Google, Amazon. IBM, Capital One and McDonald’s. What do all these companies have in common?
Whether it’s the entire process of ranking web pages or the voice taking orders in a walk-thru, AI has touched every business operation. And for good reasons.
All businesses strive to achieve efficient, error-free and convenient operations. And artificial intelligence gives this to them. The power of AI can manage huge amounts of data and analyze them to identify the best action. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The best part is that AI can be molded into any industry and business. But, despite the benefits promised by the emerging technology, building AI software can get expensive. Considering the variables involved in the development process, most companies often hesitate to move forward with their AI idea.
So, let’s get the question out of the way once and for all -
The cost of AI can start from as low as $900 and go upwards of $300,000. But this is just a general estimation. The final price can only be determined after evaluating the requirements and the resources put into use.
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|Custom or Off-the-Shelf||$99-$300,000
|Prototype Development||Starts from $25000
|Hardware Cost||$400- 15000
|Maintenance||Upwards of $320,000/year
NOTE: The cost presented in the table is a general estimation. Consult a professional to get a complete breakdown for your project requirements.
Additionally there are factors that play a significant role in determining the cost of AI development Sevices. Let’s discuss them in detail.
Several variables are at play when it's a matter of the cost of developing AI software for your business. For starters, artificial intelligence is not of one type. There’s AI that’s pretty much used everywhere and easy to develop. Then there’s AI, that’s still in its fetal stage. The cost will vary depending on where your project lies in this spectrum.
So, before you ask for the cost of AI development, you must first place your project in the right bracket. Here are a few factors that will determine the cost of your AI project.
First, you must determine whether you need a custom AI solution or an off-the-shelf one. A custom solution would involve developing the AI from scratch and training it for the purpose you wish to achieve. On the other hand, off-the-shelf AI is a set of algorithms already structured to perform a specific task. These can be integrated into your business operations and molded accordingly.
All custom AI solutions must meet the expectations and specifications of the business. The process takes time and effort, from ideation to deployment. For instance, ERP software with heavy configurations can take months to complete. For this reason, custom AI development can easily cost between $5000 and upwards of $150k.
On the contrary, off-the-shelf AI solutions are like packaged products that can be used without much effort. For instance, companies can use pre-built chatbots offered by TARS, DRIFT or Hubspot. These chatbots can cost $99 to $500 per month.
AI is an umbrella term that features multiple AI software, each designed to perform a different set of tasks and for different outputs. For instance, one business may need a chatbot and another an AI analysis system. You may have seen this tech in action in AI tools like content generators and Paraphrase tools. Both require different development processes and resources and therefore have different costs.
So, based on the most common use cases of AI in business, its types are broadly categorized into three classes-
It includes AI solutions based on various technologies. Robotic process automation, speech recognition, computer vision and data science are some well-known examples. These AI technologies can be used in multiple industries ranging from a call center to a hospital.
As the name suggests, these AI solutions are classified based on the functions they perform. Some of its types are reactive machines, limited memory, theory of mind and self-awareness.
Reactive machines are made to process immediate information and act in the moment without information about past experiences.
Limited memory AI makes optimal decisions based on limited data from past experiences. One of the most well-known examples of limited-memory AI is chatbots. Its function is to provide immediate solutions to the user based on specific triggers and thus simulate human conversation. Businesses in all industries have adopted chatbots, raising the demand for chatbot development services.
Theory of mind and self-awareness AI is still emerging and closer to human consciousness than any other AI software.
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Once the functionality of AI software is built, it slowly gains an identity based on its capability or specific attribute. Some widely used capability based AI software are-
Based on the business requirements, AI software is molded to fit the specifics. The requirements can vary at different levels. Any business or organization looking to integrate this technology must consider the following factors in order to determine the task requirements of the AI. This will further help determine the cost of AI development. You may have seen this tech in action in AI tools like content generators and Paraphrase tools
These factors, together, will determine the task requirements of your AI software and further help developers scope out the technology and process necessary for its creation.
What makes AI solutions different are its features. Based on the task requirements, you may have to include certain features and exclude the others. For instance, if your project includes the task of generating texts or answering questions, you will have to include natural language processing. Similarly, deep learning is associated with machine learning. Likewise, you may want to include speech or image recognition features into your AI.
Whichever may be the feature, it will impact the final cost of AI development. That’s because achieving high accuracy and data processing via AI is only possible if the process you industry trusted features. And these features add up to the final cost.
AI algorithms need power to process and analyze data. It handles large volumes of computations which need equally powerful and specialized infrastructure to support the process.
In the case of AI, there’s the option of on premises hardware or cloud based hardware. The former includes GPUs to train neural networks and perform computations, application specific integrated chip (ASIC) designed to deliver high performance and TPUs that accelerate workloads. Each of these hardwares are expensive and require heavy investment.
Cloud based hardware for backend and dashboard may be cost effective alternatives to some on premises hardware. Only an expert can tell you which is most suitable for your business.
It’s not just the technology that adds to the final cost, but also the labor involved in implementing it. Even in a small business, the AI development team can cost an upwards of $320,000 per year.
Any team involved in AI development will include many important roles. For example, a general composition of the team includes - a data scientist, ML engineer, AI developer, software developers and project manager. The cost of each member varies in terms of skills and experience. And based on the team members assigned to your project, the cost will also vary.
Management of an AI software can be done by an in-house or an outhouse team. While an in-house team may cost more, an outhouse team eliminates the expense of in-house costs such as per member salaries.
Now, building an AI is one thing, maintaining it is another. While the algorithm can be trained to do computations and process data initially, it will require timely updates and maintenance from the team to ensure that the AI progresses with the changing requirements of the business. This in turn delivers maximum efficiency and performance.
Finally, the cost of AI development will depend on the duration it takes to build your software. The duration will depend on all the factors discussed above. For instance, building a basic version of an AI will cost less and require less time compared to an MVP version.
Whether you are outsourcing or employing an in-house team, longer durations means that the members will have to dedicate more time and efforts which will raise the final cost.
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