How to find an AI cloud provider?

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How to find an AI cloud provider?

When we hear AI  (artificial intelligence), some will say that it is humanity advancement, others will say technology should not outperform humans. Either way, nowadays AI has been part of our lives without even knowing it. It has taken importance over the years and became a daily use for most of the people.

AI daily use:
  • Google Maps
  • Face Detection and Recognition
  • Autocorrect
  • E-Payments
  • Social Media
  • Netflix

Artificial intelligence indeed makes people’s lives easier and everybody should know how it works and what it does. So, let us define the term AI. It refers to systems or machines that mimic human intelligence to accomplish tasks and that can improve based on the information they collect. There are 4 types of artificial intelligence:

Reactive Machines: This is the most basic type of AI which is reactive. It has the ability neither to form memories nor to use past experiences to inform current decisions. The computer only perceives the world directly and acts on what it sees.

Limited Memory: This second type of AI can investigate the past. However, these pieces of information about the past are only transient. Which means they are not saved as part of the library of experience it can learn from, the way humans would do over the years to act.

Theory of Mind: This type of intelligence understands the needs of other intelligent entities. This one is the next level of AI systems that researchers are engaged in innovating.

Self-Awareness: This type of intelligence has human-like intelligence and self-awareness. This form of AI will not only be able to understand and evoke emotions, but also have beliefs, needs and desires of its own. It is very hypothetical for now on but is the ultimate objective of all AI research.

Cloud Provider

Cloud Providers are a service from companies that provide an IT environment. There are public clouds or private clouds, allowing scalable resources to be pooled and shared on a network. Cloud providers can also offer components of cloud computing and 3 online types of cloud services such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

Read here to learn more about the subject

Why merge AI and cloud providers?

The era of artificial intelligence is already upon us, ready to be used by any company. With the advent of AI technology, learning algorithms face a huge amount of data. That is why AI cloud providers are game changing. When huge data inputs are applied to an algorithm, it becomes important to have access to a cloud for this. The more data they can retain, the better they become at identifying patterns, making predictions, and automating complexity. As we collect more data for each model, the prediction gets better and the accuracy can improve. Every model can learn from the different patterns from available data. Introduction of AI to cloud provider infrastructure means more processing power for Big Data analytics giving access to infrastructures, platforms and software.

              Cloud Provider infrastructure

To be AI-first means that your core product is based on AI, without it, your proposition loses its value. Whether companies are putting forward one of these tactics or the other, they all have 1 thing in common: the use of AI. But what make AI Cloud Provider companies unique?

  1. They leverage AI technology on systems or tasks that are too complex to handle without it. 
  2. They transcribe and operate on new forms of data previously unidentifiable to computers.
  3. By improving existing cloud provider features or functions. 

Since the cloud provider market is very saturated, numerous companies have adopted strategies to differentiate themselves, which make them more specialized and efficient.

Verticalization: Traditional companies usually increase the diversity of a feature for a broad audience, they now focus on more specific segment and build a more customize product for that niche.

Segmentation: They focus on a specific customer size (SMEs, SMBs, large enterprise) 

Feature optimization: Develop a product with only 20% of the features but 80% of the value. 

Blending consumer and enterprise: Create a product that optimize efficiency for both consumers and enterprises.  

The benefits 

While artificial intelligence has been more and more accessible for small business, all the data generated by the machine can not always be taken in charge. An AI cloud provider will give you access to computing services that you would have to provide on your own.

Price

By using a third party, data is accessible through the internet, which results in cloud application development eliminating the need for expenses on site hardware and software purchases and setup. In other words,  an AI cloud provider will take care of all the data centers as well as the related expenses. They have their own IT experts to run the centers, servers powerful enough to handle data, and 24-hour electricity to power and cool the servers. As a result, even small businesses can now leverage AI through AI-as-a-Service at a reasonable cost. They’ll be able to collect massive datas to provide better services, conduct analysis without human intervention and deploy efficient processes that add better value to customer experience, which will result in faster business growth.

Reliability

The fact that cloud computing collects all the data via the internet, the chances for a disaster are very low. For instance, with a hard drive or physically accessible infrastructures, chances are much higher for misfortune, such as crash, lost files, backup failure, or even natural disasters. Therefore, cloud computing will ensure business durability and safety through the server.

