Obama Administration Announces US 'Manufacturing Communities'
The American government has announced the creation of 12 Manufacturing Communities in a bid to spur investment and create jobs beyond the 647,000 generated in the sector since the financial crash.
To build on this momentum in manufacturing, the Obama Administration launched the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) last September– an initiative to spur communities to develop integrated, long-term economic development strategies that strengthen their competitive edge in attracting global manufacturers and their supply chains to our local communities—increasing investment and creating jobs.
IMCP specifically brings together the resources of multiple federal departments and agencies to support strong local economic development plans.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has announced the first 12 communities that will be designated Manufacturing Communities as part of the second phase of the IMCP.
Selected out of more than 70 communities that applied, these 12 communities developed strong economic development plans and have deep partnerships in place across the public and private sectors to carry out their plans.
The first 12 Manufacturing Communities designated by the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership are:
- Southwest Alabama led by the University of South Alabama
- Southern California led by the University of Southern California Center for Economic Development
- Northwest Georgia led by the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission
- The Chicago metro region led by the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development
- South Kansas led by Wichita State University
- Greater Portland region in Maine led by the Greater Portland Council of Governments
- Southeastern Michigan led by the Wayne County Economic Development Growth Engine
- The New York Finger Lakes region led by the City of Rochester
- Southwestern Ohio Aerospace Region led by the City of Cincinnati
- The Tennessee Valley led by the University of Tennessee
- The Washington Puget Sound region led by the Puget Sound Regional Council
- The Milwaukee 7 Region led by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee
Eleven federal agencies with $1.3 billion in economic development funds will be able to use the designees' plans to make targeted investments in demonstrably strong public-private partnerships to strengthen regional manufacturing.
In addition, each designated community will also receive a federal liaison and branding and promotion as a designated Manufacturing Community to help attract additional private investment and partnerships.
Later this year, the Administration will launch a second Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership competition to designate the next round of communities.
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’.