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The competition to develop applications for artificial intelligence (AI) in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) heats up as tech giants scramble to acquire AI-based startups and related industry talents in order to strengthen their strategic positions. With multinational companies such as Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Yahoo leading the development of AI technologies, AI systems for enterprise applications are estimated to be worth US$200 million this year, according to Topology Research Institute (TRI), a division of TrendForce. TrendForce further expects the market value for enterprise AI solutions to grow ten folds between 2015 and 2020, when it will reach upwards of US$2 billion.
“AI was initially confined within a highly specialized research field,” said Carlos Yu, communication technology and consumer electronics analyst at TrendForce. “In recent years, however, AI technologies have continually made revolutionary advances, moving from artificial narrow intelligence (ANI) to artificial general intelligence (AGI). Large enterprises have not only begin to acquire AI solutions, they also set about improving their AI-based services by combining them with Cloud and Big Data technologies.”
IBM, for example, has been a pioneer in AI technologies with its works on Watson, a thinking computer capable of providing 13 different types of AI-based services. Watson’s potential expands with IBM investing heavily in Cloud and Big Data technologies during the recent period, and the AI system’s revenue contribution to Big Blue in the next 10 years is estimated to reach US$10 billion. Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon are also embracing a powerful form of AI known as deep learning, using it to improve their digital or virtual personal assistants.
Yu added: “The focus of AI development in the next five years will be on the adoption of these technologies by enterprises of major industries, such as manufacturing, software, information engineering, biomedical technology, retailing, Internet and automotive. AI and robot solutions increase production capacity and efficiency for manufacturing establishments, while software developers can obtain accurate analyses and evaluations of their products with the assistance of AI systems backed by Cloud and Big Data technologies. In the healthcare sector, AI systems can be integrated into wearable devices that can improve the standard of the overall care for patients as well as assisting the development of pharmaceuticals. Lastly, AI technologies can also benefit retailers by providing accurate supply and demand forecasts, thus reducing both logistics and inventory costs. In sum, AI, as approached from these different perspectives, is playing crucial role in the transformation of industries.”