The manufacturing industry is undergoing technological transformation, but progress has been slow. From robotics and automation to AI, technological advancements have arrived, yet roadblocks exist that prevent widespread adoption. As part of my series to to uncover little discussed insights from technology leaders in manufacturing, I recently sat down with Tai-Yi Huang, CVP and CTO of ASUS, a top consumer electronics brand and manufacturer. Huang leads the charge in ASUS’s adoption of new technologies, with a particular focus on the development and early validation of a soon-to-be-released AI engine. While both Huang and I agree that manufacturing provides many high-leverage applications for AI, widespread adoption of the technologies that are on the market has been slow. Huang shared his perspective: “The reason we don’t see more AI in factories is that the systems integration effort is too heavy.”
In the manufacturing ecosystem, there are three major players. The technology vendors develop and provide new technology products, like smart cameras, robot arms, or analytics software. The buyers are the brands or manufacturers who want to incorporate that technology into their process. In order to do that, they employ a middleman of sorts, a systems integrator. Systems integrators specialize in knowing about all of the available technologies and delivering combinations of them, tied together with some custom engineering, to provide a complete (but often non-reusable) turnkey solution for the manufacturer’s specific need.
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