7 Innovative Digital Transformation Trends for 2021

Change is one constant in life. For the world of technology, change only means one thing—pushing the boundaries in search of more innovative developments.  Digital transformation (DX) is the unification of digital technology and a business, company, or organization. Digitizing various processes can boost efficiency and allow services and products to improve by leaps and bounds.  In 2021, there’s no way for any organization to stay relevant without keeping up with these new DX trends:
  • Cybersecurity

Whatever the industry, security is one of the most important considerations, especially since so many people are now working remotely. Consequently, so many processes have migrated online. These days, financial fraud or theft happens online more often than not, and data breaches cost companies an average of $3.86 million in 2020. Thus, implementing new and improved cybersecurity measures is crucial in fighting back.  The 2021 cybersecurity trend is a movement from reaction to proactive prevention. The focus now is on thwarting hackers’ attacks, rather than trying to mop up the mess. One approach is the zero-trust security model (ZTA). This is a system that works off the assumption that all network devices are untrustworthy and rely on authorization policies, authentication steps, and strict access control to mitigate risks. An example of this is Microsoft’s implementation of a ZTA security model a few years ago. The increasing use of mobile computing, Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) policies, cloud-based services, and the internet of things (IoT) prompted the move. Initially, the scope included common corporate services on Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS, which are then used by the corporation’s employees, partners, and vendors. The corporation then expanded the focus to include all applications used on Microsoft. The corporation introduced the use of smart-card multi-factor authorization (MFA) to control administrative server access. It later extended this to include users who access resources beyond the corporate network. Eventually, the smart cards were exchanged for a phone-based challenge and the Azure Authenticator application. Microsoft also implemented device verification, access verification, and service verification. 

  • Data Analytics

One universal concern for businesses is the generation of revenue, and to grow that, they need to know what works and what doesn’t. The world is moving towards automation of processes and an increased use of AI to perform tasks that were previously manually performed.  Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have by necessity moved online; apart from this, the traditional AI techniques that relied on previous statistics and information are potentially becoming ineffective because of the vast changes of the past year. AI systems are heading towards working with “small data” instead of historical data. Data science developments and the use of cloud technology are closely linked, especially when it comes to using data as a service (DaaS), granting on-demand access to information without relying on proximity. Phoenix-based mining company Freeport-McMoRan is a fine example of how data-driven decisions can transform a business. Chief operating officer Harry ‘Red’ Conger told McKinsey Digital that real-time data, AI, and the company’s veteran metallurgists’ and engineers’ institutional knowledge combined to lower operating costs, bolster economic resilience, and speed up decision-making. In 2018, the company unveiled a $200 million plan to expand the capacity of its Bagdad, Arizona, copper mine. When copper prices plunged a few months later, however, they scrapped the plan. Not long after, the company started building an AI model that could boost productivity. Data scientists analyzed and challenged existing operations, and AI showed how they could better use equipment. Working together, the data scientists, engineers, and metallurgists made changes that led to the mine’s processing rate to increase by 10%. The company has since implemented the AI model in eight of its other mines. 

  • Democratization of Innovation

Democratization in the digital transformation field refers to the shift away from a provider-focused model towards a user-focused one.  Companies have a tendency to create fairly uniform products that are quickly being pushed aside by individuals’ and small businesses’ desires for innovations that are specific to their field. Developments are no longer going to be withheld by a smaller clique of establishments but made available to a much wider group of users.  According to the WorldBlu list of freedom-centered organizations, New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado, is a business that has democratized innovation. Founder Kim Jordan said the brewery involves all its workers in the business’ strategic planning every year. Jordan also encourages open communication, trust, engagement, and inclusivity, and has an open-book approach to management.

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  • The Cloud

Many people use the cloud for personal activities, and businesses already know the importance of using its capabilities to their full potential. In the world of COVID, where so many employees have transitioned to remote work, the worldwide ease of access to the cloud is imperative. In 2021, technology is moving towards the use of multi-tenant clouds and hybrid cloud models.  Organizations are letting go of the belief that it’s best to use a single cloud vendor and are venturing into the area of hybrid clouds. It’s predicted that by 2022, over 90% of companies will have transitioned to hybrid cloud technology consisting of private clouds, various public clouds, and legacy platforms. Toyota offers an example of how cloud technology can enhance its offering. The vehicle manufacturer used the cloud to transform its cars from regular vehicles into connected platforms. Apps connect the cars to Microsoft Azure-hosted social media sites to track electric vehicle reward points and to offer other elements that improve the customer experience.  

