What is AI as a Service (AIaaS)?

Nitesh Kasma|December 14, 2023|12 Minute read|
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What is Artificial Intelligence as a Service (AIaaS)? 

Artificial Intelligence as a Service (AIaaS) is the third-party or cloud-based offering of artificial intelligence (AI) outsourcing. It helps individuals and companies to experiment with AI for various purposes without a huge initial investment and with minimum risk. 

AIaaS provides extraordinary platforms which are easy to set up, making it simple to test out various public cloud platforms, services, and machine learning (ML) algorithms. 

AIaaS provides packaged services which include hardware and software with services.  For example, computer vision applications are computationally intensive and rely on Special hardware such as graphical processing units (GPUs) or field-programmable gateway arrays (FPGA) etc. AIaaS companies enable complete infrastructure to run the business instead of buying & and selling hardware and software.   

AI as a Service Market worth - Markets by Markets

Source

How does AI work? 

AI makes use of algorithms, Algorithm is a step-by-step set of instructions or a defined sequence of actions that are designed to perform a specific task or solve a particular problem.

How does AI workAlgorithms are used in various fields, including computer science, mathematics, and everyday problem-solving. In the context of computer science, algorithms serve as the foundation for computer programs and are crucial for data processing, computation, and decision-making processes. They provide a systematic and logical approach to solving problems and achieving desired outcomes. 

For Artificial intelligence algorithms, computers solve specific tasks by: 

  • Studying huge amounts of data. 
  • Making statistical estimation 

Process of AI Algorithms

AI algorithms are commonly categorized into two groups: 

  1. Machine learning algorithms, confine classification and regression. 
  2. Deep learning algorithms, which utilize deep neural networks. 

Types of AIaaS 

Different AIaas provider offer several styles of machine learning and AI. An organization need to evaluate their AI needs, because they need to evaluate features and pricing to see what works for them. Cloud AI service providers can offer the different specialized hardware needed for some AI tasks, such as GPU-based processing for intensive workloads. 

The following are some popular types of AIaaS: 

  1. Bots & Digital Assistants 

In today's world, when you browse the internet for things like school stuff or shopping, you probably run into chatbots. Chatbots are like computer programs that talk to you using text or voice, trying to sound like a real person. These chatbots read what you say and quickly give you a pre-set response. They use both machine learning and special language skills to understand what you're saying and provide helpful information. 
You see text-based chatbots on social media and websites, while voice-based ones help with customer service over the phone. They're becoming more common, especially when you call a company's customer service. The chatbot figures out the basic details, making it easier for both the customer and the people at the help desk to understand the problem. 

  1. Machine Learning (ML) Frameworks 

Machine learning helps businesses understand trends in their data, make predictions, and learn from the information it gets. This way of processing data is designed to work mostly on its own, so businesses can use AI without needing a lot of technical know-how. There are different types of machine learning, like using models that are already trained or models made for specific purposes. Machine learning frameworks are tools that let developers create their own AI models. However, they can be a bit complicated to use, and they don't cover the whole process of managing machine learning operations (MLOps). These frameworks help in building a machine learning model, but We need extra tools and steps to test and use it in real situations.  
AI-as-a-Service solutions, offered in a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model, give fully managed machine learning and deep learning frameworks. This means it will take care of the whole process, from putting together a dataset to building, testing, and deploying the model on the service provider's servers in the cloud. 

  1. Application Programming Interface (APIs) 

An API is like a tech messenger that helps different apps talk to each other. AI-as-a-Service (AIaaS) solutions offer APIs that let software programs use AI features. Developers can easily connect their apps to AIaaS APIs using just a few lines of code and unlock powerful functions.  For example Imagine a website where you book flights, like Expedia or Kayak. They use an API to gather info from different airline databases, so you can see all the deals in one place. 

Some APIs give computer vision abilities. These APIs allow an app to send a picture of a person, for instance and do complex tasks like finding faces, recognizing people, spotting objects, or searching for things within a video. 

Types of AIaaS - Infographic

  1. Data labelling 

Labeling data means putting tags or notes on lots of information to organize it better. This is super useful for making sure the information is good, sorting it by size, and building AI systems. Humans and machines work together to label the data using a method called "human-in-the-loop machine learning."  

This way, both people and machines can keep talking and help AI understand the data better in the long run. 

  1. No-Code or Low-Code ML Services 

Services that take care of machine learning for you offer the same cool stuff as the tools developers use, but you don't have to make your own AI models. These services already have models ready, special templates, and easy-to-use interfaces where you don't need to write any code. This is perfect for companies that don't want to spend time and money on making their tools and don't have experts in data science on their team. 

