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Cloud Based AI Services: The Gateway to Artificial Intelligence

April 10 2018
Author: v2softadmin
Cloud based AI Services: The gateway to Artificial Intelligence in your business

AI is at the forefront of technological advancements.

According to a survey conducted on 230 executive by Narrative Science, 41% said deploying AI technologies was top priority,56% plan to deploy AI technologies within the next two years, and nearly a quarter of them (23%) intend to do so within the next 12 months.

But, there are multiple barriers in integrating AI capabilities into your business (which we discuss later in this post) that had kept AI from seeing widespread adoption.


AI capabilities

AI capabilities

However, with the recent innovations by large companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Google and IBM, AI is becoming more and more accessible to smaller businesses. These cloud based AI solutions remove the barriers and boost the adoption of AI.

This post will help you understand the barriers in adopting AI, how cloud has made AI accessible and which companies provide cloud based AI services.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Challenges


If you have read on AI, you will know that AI (especially, deep learning) requires expensive equipment and computing resources. It is difficult for businesses to build and power the infrastructure necessary to train a neural network. The cost associated with AI has always kept businesses away.



Challenges of using AI by smaller businesses

Challenges of using AI by smaller businesses

Lack of data:

AI needs a lot of data. A Microsoft Research experiment found that the performance of AI training algorithms increased significantly when the amount of data used was increased, to the point where a bad algorithm could become a great algorithm just by introducing more data. That is the advantage big companies like Google, Amazon and IBM has. Peter Norvig, Research Director at Google, sums up this advantage nicely "We don't have better algorithms than anyone else. We just have more data."

These two are the major challenges faced by small businesses when they think of incorporating AI. 

Fortunately, with cloud based AI services, it has now become practical and affordable to include AI capabilities for all sized businesses. 

Which gets us to the next point, how does cloud make it easier?

Enterprises and businesses are already making a shift from building their own infrastructure to consuming cloud based IT which makes cloud based AI services more than desirable.


Cloud based services are preferred to access and use AI capabilities

Cloud based services are preferred to access and use AI capabilities

Image Source: IBM

Lowered costs: Businesses don’t have to pay for expensive infrastructure and processing power (for example, GPUs)  if they are accessing the services via cloud. They only pay for the computing power used by them!

According to Mike Chan, in an article on ThornTech, Services like AWS Lambda ensure that your IT budget get used in one of the most cost-efficient ways currently available. This means businesses can make use of, for instance, Amazon’s AI infrastructure without having to pay for constant server uptime. Amazon is a huge company with huge infrastructure, which means it can put a relatively low price tag on the large amounts of computing power required to run AI.

Defined services: Cloud based AI services offer pre-packaged AI capabilities which makes it easier for businesses to incorporate and choose. For example, if they are looking to incorporate voice recognition, they can use Microsoft Cognitive Services or Google Cloud Machine Learning platform.

Reduced risks: If a pilot does not work out for a business, they can close it down without being worried about expensive hardware, infrastructure and talent they no longer need. Similarly, if they want to expand a successful project, they can increase or decrease as demand warrants. They do not have to worry about buying expensive hardware or hiring AI talent (which, by the way, is rare!). Cloud based AI services offer a solution to this challenge. 

Access to latest technology:AI is young and dynamic technology. Major cloud vendors are able to roll out AI capabilities on a regular basis because of their large scale investments in R&D. If businesses invest in AI technologies by themselves, they will find technology going obsolete quickly.

Transparency Market Researchpredicted that the "machine learning as a service" market will increase from $1.07 billion in 2016 to $19.86 billion in 2025.

AI based cloud services bring additional level of accessibility to AI.

Let's look at a cloud based AI service providers and the capabilities they make readily accessible for your business application 


  • Google Cloud Machine Learning Platform: Based on TensorFlow framework, this service can be used to build predictive models  
  • Google Cloud Vision API: It enables you to understand content of an image with an easy to use REST API.
  • Speech API: This tool helps developers convert audio to text and recognizes over 110 languages and variant. 
  • Natural processing API: You can use this to extract information understand sentiments , parse intent from customer conversations and analyze text uploaded in your request or integrate with your document storage on Google Cloud Storage.
  • Translation API: It is a simple programmatic interface for translating an arbitrary string into any supported language 

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

  • Lex, technology behind Amazon Alexa: It for building conversational interfaces into any application (like, chatbots) using voice and text
  • Polly: It turns text into lifelike speech, allowing you to create applications that talk.
  • Rekognition: It helps in analyzing images, identifying objects, faces, scenes and celebrities, as well as flagging objectionable content.
  • Machine Learning: It is the same technology used by Amazon and helps with creating models based on predictive analysis.
  • Deep Learning AMIs — The Deep Learning AMIs are pre-configured AI instances for deep learning with Amazon Linux or Ubuntu.


Cloud based AI providers

Cloud based AI providers

Microsoft Azure

  • Machine Learning —It is a fully managed cloud service which enables you to easily build, deploy and share predictive analytics solutions.
  • Bot Service — As the name suggests, it simplifies creating a chatbot.
  • Cognitive Services — This collection of APIs allows developers to add vision, knowledge, language, speech and advanced search capabilities to their apps.

IBM Bluemix

  • Watson—  It includes Conversation and Virtual Agent services for building chatbots, Visual Recognition, Discovery, Natural Language Understanding, Discovery News, Knowledge Studio, Document Conversion, Speech to Text, Text to Speech, Language Translator, Natural Language Classifier, Retrieve and Rank, Personality Insights and Tone Analyzer services.

The greatest value provided by these cloud based AI services is the readily available framework to enhance existing products and processes.

When asked about expectations for marketing technology providers to have native AI capabilities, more than 50% of respondents said it was important or a must-have. (Source: BrightEdge)

All you need to do is research and brainstorm on how these services can be utilized in your business and take advantage of the benefits.

As Google CEO Sundar Pichai agrees, stating: "In the long run, we're evolving in computing from a 'mobile-first' to an 'AI-first' world."

Are you using any cloud based AI services or planning to? In which area of business do you plan to implement them? Let's talk about it in the comments section.