If you’re involved in technology, you have almost certainly been hearing a lot about artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) recently. Digital Reality partners Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple and NVIDIA have all begun working on projects in this space. Google has announced the development of new purpose-built chips, Microsoft is offering online classes about how to use and develop AI solutions, Facebook and Apple are developing their own AI technology and companies like Intel and NVIDIA are releasing new hardware to support AI. These technologies seem to be pervasive across all industries, but two questions many organizations are asking are “What does it mean to me?” and “How do I use it?”
The combinations of advanced algorithms and massive quantities of data promise to transform every industry by pushing businesses to new levels of efficiency and enabling distinct competitive advantages. Businesses and organizations around the globe are racing to understand what AI can do for them so they won’t be left behind. In the process, they are finding that AI and its implementations are more involved than adding just a few servers or allocating a few virtual machines in a public cloud. AI is about mission-critical algorithms running on public and/or private infrastructure, gleaning data from both proprietary and public datasets. Executives and chief information officers (CIOs) must ensure their information technology (IT) infrastructure is not a bottleneck but rather an integral part of a sustainable competitive advantage.
Today, the term “IT infrastructure” encompasses a wide array of resources (compute, storage, input/output, applications), real and virtual, owned and leased, that reside across public and/or private clouds — all interconnected via local and wide area networks. Many businesses are finding ways to incorporate AI infrastructure so that it maximizes the impacts on the business.
Further challenging CIOs and IT staff is the possibility that AI can benefit every department within an organization. Marketing departments are looking to AI to predict consumer behaviors by analyzing massive amounts of historical transactional data and to improve customer service with AI-driven chatbots. Maintenance and customer service departments are using AI for proactive maintenance so they can schedule a fix before customers know anything is about to break. CIOs and IT staff must somehow plan to support these and the many more AI initiatives that will inevitably arise throughout the organization.