Top Cloud and AI Trends for 2018

Over the last decade, Cloud and AI have emerged as the two important technologies for companies and businesses to transform themselves. They are absolutely crucial for businesses in order to compete in the fast-changing digital ecosystem.

Both cloud and AI have immense benefits. Cloud, of course, enables a digitally connected world and reduces the workload of managing heavy hardware. AI, on the other hand, has the potential to streamline the immense capabilities of cloud computing and equip businesses with tremendous power. Among its many applications, AI is implemented by many companies in the technology space to analyze and learn from historical data, identify patterns and make real-time decisions leading to process automation and eradication of human errors.

According to analyst firm Gartner, AI technologies will be in almost every software product by 2020.  30% of CIOs say that AI will be a top investment priority in 2020. The surge in Machine Learning usage is expected to bring more users to the cloud this year as per a study by LogicMonitor. The study states that AI will drive 66% of public cloud use by 2020, up from 50% in the current scenario.

2018 will be the year of AI and ML going mainstream, as the two main factors affecting cloud computing. Technology giants like  Amazon Web Services, Google, Microsoft, and IBM have already adopted and exemplified the benefits of AI to the world. It is, in fact, a matter of time before other companies follow suit.

Here are some of the top trends that we can expect in 2018 on the cusp of AI and cloud:

Shortage of AI talent

Although the adoption of AI in the cloud is inevitable, there are challenges associated with it and the biggest one is to equip the workforce with the skill-sets on AI. Companies investing in AI will have to be prepared to invest a significant amount of money on staff to provide them with the right skills and knowledge, to enable their success.

As the technology shift impacts human lives, the impact will be felt in the job market. The considerable amount of technology changes which this year will witness will impact jobs. AI-powered roles like data scientists, UI/UX developers, AI/ML developer, cloud engineers will be in demand and more opportunities will be up for grabs. According to analyst Gartner, AI will create 2.3 million jobs by 2020 and the impact of AI on workforce will be better.

Machine Learning on hyperscale cloud

2018 promises to be a significant year, where we will witness a lot more Machine Learning capability built into public cloud as hyperscale cloud vendors embrace AI trends. This will help users see how Machine Learning tools can add business value.

AI and Cloud Integration

While 2017 was the year where technologies such as AI and IoT started to be discussed more seriously, 2018 will be a year of integration as cloud providers are expected to emphasize more on services related to AI, data management, and serverless operations.  As the traditional cloud market may not grow as fast in the future, the market for cloud and AI integration will be more for industries and verticals like retail, healthcare, finance, and e-commerce, where AI models will be both open and cross-platform based.

We will witness companies embracing the marriage of cloud and AI. This will be driven by the fact that cloud enables AI by providing the data storage capacity and massive processing capability to meet technology requirements. AI will improve decision making for businesses supported by data. AI has immense potential to provide a number of opportunities in customer service, marketing and analytics for businesses.

Edge Computing

Edge computing will also see more usage in 2018, given that there was a great growth in the adoption of smart wearable technologies, health trackers and heart monitors, in 2017. Edge computing is growing in popularity and one can expect a lot of hybrid models to emerge in 2018 working in tandem with the cloud.

Safety Concerns

With the arrival of cutting-edge technology, the security is the topmost priority for organizations to protect and sustain their businesses. With Ransomware attacks such as that on Equifax’s data breach making headlines in 2017, the focus on security will be even more this year for businesses to protect their systems and databases.

AI covers a wide range of activities which involve the process of analyzing data to find patterns. While decision-making under uncertainty is a core AI capability, these cannot occur in isolation. It’s essential to update central capacity management systems to optimize load-balancing decisions.

This will also incur a lot of investment in tools like security information, event management, and malware detection systems.

Data Storage

Data storage and data management are expected to be core focus areas in 2018. Data Virtualization as a technique is likely to be used more as its easy to understand, build and maintain. As this process involves transferring data from disparate sources, companies will embrace the method to provide access to data from a variety of sources from one point that will allow a user to access applications without using locations. AI and Machine Learning will play an integral role here as well.

The use of AI in mobile and IoT devices will increase business transaction and communications even more, pushing IoE (internet of everything) to the forefront. Such a shift will require simplification of complex systems like the interaction between machines and users with their environment.

Given this scenario, the demand for data storage containers will be more in 2018 as enterprises have to pay only for the storage space. The rise in demand will pave the way for service providers to utilize more online data centers that are equipped with higher storage capabilities. According to a survey by CISCO, the total data centers in 2017 was 370 exabytes and global storage capacity is expected to hit 600 exabytes leading to the fact that the demand for cloud storage capacity would be double in space in comparison with 2017!

AI and Analytics

Given the massive growth of analytics, another trend in 2018 will be its upward shift to a whole new level powered by AI. AI will see extensive usage when it comes to various data operations Intelligence based user profiling and modeling based insights will develop further to be equipped to provide real-time predictions.

This year, AI is also tipped to drive a multi-structured CRM and marketing analytics and insights across multiple channels, touchpoints, and social networks.

It will also enable predictive analytics for better planning, forecasting and decision support for cross-selling, upselling, retention, loyalty management, risk management, fraud detection and campaign management.

AI and cloud, in 2018 are also expected to enable online businesses to get more insights into customer buying patterns and decision-making to help market their products better and analyze sales data to correlate how much spent and revenue generated. The new year will increase adoption of AI to improve business intelligence and data analytics to understand the movement of visitors and improve conversion rates to make better and faster decision.

Many organizations have invested heavily to apply advanced analytics and in 2018, more autonomous agents will use the outcomes of predictive analytics and tools to plan and interact directly with customers.

The Intelligent Cloud

As cloud companies focus on providing software and infrastructure services to their clients, the focus is shifting to provide what is called Intelligent Cloud. While there are companies working in this direction, the biggest challenge to developing this is the amount of time, money and more importantly AI expertise involved to materialize it. While only a few companies have been able to invest in AI research, it is anticipated that many large and mid-size players will also invest heavily in AI R&D this year. The objective of such an investment will be to develop a customer-centric cloud which works quickly, efficiently and more intuitively than their competition. The cloud and AI integration can provide:

  • Resources for research and development of AI, cutting the cost of dealing with expensive hardware.
  • User-friendly systems
  • Access to latest technology

Cloud computing will dominate the business environment more this year providing public cloud solutions, cloud data centers, platform, and infrastructure-as-a-service. This transformation will not just benefit large enterprises but also SMEs and start-ups, in fact, Botmetric’s cloud usage report indicates that mid-size companies may be the biggest beneficiary here.  But as the two biggest technology mega-trends, the integration of AI and cloud will undoubtedly create a great impact on businesses of all sizes in the years to come.