Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
- AI will be most helpful with customer service, allowing businesses to cut labor costs efficiency. — Gartner, 2018
- Advances in reliability are expected to make AI-related services a multi-billion dollar industry. — Gartner, 2018
Experts have said for years that, as artificial intelligence (AI) improves and spreads, more businesses will continue to find ways to integrate it into how they function. Earlier this year, a report from Narrative Science and the National Business Research Institute found that more than 60% percent of companies surveyed had already implemented AI in some fashion and were looking for more ways to take advantage of the tech.
Research from Gartner has validated this investment in AI, finding that worldwide business value derived from AI reached $1.2 trillion in 2018, a growth of 70%. This massive leap forward is only the beginning, with the value derived from AI slated to grow to $3.9 trillion by 2022.
John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner, said in a press release that AI was instrumental in advancing business interests in a number of different ways and would be key to future disruption in certain industries.
"AI promises to be the most disruptive class of technologies during the next 10 years due to advances in computational power, volume, velocity and variety of data, as well as advances in deep neural networks (DNNs)," Lovelock said in the release. "One of the biggest aggregate sources for AI-enhanced products and services acquired by enterprises between 2017 and 2022 will be niche solutions that address one need very well. Business executives will drive investment in these products, sourced from thousands of narrowly focused, specialist suppliers with specific AI-enhanced applications."
SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)
Gartner split their assessment into three different silos where AI has had a demonstrable effect on a company's earnings. Specifically, the survey looked at how AI was affecting customer experiences, new revenue, and cost reduction efforts. According to Gartner's research, customer experience was one of the major factors holding back more businesses from adopting AI technology, with Gartner calling it "a necessary precondition for widespread" use.
"In the early years of AI, customer experience (CX) is the primary source of derived business value, as organizations see value in using AI techniques to improve every customer interaction, with the goal of increasing customer growth and retention," Lovelock said in the release.
As AI becomes more sophisticated, the technology will be able to handle more and more tasks, allowing businesses to cut down on labor costs and automate many actions that must be done by hand now.
"This new level of automation reduces costs and risks, and enables, for example, increased revenue through better microtargeting, segmentation, marketing and selling," he said. Virtual assistants and attendants will be able to take over call centers and help desks while helping with calendaring, scheduling, and other administrative tasks, the release noted.
The survey also looked at how AI was being used to increase sales for other goods as well as create new revenue streams from emerging technology.
"In 2021, new revenue will become the dominant source, as companies uncover business value in using AI to increase sales of existing products and services, as well as to discover opportunities for new products and services. Thus, in the long run, the business value of AI will be about new revenue possibilities," Lovelock added in the release.
Despite the continued growth of AI-related business, Gartner also said the growth rate is expected to flatten out once AI has become fully integrated with most business services.
Gartner predicted that the 70% growth rate seen this year will be the highest for the next five years, in spite of an expected growth in business value to nearly $4 billion by 2022.
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Jonathan Greig has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Jonathan Greig is a freelance journalist based in New York City. He recently returned to the United States after reporting from South Africa, Jordan, and Cambodia since 2013.