SAS makes $1 billion investment in AI to focus on R&D innovation

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Software giant SAS is making an investment of $1 billion in artificial intelligence (AI) in the coming three years through software innovation, education, and expert services.

The latest investment builds on SAS’ already solid focus in AI which includes advanced analytics, deep learning, machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision.

The move will focus on three main areas: research and development innovation, where SAS is building on the success of its global AI efforts; education initiatives that address customer needs to understand AI better and benefit from it; and expert services to optimise customer return on AI projects.          

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

The company is continuing to team up with innovative companies and 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.

“At SAS, we remain dedicated to our customers and their success, and this investment is another example of that commitment,” said SAS CEO Jim Goodnight in a statement. “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.”

This is by no means the largest amount staked in this arena in recent months. Chinese AI startup SenseTime Group is looking to raise about $2 billion in fresh funding in 2019. The Beijing-based firm had raised over $1.2 billion in 2018, including a round announced in May, valued at over $4.5 billion. The funding from firms including Fidelity International, Silver Lake Partners and Hopu Capital followed a deal to sell a stake to Qualcomm in 2017 that valued SenseTime at over $1.5 billion.

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