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Retailers and Banks are Driving Demand for Artificial Intelligence Systems

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Although practically all types of businesses are investing in artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, the retail and banking industries are particularly bullish on the fast-growing and increasingly more capable technology.

According to a new IDC forecast released today, retailers and banks will lead the charge this year, investing $1.74 billion and $1.72 billion on cognitive and AI technologies, respectively. They'll be followed by discrete manufacturers, healthcare firms and the process manufacturers, each spending above the $1 billion mark, said the analyst group.

Collectively, the world's businesses will pour $57.6 billion into cognitive and AI systems market in 2021, which is poised to expand at a compound annual growth rate of just over 50 percent during IDC's forecast period (2016-2021). For comparison's sake, the market is expected to hit $12 billion this year, a 59.1-percent gain from 2016.

AI systems

Most of those organizations will be based in the U.S., IDC said. American businesses will be responsible for 80 percent of global spending in 2017 and nearly 75 percent in 2021.

No industry will be left untouched by AI's, said Marianne Daquila, research manager of Customer Insights and Analysis at IDC.

"Cognitive and artificial intelligence solutions continue to proliferate across all industries resulting in significant growth opportunities. Some of the use cases are very industry specific, such as diagnosis and treatment in healthcare, and in others they are common across multiple industries such as automated customer service agents," Daquila said in a Sept. 25 announcement. "The variety, application, and nature of cognitive/artificial intelligence use cases is resulting in ubiquitous spend over the forecast period."

Gartner recently predicted that AI will overtake the software industry by 2020. Practically all the software products and services released in that year will feature AI capabilities, said the analyst group. Nearly a third of CIOs said that AI will be one of their top five investment priorities by the time 2020 rolls around.

For now, vendors are busy incorporating AI into their products and finding new ways to make the technology work for their customers. "We are seeing cognitive and AI technology and solutions weaving into an ever broader and wider array of applications and use cases," said David Schubmehl, research director of Cognitive/Artificial Intelligence Systems at IDC.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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