For the longest time, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been touted as a powerful technology that will revolutionize the industrial manufacturing space. The sentiment has its validity, but there is no shortcut to AI. Firstly, AI in industrial manufacturing is an ensemble of various use cases at various phases of manufacturing, such as generative design in product development, production forecasting in inventory management, machine vision, defect inspection, production optimization and predictive maintenance on production phase. Secondly, the right data and personnel are needed for AI implementation. Many existing equipment and tools on the factory floor remains unconnected. In addition, manufacturers are facing enormous competition in building and training in-house data science team for AI implementation.
Once the right foundations are in place, including data architecture, AI frameworks, AI engines and on-premise hardware, manufacturers can start to leverage the capabilities that AI can offer. At the moment, most AI solutions are able to collect data and perform unsupervised machine learning to generate insights and recommendations, with supervision from AI experts. The rise of automated machine learning will free AI experts from the more mundane AI optimization tasks and allow them to explore new use cases for AI. However, not all AI models need to be complex. There are many low-hanging fruits that simple AI models are more than capable to address in today’s factory.
To provide a clear picture on commercial AI applications, this report explores the roles and offering from different implementors of AI in industrial manufacturing, including cloud service providers, industrial cloud platform vendors, pure-play AI startups, system integrators, chipset and industrial server manufacturers and connectivity service providers. Manufacturers who want to implement AI will definitely need to engage with these companies and partner with them in their AI journey.