Can IBM Retain Its First-Mover Advantage in the AI Space?



AI and blockchain growth

IBM’s (IBM) strong foothold in the blockchain and AI spaces continues to act as a strong catalyst for the company’s business. The company’s prompt move towards these areas, ahead of competitors, gave it early market traction.

The company’s success in the AI space has been mainly due to its strong and innovative product portfolio. IBM’s Watson platform, its most popular, was the first commercially available AI platform. Watson Health and Watson IoT (Internet-of-Things) can process huge amounts of data and learn from interactions with people and systems. More than 155 hospitals and healthcare organizations use Watson for Oncology.

Its blockchain and distributed ledger platform, launched in Q3 2017, dominates the market with more than 750 active networks and clients such as Walmart (WMT) and Unilever (UN). IBM distributes its AI technology through the cloud, thereby reducing time and cost.

Its AI and blockchain platforms belong to its Cognitive Solutions segment. As shown in the graph above, the segment has grown at a compound annual rate of 1.4% over the last five quarters.

Competition from peers

IBM may face challenges from tech giants Microsoft (MSFT) and Oracle (ORCL), which are also working on AI platforms. Accenture’s (ACN) Intelligent Customer Engagement structure and Microsoft AI Solution for Customer Care aim to offer better digital support.

A fully automated, self-driving database, which is available on Oracle’s cloud, could be a game changer for the industry. The new suite may not only slash costs by removing human labor but also reduce human error.

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