  • Real-Time Data Processing

Financial establishments that required immediate data processing and updates to provide a service primarily made use of this technology. There’s an ever-increasing need for the instant delivery of answers—within a second or two.  Change in the business and technology sectors is constant and accelerating, and that requires real-time processing; processing that is not only fast but automated and reliable too. Development in this field gears itself towards flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and scalability.  Nissan uses real-time data analytics to make decisions that are appropriate for local markets. The automobile manufacturer uses Google analytics e-commerce tracking to obtain product preference data, such as the colors, models, and categories of the vehicles that are in demand in each market. The company uses Hortonworks Data Platform for its data lake, which includes driving, quality, and other data from across the company’s operations.

  • Contactless Solutions

Another effect of COVID has been the drastic shift away from face-to-face interactions towards virtual connections—from family get-togethers to business meetings. Virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom have taken off because of social distancing.  Contactless solutions also include contactless payments, which are becoming more and more popular for businesses providing a public service. Tap to pay debit or credit cards has almost become the norm, and they do away with the need for multiple people to handle the same payment terminal.  Apart from contactless payments, there’s also been a surge in contactless fulfillment. This digital development has seen the rise of online shopping. This isn’t only about purchasing items on sites like Amazon, but also ordering groceries and other smaller products from local businesses and receiving them by door-to-door delivery or arranging curbside pickup. Many small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) are among the South African businesses that have seen how contactless options can transform companies’ operations. Nedbank launched tap-on-phone functionality for SMMEs in October 2020, and customers have responded well to the option of tapping their cards rather than swiping them and entering their PIN number. A MasterCard study indicated that 75% of South Africans used contactless payment methods when given the opportunity. 

  • Development and Wider Launch of 5G

Contrary to what conspiracy theorists believe, 5G is a massively positive development that’s set to revolutionize internet use by upgrading response time, improving speed drastically, and granting greater ease of access for multiple connected devices.  5G promises to deliver to both telecom operators and users. For individuals, the step up from 4G will bring vast improvements in internet access through a low latency rate and larger access areas. No more endlessly searching for Wi-Fi or having to move your laptop around in the hopes of a stronger signal. For operators, 5G offers the ability to shift their value proposition, allowing them to change from network capacity providers to full-scale, innovative digital partners. The spectrum for growth is huge, as are the opportunities for increasing revenue.  Samsung is one of the biggest brands globally already capitalizing on 5G. The brand’s range of Galaxy 5G devices takes connectivity to new heights and has set the benchmark for other mobile manufacturers to follow. 

Looking to the Future

The past 18 months have brought about a multitude of changes, challenges, and crises for individuals and businesses alike. Some industries have suffered more than others, but it seems unlikely that things will go back to “normal,” at least in the next few years.  There are speculations that the world is about to enter an age of pandemics, which will cement the current trend of remote working, online shopping, and reduction in face-to-face interactions across all industries. These changes have forced industries to innovate at a rate that has previously been difficult to sustain. Change has become the order of the day, and to survive, organizations have had to dedicate every effort to stay ahead of the curve.

Evolve to Thrive

Every species undergoes evolution over centuries and millennia, and technology is no different. The speed of change may differ, but the purpose is the same: to adapt to an unstable environment and prepare for the future.  These digital transformation trends will positively drive change and pave the way for new developments that will build on existing structures.

Digital Transformation Roadmap for Businesses

The following map is one approach to digital transformation for an organization. By following these steps, your organization can update practices and gain a competitive edge over those who’ve yet to embark on the transformation process. Step 1 – Develop innovative business models and experiences. Step 2 – Encourage a digital DNA culture within the organization. Step 3 – Update existing infrastructure with new technologies. Step 4 – Use data, not gut reactions, to drive the decision-making process. Step 5 – Find and collaborate with innovative and creative partners.

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Digital transformation is at the core of pushing the business forward. When done the right way, it can help businesses achieve sustainable growth and stay ahead of their competition. Building a successful digital transformation strategy doesn’t have to be a challenge. With the right support and expertise, you can adapt to change and outpace evolving demands. Xaltius is a trusted partner for these projects.  Our experience has proven that a successful digital transformation strategy needs to focus on two things. First, your strategy must include ways to manage evolving business goals. These strategies also need to account for the cultural change that comes with those advancements. Our Data Scientists provide the kind of external perspective, agility, and understanding required for real innovation.   When you partner with Xaltius, you’ll have access to highly skilled professionals, Business Analysts, Data Engineers, Corporate Trainers, and all the ancillary roles for the delivery of your strategy. Each of us at Xaltius is directly accessible to your project managers. We are a Singapore-based IT consultancy providing customized, cost-effective IT solutions to enterprises.  Let us know if we can do anything for you.  To learn more about what we can do for your organization, talk to an industry expert – Book a consultation.

