Adding further evidence that this is the year of artificial intelligence, International Data Corp has projected that worldwide revenues for cognitive and artificial intelligence systems will reach $12.5 billion in 2017, an increase of 59.3 percent over 2016.

According to the new study by IDC, “Worldwide Semiannual Cognitive Artificial Intelligence Systems Spending Guide,” global spending on cognitive and AI solutions will continue to see significant investment over the next several years, achieving a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 54.4 percent through 2020 when revenues will be more than $46 billion.

"Intelligent applications based on cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, and deep learning are the next wave of technology transforming how consumers and enterprises work, learn, and play," says David Schubmehl, research director, Cognitive Systems and Content Analytics, at IDC.

"These applications are being developed and implemented on cognitive/AI software platforms that offer the tools and capabilities to provide predictions, recommendations, and intelligent assistance through the use of cognitive systems, machine learning, and artificial intelligence,” Schubmehl says. “Cognitive/AI systems are quickly becoming a key part of IT infrastructure and all enterprises need to understand and plan for the adoption and use of these technologies in their organizations."

From a technology perspective, IDC says the largest area of spending in 2017 (approximately $4.5 billion) will be on cognitive applications, which includes “cognitively-enabled process and industry applications that automatically learn, discover, and make recommendations or predictions,” Schubmehl says.

Cognitive and artificial intelligence software platforms, “which provide the tools and technologies to analyze, organize, access, and provide advisory services based on a range of structured and unstructured information,” will see investments of nearly $2.5 billion this year, Schubmehl notes.

Spending on cognitive-related IT and business services will be more than $3.5 billion, while dedicated server and storage purchase will total $1.9 billion.

“Each of these areas will experience strong growth throughout the forecast, led by cognitive applications with a five-year CAGR of 69.6 percent,” Schubmehl says.

The cognitive and artificial intelligence use cases that will see the greatest levels of investment this year are: Quality Management Investigation and Recommendation Systems; Diagnosis and Treatment Systems; Automated Customer Service Agents; Automated Threat Intelligence and Prevention Systems; and Fraud Analysis and Investigation. Combined, these five use cases will deliver nearly half of all cognitive/AI systems spending in 2017.

The use cases that will experience the fastest spending growth through 2020 are Public Safety and Emergency Response (85.5 percent CAGR) and Pharmaceutical Research and Discovery (74.2 percent CAGR), Schubmehl says.

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