Technology firms are building products to ride the AI bandwagon
Updated: Jun 19, 2018
Artificial Intelligence technologies have been generating a lot of interest for quite some time now – and why not, they have indeed opened up a realm of possibilities for the enterprises, ranging from autonomous vehicles to assistance in drug discovery. This has led to a lot of research and development in this area with technology firms releasing new products powered by some artificial intelligence technology to be at the forefront of this digital wave. Gartner, the global technology research firm, has predicted that AI will be in almost every new software product by 2020. Also, according to the research firm, AI will evolve to be a top five investment priority for more than 30% of CIOs during that time period.
Technology outsourcing firms in India have been focusing on automation using artificial intelligence. Automation has the ability to reduce human-dependence and improve performance for repetitive tasks. Utilizing automation technologies, the firms can thus improve their profitability which will be a respite in the current state of affairs where pricing pressure is squeezing out profits for these outsourcing firms.
Last week, HCL Technologies launched two artificial intelligence-powered services – ‘DRYiCE COPA’ and DRYiCETAO’ – to provide process transformation platform and strategic consulting to enterprises. With these offerings, HCL has joined the likes of Infosys, TCS, Wipro, and other IT giants that are also offering AI powered platforms and services to the enterprises.
Infosys offers Nia (initially launched as Mana, but later revamped with additional technologies and launched as Nia) that combines big data analytics, machine learning, knowledge management, and cognitive automation capabilities; TCS has Ignio, its own AI powered automation platform; and Wipro had launched Holmes, its AI platform offering cognitive process automation, knowledge virtualization, virtual agents, and other services.
These offerings have fuelled the already growing interest in AI and most of the technology firms are scrambling to introduce some product that has the magic words – Artificial Intelligence – in its description. In a report, Gartner had noted that the term ‘Artificial Intelligence’, which was not even in the top 100 search terms on gartner.com in Jan 2016, was ranked at no. 7 in May 2017 – indicating the popularity (or hype) of the topic and interest from the users. Artificial Intelligence also featured as a key trend in Gartner’s Hype Cycle for emerging technologies in 2017.
However, Gartner also noted that current market hype and interest in artificial intelligence is making software vendors force-fit AI technologies into their products as they do not want to miss out on the current AI wave. This is creating considerable confusion for potential consumers and obscuring the real benefits of the technology. Gartner’s research vice president, Jim Hare, rightly said that “AI offers exciting possibilities, but unfortunately, most vendors are focused on the goal of simply building and marketing an AI-based product rather than first identifying needs, potential uses and the business value to customers.”
In this AI hype, software vendors should first focus on building a collection of case studies that clearly outline the business problems they are trying to solve and quantify the results achieved using artificial intelligence. Utilizing the AI term wisely in marketing materials instead of just using it as a rubber-stamp will provide clarity to potential customers in this chaotic world of AI powered platforms.