Alexa. Siri. Cortana. These fairy ladies are now part of our life, not some characters of sci-fi series.
The image of a female assistant hard-wired to help you get more while doing less is something that is ingrained in the mind of the generation which is low taking the lead. We had it in our computer games, we were fascinated by them in movies, and our first okay-google was nothing short of a miracle–if only a technology-born one.
When our mobile phones, which were not that smart at the time to be worthy of their current name, embraced the technologies of playing music, storing images, and–who might have thought?!–accessing the Internet, we were wondering how such an impressive technological leap could even be achievable.
Many years have passed since then. Our smartphones are no less functional that full-scale PCs, and no one is surprised by the fact that someone’s digitalized voice is reminding you that your dentist is waiting for you. The Internet of Things, a new trend in the global tech industry, is gaining popularity, as more companies are considering implementing such technologies in their products–even if it’s just a kettle. Who said your kettle should keep silent instead of advising you what tea to buy and counting how many cups you have drunk today?
The abbreviation AI, which stands for artificial intelligence, is indicative of its function in our modern world. It even looks like a chemical element, and it is present in many objects found in the environment surrounding us.
More to come
AI is conquering the world: yesterday, its role was to play as your counterpart in some strategy game and attack your farms and mines as you strive to store more lumber. Today, it knows what you are looking for in stores, where you have been, and–which is probably most important to its developers–how to sell you the products you are interested in.
Since AI is such a powerful tool, it would be strange if major companies and ambitious start-ups had not ventured into the industry with the intention of introducing something innovative to bring automation into their businesses or enhance customers’ experience in some way.
From post offices to vending machines, AI systems are ramifying, and their digital tendrils are reaching farther and farther. Businesses of every kind imaginable are deciding to embrace the technology. It is risky, but it may turn out to be rewarding in the long run.
Processing data, making predictions, evaluating customers’ preferences, suggesting new solutions, and optimizing processes – AI is now present in much more areas of our lives than we possibly imagine, and many businesses have already jumped at the opportunity and rolled out products with AI implemented. However, more of these are to come.
The hosting industry also has plenty of room to offer to AI solutions which are being developed and integrated in web systems. AI has become one of the most important trends of 2018, as more hosting providers are adopting it to employ AI-based systems to ward off malware and use it as part of their set of marketing tools.
There are two major areas in which AI can make the most significant impact. First, it can analyze who is trying to sign in and what activities are being done. In other words, it can spot intruders and contribute to better safety of data. Besides the evident advantage of reducing the number of problems users with hacked accounts have to face, AI also helps to make more server resources available to users: since robots trying to break into your account are kept at bay, fewer activities are processed at a time, thus enabling users to enjoy better server performance.
In hosting, AI can also be used in the same way many businesses use the technology: it can analyze your preferences and guide you as you are trying to solve problems which may appear in the course of theme installation or module integration. Based on your previous orders or even queries, it can offer you the upsells that you are most likely to buy. Handling oceans of data becomes easier if it is managed by AI.
This short list is not comprehensive, and more uses are certainly to be introduced.
Does the hosting industry really need AI?
In short, it can benefit from it in a number of ways. Besides the advantages mentioned above, AI can improve the following:
- Server performance. As it has already been said, more free resources become available due to elimination of unnecessary bot-attack-induced loads. However, AI also can boost server performance by predicting traffic surges and identifying patterns of server use, reducing downtime. This, in its turn, can help manage server resources efficiently and adjust the system according to what users are doing.
- Customer service. Well, most of us hate it when the live chat on your hosting provider’s website turns out to be another bot capable of nothing but spamming links to FAQs. Still, AI can be used to develop high-quality customer service bots which can process your message, identify your problem, and offer custom solutions.
- Repair bots. No, it’s not another sci-fi game. Repair bots can be used to monitor users’ feedback in social networks and react fast when a technical problem is reported.
AI hosting pioneers
Many hosting providers have already embraced the technology.
Last year, SiteColo introduced their AI system, which can handle scaling and predict traffic spikes to ensure better user experience. Managing workloads, it is designed to ensure every website is up. Such dedicated resources as memory, CPU, and I/O can be adjusted automatically, which improves server performance.
One of the industry leaders, SiteGround simply could not fall behind and fail to embrace such an innovative and trendy technology. Their anti-bot AI is now guarding the servers and reportedly fends off 500,000 to 2,000,000 brute-force attempts (sic!) every hour. Judging by the statistics, the investment is likely to pay off soon.
SingleHop is an example of how AI can impact managed hosting.
GoDaddy uses AI in an utterly creative way: their ADI (standing for Artificial Design Intelligence) function is based on AI which generates templates and content for your website. The quality of products generated is not comparable to custom solutions, but they can be used as something to start with. However, their use of AI is not limited to images and templates: their system using deep learning technologies can predict the price a particular domain is worth and give advice as to what option should be chosen.
Canadian Web Hosting integrated an AI-based Linux server protection system in 2017, and the security system in question, which is called Imunify360, also serves Wavecom. Some hosting providers, like ServiceNow, utilize AI to process voice records, free-form texts, and gestures to make software understand natural language and thus communicate with customers more efficiently.
Website builders, which are offered by many hosting companies, are another way to prove that AI definitely has a lot to offer to the hosting industry. AI-based web design solutions are an emerging trend, and among those who have already had the audacity to show how effective AI can be at handling creative tasks are TheGrid, Wix, B12, and Myraah, and there are many more to come, given how popular the concept of implementing self-teaching systems is.
Is it worth to implement AI solutions?
The technologies described above are relatively new, and it remains unclear which of them will prove to be useful, and which ones will be yet another marketing trick which fails to boost user experience.
For the average user, AI is something that can–if used properly–enable them to use hosting services effortlessly: you will be offered the best option, your pages will be designed automatically, and your website will be less likely to experience downtime due to better server management and security.
Still, AI is a tricky thing, as it processes a lot of personal data, which begs the question of whether it is possible for third parties to access this personal information. Even if companies claim they do not share or collect any of the personal data processed, there is still a chance someone will use your whereabouts, preferences, and other details to show you custom ads (another AI trick), with potentially dangerous effects.
For hosting providers, AI is a good thing to embrace, as it can help them boost user experience. Some services, like AI-based web design services, are far too exotic–at least as of this moment–and human designers are likely to create a better product, so investing into such a feature is not something literally all hosting providers should fancy.
In terms of server management and security, AI is definitely a thing to consider. However, such investments can be risky, since the industry is teeming with tech-advancement-oriented hosting providers.
The world is changing
Given the mushroom growth of IoT products, ubiquitous AI-based apps, emergence of smart home systems, and other manifestations of the current AI fashion, it is likely that more hosting providers will have their say and find new ways to integrate AI features.
The bottom line is that AI is definitely an option to consider for any web hosting provider, as it brings a lot of benefits both for you and your customers.