SAS to invest $1 billion in AI over next 3 years
SAS is investing in R&D innovation in all core areas of AI. (Photo: Agency)

firm said that it will invest $1 billion in over the next three years through software innovation, education and expert services. The company which deals in advanced analytics, machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing (NLP) and computer vision is looking to bolster its artificial intelligence portfolio with new investment.

“This investment is another example of that commitment,” said SAS CEO Jim Goodnight. “With our innovative capabilities in AI, SAS helps businesses deter damaging fraud, fight deadly disease, better manage risk, provide exemplary service to customers and citizens, and much more.”

The $1 billion investment in AI will focus on three main areas: Research and Development (R&D) innovation where SAS continues to build on the success of its global AI efforts; education initiatives addressing customer needs to better understand and benefit from AI; and expert services to optimize customer return on AI projects, said the company.

SAS is investing in R&D innovation in all core areas of AI, with a special focus on making it easy for users with different skill levels to benefit – from business experts to data engineers to data scientists. SAS is embedding AI capabilities into the SAS Platform and solutions for data management, customer intelligence, fraud & security intelligence and risk management, as well as applications for industries including financial services, government, health care, manufacturing and retail.

SAS said it continues to partner with leading technology providers like Accenture, Cisco, Deloitte, Intel and NVIDIA. This work brings the latest advances and practices in AI and machine learning to customers, and ensures SAS AI technologies perform optimally in customers’ hardware and cloud environments.

SciSports, an innovative Dutch sports-analytics startup, is applying computer vision from SAS to data streaming from soccer, or football, matches. SAS AI technology running on NVIDIA GPUs delivers in-game insights to coaches and managers. By capturing and analyzing this and other data, football clubs can improve many aspects of “the beautiful game,” including in-game strategy, player recruitment and the fan experience.

“The reason SAS tops the revenue list for advanced analytics for the last five years is that SAS solutions are built on a foundation of machine learning and deep knowledge of analytics. These are part of SAS’ DNA,” said Dave Schubmehl, Research Director for Artificial Intelligence at IDC. “Combining SAS’ knowledge and technology with its continued push to innovate in computer vision, NLP and deep learning will drive further adoption of AI across multiple industries. And it will help companies interested in AI – whether early in their AI and analytics life cycle or more mature.”

Customer education and development initiatives such as the new SAS AI Accelerator Program will focus on helping organizations and professionals get AI-ready at any level. SAS will offer tailored curricula to help organizations improve their AI skills. This will include e-learning like the SAS Academy for Data Science, and in-person training in AI technologies, best practices and more, said the company.

Certification programs that help analytics professionals and data scientists earn the valuable credential of SAS Certified Professional in AI and Machine Learning. This will make them even more marketable to companies seeking AI talent.

The SAS Analytics Center of Excellence, a group of PhDs and advanced experts in AI, machine learning, NLP, computer vision, optimization, simulation and related data science skills. These SAS experts are dedicated to supporting customer AI implementations – from well-established applications to first-of-a-kind innovation.

Resources and talent are also part of the investment. SAS will augment its AI expertise through additional resources in Professional Services, Centers of Excellence, Education and R&D.

As the latest addition to the SAS smart campus project, SAS’ newest headquarters building, a 420,000 sq. ft. tower which hosts the new Global Education Center, uses the latest innovations in AI and machine learning to connect performance with business results. The new building features thousands of IoT connected sensors – embedded in chillers, boilers and air handlers – that monitor water and energy use. Through neural networks using SAS Event Stream Processing, the SAS facilities team will track sensors and systems performance in real time to enhance predictive maintenance (identifying equipment problems before they become major) and optimize energy and water usage.

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