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Grow Your Business Technology

AWS Machine Learning: How Small Businesses Can Benefit

AI data
Credit: Beros919/Shutterstock

Machine learning isn't a futuristic concept that will have some unforeseen impact far down the road. The technology is already here and impacting business. Data analysis, content creation and better insights into customer data are just some of the ways a company can benefit from machine learning.

The other major misconception is that machine learning is only for major companies with massive data sets. Small businesses have much to gain from machine learning as well, given the potential it has for better customer insights and changing the way a business can scale up.

First, here's a quick explanation for any who might be unfamiliar with exactly what machine learning is. Essentially, it's a type of artificial intelligence whereby programs use algorithms and data to learn on their own. [Read related article: What Is Machine Learning?]

Machine learning is most likely something you already encounter each day. For example, if you use a digital assistant like Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana or Alexa, you're already partaking in services that use data to make themselves smarter.

On the business front, machine learning is useful for an array of services. Chatbots are one example: Businesses of all sizes are using Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Kik and other services as bots that can directly interact with customers. Even a small retail shop could use this tech to help answer customer questions without constantly be monitoring social media or responding to every ping from customers.

Providing users with machine learning services is a major sell of Amazon Web Services (AWS). The company's machine learning programs are built to appeal to data scientists, developers, researchers and others who want to take advantage of machine learning capabilities.

Companies can tap into AWS to build to train machine learning models for greater insights. Credit: SageMaker

The range of machine learning services available is quite broad. For example, Amazon Comprehend is a natural language processing service that can discover relationships within text. AWS DeepLens is another of the core AWS services, providing developers with the ability to use neural networks for gaining insights about computer vision projects or analyzing images that a camera captures.

For business, the implications are quite vast. Developers can train chatbots that are more responsive to your customers. Or make a website’s knowledge base easier to navigate as machine learning-trained algorithms assist in organizing the content. Organize a store’s inventory image database with the assist of artificial intelligence. [Read related article: How to Create the Best Chatbot for Your Business]

If you don't have a development background, you'll need to hire an outside team to take on the often-sophisticated work of employing machine learning in company software. However, the upside to the rise of machine learning through services like AWS is that the cost is significantly lower than it was just a few years ago. You can have powerful software solutions for your business that operate entirely on Amazon's servers.

All of business is getting smarter, as evidenced by Google's work in AR and VR. Machine learning, and the other benefits of artificial intelligence, are worth exploring for businesses of all types.

Derek Walter

Derek Walter is a freelance writer in northern California. He is the founder of Walter Media and author of Learning MIT App Inventor. Follow him on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn or Google+.