Artificial Intelligence as a Service or AIaaS: What Is It, the Top Players, Benefits & More
Software as a service is an increasingly market. Its current market size is estimated at $117.8 billion, and it is expected to grow to $138.3 billion by 2022. Everyone knows about it as it encompasses different software services distributed via cloud infrastructure. However, there is a new player in this industry – Artificial Intelligence as a Service, or simply AIaaS.
That doesn’t strike us as something completely unforeseeable. Businesses across industries have recognized the value AI brings, ranging from automation of repetitive tasks to the ability to make data-driven decisions. That’s why we have AIaaS, a service that gets traction among businesses worldwide and the global public cloud application services market.
Since it is one of the newest cloud-based services on the market, we decided to introduce you to it. Below you will find a summary of AIaaS, its benefits, and whether it is better to invest in it or develop your own in-house solution.
What Is Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has gone a long way from being a futuristic concept in Stanley Kubrick’s movies to becoming something businesses and individuals can use every day. AI refers to highly-specialized algorithms that enable computers to carry tasks on their own. For instance, AI can solve problems, learn from experience, and even showcase common reasoning.
Over the years, AI has evolved, resulting in many emerging AI-powered solutions and new technologies. If you start researching the AI landscape, you will most likely stumble upon Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, computer vision, and robotics.
All these are AI technologies that found specific use cases in the real world. Now that you are more familiar with AI, let’s see what AI as a service is.
Artificial Intelligence as a Service: The Basics
The “As a service” field encompasses various cloud-based solutions. These solutions are provided and hosted by a third-party company. They stand as a cost-effective alternative to developing solutions from scratch.
Software as a Service enables individuals and businesses to access sophisticated software tools. If we follow the logic, it becomes clear that Artificial Intelligence as a Service enables individuals and businesses to harness the power of AI technology.
AIaaS takes AI accessibility and brings it to a new level. Thanks to AIaaS, anyone can now benefit from the AI. While it makes the tech accessible to everyone, it also makes it easy to use. Some AIaaS solutions encompass low-code tools that require minimal technical knowledge and experience. It also significantly shortens the implementation period and makes onboarding easier.
AIaaS comes in many shapes and sizes. Currently, there are different types of AIaaS solutions on the market. Each one is unique and has a highly specific use case.
The Most Popular Types of AIaaS
Chatbots – the chatbot industry bloomed in the late 2010s. They can automate many repeat tasks, reduce wait times, and offer assistance around the clock. These bots leverage custom-tailored AI algorithms to deliver human-like conversation experiences to people.
At their core, we have Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP). Thanks to these two technologies, chatbots can understand us and learn from their past conversations.
APIs – Application Programming Interface acts as a bridge between two different software platforms. AI-based APIs can streamline the communication between two apps, analyze data, and deliver valuable insights.
AI-enabled APIs are extremely convenient for end-users because they work out of the box. Users don’t need to write a single line of code to benefit from an advanced solution such as AI.
ML – machine learning enables big data operations. AIaaS with a focus on ML enables companies to catalog, analyze, and use huge data sets. ML can go through large amounts of data efficiently, find patterns, automate processes, and make predictions.
However, building ML trained models takes time and expertise. AIaaS enables companies to use pre-trained ML models and customize them according to their specific needs and goals.
Players in the AIaaS Niche
AIaaS attracted many companies. Yes, the field is lucrative, but above everything else, it is engaging for companies to pioneer and facilitate AI implementation across industries. For the purposes of this article, we want to highlight a few players in the AIaaS niche.
Google AI Platform
One of the best AIaaS platforms comes from the IT giant Google. Google AI platform is built to help businesses easily leverage and integrate AI and ML in their projects. If a business generates large amounts of data, Google AI Platform can help process and analyze it.
One of the interesting services is AutoML, which was built to help businesses training their own custom ML models. AutoML is often used for translation, image classification, and text analysis. It comes with an easy-to-use data visualization tool.
All tools available through the Google AI Platform can be integrated throughout the entire Google Cloud infrastructure.
IBM has aggressively targeted the AIaaS market in recent years. IBM Watson is a cutting-edge AI-enabled service package that offers several solutions to businesses when it comes to big data management.
IBM Watson AIaaS encompasses different apps, each one with a unique use-case. For instance, Watson Assistant allows users to build their own completely customized virtual assistants. IBM Watson also delivers text analysis solutions via Watson Natural Language Understand.
Users also have access to IBM Watson Studio. They can use it to build their own ML models and deploy them in their internal workflows.
Microsoft Azure is a comprehensive AIaaS platform with many unique AI and ML apps. Microsoft Azure offers several APIs to end-users. APIs enable users to integrate Azure Cognitive Services functionalities in their own solutions. Azure Cognitive Services include text analysis and computer vision.
One of the most popular services from the Microsoft Azure package is Azure Bot Service. As the name suggests, it enables users to build chatbots from scratch. Thanks to the comprehensive features, companies can build all sorts of bots ranging from simple Q&A bots to completely customized virtual assistants.
Although it is an Apache Pulsar as a service, Pandio also has characteristics that qualify it for the AIaaS business model. Apache Pulsar is a popular cloud-native distributed messaging and streaming platform. Pandio takes everything Apache Pulsar has to offer and takes it to a new level, all thanks to AI.
Pandio uses an internally developed neural network to boost the performance of distributed messaging and streaming platforms. AI is used to predict and react in real-time to ensure the best performance.
4 Benefits of AIaaS
Before you can make an informed decision whether to or not to invest in AIaaS, it’s helpful to review some of the main benefits. Here are the most important benefits of AIaaS:
Easy Implementation – AIaaS is designed as an out-of-the-box solution. Unless you plan to train your own machine learning models, you can immediately implement and start using AIaaS.
Cost Efficiency – If you opt for an AIaaS solution, you’ll get your hands on a complete product. This means you don’t necessarily have to hire AI specialists or additional IT staff. More importantly, since we are talking about cloud-native platforms, you avoid the investment of expensive infrastructure upgrades.
Flexibility and Scalability – most AIaaS solutions are completely customizable, which delivers unparalleled flexibility when it comes to implementation and onboarding. There is also the scalability benefit. Your business needs may change or fluctuate, and AIaaS can be easily scaled up or down to reflect your current needs.
Transparency – Finally, we have transparency as one of the most valuable benefits. Every business wants to control the costs. AIaaS enables businesses to choose exactly what they want to use and pay for.
Using AIaaS vs. Building Everything in-House
In the end, it all boils down to one question: “Should I use AIaaS or build an AI solution in-house?” If you have a team of software engineers, resources, and infrastructure available in your organization, you can build everything in-house. However, you should know that it takes time to develop AI-based solutions.
In the meantime, the best practices can change, and if you want to end up with a solution that enables you to stay ahead of the competition, your team will have to make improvements on the go.
We’ve already gone through the benefits of AIaaS. You’ll get access to an out-of-the-box solution that you can furthermore customize to your needs. You won’t have to invest in the development process, infrastructure, nor handle the upgrades and security as the AIaaS provider takes care of it all.
The biggest contribution of AIaaS is that it makes AI technology widely accessible. Thanks to it, AI is no longer reserved for big corporations with big budgets – it delivers AI-powered solutions to startups, small and medium-sized businesses. Whether you want to analyze your data, build advanced chatbots, or automate processes, AIaaS will help you do it in a cost-efficient manner.