Hot on the heels of services from Microsoft Azure and Google, AWS has added a machine learning tool to its cloud services. Allowing users to develop predictive, learning and statistics-based awareness, Amazon Machine Learning takes a user-created model, or set of rules, plus all the data you can deliver from your Amazon S3 service or database, and then delivers predictions based on the outcomes. While it is clearly early days for all these types of systems, it already provides the basis for some useful tools for businesses and, as the concept is developed, will become smarter and more useful.

Amazon Machine Learning can be scaled up through Amazon’s cloud service, helping to create near-unlimited (in the billions range) predictions on a daily basis. Common existing use cases for machine learning include fraud detection, classification of documents, and prediction of user behaviours (such as churn rates and abandoned shopping carts). Saving a business money and time, and retaining customers, justifies the low level of investment needed for such a service.Amazon is running an introductory webinar at the end of April to explain the technology and how businesses can make use of it, and to answer questions around deployment.

As our use of data grows, and businesses find more areas where machine learning can solve problems, expect the variety of uses to increase rapidly. With the Internet of Things becoming increasingly important in business, and the vast amounts of data processed unlikely to be manageable by traditional services, expect machine learning to be a key tool in coping and understanding the results from such stacks of data.

Analysing health data from smartphones, pedometers and medical devices will be an increasingly high-profile use, allowing systems to predict strokes, seizures and other events, as the patterns from millions of users are fed through machine learning tools and common pre-cursors are identified, allowing the technology to help save lives. From these areas to more mundane tasks, like traffic flow, expect machine learning to play a key role in many businesses in the years to come. Start investigating what it could do for your organisation now.

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