Artificial Intelligence IoT

AI-powered Automation is Becoming an Increasingly Critical Factor in Industrial Operations

By Christine Boles, Vice President Internet of Things Group, General Manager, Industrial Solutions Division at Intel Corporation

Intel Tech
Apr 14 · 3 min read

The 4th Industrial Revolution (often referred to as Industry 4.0) is ramping up, and many companies are taking full advantage. New technologies introduced by Intel over the last few years give manufacturing companies levels of production insight that were never available before, and provide the opportunity to use ‘smart’ tech to automate their everyday processes.

Intel has been working directly with ecosystem development partners on innovations that can be incorporated into their specific, real-world solutions and applications. Ultimately, we want everyone to know the full range of Intel’s Market Ready Solutions that can be deployed today.

For industrial manufacturers, the primary innovations that have had the most positive effect on their operations are advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, along with hardware-based visual technology. Using an industrial PC, developers can include the unique capabilities of AI as part of a hybrid machine learning / machine vision application, and then bring their hardware and software applications to integrators who can incorporate them into the appropriate factory lines and processes. Intel is working hard to help manufacturing companies understand the benefits of Intel technologies, what they can expect to be able to do with them, and how they will help to improve their bottom line.

For many of the companies that Intel has worked with, the primary impetus for the change has been the ongoing pandemic and the business realities that it has forced executives and managers to deal with. At a time when companies are being forced to produce more goods with fewer resources, advancing technology has become an increasingly necessary way to fill the gaps. The concept of being able to remotely manage and have visibility over factory operations wasn’t something that was as critical when everyone was in the factory. Shelter-in-place orders and social distancing requirements, however, have forced many factories to revisit their operations and reevaluate their capabilities. The concept of having that intelligence — that built-in AI learning, machine vision, etc. — in factory operations is now a must have. Companies need the ability to have more of those kinds of IT capabilities built throughout factory operations — even in places they might not have thought they needed as little as a year ago.

For companies that have not yet made an investment in these new technologies, there is no better time than now to begin. At this point in time, we’ve moved past the debate of “Is this something I should use? Will it bring me benefit?”, along with similar high-level evaluation questions. Factory operators realize that there are benefits to implementing these technologies, whether it’s in monitoring how efficiently their equipment is operating, or collecting data to make process improvements, or even making real-time process decisions as the production line is moving. Enough of the analysis has been done to show that there are significant benefits and return on investment available right now. The next step for those companies is, “How do I deploy this technology, at scale, and introduce those kinds of solutions to my process?” and “How can I build these technologies into the machines themselves?”

Using industrial PCs equipped with the latest Intel processors, Intel’s OpenVINO toolkit and Edge Insights and Edge Control for Industrial reference designs available on our Edge Software Hub, Intel helps developers, integrators and manufacturers to build customized solutions to ingest time-series data, video, etc.. for particular use cases.

Often times, when a platform is deployed for a singular purpose, other applications of similar technology in other areas make themselves evident. For more information on this phenomenon, you can read a piece that I put together for blogs@intel.

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The Intel Tech blog is designed to share the latest information on Intel’s technology innovations, performance, and technical leadership accomplishments.