IA off-the-shelf

Off-the-shelf AI: What it is, benefits and when to apply it

Inteligencia Artificial

Off-the-shelf AI (out-of-the-box Artificial Intelligence) is a turnkey AI solution built by a third party. It is a set of algorithms designed for specific tasks and cases, ready to be used.

It follows the same “as-a-service” trend that we have seen spreading in other areas, incorporating pay-per-use systems to the infrastructure (IaaS) or software (SaaS). For this reason, it is also called AIaaS. Thanks to the most important public cloud providers, AI of the highest level is made available to everyone.

Advantages of off-the-shelf AI

The main advantage of off-the-shelf AI is speed. Until now, companies required a lot of time and resources to incorporate AI into their business. With this approach, we can reduce development time and focus on our core business.

The learning curve and the cost of incorporating or contracting the data science capabilities necessary for the development of this type of algorithm also disappear. We can carry out the project with a Software Integrator with experience in this type of solutions available in the cloud. And with the cost transparency of pay-per-use.

In addition, this speed and saving imply that we have the necessary flexibility to test and perform proofs of concept (PoCs) of Artificial Intelligence without incurring large investments or long-term planning. That is, we will have the necessary agility to iterate and learn from the results obtained.

When to apply (or not) off-the-shelf AI

We must be aware of the limitations of off-the-shelf AI. In fact, most of the challenges posed by artificial intelligence can’t be solved with "plug and play", as applying machine learning models usually requires a process that includes data preprocessing, training, optimization and parameter evaluation.

The first question that should come to our minds is if we are facing unsolved and non-standardized problems. Depending on the answer, off-the-shelf AI is not recommended when:

  • The problem to be solved is very specific to a company or business
  • Intellectual property of the code is required
  • The intention is to obtain a competitive advantage from AI

However, Off-the-shelf AI is recommended when:

  • There is little time and limited resources for AI
  • The problem to be solved is well researched and standardized

At Opentrends, we have the necessary skills to design the ideal solution for each case. For standardized use cases, we have experience using off-the-shelf AI solutions. For those non-standard cases in which knowledge of data science is required, we rely on PredictLand, our specialized partner.

Off-the-shelf AI is a very good option if you want to take your first steps in Artificial Intelligence. There are relevant cases of success in this field, with impressive results. Recently, Opentrends has collaborated with a major university to implement an identity verification system for online assessments and exams. We will share more information about this project soon.

Martí Fàbrega

Martí is a Digital Transformation Consultant and Senior Business Development Manager at Opentrends. His aim is to transform technology into business value for his clients, putting the greatest possible focus on innovation.