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Bengaluru: IPsoft Inc., the New York-based company that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to manage computer networks, will launch its third cognitive computing platform Apollo, which will go head-to-head with the platforms unveiled by India’s three largest technology vendors.

IPsoft plans to showcase Apollo, which has autonomic (or self-managing) and analytical capabilities, to analysts and a few clients on Wednesday in New York and launch it on 14 July, according to an executive at the company familiar with the development.

IPsoft, founded by New Delhi-born Chetan Dube, a former professor of computer science at New York University, first rolled out smart automation platform IPcenter in early 2000 and later came up with its high-end AI platform, Amelia, to replace the work of a call-centre employee. Apollo will cost 20% less than Amelia, look at automating basic technology work and have some elements of cognitive technologies, thereby competing against Tata Consultancy Services Ltd’s (TCS’s) Ignio and Wipro Ltd’s Holmes.

Cognitive technologies essentially mimic the human brain.

“We are positioning Apollo as a platform which can disintermediate IT and business-side functions at large enterprises," added the executive, who asked not to be named. Indeed, IPsoft’s website describes Apollo as “the first unmanned IT for business framework".

The executive said Apollo would do “the work of IPcenter" and “have some of the abilities of Amelia".

IPsoft did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

An analyst said Apollo could mark the next step in the evolution of self-managing, intelligent platforms, giving IPsoft an edge in the “evolving ecosystem".

“We see a clear maturation in the market development as well as adoption of the broad notion of Intelligent Automation. At the heart of this are initiatives to orchestrate a broad set of tools as well as virtual agents that are coming to the fore. IPsoft’s impending launch of its Apollo platform is likely to integrate autonomics and analytical capabilities with its Amelia virtual agent," said Thomas Reuner, managing director of IT outsourcing research at HfS Research.

Privately-held IPsoft, which counts British bank Barclays Plc. and telecom firm Vodafone Group Plc. among its clients, does not disclose its revenue, but the executive cited above said the company expects sales of Apollo to account for at least 10% of its total revenue by 2018. For now, IPcenter automation tools bring about 70% of IPsoft’s revenue, while Amelia accounts for the remaining 30%.

As the traditional approach of outsourcing work to cheaper locations comes under pressure, and as automation platforms and cloud computing erode the benefits of low-cost coders, Indian software firms are investing in new technologies. They are automating many internal processes and building AI-powered platforms. Wipro was the first to launch one such platform, Holmes, in early 2015. TCS launched its Ignio platform in June 2015. Infosys Ltd launched Infosys Automation Platform and unveiled its cognitive platform Mana earlier this year. Wipro has already outlined the ambition of deploying Holmes to automate several aspects of its so-called fixed-price projects, saving up to $46.5 million and freeing around 3,000 engineers from mundane software maintenance activities.

“For all large outsourcing firms, it is an absolutely necessary move to invest in these AI platforms as it can be a key differentiator in many of the upcoming (deal) renewal negotiations and for new deals, where clients expect digital solutions for their outsourced services and processes," said Ralf Dreischmeier, London-based senior partner who heads the technology practice at The Boston Consulting Group.

IPsoft has stitched a partnership with Accenture Plc. under which the latter will use Amelia internally and also look to sell the bot to its clients.

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