Where Will Artificial Intelligence Appear First in Telecom?

Billing systems, self-optimizing networks, customer service and network functions virtualization are some of the areas in which artificial intelligence is likely to appear first in the core telecom business. AI also already is used by content and media firms to personalize content feeds, and some access providers who also own such assets will be using AI that way.

Over time, almost any function or process with big data characteristics will be augmented by AI, as that is a way to wring insights from masses of unstructured data.

Global revenues for cognitive and artificial intelligence (AI) systems will reach $12.5 billion in 2017, an increase of 59 percent over 2016, according to researchers at IDC.

Global spending by enterprises on cognitive and AI solutions will grow at a 54 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2020, when revenues will be more than $46 billion.

The largest area of spending in 2017 ($4.5 billion) will be cognitive applications, which includes cognitively-enabled process and industry applications that automatically learn, discover, and make recommendations or predictions.

Spending on cognitive-related IT and business services will be more than $3.5 billion while dedicated server and storage purchase will total $1.9 billion. Each of these areas will experience strong growth throughout the forecast, led by cognitive applications with a five-year CAGR of 69.6 percent, IDC predicts.

On a geographic basis, the United States is the largest market for cognitive/AI spending with 2017 revenues totaling nearly $9.7 billion. Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) is currently the second largest region, but strong spending growth from Asia/Pacific (including a 107% CAGR in Japan) will move it ahead of EMEA by 2020.

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