Sep 16, 2020

Alibaba launches China factory in manufacturing drive

Alibaba
Manufacturing
Supply Chain
Sean Galea-Pace
2 min
Alibaba launches China factory in manufacturing drive
Alibaba has announced the introduction of the Xunxi Digital Factory as part of an increased drive for smarter manufacturing...

Powered by Alibaba’s cloud computing infrastructure and IoT, the Hangzhou-based factory provides SMEs with a digitalised end-to-end manufacturing supply chain that allows for fully-customised demand-driven production. 

This equips smaller businesses and manufacturers with the ability to benefit from the digitalisation of China’s US$4trn manufacturing market through being able to respond more efficiently to customer’s changing needs.

“Data is the core of new manufacturing and harnessing data insights is key to capturing new opportunities in the shift in consumer preference for personalised rather than mass-produced goods. New manufacturing transforms traditional manufacturers with data-driven intelligence and technology to move towards a more agile model of production based on real-time demand,” commented Alain Wu, CEO of Xunxi Digital Technology Company, Alibaba Group. “This enables traditional manufacturers to scale profitability and reduce inventory levels while still being able to meet these personalisation needs.”

The announcement marks a continuation of Alibaba’s expansion beyond its core business of e-commerce and into sectors on other parts of the online retail supply chain.

Xunxi’s trend and sales forecast model, in alignment with its own AI-aided integrated product design platform, provides manufacturers with insights into consumer preferences. This accelerated information flow can reduce research and development costs and allow businesses to capture the fast-evolving opportunities for consumer personalisation. 

In 2016, Alibaba founder Jack Ma highlighted how new manufacturing was one of the five trends outlined for future business opportunities for Alibaba. The others were new retail, new technology, new finance and new energy.

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Jun 16, 2021

Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line

Fluentai
BSH
AI
Technology
2 min
Fluent.ai and BSH announce plans to bring speech-to-intent AI to the assembly line that will increase factory efficiency and improve worker ergonomics

Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines. 

 

According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.

 

What Sets Fluent.ai Apart? 

After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.  

 

  • Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions. 
  • Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately. 
  • Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations. 

 

How Voice Automation Works

Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production. 

 

‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’. 

 

Future Global Adoption 

In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier. 

 

Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’. 

 

 

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