Analytics Company SAS Is Investing $1 Billion In Artificial Intelligence Resources

By Dan Anderson ● March 24, 2019

SAS, the leading North Carolina-based analytics software company, is investing $1 billion in artificial intelligence over the next three years through software innovation, education, and expert services. This commitment builds on SAS’ strong foundation in AI — which includes advanced analytics, machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing (NLP), and computer vision. And the educational programs and expert services will equip business leaders and data scientists for the future of artificial intelligence.

“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.”

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From an R&D innovation standpoint, SAS is going to invest in all core areas of AI with a special focus on making it easy for users with different skill levels to benefit ranging from business experts to data engineers to data scientists.

And SAS is embedding AI capabilities into the SAS Platform and solutions for data management, customer intelligence, fraud, security intelligence, and risk management. SAS is also continuing to partner with innovative companies and technology providers such as Accenture, Cisco, Deloitte, Intel, and NVIDIA.

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Dutch sports-analytics startup SciSports is already applying computer vision from SAS to data streaming from soccer (football) matches. The SAS AI technology running on NVIDIA GPUs delivers in-game insights to coaches and managers. As it captures and analyzes the insights and other data, football clubs are able to improve upon aspects of the game such as in-game strategy, player recruitment, and fan experiences.

“The reason SAS tops the revenue list for advanced analytics for the last five years is that SAS solutions are built on a foundation of machine learning and deep knowledge of analytics. These are part of SAS’ DNA,” added IDC’s Research Director for Artificial Intelligence Dave Schubmehl. “Combining SAS’ knowledge and technology with its continued push to innovate in computer vision, NLP and deep learning will drive further adoption of AI across multiple industries. And it will help companies interested in AI – whether early in their AI and analytics life cycle or more mature.”

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In terms of customer education and development initiatives, SAS is setting up the new SAS AI Accelerator Program, which will focus on helping organizations and professionals get ready for AI at any level. It will feature tailored curricula to help organizations improve AI skills by offering e-learning support through the SAS Academy for Data Science and in-person training in AI technologies, best practices, and more. Plus certification programs that help analytics professionals and data scientists earn the valuable credential of SAS Certified Professional in AI and Machine Learning are also being offered.

For customers, SAS is also offering access to the SAS Analytics Center of Excellence — which is a group of PhDs and advanced experts in AI, machine learning, NLP, computer vision, optimization, simulation, and data science skills who are dedicated to supporting customer AI implementation. Some of the customers using SAS’ AI and machine learning tools include Connexions Loyalty, Daiwa Securities, and Volvo and Mack Trucks.

SAS’ newest headquarters building — which is a 420,000 square foot tower uses some of the latest innovations in AI and machine learning for connecting performance with business results. This building features thousands of IoT connected sensors embedded in air handlers, boilers, and chillers for monitoring water and energy use. Through neural networks using SAS Event Stream Processing, the SAS facilities team are able to track sensors and systems performance in real-time to enhance predictive maintenance — which helps identify equipment problems before they occur. And it also helps optimize energy and water usage. About half of the new building’s power is supplied by the adjacent SAS Solar Farm.