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Cognitive Systems Cross-Industry Apps Gain Momentum

Cognitive Systems can extract value from all types of data -- including unstructured data -- within new platforms that can learn at scale, reason with purpose and interact with humans via natural language. While the North American market is the focal point for many IT vendors, other markets are growing.

Case in point: Western European revenues for cognitive and artificial intelligence (AI) systems will reach $1.5 billion in 2017 -- that's an increase of 40 percent over 2016, according to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC).

Western European spending on cognitive and AI solutions will experience new investment over the next several years, achieving a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 42.5 percent through 2020, when revenues are forecast to be $4.3 billion.

Cognitive and AI Systems Market Development

"IDC is seeing huge interest in cognitive applications and AI across Europe right now, from different industry sectors such as healthcare and government," said Philip Carnelley, research director at IDC.

The three largest Western European industries to invest in cognitive and AI systems are banking, retail, and discrete manufacturing. That said, according to the IDC assessment,  cross-industry applications have the largest share. By 2020 these industries – including cross-industry applications – account for almost half of all IT spending on cognitive and AI systems.

The total financial services sector will account for 22 percent of cognitive spending in 2020. However, the fastest growing sectors to 2020 are distribution and services (professional services, retail, transportation), the public sector (education, government, healthcare provider), and infrastructure (telecommunications, utilities).

Western Europe represents 12.1 percent of spending on cognitive and AI systems in 2017, but its overall growth in spending at a CAGR of 42.5 percent lags the worldwide market, which shows a CAGR of 54.4 percent from 2015 to 2020. IDC predicts that Western Europe's share of spending will fall to 9.5 percent of the world by 2020, and the region will lose its second place to the Asia-Pacific region (including Japan).

The largest area of spending in Western Europe in 2017 will be cognitive applications ($516 million), which includes cognitively-enabled process and industry applications that automatically learn, discover, and make recommendations or predictions.

Cognitive and AI software platforms, which provide the tools and technologies to analyze, organize, access, and provide advisory services based on a range of structured and unstructured information, will see investments reach $350 million this year, as will IT services associated with cognitive and AI systems.

But cognitive and AI software platforms show much higher growth, and will reach past $1.0 billion by 2020. Dedicated server and storage purchase will total just under $250 million in 2017, but will reach nearly $850 million by 2020.

Outlook for Cognitive and AI Apps Growth

The cognitive and AI use cases with the greatest levels of investment are: sales process recommendation and automation systems, fraud analysis and investigation systems, quality management investigation and recommendation systems, automated threat intelligence or prevention systems, and IT automation systems.

Combined, these five use cases will consume over half of all cognitive and AI systems spending in 2017. However, by the end of the forecast, slower spending on sales process recommendation and automation systems will decline, with fraud analysis and investigation systems taking over the lead position.

Those use cases that will experience the fastest spending growth over the forecast period are smart networking (137 percent CAGR) and diagnosis or treatment systems (87.4 percent CAGR), although smart networking will still only represent less than 1 percent of spending by 2020.

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