AI startups and machine learning-focused enterprises are carving out an increasingly visible and relevant space for themselves in the marketplace. Consumer data company Statista reports that in 2020, the global AI software market – encompassing machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing (NLP) applications, among others – is expected to reach a size of almost US$22 billion.
What AI strategies, applications and processes are startups exploring to uncover new value in the market? Here are four emergent ideas that are poised to gain traction and investment energy in 2020.
AI Logistics and Supply Chain Management
This is a sector that’s always been prime territory for AI innovation to make a difference and new companies continue to lead the way in expectations for growth and value. Advanced data analysis applied to supply chain monitoring allows companies to manage every process element precisely and in real-time, from monitoring orders, to restocking, fulfillment and more.
Primary challenges for enterprises in supply chain management include demand fluctuation, inventory planning optimization and patching intra-supply chain communications gaps. Machine learning-focused startups are stepping up to provide much-needed solutions that add performance and value to enterprise operations.
- Aera Technology is helping enterprises that rely on efficient supply chain management to deploy “cognitive automation… that can process terabytes or even petabytes of data.”
AI and Healthcare Convergence
Healthcare startups powered by a core of AI and machine learning innovation are high on the list of opportunities for savvy investors. A variety of healthcare processes are in flux, from payments and billing, to patient management and tracking for COVID-19 mitigation, to efficiently integrating and transporting patient data across systems and processes.
A recent study from the National Institutes of Health highlighted no fewer than five areas of AI performance that are highly relevant to healthcare:
- Machine learning
- Natural language processing
- Rule-based expert systems
- Physical robots
- Robotic process automation
Enterprises active in exploring how these segments can be made more relevant for healthcare have an advantage in creating value in the near- and long-term.
- PathAI is at the forefront of developing machine learning technologies that allow more accurate patient diagnoses, working with healthcare providers, pharma developers and even the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
AI Home Management and Automation
While the technology for AI home management is no longer emergent – there are already millions of devices deployed in the United States alone – the applications and processes that will drive value in the sector are still being explored at the horizon and just beyond. The roster of capabilities is expanding: users can now remotely control or automate entertainment, lights, thermostat and energy performance, security settings and more. With more people than ever working from home, there’s need and promise for even greater growth in performance features.
- Caspar is developing advanced AI applications that integrate with home and IoT technologies, creating a single platform that learns preferences, enhances safety and boosts automation convenience.
AI Entertainment Applications
As artificial intelligence matures and develops greater sophistication, it becomes able to expand beyond its traditional, data-focused bounds and into more nuanced applications. AI systems deployed to support entertainment applications that feature both image and voice recognition can be used to create enhanced concierge services that are more versatile, relatable and relevant to users, with the power to drive superior engagement. Entertainment-focused AIs are being developed that have sufficient sophistication to themselves create new media capable of attracting audiences just like a human performer.
IBM Research recently developed the first “cognitive movie trailer” that used visual, audio and compositional analysis to create a digital understanding of the elements and interactions that define the structure of a horror/suspense trailer.
- Veritone’s AI solutions for entertainment and media include applications for advertising, product placement tracking, data enrichment and analytics, archive management, and customized technologies that add operational performance and versatility.
Bottom Line: AI Startups Are Value Opportunities
There’s a rush worldwide to explore the commercial opportunities of AI innovation. Companies that move too fast and enter the sector without a plan are likely to fail; those that take the time to understand the market and focus on their place within it are much better positioned to strike gold, whether by scaling into a full enterprise or becoming an attractive acquisition for industry heavyweights.