As companies increasingly adopt Internet of Things (IoT)-based technologies, more businesses are leveraging machine learning technologies for data analytics, according to ABI Research.

With major cloud-infrastructure providers such as Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft heavily investing in the technologies, ABI estimates machine learning-based data analytics tools and services revenues to hit nearly $20 billion in 2021 as machine-learning-as-a-service (MlaaS) models take off.

“The emergence of the [MlaaS] model is good news for the market, as it cuts down the complexity and time required to implement machine learning and thus opens the doors to an increase in its adoption level, especially in the small-to-medium business sector,” said Eugenio Pasqua, research analyst at ABI Research. “Most companies also offer a free trial period to allow customers to test the functionalities before fully committing.”

Machine learning is the method of choice for developing software for disciplines such as natural language processing, speech recognition, computer vision and robot control. While in the past businesses used it to tackle application-specific problems, today it is thought to be a building block of a larger system, ABI said. Many companies are developing more “general purpose” tools that can be leveraged across an array of different industries and use cases.

Major cloud-infrastructure providers are investing in the technologies to either acquire or build upon their own machine learning expertise, the report noted. They can provide these capabilities in a cloud-based delivery model, exploiting their own cloud infrastructures to offer APIs that developers can use to quickly and easily embed machine learning capabilities into their applications.

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