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What is “AI as a Service”, what are the advantages of using AI as a service instead of developing it yourself?

Artificial Intelligence as a Service

XaaS (Everything as a Service) has become established as a usage model for computer resources in many areas. Cloud computing has created the basis for companies to no longer have to set up and operate software, infrastructure and platforms themselves, but to use them as a service via the Internet. The current trend technology in this area is AIaaS, Artificial Intelligence as a Service.

 

AI Has Specific Requirements

Artificial intelligence is offered in the form of services of varying degrees of sophistication, which companies can use depending on their expertise and interests. Infrastructure services for AI, for example, take into account the specific requirements that the new technology places on computing power, storage capacity, network, etc. They are aimed at companies that, for example, train or operate AI models themselves but do not want to buy and maintain the data center resources for this. Platform services for AI provide developers with the tools, frameworks and development environments they need to program their own AI models and applications.
 

Pre-Trained AI Functionality

AI software services offer pre-trained AI models. These pre-built AI models are mostly standard functionality that automates repetitive manual work in very many organizations alike. Instead of putting energy into developing such functions, developers can simply integrate them via interfaces and then focus on the really interesting applications.
 

Advantages of AIaaS

The advantages of AI services are the same as for other services: companies can keep their IT infrastructure and the resources required for setup and operation lean – the services do not tie up any capital because they are billed at calculable usage fees. What’s more, they can be expanded and scaled without additional investment and without any significant time delay. They are maintained and serviced by the provider. For smaller companies, AI services are usually the only way to benefit from smart functionality, as building their own infrastructure for AI is exorbitantly expensive and usually beyond their reach.
 

What to Watch Out for with AIaaS

Despite all the advantages, the use of AI services involves certain risks. Prospective customers should therefore pay attention to the following points in the decision-making process:
 
  •  Is data being collected? Many companies do not appreciate the fact that cloud services require them to grant providers extensive control and access options, even to data, and therefore reject them. To ensure that no company is excluded from convenient and cost- effective access to cutting-edge technology, Laigo does not collect data and destroys the data generated in the course of processing within a short period of time.
  • Where is the service hosted? AI services are operated and managed in the provider’s cloud. This can lead to conflicts with the GDPR in cases where the provider hosts its offering outside the EU or in third countries that are not equal to the EU in terms of data protection – authorities in the USA, for example, have extensive access rights to data. Laigo therefore hosts its offering in Germany.
  • Are the AI models pre-trained? Pre-trained models such as those from Laigo can be integrated and put into operation immediately without any effort and are therefore extremely user-friendly. Untrained or less pre-trained models require financial and human resources for training, which is only a sensible investment if models have to be adapted to company-specific requirements.
  • What is the pricing model, especially for SaaS? As a rule, subscription models are offered, which can be structured differently: With some providers, individual AI models are subscribed to, for example the “Record delivery bills” or “Document classification” model. The costs increase with the number of models required. Individual models may include the processing of a certain number of documents. If the volume exceeds the exemption limit, each additional document is charged extra. Other providers, Laigo for example, charge only according to the number of documents processed, regardless of how many models are used to process them.

Conclusion

SaaS is a promising usage model for AI as well, because it gives companies down to the SME level access to modern technology that can save time and money and spur innovation. When choosing a provider, consideration should be given to how it handles data and where it hosts its offering. In addition, the pricing models of different providers should be calculated.

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