This content is part of the Conference Coverage: Citrix Synergy 2017 conference coverage
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AI and machine learning systems: Coming soon to EUC tech near you

It’s easy to dismiss AI and machine learning as buzzwords with no practical enterprise applications. For many people, those terms still conjure up images of sentient robots that will one day destroy human civilization.

Just last week, over the course of two enterprise IT conferences, I learned that a more realistic view of the future is one in which artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning systems bring tangible benefits to end-user computing (EUC) technologies. In fact, that day is already here.

The big news at Citrix Synergy was the launch of the Citrix Analytics Service, which uses AI and machine learning systems to identify and automatically respond to abnormal user behaviors that could be signs of a security breach. IT pros are hopeful this cutting-edge technology will give them more insight into the security of their applications, networks and data than they are able to glean from their monitoring systems on their own. And Citrix is clearly putting a lot of weight behind this push; the company even had author Malcolm Gladwell give an entire keynote about AI at Synergy.

Citrix Analytics Service is not yet available, but some other vendors are ahead of the AI curve. ExtraHop Networks, for example, won Best of Show in the Best of Citrix Synergy 2017 Awards. Its Addy product monitors network traffic and uses machine learning to identify potential problems before they wreak havoc.

Prior to Synergy, at the ET6 Exchange conference in Chandler, Ariz., AI was also top of mind. The theme of the event was digital transformation — using technology to re-think and improve how companies do business — and several speakers highlighted the role of machine learning systems in this process. Vendors at the event also showcased various ways to put AI to use in the enterprise — including in some surprising ways.

Telecom expense management (TEM), for example, isn’t the most exciting technology in the world, but it’s extremely important for organizations that pay for some or all of their employees’ mobile devices and wireless plans. And in large, multinational companies, it’s extremely complex. TEM vendor vMOX, based in Roslyn Heights, N.Y., ties into cellular carriers’ APIs and uses machine learning to analyze employee usage and identify potential cost-saving measures.

Sure, it is possible that autonomous, intelligent computers will someday take over the world. But in the meantime, organizations need to start thinking about how to take advantage of the numerous benefits of AI and machine learning systems.