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Pandemic accelerated global firms to adopt AI tech

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on January 25, 2021

ICMR and State health dep ts have turned to AI tech to understand the spread of Covid-19   -  Getty Images/iStockphoto

‘AI spend in India is currently $200 million and growing at 40% year-on-year’

Fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic, the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technology is on the rise globally with many Indian IT service providers playing a critical role in this due to availability of skilled labour force.

AI, according to IBM, enables computers and machines to mimic the perception, learning, problem-solving, and decision-making capabilities of the human mind.

AI adoption

Research firm Everest Group in its latest report predicts that AI services are expected to accelerate 32 per cent from $25 billion in 2019 to $95 billion by 2024. Nearly 72 per cent of global enterprises have embarked on their AI journey, says the report – Artificial Intelligence Services - State of Market Report 2020: Scale the AI Summit Through Democratization.

AI adoption has been experiencing good growth over the years, but the pandemic has further fuelled this.

The focus earlier was to improve efficiency and effectiveness of enterprise operations, but there has been a visible shift towards leveraging AI to improve stakeholder experience owing to the pandemic. Increasing number of data sources to advise decision making, derive insights and inform the broader digital transformation strategy is compelling enterprises to adopt AI, the report said.

Nishit Mittal, Vice-President, Everest Group, one of the authors of the report said that many Indian IT service providers are helping global companies to adopt AI. The field of AI faces a critical shortage of the right talent with a large share of the leading AI talent is in countries such as China, US and Israel, especially with large technology firms such as Google, Apple and Microsoft. Firms in India are relying on upskilling and other talent augmentation initiatives such as ‘acqui-hiring’ to bridge this talent deficit, he told Business Line.

For instance, OYO launched its Data Science Academy in India in September 2020 to upskill employees. As talent gap emerges as the primary obstacle, firms are also focusing on making AI accessible for all through AI democratisation, he said.

AI spend in India is currently $200 million and growing at 40 per cent year-on-year, said Mittal.

In India, start-ups and born-digital organisations have led the charge by building their technology backbone on foundations of analytics and data science, and now, AI.

Healthcare organisations like Indian Council for Medical Research and State health departments have turned to AI technologies for better understanding of the pandemic and channel scarce healthcare resources on the frontline.

Supply chain has been another area where AI is helping manufacturing firms and retailers respond to demand disruptions by managing inventory and distribution, said Mittal.

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Published on January 25, 2021
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