China's manufacturing future
China’s economy is slowing. That much has become clear recently with the most recent trade data, and the collapse in exports, supporting the earlier case made by the Markit manufacturing PMI and other partial indicators.
But even against a backdrop of scepticism over the pace of Chinese economic growth, this morning’s Caixin Markit ‘flash’ manufacturing PMI was a surprisingly weak result compared to analysts forecasts.
With a print of 47.1 the manufacturing PMI fell from 47.8 last month and was much weaker than the 47.7 analysts in the Reuters poll expected. That took the PMI to a 77-month low – the depths of the GFC. The associated manufacturing output index was also weaker, printing 46.6 against July’s 47.1.
The summary break up of the data supports the notion that authorities and the PBOC have a lot of work to do given that most indicators are falling at an accelerated rate. Inflation indicators are also flashing a warning signal with prices for inputs and outputs also falling.
Dr He Fan, chief economist at Caixin Insight Group, tried to put a positive light on the release saying that even though the PMI fell further from July’s two-year low “the likelihood of a systemic risk remains under control and the structure of the economy is still improving.” But he added: “There is still pressure on the front of maintaining growth rates, and to realize the goal set for this year the government needs to fine tune fiscal and monetary policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and speed up the structural reform.”
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
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’.