The value of Artificial Intelligence in Italy continues to grow. In 2021, investments in this technology grew by 27%, reaching 380 million euros. A value that has doubled in the last two years. Of these, 290 million refer to projects commissioned by Italian companies. These are the figures from the research conducted by the Artificial Intelligence Observatory of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano.
Although more and more companies are approaching this technology, whose potential is still partly unexplored, it is essential to focus on the gap in the adoption of AI between Enterprise and small and medium-sized enterprises, those most representative of the Italian economic landscape. And it is not just a question of budget and investment. The research shows that six out of ten large companies have at least one AI project, while for SMEs penetration stops at only 6%.
Artificial Intelligence 2022, the main areas of application for business
Looking at the Italian market, 35% of projects involve the use of algorithms to analyse and extract information from data (Intelligent Data Processing), such as those developed by Premoneo in the areas of pricing, forecasting and segmentation and used in software developed ad hoc with companies to meet their commercial needs. This area of application is one of the fastest growing, with +32% compared to 2020. https://premoneo.com/en/
In terms of weighting on total investments, natural language processing solutions followed with 17.5% of the market (+24%) and algorithms for suggesting content to customers in line with their individual preferences (Recommendation System) with 16% (+20%). Chatbots and Virtual Assistants, which account for 10.5% of investments, and Computer Vision initiatives, which analyse the content of an image in contexts such as surveillance in public places or monitoring a production line (11% of investments, but up 41%), are growing strongly compared to last year (+34%). Lastly, 10% of the market goes to solutions whereby AI automates certain activities in a project and governs its various stages (Intelligent Robotic Process Automation).
Artificial Intelligence 2022, Enterprise vs. SME
The data reported in the observatory confirm a trend that has also emerged from our experience at Premoneo, dealing with companies of different sizes and in different markets. There is in fact a clear correlation between the interest in technology and the size of the company. If, on the one hand, the number of large companies that have launched at least one AI project is increasing (59%, +6 percentage points compared to 2020), on the other hand only 6% of SMEs have done the same: in particular, 4% are simply experimenting and only 2% have full-scale projects.
Going into detail on the state of progress of the projects launched by large enterprises, the dynamism of these companies is confirmed, which have increased their number of experiments in the last twelve months: the number of large companies that have not launched initiatives has fallen to 13%, while those that have launched pilot projects have increased. Those who have at least one fully-fledged project and those who say they are interested in launching initiatives in the future remain almost unchanged.
Artificial Intelligence 2022, the perception of the end consumer
Looking instead at the relationship between consumers and AI, 95% say they have heard of AI, although only 60% are able to recognise the presence and role of AI in the services they use. The most relevant aspect that denotes an increasing penetration of AI in everyday life is that 80% give a positive opinion of the use of AI, despite concerns related to privacy, impact on work and ethical aspects. On the subject of ethics, not all areas of application are equally ‘welcome’: for example, in the health and care sector, 48% are against the idea of a ‘carer’ robot able to take care of elderly or frail people. A similar percentage of those against a financial advisor who would manage investments autonomously, a figure that goes against the exponential growth of fintech in Italy.
Artificial Intelligence 2022, Premoneo for companies with a focus on marginality
How can Artificial Intelligence help large and small companies improve their commercial performance? At Premoneo we provide our clients with a solid know-how derived from years of data analysis and pricing optimisation, with a highly qualified team, making the combination of artificial intelligence and the human factor our strength. We provide concrete support to companies in implementing the best pricing strategies and digitalise commercial processes to increase profitability and margins thanks to artificial intelligence and data science. This approach enables the company to obtain the analysis necessary to guide management decisions in the field of marketing & sales.