Manufacturers expected to harness predictive technology 2021
With the combination of COVID-19 and the continued uncertainty of Brexit causing major challenges for the manufacturing and supply chain sectors, Rafi Billurcu, Head of Manufacturing at Infosys Consulting, believes that these disruptive events will result in firms investing in predictive AI to be better prepared for potential crises in the future.
Even if a deal is reached Billurcu believes that Brexit will be one of the major roadblocks for manufacturers in 2021. “Deal or no deal, we expect to see manufacturers struggle to drive efficiencies as a result of supply chain issues caused by shipping delays and lack of easy access to raw materials or intermediary goods,” .
Coupled with the outbreak of COVID-19, the industry has faced challenges when it comes to accelerating a number of key developments in 2020. Key rollouts facing delays due to COVID-19 include 5G, this technology is expected to be key to developing industry 4.0, providing a key foundation of ultra-reliable low latency connectivity for next generation factories
However despite these challenges causing disruption to manufacturing, Billurcu believes that developments in 2021 for manufacturers will “speed up again,” to get back to pre-COVID levels. However, to mitigate the impact of future crises Billurcu also commented that manufacturers will be considering new ways of planning for disruption.
“These digital tools will undoubtedly play a big role in 2021, allowing manufacturers to drive operational efficiencies at scale, and help them weather the dual-sided storm of Brexit and Covid-19. A key lesson from the coronavirus crisis is to think of risk as inevitable. The use of AI tools will help bring automated insights in a fraction of a second – insights like how to manage the logistics network, how to re-route the fleet, and how to make a delivery happen. There will also be greater uptake in other digital technologies like 3D printing and blockchain, as organisations look to better prepare themselves in anticipation of future, similar black swan events,” Billurcu added.
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’.