The Rise of Industrial AI

With the age of artificial intelligence upon us, enterprises are making use of machine and deep learning across a broad range of industrial applications to transform processes.

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Dell EMC

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform the industrial world — a movement that is now under way and gaining momentum with each passing day. Around the world, enterprises are using AI-driven systems to automate and reinvent fundamental industrial processes, from product development and manufacturing to supply-chain and field operations. There’s even a name for this trend: industrial AI. As the name suggests, industrial AI is all about applying the technologies for artificial intelligence to the challenges that come with complex industrial operations.

To illustrate the power of industrial AI, let’s look at some of innovative applications in use today in the real world. These are all use cases that wouldn’t be possible without the power of AI driven by high performance computing systems.

  • Optimizing design validation processes
    Intel’s IT organization and product development teams are using highly connected datasets and AI to optimize the time-consuming product validation process in the design of new processors. This application of AI is helping Intel discover hidden bugs earlier in the design process that might otherwise evade discovery until later in the product development process, when it would be more costly to make fixes. The company says AI is now one of the keys to decreasing costs and accelerating time to market.1
  • Automating the movement of materials
    OTTO Motors, an Ontario-based company, is drawing on the power of AI to help automate material movement jobs. OTTO manufactures flexible and intelligent self-driving vehicles for material handling for enterprises across many industries, including aerospace, automotive, e-commerce and healthcare. From bringing raw materials to the line and cross docking pallets to moving parts between processes, AI is an essential workload for OTTO Motors, making it possible for an OTTO vehicle to analyze its environment, internalize that information and then render a decision quickly as it moves across the industrial floor independently.2
  • Enabling predictive maintenance
    Smart manufacturers are using AI systems in conjunction with data from sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT) to predict and avoid machine failures. The goal is to use predictive maintenance to minimize disruption and inconvenience, prevent issues and resolve problems quickly. The payback for manufacturers can be huge. A report by McKinsey & Company notes that AI-driven predictive maintenance can increase asset productivity by up to 20 percent and reduce maintenance costs by up to 10 percent while greatly reducing machine downtime caused by maintenance work.3
  • Automating growing conditions
    AeroFarms, a New Jersey-based vertical farming company, is using machine learning, data analytics, the IoT and related technologies to bring new levels of precision and productivity to its indoor farming operations. These technologies are helping the company in its efforts to continually optimize growing conditions. For example, AI is used for automating image recognition and classification to adjust plant nutrients, light and other factors.4
  • Controlling complex supply chains
    Global manufacturers have complex supply chains that span many nations. Any glitches or breakdowns in the supply chain can be extremely costly in terms of downtime and reduced factory output. With AI, manufacturers can gain greater control over their supply chains, including processes for planning, logistics, inventory tracking and management. For example, AI-driven systems can predict complex interactions between production units and automate requests for parts, labor, tools and repairs.

The bottom line

When it comes to putting organizations on the path to higher levels of efficiency, better products and faster time to market, AI is the new king of the road. It’s not just a key to competitive advantage, it is now a requirement for survival in many industries.

This point was underscored in a Forbes Insights survey on AI. This survey found that 44 percent of respondents from the automotive and manufacturing sectors classified AI as “highly important” to the manufacturing function in the next five years, while almost half — 49% —said AI was “absolutely critical to success.”5

To learn more

To watch videos showcasing creative uses of artificial intelligence in industrial applications, visit the Dell Technologies AI site. And for a look at leading-edge technologies for AI in the enterprise, including new Ready Solutions for AI, explore Dell EMC solutions for AI.


1 Intel white paper, “Artificial Intelligence Reduces Costs and Accelerates Time to Market,” June 2018.

2 Dell EMC video, “OTTO Motors uses AI for a happier workforce.”

3 McKinsey & Company, “Smartening up with Artificial Intelligence (AI) — What’s in it for Germany and its Industrial Sector?” April 2017.

4 blog by Dell EMC, “Seeding the Right IoT Architecture to Build a Better Farm,” March 21, 2019. Dell Technologies case study, “Harvesting Insights,” 2018.

5 Forbes Insight, “How AI Builds A Better Manufacturing Process,” July 17, 2018.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.