About the Author: This article is written by Kristie Wright. Kristie Wright is an experienced freelance writer who covers topics on logistics, finance, and management, mostly catering to small businesses and sole proprietors. When she’s not typing away at her keyboard, Kristie enjoys roasting her own coffee and is an avid tabletop gamer.

Quantum Computing – The Unexplored Miracle

What is Quantum Computing?
Quantum computing is the use of quantum-mechanical phenomena such as superposition and entanglement to perform computation. A quantum computer is specifically used to perform such calculation, which can be implemented theoretically or physically. The field of quantum computing is a sub-field of quantum information science, which includes quantum cryptography and quantum communication. The idea of Quantum Computing took shape in the early 1980s when Richard Feynman and Yuri Manin expressed the idea that a quantum computer had the potential to simulate things that a classical computer could not.

The year 1994 saw further development of Quantum Computing when Peter Shor published an algorithm that was able to efficiently solve problems that were being used in asymmetric cryptography that were considered very hard for a classical computer. There are currently two main approaches to physically implementing a quantum computer: analog and digital. Analogue methods are further divided into the quantum simulation, quantum annealing, and adiabatic quantum-computation.

Basic Fundamentals of Quantum Computing
Digital quantum computers use quantum logic gates to do computation. Both approaches use quantum bits or qubits. These qubits are fundamental to Quantum Computing and are somewhat analogous to bits in a classical computer. Like a regular bit, Qubit resides in either 0 or 1 state. The specialty is that they can also be in the superposition of 1 and 0 states. However, when qubits are measured, the result is always either a 0 or a 1; the probabilities of the two outcomes depends on the quantum state they were in.

Principle of Operation of Quantum Computing
A quantum computer with a given number of quantum bits is fundamentally very different from a classical computer composed of the same number of bits. For example, representing the state of an n-qubit system on a traditional computer requires the storage of 2n complex coefficients, while to characterize the state of a classical n-bit system it is sufficient to provide the values of the n bits, that is, only n numbers.

A classical computer has a memory made up of bits, where each bit is represented by either a one or a zero. A quantum computer, on the other hand, maintains a sequence of qubits, which can represent a one, a zero, or any quantum superposition of those two qubit states; a pair of qubits can be in any quantum superposition of 4 states, and three qubits in any superposition of 8 states. In general, a quantum computer with n qubits can be in any superposition of up to different states. Quantum algorithms are often probabilistic, as they provide the correct solution only with a certain known probability.

What is the Potential that Quantum Computing offers?
Quantum Computing is such a unique field that very few people show their interest in it. There is a lot of room for development. It has a lot of scope. Some of the areas in which this is penetrating today are:

  • Cryptography – A quantum computer could efficiently solve this problem using multiple algorithms. This ability would allow a quantum computer to break many of the cryptographic systems in use today
  • Quantum SearchQuantum computers offer polynomial speedup for some problems. The most well-known example of this is quantum database search, which can be solved by Grover’s algorithm using quadratically fewer queries to the database than that is required by classical algorithms.
  • Quantum Simulation – Since chemistry and nanotechnology rely on understanding quantum systems, and such systems are impossible to simulate efficiently classically, many believe quantum simulation will be one of the most important applications of quantum computing.
  • Quantum Annealing and Adiabatic Optimization
  • Solving Linear Equations – The Quantum algorithm for linear systems of equations or “HHL Algorithm,” named after its discoverers Harrow, Hassidim, and Lloyd, is expected to provide speedup over classical counterparts.
  • Quantum Supremacy

In conclusion, Quantum computers could spur the development of breakthroughs in science, medication to save lives, machine learning methods to diagnose illnesses sooner, materials to make more efficient devices and structures, financial strategies to live well in retirement, and algorithms to direct resources such as ambulances quickly.  The scope of Quantum Computing is beyond imagination. Further developments in this field will have a significant impact on the world.

AR in the Education Industry

What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality abbreviated as AR is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real-world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory and olfactory. The information can be additive (adding more feel to the environment) or destructive (masking off the unnecessary natural environment).

