Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, September 26, 2023

What an AI App Store Means for Vertical AI Developers 

As AI continues to advance, the industry will begin to see a distinction between two categories: horizontal and vertical applications. While horizontal models offer versatile solutions applicable across domains, vertical models cater to specific industries, providing specialized AI capabilities. This is where an AI App Store enters the picture, revolutionizing the way niche markets and vertical AI solutions thrive.

Imagine a dedicated platform where vertical AI vendors can effortlessly showcase and distribute their specialized software to a global audience. An AI App Store similar to what OpenAI is reportedly considering would serve as the perfect gateway, enabling these vendors to monetize their offerings and expand their customer base significantly. Just as the introduction of the iPhone and its App Store transformed the mobile industry, an AI app store has the potential to reshape how AI is accessed, applied, and monetized, fostering innovation and empowering users to harness the full capabilities of AI technology.

While OpenAI may be the first to launch an app store format for various AI models, Amazon recently made its entry into the foundational models marketplace with Bedrock, just two months ago. Additionally, AWS unveiled an API platform designed to assist customers in hosting generative AI models, including those developed by AI21 Labs, Anthropic AI, and Stability AI. So even if OpenAI’s plan to launch falls through, a similar model will likely emerge given the demand.

The benefits of an AI App Store for niche markets and vertical AI solutions are abundant. For developers, it would provide an unprecedented opportunity to monetize their creations. By having their specialized AI software readily available on the platform, developers can reach millions of potential users and generate substantial revenue. This financial support would further drive innovation, encouraging developers to continue refining and expanding their vertical AI solutions to better cater to industry-specific needs.

Meanwhile, for users and technology buyers, an AI App Store offers access to an extensive library of cutting-edge AI tools. This availability of diverse and specialized AI applications empowers users to drive innovation in their respective fields or specific use cases. Whether it's service, healthcare, finance, manufacturing, or any other industry, vertical AI solutions tailored to specific domains can deliver precise insights and transformative capabilities. An AI App Store ensures that users have a secure environment to discover, evaluate, and adopt reliable AI software, fostering trust in the efficacy and effectiveness of the solutions they choose.

Many companies are more inclined to partner with a smaller vendor but need help knowing where to look. Darren Elmore, GM of Service at Ricoh New Zealand, describes the benefits of partnering with a smaller, more niche AI vendor over a larger, more established technology company, “the ability to pivot and make changes at speed when needed can happen when not suffocating under multiple layers of bureaucracy and hierarchy which can happen with larger, more established organizations.” As AI continues to evolve and become more ubiquitous, it’s expected that vertical solutions will increasingly be of interest.

The democratization of AI software through an app store is poised to profoundly impact various industries. Niche markets that may have previously struggled to access or afford specialized AI solutions can now leverage the power of these tools to enhance their operations, improve decision-making, and gain a competitive edge. Small and medium-sized businesses, in particular, stand to benefit as they gain access to sophisticated AI capabilities that were once reserved for larger enterprises.

Moreover, the introduction of an AI App Store is likely to disrupt the current AI landscape, igniting healthy competition among vendors. Disruption often creates opportunities for new entrants and motivates existing players to innovate and differentiate themselves to remain competitive. This fierce competition will ultimately drive advancements in vertical AI solutions, resulting in improved performance, increased functionality, and expanded offerings. The end result is a win-win situation for both vendors and users, with continuous innovation pushing the boundaries of what AI can achieve.

An AI App Store represents a groundbreaking concept that has the potential to unlock the power of vertical AI solutions for niche markets. By providing a platform for developers to monetize their creations and reach a global audience effortlessly, an AI App Store fuels innovation and facilitates the democratization of AI. It empowers users with access to specialized AI tools, transforming industries and revolutionizing how businesses and individuals harness the capabilities of AI technology. As we embrace the future, an AI App Store stands as a pivotal catalyst for the growth, advancement, and widespread adoption of vertical AI solutions in the years to come.

About Shahar Chen:

Shahar is an entrepreneur and expert in service. Shahar brings more than 15 years of business and technical expertise in BtoB software, specifically SaaS service software. Shahar started Aquant with his co-founder Assaf with the mission of bringing a powerful AI solution to the field service world, as a way to revolutionize service for service teams and end users. Prior to starting Aquant, Shahar spent 14 years at ClickSoftware, where he served in various positions from sales and consulting to product innovation.