Productivity

Since cloud computing service is all internet based, there is no maintenance, hardware setup, software patching nor racking and stacking needed. Therefore, the IT team can focus on accomplishing other business goals. Time is a precious resource. In fact, efficiency and saving time is the main goal of artificial intelligence while improving the service without human interactions.

Which AI Cloud Provider choose?

AI Software-as-a-Service (AI SaaS) 

SaaS’s services include the management of technical issues, such as data, middleware, servers, and storage. It is a method of distribution delivery and licensing in which software is accessed online via a subscription, rather than bought and installed on individual computer. That means there are no downloads or installations needed on the client side. The source code of the application is the same for all clients, so if a new feature or functionality are implemented, they are distributed to all clients. However, a company can write its own software tools and use APIs from SaaS providers to integrate those tools into the SaaS offering.

Pros
  • Lowest initial cost: low upfront costs because of its subscription-based
  • Quick configuration and deployment: applications are already installed and configured. 
  • Automated updates: no customer responsibility
  • Accessibility: all you need is browser and Internet connection, available worldwide
  • Cost-efficiency: you pay what you consume
  • Scalability: whenever you want, you can change your subscription options
Cons
  • Control Issues: you cannot customize these applications based on your needs and end up being dependent to the software, handing control over to a third party. Control is not limited to the software but also the data and governance
  • Connectivity Issues:  having a bad connection with connection disruption can affect the overall performance and decrease the productivity of the employees
  • Security Issues: moving to cloud is moving your database to the cloud, which opens doubt about security of sensitive data, to avoid it, you can choose for hybrid or private cloud or add multi-factor authentication to add up security level
  • Chances of business failure: what happens to your datas if the cloud provider goes bankrupt? 
  • Vendor lock-in: it seems easy to join the service and difficult to get out. Data may not be portable-technically or cost-effectively-across SaaS apps from other vendors without incurring significant cost or intern engineering rework.
  • Minimal customization capabilities: they have specific functionalities, performance, and integration
Who would benefit of AI SaaS?
  • SaaS is a good option for start-ups or small companies that need to launch ecommerce fast and are tight on time. 
  • Short-term projects that require quick and affordable collaboration
SaaS Cloud Provider
  • HubSpot: specialized in marketing and sales, they offer a complete CRM platform 
  • Salesforce: AI platform that fully integrate with other cloud offerings to build apps using ML and predictive analytics.
  • Alibaba Cloud: The leading cloud computing platform in Asia, they offer a sophisticated ML platform for AI, offering visual interface, so companies can drag and various components into a canvas to assemble their AI functionality. The platform also includes scores of algorithm components that can handle chores, enabling customers to use pre-built solutions. 
  • H20: H20 is an open source, in-memory, distributed, ML and predictive analytics allowing you to build and productionize ML models. 

AI Platform-as-a-Service (AI PaaS) 

PaaS has a similar distribution method to SaaS, but instead of providing access to software over the Internet, it provides a platform to create software. PaaS provides a framework for developers to build on and use to build custom applications. This allows business to design and create applications via the PaaS with special software components. The enterprise or a third-party vendor can manage services, storage, and networking while developers manage application management.

Pros
  • Cost-effective: using PaaS provider allows companies not to have to buy or design themselves hardware, setting up and maintaining the core stack
  • Scalability: for businesses fast evolving, PaaS provider has an automatic allocation and release the necessary resources for any company
  • Coding time saving: since PaaS offers tools and platform, developers don’t start from scratch 
  • Customization: ability to customize apps without having to maintain the software
  • Better security: PaaS providers invest a lot in security technology and expertise
  • Speed up the market: the application development cycle is significantly reduced since developers have access to automated tools and technological innovations. 
  • Flexibility: anyone can log in and work on applications from anywhere
  • Automation of business policy
  • Easy migration to the hybrid model
Cons 
  • Vendor Dependency: The provider will govern functional capabilities, speed, and reliability
  • Compatibility: difficulties may occur with existing development platforms
  • Security risks: even though PaaS providers are responsible for the platform, businesses deal with the security of their own applications. 
  • Runtime issues: specific framework and language may not be optimized or available.
Who would benefit of PaaS
  • When multiple developers are working on the same project
  • If a company want to fast launch an application, PaaS can provide great speed and flexibility to the entire process
  • Companies that want customized applications
  • If your company has developers who can create, test, and deploy applications 
  • For companies that do not want to spend time and money on managing a physical infrastructure
AI PaaS Cloud Provider
  • SAP Cloud Platform: Platform that enables you to connect your landscape and create application extensions
  • AI Google Platform: End-to-end platform that fully manage data  science and machine learning 
  • Petuum: Services include highly scalable platform, multi-source data aggregation, automated optimization with GPUs, easily build interactive data pipelines, and more !
  • Polyaxon: Polyaxon is an end to end solution for managing all aspects of ML such as data connections, hardware acceleration, scheduling, storage, security, dashboarding, APIs, and more ! 

