Oracle today introduced a suite of new AI services delivered on its Oracle Cloud Infrastructure public cloud platform.
The new services aim to automate business applications involving language, speech, vision, anomaly detection and forecasting. The services keep Oracle current with similar services from top cloud vendors AWS, Google and Microsoft, said Mike Gualtieri, a Forrester analyst.
"If Oracle is going to have a strong cloud alternative, they have to have these kinds of AI services," Gualtieri said.
Mike GualtieriAnalyst, Forrester
Some of the technology behind the new services, which consist of pre-trained algorithms that can be customized by users but are managed by Oracle, came from the tech giant's 2018 acquisition of DataScience.com.
While Oracle provides machine learning tools and other AI services for its Autonomous Database, the new services are only on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and are aimed at specialized business applications, said Greg Pavlik, CTO for Oracle Cloud Platform.
"We're doing the training of the underlying models using what we believe are relevant business data, and we're further tailoring that across vertical domains," Pavlik said.
Oracle's long history with business applications and wide range of enterprise software are what differentiates the company from bigger cloud providers, Pavlik said. Oracle's services target sophisticated business users and developers, as opposed to professional data scientists, he said.
"You don't have to be a mathematician to use it because we've wrapped it up in this more simplified overlay," Pavlik said.
Gualtieri said Oracle's approach in this regard is viable -- to provide cloud AI services aimed at enterprises, backed by a trusted enterprise software provider.
By comparison, AWS does not have a history in enterprise software, nor does Google. Microsoft can claim enterprise roots, he said.
While Oracle is unlikely to catch up in the cloud race, it can thrive in a hybrid and multi-cloud world by ensuring that its cloud customers have access to the same AI technologies as those provided by the top public cloud providers and by being part of enterprises' cloud strategy, Gualtieri said.
"What Oracle has to do is keep customers on their cloud with the business applications, and be the business applications company," he said. "It's not about enterprises picking one cloud. It's about them running multi-cloud. It's not a winner-take-all thing."
The new OCI AI services, all generally available now and priced on a per-unit use basis, are:
- OCI Language: Provides text analysis and enables developers to apply sentiment analysis, key-phrase extraction, text classification, named entity recognition and other functions.
- OCI Speech: Applies models trained on thousands of native and non-native-language speakers for real-time speech recognition.
- OCI Vision: Pre-trained computer vision models for image recognition and document analysis. Can also extract text from forms to automate business workflows and tag items in images to count products or shipments in manufacturing.
- OCI Anomaly Detection: Built on Oracle's MSET2 algorithm, can be used for fraud detection, predicting machinery breakdown and processing data from multiple devices to predict failures.
- OCI Forecasting: Delivers time-series forecasts for business metrics, including product demand, revenue and resource requirements.
- OCI Data Labeling: Enables users to build labeled data sets to train AI models and assemble data, browse data sets and apply labels to data records.