Some common examples of the vast use of AR are mobile games like Pokemon Go and the popular social media photo app, Snapchat. These apps use AR for analyzing real-time user surroundings and further enhance user experience.

AR exhibits certain similarities with VR but has quite a few differences as well. Virtual Reality (VR) is entirely based on the virtual reception of the information, while in Augmented Reality (AR), the user is provided with more computer-generated information that enhances the perception of reality.

Taking a real-life example, VR can be used to create a walk-through simulation of a building under construction while AR can be used to show the building’s structures on a live view.

Uses of AR in Education
The field of AR recently showed some massive development after the immense popularity of apps like Pokemon Go. Recent upgrades have started to find its uses in the vast education industry. The traditional method of education is slowly becoming obsolete, and with the increasing technological growth, the education system is being digitized. The education technology industry giant, namely EdTech, is slowly adopting the use of AR and is predicted to reach around $252 billion by 2020, growing at a 17% annual rate.

Augmented Reality serves several purposes. It helps the students acquire, remember, and process the information. Additionally, AR makes learning easy and fun. Its use is not limited to the pre-school level but can be used equally till college and even at work.

Benefits of Augmented Reality
Due to a large number of benefits of Augmented Reality, its usage has become very frequent in learning. Its main advantages are –

  • Accessibility of Material – Augmented reality has the unique potential to replace the traditional paper textbooks, physical models, or printed manuals. It offers portable and less expensive learning materials. As a result of this, education becomes more accessible and mobile.
  • No special equipment requirements – Apart from a typical smartphone, Augmented Reality doesn’t need any more sophisticated equipment as in the case of VR.
  • Higher Engagement and Interest – Interactive AR based learning has a significant impact on students helping them in understanding and remembering the concepts for a more extended period.
  • Faster and effective Learning Process – Through visualization and immersion in the subject, AR ensures that the concept is deeply instilled in mind. A picture is worth a thousand words, Isn’t it? So instead of thousands of words of theory, the user can visualize the matter with their own eyes.
  • Practical Learning – The use of AR in professional learning gives an accurate reproduction of in-field conditions that can help in mastering the practical skills required for a specific job.
  • Improved Collaboration Capabilities – AR offers vast opportunities to diversify and shake up boing classes. Interactive lessons involving the whole level at the same time help in building qualities of team-work.
  • Safe and Efficient Workplace – Consider the field of heart surgery or a Space Shuttle. Without the introduction of actual dangerous equipment, the students can be taught in real life, how to solve problems.
  • Universality – Augmented Reality applies to any form of education and can significantly enhance the learning experience.

Challenges faced by Augmented Reality

There are certain challenges that you should take into account while using Augmented Reality:

  • Necessary Training Required – Conventional Teachers can find it difficult using new technologies into practice. Only the innovative and open-minded teachers will be ready to apply Augmented Reality in education.
  • Hardware Dependency – Requirement of AR equipment is necessary to make full use of this technology. All the students might not have a smartphone capable of supporting AR applications.
  • Platform-Based Issues – The AR app built must run equally well on the various available platforms.

 

Examples and Use Cases

The most popular application of Augmented Reality is unarguably in the field of education.

  1. It can help a teacher explain using a visual representation of the subject, which would help the students understand a subject better.
  2. Another case of Augmented Reality is distance learning. Students can learn even outside the classroom anytime, anywhere.

 

On a final note, Augmented Reality is a blessing in the education industry. It is not only beneficial to the students but also makes the work of teachers more comfortable and convenient.

Virtual Reality Explained – A deep insight

Virtual Reality (VR) is coined from the combination of two words – ‘virtual’ and ‘reality’. Virtual as from definition means near, and Reality is what we experience in our daily life. You probably won’t do things like diving deep in the oceans, standing beside a volcano, or going on a voyage to Antarctica, but with Virtual Reality, you might be able to do it all without even leaving your cozy sofa. All of this sounds tempting and proves that the future of virtual reality and artificial intelligence is bright and their scope is immense. Virtual reality is created in the real world using high-performance computers and some sensory equipment, like a headset and gloves. The idea of VR originated in the minds of the great Thomas Edison, who pioneered it with the name “Kinetograph.”

Here are a few examples of Virtual reality (VR) usage-

  • Virtual reality in education (e.g., military training, or pilots)
  • Virtual reality in games. VR systems use either the Virtual reality headsets for a portable VR experience or multi-projected environments for generating realistic images, sounds and other sensations that ensure a user’s physical presence in a virtual environment.

