No sooner has one global consulting giant jumped on board with the latest technology trend, another is following suit. Accenture is launching an artificial intelligence practice just a week after PWC did the same with drones, in a bid for a share of the multi-billion dollar and fast-growing industry.

The Amelia practice, named after the AI software from IPSOFT with which it has partnered, will work with clients on integrating AI technology into their business, initially focusing on the banking, insurance and travel sectors.

“Artificial intelligence is maturing rapidly and offers great potential to reshape the way that organisations conduct business and interact with their customers and employees. At the same time, executives are overwhelmed by the plethora of technologies and many products that are advertising AI or cognitive capabilities,” said Accenture chief technology officer Paul Daugherty.

Applications could include using IPSOFT’s Amelia – a cognitive agent which works in a similar way to Apple’s Siri virtual assistant but with a much broader understanding of business – to answer customer queries for banks and oil and gas firms, or advising mortgage brokers on policy, both of which it does already for businesses.. The practice will also focus on creating new products and services.

The AI industry is on track to be worth $9.2bn (£6.4bn) by 2019 with an economic impact of $7 trillion by 2025, according to research from IDC.

Accenture said 70 per cent of corporations are considering making significantly more investments in the technology while 55 per cent say they plan to use machine learning and AI in their own business.

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