Although many companies consider AI to be key to their performance and competitiveness, few actually use it.
Automating to Increase Access to AI
“Only 6% of companies in Germany are currently using AI,” says Cyrille Waguet, co-founder and CTO of the German startup incontext.technology (INCTEC). There are a number of reasons for this lack of uptake, such as the difficulty people have in understanding this complex technology, the lack of automation in its deployment and implementation, as well as the significant costs involved for companies. AI is often considered a project to be handled in isolation, a matter for data scientists, but really we should think of it as software, like an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. INCTEC’s goal is to make using this solution as automated as possible, without a major upstream project, in order to support its scaleup.
Two Layers of Technology, Two Levels of Automation
The system is structured around two main technological components, both of which are equipped with automation mechanisms. The virtual model of a plant’s machinery or production lines—its digital twin—makes it possible to organize the data flows generated by these systems. The Smart Monitoring software then sends this data to the second layer, AI, made up of algorithms that use unsupervised machine learning, meaning that they do not require any specific expertise or intervention. “The system independently learns what normal industrial processes are like and reacts to situations that deviate from this norm or equipment behaving unexpectedly. As well as this real-time data monitoring, the solution can also take preemptive action based on trend analysis, which particularly lends itself to applications in the field of predictive maintenance.”
This software can be used across multiple industries, business scenarios and use cases, where it enables smart and dynamic operation monitoring. Its benefits include optimized decision-making and planning, enhanced quality control to avoid rejected or recalled products, early detection of weaknesses or production overloads and less downtime, to name a few.
AI is often considered a project to be handled in isolation, but really we should think of it as software, like an ERP.
In the agri-food industry, for example, the system is implemented for the production of food made from fresh fruit, on a multi-stage production line that runs from fruit washing to canning. It is therefore possible to monitor several parameters throughout the entire industrial process, including energy consumption and the amount of water used at the washing stage. In this case, the solution’s added value is found in terms of the environment and responsibility, as it allows the resources used to be monitored and optimized. By also using the software to monitor temperatures during the mixing and heating stage, it’s possible to guarantee the smooth running of operations and a high-quality end-product.
The simplicity and flexibility of Smart Monitoring can even be seen in its deployment. Depending on customers’ needs and operational considerations, the solution can be implemented either in the cloud or at the “edge”, be that on site or as close as possible to the site in Customer Edge or Network Edge mode. INCTEC collaborates with Orange on these topics and relies on the Group’s Cloud/Edge infrastructures and 5G networks to deliver and implement its solutions.