Top AI as a Service Companies 

  1. Microsoft Azure 

Here are popular Azure AI services: 

  • Azure OpenAI Service - Build your copilot and generative AI applications. 
  • Azure AI Search - Gain a unique advantage by building, fine-tuning, and training custom AI models grounded on your data. 
  • Azure AI Content Safety  - Detect harmful user-generated and AI-generated content in your applications and services. 
  • Responsible AI dashboard - Practice responsible, high-quality AI using a single dashboard that makes it easy to assess and debug machine learning models. 
  • Azure AI prompt flow - Create executable flows that link large language models, prompts, and Python tools through a visualized graph. 
  • Machine learning operations (MLOps) - Accelerate automation, collaboration, and reproducibility of machine learning workflows. 
  1. AWS Cloud 

Here are popular AWS AI services: 

  • Computer vision: Rekognition, Lookout for Vision, Paranoma 
  • Automated data extraction and analysis: Textract, Comprehend, A2I 
  • Language AI: Amazon lex, Transcribe, Polly 
  • Improve customer experience: Kendra, Amazon Personalize, Amazon translate 
  • Business metrics: Forecast, Fraud detector, Amazon lookout for matrics 
  • Code and DevOps: DevOps guru, CodeGuru Reviewer, CodeGuru Profiler 
  • Industrial AI: Lookout for Equipment, Monitron 
  • Healthcare: Healthlake, Comprehend Medical   
  1. Google 

Here are popular Google AI services: 

  • Generative AI: Vertex AI tool, Vertex AI Search and Conversation, Generative AI Document Summarization 
  • Machine learning and MLOPs: Vertex AI Platform, Vertex AI Notebooks, AutoML 
  • Speech, text, and language APIs: Natural Language AI, Speech-to-Text, Text-to-Speech, Translation AI 
  • Image and video APIs: Vision AI, Video AI 
  • Document and data APIs: Document AI 
  • AI assistance and conversational AI: Dialogflow, Contact Center AI, Duet AI for Google Cloud 
  • AI Infrastructure: TPUs, GPUs, and CPUs 
  • Consulting service: AI Readiness Program 
  1. IBM  

  • watsonx Orchestrate 
  • watsonx Code Assistant 
  • watsonx Discovery 
  • watsonx.ai 
  • watsonx.data 
  • watsonx.governance  
  • IBM turbonomic 
  • Instana Observability 
  • AIOps Insight 

Benefits of using AIaaS platforms 

Organizations can execute AI at a reasonable cost using the AIaaS delivery model without having to develop or maintain a single AI project. AIaaS platforms enable organizations to build customized AI services that are adaptable, scalable and simple to use. 

  1. Quick and Easy AI: The Magic of AI-as-a-Service 

Introducing artificial intelligence (AI) to your business doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. AI-as-a-Service (AIaaS) is like the express lane to bring AI into your organization. It's simple to install and set up, making it a fast solution for businesses of all sizes. 

  1. No Coding Required (Low code No Code)

Don't worry if you don't have an in-house computer genius. With AIaaS, you don't need a team of AI developers or programmers. Just set up a no-code system in your business, and you're good to go. No technical skills are needed during the setup process. 

  1. Cost Saving 

The best part? AIaaS is budget-friendly. You only pay for what you use, and there's no need for a big upfront investment. It's all about cost-effectiveness, making AI accessible for businesses without breaking the bank. 

  1. Price transparency 

No hidden fees here! AIaaS gives you clear pricing structures based on how much AI you actually use. Say goodbye to paying for things you don't need and hello to transparent and fair pricing. 

  1. Flexibility 

Get flexibility without the hefty price tag. With AIaaS, you pay for what you use. While running machine learning can be expensive, you might only need that power for short bursts of time. No need to keep the AI engine running non-stop. 

  1. Easy Peasy 

Forget the tech jargon! Unlike some AI options that require a coding whiz, AIaaS is ready to roll right out of the box. You can tap into the power of AI without needing a degree in computer science. It's AI for everyone! 

Challenges of using AIaaS platforms

  1. Security:AI solutions need a bunch of data to work, and the folks providing AI-as-a-Service (AIaaS) need to get their hands on it. If this info has private or important stuff, it might open the door to risks from outside parties. That's why it's crucial to make sure the data is safe when it's being accessed, moved around, and stored. 

  1. Putting Trust in Others:  When you team up with an outside company for AI stuff, you're putting a lot of trust in them. They're in charge of keeping things secure and giving you the info you need. But sometimes, relying on someone else can slow things down when there's a problem that needs fixing. 

  1. Seeing Through the Fog:  AIaaS is like a magic service that does its thing without showing you the tricks it uses (like the special math it does, called algorithms). So, even though it's super helpful, you don't get a behind-the-scenes look at how it all works. 

  1. Data Rules and Limits: Some industries have rules about where you can stash your data, and that might clash with certain AIaaS options that use cloud storage. It's like saying, "You can't keep your toys in that toy box." 

  2. Unforeseen Bills: Watch out for surprise costs! Sometimes, when companies buy services that need special training or new hires, the money starts piling up without warning. It's like when you buy a game, but then you realize you need extra stuff to play it, and that stuff costs more money. 

The Future of AIaaS 

AI-as-a-Service (AIaaS) is a fast-growing field with lots of benefits that attract early adopters. However, it also has its downsides, leaving ample space for enhancements. 

Despite facing some challenges in the journey to perfect AIaaS, it holds as much significance as other "as a service" options. Making these valuable services available to a wider audience ensures that many more organizations can tap into the potential of AI and ML. 

Also, read: What is AI & ML Solutions?

Nitesh Kasma

Co-Founder

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