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India’s manufacturing sector accounts for 15% of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs nearly 12% of the country’s workforce. In India’s ambitions of becoming a USD 5 trillion economy, the manufacturing sector will play a pivotal role as Edge AI is poised to revolutionise the sector.
In the Union Budget 2023-24, the Indian government announced strategic investments in training the youth on emerging technology such as AI. Dr. Mukesh Gandhi, Founder and CEO, Creative Synergies Group said this is a promising step towards addressing the skill gap in the country, which could, in turn, contribute to India’s global expertise and USD 5 trillion economy goal.
“By using Cloud 2.0 and Edge AI, Indian manufacturing companies can optimise their operations and reduce downtime through predictive maintenance. It can allow real-time data processing to monitor equipment performance, predict maintenance requirements, provide the processing power and storage,” he told AIM.
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A report released earlier this year by Rockwell Automation titled ‘State of Smart Manufacturing Report’ revealed that India has the largest number of manufacturing firms investing in technology. The survey was conducted across 1,350 manufacturers in 13 of the major manufacturing countries including India, China, US, Germany, Japan and the UK.
In fact, it is not just the manufacturing sector, Dr. Gandhi feels even in sectors such as healthcare, edge AI can enable real-time monitoring of patients’ vital signs and enable early detection of diseases and storage capabilities unlocked with cloud 2.0 can aid with diagnosis and treatment. “Since the government is making efforts towards technological upskilling, these emerging technologies can be used to provide educational resources and training to students in remote areas. It could also provide personalised learning experiences through real-time analysis of student performance data.”
However, challenges remain
Even though Indian manufacturers tops the charts when it comes to spending on technology, yet, India is still lagging behind in digital maturity. Another report by Lenovo released during the same period found that 48% of Indian businesses are still clung to the first stage of digital maturity. Nonetheless, things are expected to improve as time progresses.
Furthermore, when it comes to Edge AI, a lot of the potential it holds depends on the advancement in terms of hardware. Dr. Gandhi claims he is already seeing a lot of transformation in this regard. “A lot of the hardware which is out there today for edge and so on is being used in certain cases. But we know of several companies which are either developing proprietary chips, or they are working with companies that are developing proprietary chips and figuring out a configuration which would work very specifically for them,” he said.
Given the Edge AI market is expected to see unprecedented growth in the coming years, today, there are startups such as Sima.ai working on chips to bring an AI revolution to the industrial world. The Edge AI market is currently valued at around USD 5 billion, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20% during 2023-32. “At this rate, we can expect to see accelerated adoption amongst businesses in the coming years, which will further establish edge AI as an essential tool across sectors,” he said.
As edge devices become more powerful and efficient, we will see more sophisticated AI models and algorithms being deployed on them. This will enable the devices to process more data and perform more complex tasks, without needing to rely on cloud resources. “Edge AI can also facilitate federated learning. This way, multiple edge devices can collaboratively train a ML model without sharing data with a central server. This can facilitate the development of sophisticated AI models in the future.”
A cautious approach to generative AI
Even though generative AI is catching everyone’s attention, according to Gandhi, his company is taking a rather cautious approach. “Even though we see a lot of promise for generative AI, we are currently confining it to certain areas where we can leverage it in a safe environment,” he said.
“Our customers come in two different shades. On one side we have the conservative ones, and on the other hand, the progressive ones. It would be fair to say that most of our progressive customers want to leverage this technology. However, at the same time, they understand that applying it thoughtlessly, considering the current technology’s untested nature, could lead to undesired consequences. In mission-critical industries like automotive, an algorithm’s failure could prove costly in various aspects.”
Helping enterprises with digital transformation
Founded in 2011, Creative Synergies Group has been helping numerous enterprises, which includes Fortune 500 companies, with their digital transformation. With presence in the US, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, UK, and India, “Our digital DNA helps us analyze long-term macro trends that could significantly impact digital transformation journeys of our customers. We co-create a digital roadmap, designing innovative products and solutions for businesses across verticals. Creative’s solutions lie in mobility, digital products such as consumer wearables, smart manufacturing and processing (Industry 4.0), green technologies, cloud engineering, AI, machine learning, the internet of things, AR/VR, 5G, SaaS, PaaS and TaaS.”
For example, for one of their tier-1 clients in the aerospace industry, the company has helped develop a smart airport passenger management system. “We customized engagement and interactivity with passengers by serving AI/ML driven content and microservices. Our solutions also unlocked the capability to determine content consumption patterns based on gender, age and ethnicity to enhance monetization of new business opportunities.”
Also, for a leading Japanese company, the company has executed multidisciplinary engineering for semiconductor ultra-pure water treatment. “This helped the brand manufacture LCD/AMOLED displays. We also developed mobility solutions for an IoT-driven smart plant for a major chemical conglomerate. Our cloud-driven mobility solutions enabled real-time data collection from plant equipment, instrumentation and control systems combined with edge computing,” he concluded.