Pandemic spurs strong demand for cloud AI in key industries

The effects of COVID-19 prompted companies to shift to a cloud environment to ensure business continuity while the workforce operates remotely. Now, there are key industries that require cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI), which is believed may play a critical role in the growth of these industries.

According to the latest ABI Research, a global tech market advisory firm whitepaper, warehousing and logistics, conversational AI, and healthcare and pharmaceuticals would benefit from cloud-based AI upon undergoing further digital transformation.

The whitepaper titled “Cloud-Based AI In A Post-COVID-19 World,” ABI Research reveals how COVID-19 is driving demand for fully scalable, flexible, and secure cloud services, and explores how Cloud AI will fundamentally impact these three domains.

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“Warehousing and logistics have been particularly hard hit in recent months,” said Lian Jye Su, principal analyst at ABI Research. “Before the outbreak, the continued growth of the e-commerce market and increasing customer expectations already placed enormous pressures on warehouses to execute more rapid and flexible deliveries. COVID-19 has caused further disruption.”

AI-enabled supply chain

According to ABI Research, logistics companies need to evaluate options and model changes across modes of transportation, considering interruptions, delays, and significant price increases. This is driving investment in warehouse facilities, automation technologies, and Warehouse Management Systems (WMSs) to coordinate and optimize operations. Integrating key systems, such WMSs, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Transportation Management Systems (TMSs), along with predictive analytics and scenario modeling, becomes more pressing and vital. As the margin for error in the warehouse decreases, AI-enabled supply chain solutions are becoming imperative for warehouses that rely on speed, efficiency, and intelligence to remain competitive.

“Cloud AI is also accelerating Conversational AI. Voice has already made significant inroads into the smart home space and certain enterprise domains,” said Su. A global emphasis on working from home, combined with advice to minimize COVID-19 transmission from shared surfaces will help cement the benefits of smart home voice control for millions of consumers and enterprises.

Conversational AI platforms allow enterprises to activate, manage, and train AI to resolve tickets, address questions regarding availability and pricing, and aid with complex issues. This is set to benefit both clouds AI vendors, such as Amazon, Alibaba, Baidu, Google, Microsoft, and Xiaomi, which offer voice control frontends, as well as chipset vendors whose chipsets support the training and inference of cloud-based natural language processing workloads and voice activation and recognition in voice control devices.


AI is also playing a key role in the public healthcare response to the pandemic.

“All major AI companies have developed AI tools to help detect the virus, diagnose its evolution, track its geographical footprint to project its future, and even predict its potential protein structure to find a vaccine,” said Su. “Most importantly, AI will be adopted in the field of bioinformatics.”

To get ahead of the ever-evolving virus and to save as many lives as possible, new drug discovery, development, and testing processes need to be set up. Tools from established companies like Google DeepMind, startups like Graphen, and AI chipsets from vendors like NVIDIA and Intel will help accelerate the speed of drug discovery, development, and testing, allowing pharmaceutical companies and healthcare authorities to combat the pandemic.

“In the short term, cloud AI enables better remote visibility and maintenance, as well as less travel to facilities; midterm, it promotes data-driven decision-making; long-term, it is the cornerstone for many emerging key technologies and strong business fundamentals,” Su said.

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