ante with AI. Can you provide a beginner’s explanation about how AI can help think-cell users create better and more efficient charts inside PowerPoint?
Markus: Actually, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has always been part of what think-cell users experience as “magic” when working with our PowerPoint add-in. Every single decision that the software makes on behalf of the user on the positioning of chart labels, annotations and arrows is driven by AI algorithms. They quickly label stacked charts, scatter charts and bubble charts, applying visualization rules learned from the best human graphics designers.
In the most recent versions of think-cell, particularly in think-cell 9, the application of AI goes even beyond chart creation. think-cell recognizes and understands chart images from PDFs or web sites and turns them into Excel numbers. think-cell 9 also supports users in the creation of conceptual slides, such as process flows and tables, with automatic layout. You only roughly position elements, such as pentagons or text boxes, on your slide and think-cell’s AI engine creates and maintains perfect positions and sizes for these elements to form beautiful layouts.
All this comes with a product that has — unlike most other offerings claiming to use AI — proven to create value for presentation creators for more than 16 years now. It really works in practice and saves our users hours of working time.
Geetesh: Who uses think-cell and how do they benefit? Can you tell us more, focused towards someone who hasn’t played with think-cell yet. And is there a trial version available?
Markus: Although we started the company with a focus on consulting firms, today, over 90% of our 600,000+ recurring users are from other industries, such as automotive, pharmaceuticals, engineering and financial services. This user count is up from about 90,000 since my last conversation with Indezine.com in 2009 — this is an annual growth rate of more than 25%.
Any professional PowerPoint and Excel user can benefit from our product. Compared to PowerPoint, think-cell users save over 70% time on data-driven charts and the results simply look much better. With think-cell, users feel empowered to use new chart types they haven’t tried before, because there has been no support in PowerPoint for waterfall charts, Marimekko charts or Gantt charts, which are all native charts in think-cell.
All this happens inside the well-known Microsoft environment, keeping the learning required low. And sharing presentations made with think-cell with non-users is also seamless, because think-cell produces 100% PowerPoint-compatible slides.
Since users save so much time using think-cell on recurring tasks, they can concentrate on the message of their slides while think-cell automatically takes care of the layout and corporate brand rules. It’s like having a smart graphics expert sitting inside your machine assisting you. Besides being more productive, our users also tend to become more creative because trying different visualizations for the same message takes only minutes instead of hours.
If your readers would like to give think-cell a try, they are more than welcome to download a full-featured 30-day trial from here.
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