As Maurice Conti has said in one of his presentations, we have arrived to the augmented era, in which Artificial Intelligence gains a new role.
Until now all our tools were passive: we told them what to do and they did it. But the future holds a new era where artificial intelligence will come up with its own designs, its own ideas, its own products. Many tasks could soon be executed with the cooperation of robots, AI and humans, robots providing perfect execution, AI delivering the design the design and humans making the necessary decisions. But to get to this point it is crucial to build a nervous system for robots through sensors. Industry 4.0 has introduced the concept of data exchange withing manufacturing and this opens countless business opportunities, some of them were unimaginable before. By implementing sensors, data of all types can be utilized, making products become even services as well.
Accenture Technology’s case study “Driving unconventional growth through the IIoT” presents several businesses that adapted to the latest trend, taking advantage of the new technical advantages of IIoT.
Michelin, for example, is helping truck fleet managers reduce fuel consumption and costs through their new hybrid product. They introduced tires equipped with sensors, which collect data on fuel consumption, tire pressure, temperature, speed and location. This data is then transmitted to a cloud service of a Michelin solutions partner. After analyzing the data Michelin can offer advice on how to improve efficiency. This has opened a new segment to the company, with new opportunities.
Another interesting example is Apple’s HealthKit which enables health and fitness applications to work together, bringing the company into a healthcare data ecosystem.
Within production, with the help of robots and AI, it will be possible to increase production efficiency and come up with designs which humans alone could have never imagined. At the moment manufacturers sell products they think are good, but with the help of the IoT, they create products which are in demand. If sold products were equipped with sensors capable of sending feedback about their usage, improvement would become much easier and would make a bigger difference.
The topic of robots and AI is quite controversial. Many experts fear that robots will cause a massive job loss, not helping but causing severe problems for society. There is another approach as well, though: instead of decreasing, the present of robots will restructure the labor market, accomplishing poorly-paying tasks and creating job opportunities which require high qualifications.
Thanks to technical development, AI and robots, we are heading towards a future where industry should become more flexible, adaptable and dynamic. This will hold many changes, but the sooner we acknowledge them and we adapt to them, the more benefits we can get from this evolution.