Lack of skills, knowledge, costs cited as barriers to AI adoption in Asean region

(Image by Gerald Altman/Pixabay)

While Asean has almost doubled its AI (artificial intelligence) adoption from 8 percent in 2017 to 14 percent this year, many organizations are not showing any urgency to embrace the technology. Lack of skills, knowledge, and costs are among the top reasons AI hasn’t fully taken off in the region compared to North America.

Analytics software developer SAS Asia Pacific hosted a Facebook Live panel discussion on the adoption and use of AI where IDC shared the findings of its “IDC Asia-Pacific Enterprise Cognitive/AI” survey.

Chwee Kan Chua, Global Research director, BDA and Cognitive/AI, IDC, said that while the technology has many key benefits, organizations are hampered by the lack of skills sets and understanding of the technology and the cost of solutions.

“The No. 1 benefit (for enterprises) is expecting business insights along with automation and improving efficiency process,” Chua said.

About 52 percent of respondents said getting business insights as their main reason for adopting the technology.

Jason Loh, head of analytics at SAS, Asia-Pacific, said organizations want to get information and understand them better and they can rely on automation to meet those goals.

Indonesia leads the region in AI adoption with 24.6 percent of organizations warming up to the technology, according to the survey. Thailand comes in second with 17.1 percent, followed by Singapore with 9.9 percent, and Malaysia with 8.1 percent.

Loh attributed the lead in AI adoption in Indonesia to companies like ride-hailing and online payment platform Go-Jek and online marketplace Kaskus, which produce a massive amount of data and data analytics.

AI adoption is expected to skyrocket with the Internet of Things. There will be a massive amount of data that need to be processed and analyzed.

In an update released in March, “IDC Worldwide Semiannual Cognitive Artificial Intelligence Systems Spending Guide for Asia-Pacific” (excluding Japan ) “expects cognitive and artificial intelligence spending to reach $1 billion in 2018, registering an annual increase of 94 percent over 2016, mainly led by software and services related technologies.”

Spending on cognitive and AI is expected to balloon and may reach $5 billion in 2021, achieving a five-year compound annual growth rate of 69.8 percent over the forecast period (2016-21).

Financial institutions are the most “enthusiastic” when it comes to cognitive and AI spending. The IDC report sees around $140.7 million in 2018 “backed by different use cases including fraud analysis and investigation, IT automation, automated customer service agents and program advisors and recommendation systems.”

Retail is seen to invest around $112.7 million in 2018 “on a range of AI use cases which includes expert shopping advisors and product recommendations, automated customer service agents, merchandising for omnichannel operations and supply and logistics. Healthcare provider industry placing at third position allocates most of its $87.6 million investments to its diagnosis and treatment systems.”

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