Industrial Automation: 4 Industrial AI Predictions for 2020

2019 was a banner year for AI! Almost every business magazine and tech publication published a deluge of articles about AI and its impact on the industrial world and industrial automation. While some of the speculations about AI were overblown, the majority of the attention dedicated to the state of AI by analysts and the media is well warranted.

AI’s impact on industrial automation has already dramatically changed the way companies think about their operations and how they collect and use their data. 2020 will undoubtedly see some of the recent trends in AI continue to intensify, but what else should industrial operators and C-level executives expect for the start of the new decade? Here are four predictions for the world of industrial AI in 2020:

  1. Business Intelligence will Become More Accessible

Access to data is critical for any industrial operator, but many companies are hindered by siloed data sources that cannot be easily accessed by the entire company. Business functions such as budgeting, sales, and performance monitoring all rely on data that’s often needed quickly.

Data analysts in large organizations are under increased pressure to make actionable recommendations out of unstructured and siloed data. There are now vertical-specific products available that can centralize data and allow everyone to access it across the organization. 2020 will be the year that companies commit to making their data more accessible to their workers as a business imperative.

  1. AI Will Continue to Spread to New Industries

Manufacturers are continuing to invest in AI solutions that address issues like preventative maintenance and the automation of certain tasks. Based on this progress, the less obvious industries will invest in this technology as well.

Verticals that are closely related to the manufacturing industry such as supply chain management and logistics are benefiting from AI applications, with logistics managers using AI applications to help forecast demand trends in key markets that can optimize their supply chains.

Companies like Amazon are also using AI-powered machines to help automate manual tasks in their warehouses. While these machines can’t complete complicated tasks, they are proving to be useful aids to workers who can pass off some repetitive and labor-intensive jobs.

On a broader scale, CISOs and security professionals are facing more complicated threats every year. With talent shortages and an overall increase in the number of IoT devices connected to any given server, companies can no longer rely on legacy or manual processes to respond to security events.

AI applications are helping to automate threat detection and can provide around-the-clock monitoring services for enterprises that are always at risk.

  1. AI Will Change The Way Work Gets Done

Much like the combustion engine or the wide-spread adoption of electricity, AI will have an impact on the way people do their jobs. More specifically, it will impact the way work gets done. AI applications will continue to enhance workers’ roles through automation and problem solving, helping to manage the burden of the millions of micro-decisions workers make in their jobs.

While the best industrial AI applications are easy and intuitive to use, the rapid adoption of AI will create specialized job opportunities. Recent reports have estimated that the adoption of AI will create 58 million more jobs than it displaces in the next few years.

There are instances where workers need to adapt to new technology, but lack the proper access to getting trained. This is where education leaders, labor organizations, local governments, and tech companies have stepped in. They are committed to the reskilling initiatives that will address the needs of workers.

  1. Companies Will Demand Accountable AI Projects

As the field of AI moves from the theoretical to the applicable, companies will demand projects that can deliver targeted results and stay on budget. According to our new report, 33% of manufacturing professionals say their company struggles with their budget scope with either being over budget or finding the resources to implement AI.

While the benefits of using AI applications at scale are clear, reaching that ROI can be a challenge for some companies. Read more about this and some of the other challenges companies are facing when implementing AI in our new report.