Best AI software and technologies

Digital brain

From entire AI platforms that handle every possible intelligent task you may need, to one-off apps that recognise your speech using machine learning, AI is all around us and should be celebrated.

Whether getting and analysing more insightful data is on your business plan for now or in the future, using AI is a way to supercharge your business and these tools can help you do just that.

Azure Machine Learning Studio

Microsoft's AI platform is a one-stop-shop for developing your own AI-powered applications and services using a powerful drag and drop interface.

It's been designed to be easy to use even for those new to machine learning, using pre-determined algorithms that will help you implement the technology into whatever you're creating. There are also a load of machine learning resources available to get you up to speed in no time.

For more advanced users, such as data scientists and experienced R or Python developers, tools allow you to be more prescriptive, inserting custom code and creating something completely unique that will transform your business.

Cost: Free for standard, or 7.44/user/month

Google Cloud Speech API

Probably the most sophisticated speech recognition platform out there, Google's Cloud Speech API is available for developers to integrate into their own projects with a remarkably low 4.9% word error rate.

It employs neural network models and recognises more than 110 languages and variants to convert speech into text more accurately than any other speech platform (including Microsoft's tool, which boasts an error rate of 5.1%). You can even opt to make results more accurate by adding text hints with each API call, adding context to the results.

Because it's always learning, Google Cloud Speech API allows you to filter inaccurate results to help it improve continuously. It's perfect for powering voice search, transcription apps and much, much more.

Cost: 0-60 minutes, free. Otherwise 61-1 million minutes charged at $0.006/15 seconds


Chatbots are becoming an indispensable tool for businesses, learning about the customers they're talking to and responding accordingly, in a way they understand and offering the responses customers expect.

Inbenta is one of the companies innovating in intelligent chatbot technology, with an independent study recently showing it can deliver 390% ROI to enterprises.

The company uses natural language processing and AI to find out the meaning behind search queries and allow for better responses. This in turn results in fewer support tickets being submitted. It's simple to implement and can provide in-depth reports so you can see exactly how your business has changed as a result of using Inbenta.

Cost: Available on request


Anodot analyses large datasets and finds anomalies using AI, turning them into key business insights. It makes use of its own patented machine learning algorithms, isolating potential issues so humans can examine them and take action if needed.

It will also take into account other factors, such as seasonality, trends and changing market behaviours and will adapt the algorithm it uses according to relevancy, ensuring the insights are always the most accurate they can possibly be.

It does all of this in real-time, meaning there's no hesitation if it uncovers a problem that needs addressing instantly.

Cost: Available on request

One of the most effective uses of AI is to help your company make better decisions based on various scenarios and the data you've collected over the years. makes it possible for anyone to create a model of their business and their industry in the future, using already existing data and machine learning.

It's a Java-based app and integrates seamlessly with Apache Spark and Hadoop to help any business solve their data-related challenges fast. Whether you need to use profiling to work out a data bias or gaps in the data set before you start modelling or just want to start generating valuable insights, H2O allows you to do it on a large scale.

It can be easily slotted into Python, Scala and R environments too, making it an extremely flexible platform for predictive data analysis.

Cost: From free

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.