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Smart machines primed to accelerate across business

Machine intelligence, artificial intelligence and cognitive computing are likely to become key components of business operations, says Gartner

Almost one-third of larger companies will make use of smart machines by 2021, according to analyst Gartner.

Such machines, which include cognitive computing, artificial intelligence (AI), intelligent automation, machine learning and deep learning, will change the way businesses operate, the analyst firm predicted.

Susan Tan, research vice-president at Gartner, said: “Smart machines will profoundly change the way work is done and how value is created. From dynamic pricing models and fraud detection to predictive policing and robotics, smart machines have broad applicability in all industries.”

The technologies could be applied to help organisations assess, select, implement, change and adapt talent, and for IT and business processes.

Spending on smart machines is expected to rise from $451m in 2016 to nearly $29bn in 2021.

The spectrum of sub-technologies within smart machines will be adopted at different speeds and timings, with most smart technologies being mainstream adopted in the 2020-2025 period.

Tan said she expected that over the next decade, machines would become integral to the toolkit for system integrators (SIs) to provide next-generation services.

She said SIs would offer services such as advising enterprises to help them sort through the hype, helping with strategic design, training smart machines, deployment, integration, expansion and ongoing refinement.

Read more about smart machines

As Computer Weekly has previously reported, smart machines are beginning to be used to solve real-world problems. BMW, for instance, has begun working with IBM Watson to look at how to improve the driver experience. Another example is Predix from industrial giant GE, which gathers sensor data from machines to predict maintenance requirements.

Industry leaders such as Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE, believe that such smart machines represent the future of industrial companies, enabling them to make small improvements in efficiency, which scale up to multibillion-dollar savings over time.

Companies including IBM and Microsoft provide machine learning in the cloud to support smart machine applications. Others, such as HPE, are looking at the hybrid cloud to address new computing challenges, such as how to process IoT data effectively as smart machines evolve. Last month in London, HPE showed how its research project, dubbed The Machine, could support new types of applications that require vast amounts of data processing.

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