 

A person using VR can look around 360 degrees and can move around. This virtual effect is mainly created by the VR headsets that consist of a head-mounted display, with a small screen in the front of the eyes. Virtual Reality usually packages auditory as well as video feedback. Following are very crisp descriptions of everything you need to know about virtual reality.

Experiencing Virtual Reality can be categorized into various types:

  • Fully Immersive – Three things help in fulfilling a complete VR experience, a computer model, a powerful computer that can adjust to the actions made by the user, and some surround-sound loudspeakers.
  • NonImmersiveAn alternative way is using a widescreen and using headphones. It doesn’t fully immerse a user, though it is a kind of Virtual reality.
  • Collaborative – The virtual experience is the same as in the fully immersive state, but it offers the idea of sharing the virtual world with other people.
  • Web-based This is a web-based virtual reality analogous to HTML namely VRML (Virtual reality markup language)
  • Augmented Reality – Mobile devices nowadays are as capable as computers used to be. It spawned the idea of Augmented Reality (AR). There are close links between virtual reality and augmented reality. (Augmented Reality also has numerous applications in the education industry).

With the introduction of power-packed features in personal computers and smartphones, Virtual Reality devices saw significant development and grew rapidly. On a large scale, Virtual Reality is used in the entertainment industry, particularly in the gaming industry for the enhanced gaming experience.

Which devices are used for VR on a Commercial Scale?

Datagloves

Giving people the ability to touch objects and feel things in the virtual world is one of the most significant achievements of the VR industry. One technical method of implementing this is using fiber-optic cables that records the data about how much a finger is stretched. Other technologies include strain gauges, electromechanical devices, or the piezoelectrical sensors to measure the finger movements.

Head-Mounted Display(HMDs)

It is the most critical component for a VR experience. The difference between a computer and a VR is the presence of a 3D screen on a VR screen which moves according to the user movements. The HMD looks like a giant motorbike helmet, which consists of two screens, a blackout blindfold that blocks outwards light and stereo headphones (not necessarily). They usually have built-in accelerometers that keep a check on the user’s movement and the direction.

Wands

Even more straightforward than a dataglove, a wand is like a stick that can be used to touch, to point to, or to otherwise interact with a virtual world. It has the position sensors or the motion sensors (such as accelerometers) built-in, along with some mouse-like buttons or scroll wheels. The advantage that the wands take over the conventional VR equipment is that they are wireless.

Concluding, Virtual Reality is instrumental in the gaming industry and the commercial use of Virtual Reality for the education industry for pilots and military training is a very creative use of VR. It is also extensively used for enhanced entertainment purposes for short VR shows for a deep insight into Virtual Reality.

Now the question arises – how much does virtual reality cost? A long time ago, the VR equipment was very costly for its personal use. However, the recent VR equipment by Google, namely Google Cards is a cheap and efficient solution for experiencing Virtual Reality in your own home. Virtual reality seems to be the future of extensive development.

Transforming Warehouse Operations using AI

Artificial Intelligence is creating waves of disruption across many industries, be it manufacturing or human resources (HR). One of the major industries which AI has penetrated today is supply chain and logistics. Experts say that by 2020, AI could be completely transforming warehouse operations, with improvements in efficiency, profits and targets. The warehouse powered by AI would become more responsive and dynamic.

How can AI help in Warehouse Optimization?

One way through which AI can optimize the warehouse is by increasing the productivity of their workforce, especially warehouses that deals with regular pick and pack operations. Another way would be to use AI to enhance the communication between different operational departments, which would in turn ensure a smooth running of day-to-day tasks (Read – How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform the Way We Communicate – Quantified Communications). For example, online supermarket Ocado uses robots that can converse back-and-forth at a very short span of time, thus eliminating various human inaccuracies.

This would help in achieving overall targets and ensuring that the tasks are completed, while using time efficiently.

Multiple operations in the supply chain industry are expected to become fully automated by 2030. Predictable physical activities can easily be replaced by smart machines, saving time and money usually spent on wages, human mistakes, lunch breaks among various others. Robots, such as Amazon’s Kiva robots, can pick up goods and distribute them to different stations within a warehouse in mere minutes, and only needs five minutes to charge every hour.

Although 30% of jobs have the potential to become automated, employees are not expected to be fully replaced by robots. Automation will be integrated into current operations to be used as an aid; something to work alongside workers and help with routine tasks.

How is AI useful in data processing and mining?

