Atos Technology Days: “AI is not a Big Bang, but a revolution”
Last week PAC attended the 3rd edition of Atos Technology Days. Under the motto “Artificial Intelligence in Motion” the event took place near the centre of Atos' hometown Paris.
The Tech Days offered its visitors a good opportunity to get an insight into Atos' AI mission and activities through:
· speeches from distinguished industry and technology experts,
· roundtables (comprised of notable representatives from Atos and its major partners) addressing societal and industry-specific benefits and challenges accompanied with the deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and,
· demo floors divided into industry and technology areas, presenting an extract of Atos AI-powered solutions.
The notable improvements in computing power, ‘High Performance Computing’ (HPC), and the emergence of machine learning (ML) in tandem with analytics techniques have paved the way for a re-awakening of another AI era. Therefore, the world's major IT players, including Atos are quickly climbing aboard the train of artificial intelligence, thus exploiting the potential of the new oil - as predicted by the Economist in 2015 - data
The French IT-service provider which boasts an increasingly consolidated global footprint has placed much emphasis on service and solutions in the past. But, Atos has managed to credibly augment its portfolio not only vertically but also horizontally through a steady and gradual incorporation of new emerging technological trends, encompassing the Internet of Things (IoT), Hybrid Cloud and now: Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Atos’ overall goal is to “make AI a reality for businesses”. The self-proclaimed “natural-born leader” has the capacity to be a major global player in this particular environment because it combines three imperative qualities to survive given the circumstances. Atos is a:
- Technology company
- Service company and
- A partnership company.
The major strategic partnerships for Atos are with Siemens and Google:
· Siemens provides a very robust research background, particularly in the manufacturing industry and has already established a global presence in AI.
· The rather new partnership with Google proves beneficial for both participating parties, as they can make use of the upcoming synergetic effects regarding the Cloud:
- for Google commercially, as the linkage to Atos can help them position their Google Cloud on the same level as AWS, Azure and IBM Cloud in Europe,
- and for Atos technologically, as they can leverage Google's AI expertise to offer their solutions "as a service".
Moreover, Atos has cultivated good and important partnerships with rather niche players, such as: Expert System, Sinequa and OneSource chatbot, who were present in the Technology corner of the event.
Atos' foray into the AI world is not solely restricted to creating synergies through partnerships. The service provider is increasingly taking action on its own by specifically improving its historical "specialist subjects": security and HPC through AI. Therefore, the service provider has opened research labs internationally (London, Paris and upcoming: Dallas) and according to its own published information - has already completed projects in a variety of vertical industries, encompassing manufacturing and retail. Moreover, Atos presented use cases for, e.g.: Philips and Coca Cola.
A Summary of the Key Takeaways from the Atos Technology Days
Is Atos well prepared to keep up in the AI race?
Yes, Atos has done its homework and has ticked off all the requirements, ranging from strategic partnerships to a diverse portfolio in order to be a serious competitor in the implementation of AI in the B2B world. Companies disregarding trends run the risk of being overrun by their competitors - this is unlikely to occur in Atos' case. They are optimally armed against the major challenges arising from the embrace of AI by capitalising on their own key strengths: a strong technological expertise and strategic partnerships with major players.
Is their approach somewhat different to their competitors and do they offer added value?
This is hard to tell from just a two-day-observation but Atos definitely deserves credit for being the first service provider to develop a holistic AI offer. There is a number of IT companies with AI projects but none so pervasive as Atos.
Only the future will tell if this approach is successful. Atos can reduce the risk of this rather new endeavor by leveraging their strategic partnerships and their ability to massively benefit from their inorganic growth. The naked truth is: Atos has the capacity to enable its customers to move forward in the digital era by bringing value they derive from their own portfolio and the expertise of their partners.
Will AI finally take off and disrupt the current business models?
Yes, and no! AI won't be disruptive, at least not in the foreseeable future. As stated in Atos’ speeches: “AI is not a Big Bang, but a revolution”.