Artificial Intelligence as a Service: Gaining Momentum in 2020

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Do you still remember the ”software as a service” (SaaS) licensing scheme of the 1960s? It is still around, and several other tech applications have graduated from being solely individual functional tools to delivery models of a variety of business and management applications.

Today, one of the trending technologies is Artificial Intelligence, which is rapidly transforming into other functionalities, including ”artificial intelligence as a service” or AIaaS.

Artificial intelligence: brief history and definition

Research conditions for artificial intelligence (AI) started around 1949, a few years after the electronic computer was developed. The early development of AI started around 1954, with the discovery by Norbert Wiener of the theory that intelligent behavior came from feedback tools that machines can stimulate. 

What is considered as the first AI program is from the works of The Logic Theorist, a creation of Newell and Simon in 1955. But the term artificial intelligence was coined by John McCarthy in 1956, who is considered as AI’s father. Further works by Newell and Simon led to the creation of The General Problem Solver in 1957.

By definition, AI is technology applied to computer systems, enabling them to come-up with human-like decisions. The objective of the technology is to simulate human intelligence. With the system, AI-enabled computers can do complex tasks that were once the realm of humans.

With AI, machines can recognize speech, forecast weather conditions, recognize patterns, and diagnose certain medical conditions. It helps video streaming sites, voice assistants, navigation-based apps, search engines, IoT devices, and automate several tasks. 

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AI is going to be a massive industry

The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that by 2021, two-thirds of commercial enterprise applications will be AI-enabled. This will create over 70 million jobs by 2030 in areas such as data science, programming, maintenance, support, and testing. In August 2020, IDC projects that the AI market revenue worldwide for the year will reach $156.5 billion, which includes services, hardware and software. It is expected to reach $300 billion within four years. 

Thus, companies will have to incorporate artificial intelligence solutions into their production and business strategies. However, AI integration requires a sizeable investment.

Artificial intelligence as a service

Since AI integration is not cheap, one viable solution is offering artificial intelligence as a service. AI provides companies with many benefits, such as comprehensive data analytics, to understand their market and consumers better, automate many of their business processes, and respond to market needs by producing better products. 

The investment involved in acquiring AI machines and hiring AI-experienced programmers can limit small and medium-sized companies’ access to AI technology.

By offering AI intelligence as a service, more companies can access AI software from different third-party providers. The other good thing is that the program can be tweaked to their particular requirements, with a reduced investment. They can increase their profits without starting from zero. They can focus on growing their business while attaining more value through data analytics and AI. 

Vendors currently offering AIaaS

At the forefront of what is seen to be a huge market very soon are tech-driven companies, known for being shakers and movers in the tech industry.

Amazon Web Services offers pre-trained AI services to many companies, such as analyzing videos and images, forecasting business models with a high degree of accuracy, or personalizing customers’ experiences. 

The AI Hub of Google Cloud offers enterprise-grade sharing capabilities. They can use technologies based on Google Cloud AI’s core components, like speech recognition, translation, natural language processing, and computer vision. 

Business-based processes, such as making accurate projections, automating company decisions and processes, and getting optimized solutions are just some of the areas IBM Watson Cloud is focusing. The services offer customized AI solutions for specific market niches.

Microsoft Azure offers AI services to data scientists, machine learning engineers and app developers to help them imitate human behaviors, use data to make predictions, understand speech, and analyze images. 

Using artificial intelligence as a service will provide businesses with an advanced AI infrastructure with lower costs, accessing the service without investing in AI software or equipment. 

AIaaS providers have different access plans tailored to each client’s needs, allowing them to pay only for the AI service they will use. The plans are specific, so companies do not need to hire AI tech experts. If the plan works for them, companies can upscale their projects according to their current requirements. 

Companies should now assess their needs and find the type of artificial intelligence as a service they require to keep pace with developments and advancements in intelligent computing.