Another area that AI can efficiently take over is the task of processing data and collecting data obtained from different warehouse operations. Complex operations can be captured and used to recognize patterns, regularities, and interdependencies from unstructured data. A smart warehouse will then be able to adapt, dynamically and independently, to new situations within the entire logistics system. Data thus collected can be analyzed to arrive at better and improved business strategies that use AI to their advantage.

To conclude

Machine learning algorithms and AI can be implemented in warehouse operations and supply chain so that they are able to anticipate situations, and solve problems efficiently. Thus, decisions are made in a short time.

AI can use the real-time insights gathered at every touch point in the warehouse’s workflow, to improve inventory accuracy and increase turns. Warehouse activities can therefore be actively monitored, while anticipating the workflow and proactively recommending optimizations.

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Artificial Intelligence and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

There are many factors that spike up the production costs of a company. In manufacturing, ongoing maintenance of production line machinery and equipment represents a major expense, having a crucial impact on the bottom line of any asset-reliant production operation especially in this fourth industrial revolution phase. Manufacturing companies are finding it increasingly harder to maintain high levels of quality during the industrial revolution. Bringing out the best product takes time as well as large human resources. But all that is set to change.

Introducing – The Fourth Industrial Revolution

The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second Industrial Revolution used electric power to create mass production. The Third Industrial Revolution used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now the Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third and has had a massive impact on the manufacturing sector. The fourth industrial revolution, powered by technology is remolding the industrial sector, helping businesses achieve more profits and more efficiency. The sector is entering its next phase – Industry 4.0 – which is driven by automation, AI, and Internet of things, and cloud computing. The big players are already investing millions in computer intelligence so that they can save time, money, and resources while maximizing their production. The Manufacturer’s Annual Manufacturing Report 2018 found that 92% of senior manufacturing executives believe that ‘Smart Factory’ digital technologies – including Artificial Intelligence – will enable them to increase their productivity levels and empower staff to work smarter.

How is the Manufacturing Sector using Artificial Intelligence?

Through computer vision, machines can be powered to pay attention to the tiniest of details, far beyond a man’s potential. Landing.ai, a startup formed by Silicon Valley veteran Andrew Ng, has developed machine-vision tools to find microscopic defects in products such as circuit boards, using a machine-learning algorithm trained on remarkably small volumes of sample images. If it spots a problem or defect, it sends an immediate alert, an artificial intelligence process known as “automated issue identification.”

Artificial intelligence can also be used to monitor the whole process of manufacturing. Siemens, one of the leading manufacturing companies on the planet, did just that. They embarked on a digitalization strategy of which one of the major goals was Overall Equipment Efficiency. In late 2017, the company announced the latest version of its IoT operating system, MindSphere. Physical machines can be connected to Mindsphere cloud environment, enabling it to build the application that visualizes the various metrics that plant managers need to monitor in 2018. It also gives the resources needed to build an industrial Internet of Things system in a fraction of the time it would take to set up a physical environment.

General Electrics is yet another leader in the manufacturing sector that has adopted the artificial intelligence strategy. In 2015 GE launched its Brilliant Manufacturing Suite for customers, which it had been field testing in its own factories. The system takes a holistic approach of tracking and processing everything in the manufacturing process to find possible issues before they emerge and to detect inefficiencies. GE claims it improved equipment effectiveness at this facility by 18 percent.

It is powered by Predix, their industrial internet of things platform. In the manufacturing space, Predix can use sensors to automatically capture every step of the process and monitor each piece of complex equipment. You can view a short video of how its done here.

Another application of artificial intelligence is the use of generative design. Designers or engineers input design goals into generative design software, along with parameters such as materials, manufacturing methods, and cost constraints. Software explores all the possible permutations of a solution, quickly generating design alternatives. It tests and learns from each iteration what works and what doesn’t. From the many solutions that are put forward, the designers or engineers filter and select the outcomes that best meet their needs. This can lead to major reductions in cost, development time, material consumption, and product weight. Airplane manufacturer Airbus used generative design to reimagine an interior partition for its A320 aircraft and came up with an intricate design that ultimately shaved off 45 percent (30kg) of the weight off the part.

Such applications will affect the future of work. These will bring down labor costs, reduce product defects, shorten unplanned downtimes, improve transition times, and increase production speed. It all comes down to optimal manufacturing performance. If manufacturers do not invest in the long term, ignore the fusion of technologies then their profits would be affected, as prices of products as well as the raw materials would only go up. However, it is not late yet as the field of artificial intelligence is constantly evolving and these applications will be the future of artificial intelligence.

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