Oracle has updated its cloud infrastructure (OCI) service to include a new set of AI services with six new tools that aim to make it easier and faster for developers and data scientists to apply AI. AI, including machine learning techniques, to different business scenarios.
The new suite of AI services on OCI, Oracle’s public cloud platform used to build and run big data applications, is now available. It will compete with Amazon Web Services (AWS) SageMaker platform and Microsoft’s Azure Machine Learning Studio, which is designed for use by enterprise developers who don’t have deep data science expertise or experience.
Despite playing catch-up with new OCI services, Oracle’s strategy seems logical, according to Constellation Research vice president and principal analyst Holger Mueller. “Companies that already have Oracle databases can benefit from the new services. It also means that Oracle has managed to keep the database load in-house at Oracle, and has shown that OCI runs Oracle’s database better Mueller noted.
The new services allow developers to not have to worry about installing, updating and managing AI platforms, freeing them to focus on programming, Mueller said.
AI to accelerate deployment
The new set of AI services is expected to reduce the time it takes to manage data and the time to build and deploy applications, said Greg Pavlik, chief technology officer for Oracle Cloud. The time it takes for companies to respond to various scenarios could make the difference to their survival in “volatile and uncertain times,” Pavlik added.
New tools include AI-based language, voice, vision, anomaly detection, data labeling and forecasting services. The new OCI Language service is designed to enable developers to perform text analysis on a large scale. The service can understand unstructured text from documents, customer interactions, support tickets and social media, Pavlik said. The service also comes with pre-trained models that allow developers to immediately deploy them and gain insights in the form of sentiment analysis, phrase detection, and entity recognition, among other capabilities.
Oracle’s competitors offer similar capabilities. AWS has intelligent language services like Comprehend, Lex, and Polly, while Microsoft offers the Text Analytics API for advanced analytics.
The Speech service, according to Oracle, comes with pre-built models that can understand speech in multiple languages in real time. Pavlik said developers can apply the service to convert audio files containing human speech into text transcripts. The service can be used to provide subtitles in the workflow, index content, and improve analysis of audio and video content.
The AWS Transcribe and Translate service could be considered as an equivalent to this service. Azure also offers a similar service.
The OCI Vision service aims to make it easy for developers to train visual models. It comes with pre-trained models for image recognition and document analysis tasks, Pavlik said.
“It also allows users to extend the models to other customer and industry-specific use cases, such as scene monitoring, defect detection, and document processing with their own data,” Pavlik explained, adding that the service it can be used to detect visual anomalies in manufacturing, extract text from forms to automate business workflows, and tag items in images to count products or shipments.
AWS’s Rekognition service and Azure Computer Vision offer similar capabilities.
Elimination of anomalies and data cleaning
Companies spend a lot of time finding problems with their data and AI models. In order to slow down the time it takes to detect such anomalies, the new set of AI services includes the OCI Anomaly Detection service, which can flag critical irregularities earlier, leading to faster resolution times.
“OCI Anomaly Detection, built on the MSET2 algorithm, provides REST APIs and SDKs for various programming languages, which developers can use to easily integrate anomaly detection models into enterprise applications,” Pavlik said. He added that the tool can be used to detect fraud, predict machine breakdowns and record data from multiple sources.
Anomaly detection can be considered a key aspect of AI services and should be offered by all providers, Constellation’s Mueller noted. “It’s even more relevant to Oracle, given the massive amount of transactional data stored in their databases. And being able to detect an anomaly – then flag it in analytics – or even resolve it with action through AI is huge for us.” businesses move faster and be more agile,” Mueller said.
As part of the new suite, Oracle has also launched the OCI Forecasting service, which automatically provides time-series forecasts based on pre-built machine learning models without the need for coding, Pavlik noted. It allows developers to create forecasts for critical business metrics such as product demand and revenue.
Oracle has also announced OCI Data Labeling, which helps users create labeled data sets to easily train AI models. According to Pavlik, the new service will allow developers to gather data, create and explore datasets, and apply labels to them through user interfaces or public APIs.
Labeled data sets can be exported and used for model development across many of Oracle’s data science and AI services, including OCI Vision and OCI Data Science, for a consistent model building experience.