Artificial intelligence will be worth $1.2 trillion to the enterprise in 2018

Gartner says that AI-based customer experience technologies are boosting market value.

The artificial intelligence (AI) industry will be worth $1.2 trillion in 2018, with customer experience solutions creating the most business value.

On Wednesday, Gartner released estimates on the projected value of AI over the course of this year. According to the research firm, the global enterprise value derived from AI will total $1.2 trillion this year, a 70 percent increase from 2017.

AI-derived business value is projected to reach up to $3.9 trillion by 2022.

"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)," said John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner. "One of the biggest aggregate sources for AI-enhanced products and services acquired by organizations between 2017 and 2022 will be niche solutions that address one need very well."

These sort of needs may include methods to improve customer experiences, ways to drive new revenue streams, and means to reduce costs, whether operational or in serving existing products.

Companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, and Nvidia are already heavily involved in the research and development of AI-based products and services. According to CB Insights, startups worldwide are springing up to specialize in artificial intelligence with an emphasis in industries including customer relationship management, automotive, sales, marketing, and commerce.

At first, Gartner believes strong growth will appear in the customer experience sector while enterprise players experiment with AI and offshoot technology, such as deep learning, neural networking, and machine learning software.

Virtual agents, for example, can take over simple customer requests and tasks from call centers, reducing the cost for companies in offering customer helplines. By taking over the simple issues, human operators are then free to dedicate their time to complicated issues, which, in turn, may improve customer service.

AI-based agents account for roughly 46 percent of global AI-derived business value in 2018, according to the agency. However, this is expected to slide to 26 percent by 2022 as enterprise players invest further in more sophisticated solutions offered by AI.

Decision support and augmentation AI technology are expected to represent 36 percent of the global AI market value in 2018, and by 2022, this area of AI may account for up to 44 percent of global AI-derived business value.

"DNNs allow organizations to perform data mining and pattern recognition across huge datasets not otherwise readily quantified or classified, creating tools that classify complex inputs that then feed traditional programming systems," says Lovelock. "Such capabilities have a huge impact on the ability of organizations to automate decision and interaction processes."

AI-related market growth is predicted to surge until 2021 and once the market has stabilized and AI is more established, this growth curve is expected to flatten for following years.

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Decision automation systems which use AI to automatically perform business tasks -- such as classifying rich data -- accounts for only two percent of business value in 2018.

However, as AI systems mature to tackle the problem of classifying unstructured data, this percentage is expected to grow to 16 percent in 2022.

See also: Artificial intelligence key to do 'more with less' in securing enterprise cloud services

Smart products, such as AI-based platforms connected to cloud systems, account for 18 percent of global value in 2018, but this is expected to shrink to 14 percent by 2022 as other, more mature systems take over.

"In the early years of AI, customer experience 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 says. "However, 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."

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