Producing ahead of time via AI, 5G and Edge

Deploying AI applications at the edge with 5G has the potential to generate new revenue streams in manufacturing, putting the industry at the forefront of innovation.

Manufacturing – infused with a constellation of technologies from the office to the shop floor to the products they ship – seems several steps ahead of other industries in embracing the connected economy.

That’s the word study Released earlier this year by Vodaphone and the London School of Economics (LSE), it looked at technology development within 2,526 companies around the world, with a particular focus on shifts from past years and future directions.

In terms of the use of specific technologies, the manufacturing sector is ahead of most other sectors studied, the study authors report. Technologies used by manufacturers include the deployment of the Internet of Things (59%), artificial intelligence (47%), robotics (53%), mobile private networks (28%) and edge computing with mobile access (24% ). Automation is also a top priority among manufacturers, with 84% now achieving some degree of automation. About 44% report automating daily tasks and 39% automate risk-inherent tasks.

Also see: 8 in 10 companies will ramp up 5G and edge initiatives

“The pandemic has clearly led many manufacturers to accelerate their digital transformation plans and invest in modern technologies that will put them in a good place for the future,” said Marc Sauter, head of IoT product management at Vodafone Business, quoted at Computer Weekly. “Technologies such as IoT, 5G and private mobile networks will be absolutely essential to securely connect assets in a factory, enabling innovative and novel use cases such as automated guided vehicles, augmented and virtual reality in the workplace and connected robots.”

The emergence of artificial intelligence to support high-level, real-time analytics is fueling these initiatives. “Deploying AI applications at the edge with 5G has the potential to generate new revenue streams – and position AI as the standard bearer for 5G,” a statement said. report in MIT Technology Review. This opens up opportunities, including smart manufacturing, improved retail logistics and automated warehouses, the report authors point out.

The MIT report took a deep dive into the adoption of AI, edge and 5G applications at Audi. The automaker is applying “AI inference and computer vision to the factory floor with autonomous robotic welders that can respond in real time and solve problems that can arise when welding a car’s frame.” In the past, welding required a lot of manual intervention and inspection to sufficient quality,” said Nick McKeown, senior vice president and general manager of the networking and edge group at Intel, quoted in the report. “As cameras assess the quality of the weld, the need for human intervention has greatly diminished. .”

Also see: Achieving the manufacturing edge – through Edge

Audi’s goal – as is the case with other manufacturers leading the way with edge, 5G and AI deployments – is to create smart factories with scalable and flexible platforms.

Such forward-looking companies, as explored in the Vodafone-LSE report, have common features: they are flexible and open to actively exploring new technological approaches. They are “putting more time and money into their digital transformation. But it’s important to know that be [a digital leader] does not depend on speed because of this. In fact, every company should take it one step at a time and consider their attitude to technology as equally important.”

Research from Vodafone and LSE showed that leading companies are “more open to being the first to try new technology, help them move their businesses forward and reap the benefits for the masses.” It’s telling that 86% of leading organizations say they are taking action to deal with an automated world, compared to 75% of companies overall. In addition, 51% of leaders say they train employees to build skills that automation cannot replace.”

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