AI Infrastructure-as-a-Service (AI IaaS) 

IaaS’s services include servers, network, operating systems, and storage. It is more like a self-service, which means businesses can purchase resources on-demand and as needed so they pay for what they use. IaaS services provide through a dashboard or an API the client a complete control over its infrastructure. Unlike SaaS or PaaS, IaaS requires a little more technical effort, while the provider takes care of the server, hard drives, networking, virtualization and storage, businesses must take care of applications, runtime, OSes, middleware and data.

Pros
  • On-demand scaling: Services can scale up and down at any time in response to a business’s requirements.
  • Flexible cloud computing model
  • Cost depends on consumption: Since it is an on-demand service, you pay for what you use
  • Control: Complete control over the infrastructure
  • Accessible resources: IaaS providers have the most powerful storage, networking technology, and servers in order to serve their clients.
Cons
  • Security: Businesses do not have any control over the cloud security.
  • Internal resources and training: Since infrastructure management is a business task, the company may need to train its staff in order to be efficient. 
  • Legacy systems in the cloud: Businesses may use legacy apps in the cloud, but the infrastructure is not designed to secure the legacy apps. They therefore need enhancement before migrating them to the cloud. 
Who would benefit of IaaS
  • Startups and small companies that do not have the resources to run a cloud system nor the money to buy all the components for an infrastructure of its own. 
  • Larger companies who would like to have control over their applications and infrastructure while paying only for what they use.
  • Since IaaS is an on-demand service, the services offered by the cloud provider can easily adapt to the growing needs of an evolving company.
AI IaaS Cloud Providers
  • Microsoft Azure AI Platform: Platform used for solving tasks related to machine learning, computer vision, and language processing.
  • IBM Watson: Pre-built applications, tools and runtimes are designed to reduce the costs while maximizing outcomes and responsible use of AI.
  • Oracle Cloud: Oracle Cloud Infrastructure delivers on-premises, high-performance computing power to run cloud native and enterprise company’s IT workloads. It provides autonomous services, integrated security, and serverless compute.
  • AWS AI Services: Machine learning services and supporting cloud infrastructure, putting machine learning in the hand of every developer, data scientist and expert practitioner.

Conclusion 

We firmly believe that the combination of artificial intelligence and cloud computing services is a great way to grow a business. By making a phenomenal difference for small businesses and pushing the tech industry even further. 

There are many cloud providers options, all of them have their advantages, but they also come with cons. But either of the choices, one is always best for a company depending on the budget, the size of the company, your customers, the expertise of your employees, etc. In hope that we enlightened your decision, at Algofields, we strive to push humanity forward by sharing the knowledge and innovations.

Manny Henri
Manny Henri
Emmanuel Henri grew up in Chambly, a city in the tail of Quebec (Canada) near Montreal. He’s an established technologist with 25 years of experience in the world of programming and design, and also published 125 courses on several platforms such as Linkedin Learning, Pluralsight and O’reilly. Since his teens, he always had a knack for storytelling, especially monster-driven tales, and has compiled a boatload of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and horror ideas he’s thrilled to put into words. To keep his head sane and healthy, especially after his close call with cancer in 2020 (now in remission), he’s pledged his body to a strict diet and rigorous exercise plan. He’s currently working on his novel "Ashes" and editing “From the mist” and several short-stories, such as “The Agency”.
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