The concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI) dates back to the 1950s when the first conference was held on the subject at Dartmouth College. For most part it remained as a research topic until few years ago. The advances in Computing power, Availability of vast amount of data from different sources, and the need for businesses to understand their customers better has given rise to the adoption and popularity of AI in recent times.

While global Technology leaders like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Baidu etc. continue to invest billions of dollars in AI R&D, emerging players and VC-backed start-ups are not far behind. For example in the US alone, VCs invested around $5.3B in the year 2017 and around $1.9B in Q1 2018 into AI start-up companies, which is the highest ever quarterly investment in this sector (Source: PwC | CB Insights MoneyTree Report Q1 2018 ). In particular Machine learning, received the largest share of both internal and external investments.

In 2018, the big question is, “Is this a hype or reality?”. While one may accept there is fair amount of hype around AI, whether we like it or not, the fact is AI is finding its way into our daily lives in many ways ranging from Siri, Alexa and Google assistant to Driver-less cars to name a few and this is just the beginning.

Artificial intelligence is making it possible to build product and services like never before: Big data is being leveraged more efficiently, user experiences are being customized to individuals, and robots are performing tasks that used to be done by humans. While there are many debates about AI’s effect on society, everyone acknowledges it is here to stay and companies are working feverishly to develop AI strategies.

It’s becoming more and more clear that Enterprises cannot delay advancing their AI journey/investments. Early adopters of Enterprise AI in sectors like Telecom, Automotive, Financial services, Retail are already creating significant competitive advantages, and the gap with between early adopters and laggards is set to widen significantly in the near future.

So the question is not whether AI is real or not, question is, do you understand the impact AI is making on your industry. Are you prepared to adopt AI in your business?

To reap the real benefits of AI for any intended Use Case, businesses not only need to fully understand the Use Case, but also need to focus on available information – understand the data, get the data organized in a manner that can be refined and related to uncover relevant insights. Any AI (or ML) model is only as good as the quality of data, and the way it’s trained. So enterprises will have to rely on companies who have a deep understanding of the business issues surrounding the target AI Use Case as well as Design, Data Analytics, ML and the training aspects of the algorithm.