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November 1, 2016

AI Platforms Seen Emerging in 2017


Technology predictions for next year are already filtering in, with artificial intelligence and full-blown analytics and other platforms increasingly seen as among the keys to opening the big data floodgates in 2017.

Market watcher Forrester forecasts that AI spending will triple next year as companies “convert customer data into personalized experiences.” Application drivers include advanced analytics, machine learning and cognitive computing platforms.

The AI spending prediction is bolstered by recent investments in emerging machine and deep learning technology developers. For example, U.K. AI chip developer Graphcore emerged from stealth mode this week with a $30 million funding round aimed at advancing its “intelligent processing unit” (IPU) strategy that combines advanced parallel processing with software tools and libraries.

The startup’s IPU card plugs into PCI buses to boost the performance of x86 servers. Graphcore, which is backed by the investment arms of Samsumg Electronics (005930: Korea SE) and the German electronics giant Bosch (NSE: BOSCHLTD), is looking to advance machine learning applications that currently rely heavily on graphics processors and FPGAs.

Meanwhile, the Israeli startup Voyager Labs said Tuesday (Nov. 1) is has so far raised more than $100 million to fund early development of its AI engine that combines deep-learning algorithms with expert systems. The Tel Aviv-based startup, formed by a veteran Israeli intelligence officer, is targeting its AI platform at analyzing unstructured data to deliver behavioral insights.

AI is among a list of emerging data-driven technologies expected to bloom over the next year that includes the Internet of Things and cloud computing along with augmented and virtual reality. The flood of data generated by expansion of the IoT will be coupled with emerging AI capabilities, Forrester predicts. Meanwhile, IoT solutions will increasingly be built on emerging lightweight cloud capabilities such as micro-services used to distribute applications.

Other market forecasters also highlighted AI as an emerging feature in many applications during the coming year. Among them, IDC predicts that 75 percent of developer teams will include “cognitive/AI functionality” in new applications by 2018. That, the market tracker adds, will touch off a “Battle of AI Platforms” as leading cloud vendors including Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN), Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) compete for developers in the cognitive and AI market segment.

By 2019, IDC forecasts that all “effective” IoT development efforts will include cognitive and AI capabilities.

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