Top 4 industries being transformed by human+machine augmentation
Industry 4.0, which refers to the confluence of leading software and hardware innovations to digitize traditional businesses, has exploded over the past few years into a $75B market growing at 15% CAGR to over $150B by 2022. While futurists debate the existential threat of machines, Industry 4.0’s immediate impact is to significantly enhance human productivity across a wide array of industries.
Just as billionaire Tony Stark steps into a robotic suit to become Iron Man, innovations such as big data, artificial intelligence, robots and computer vision are equipping the industrial “deskless” worker with a variety of tools to boost productivity. This powerful combination of people, data and machines has significantly increased human potential in the modern enterprise.
From the Cable Guy to your air conditioning installer to the repairman for heavy equipment, the field service industry employs hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Companies such as FieldAware are building upon advancements in mobile and cloud computing to enable customers ranging from small enterprises to Fortune 500 industrials to deliver real-time scheduling, trouble-shooting, work order approvals, invoicing and payments, all through a mobile platform. That means live status updates, higher success in fix rates, dynamic scheduling, less overhead from paper, e-audit trails and shorter billing cycles for service operations.
Manufacturing and Logistics
My first summer job as a teenager was working on a production line assembling computer terminals. The physical nature of this work hasn’t changed in 30 years, and the ability for frontline workers to use both hands to perform tasks is more important now than ever.
Ubimax brings Augmented Reality (AR) to the shop floor, integrating its software platform with existing technologies (e.g. hand scanners, cameras, sensors, RFID tags, etc.) and off-the-shelf AR glasses to enable handsfree, untethered movement within manufacturing and logistics facilities. DHL, BMW, Samsung and others use Ubimax to “vision pick” items, manufacture products, perform remote support and train staff. This technology materially impacts businesses by lowering error rates, shortening time to complete tasks, troubleshooting problems faster and increasing employee satisfaction.
Across the globe, governments are implementing “smart city” initiatives that use mobile and cloud technologies to connect their citizens – via mobile and in real-time – to local services, assets and information. For example, Civic Connect, one of the established leaders in the mobile eGovernment market, delivers persistent, up-to-date traffic information in the San Francisco Bay Area, parking availability in San Diego, and tourist information in Fort Lauderdale. Singapore enlisted artificial intelligence (AI) leader Prowler.io to use the startup’s reinforcement learning algorithms for decision support simulations in the country’s ambitious Smart Nation program. Cities and their residents significantly benefit from these technologies through shorter commute times, efficient resource allocation (e.g. ride sharing, emergency response) and increased economic development.
For decades, the construction industry has used various land-based measurement tools and sensors throughout the building process. The rising popularity of consumer drones has led to a proliferation of these robotic devices in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. 3D Robotics, a leader in the AEC drone software market, has partnered with the world’s largest drone company DJI and the dominant provider of AEC design software Autodesk to enable footage from 3DR drones to integrate into the workflow of infrastructure design and construction. Examples include tracking Autodesk 3D CAD designs against real world structures, creating an aerial system of record for a construction site and volumetric measuring of critical materials. Drones deliver significant, tangible ROI in the AEC industry by detecting errors early in the construction process, tracking percentage completion of construction projects, and optimizing logistics for usage, location and replenishment of high value materials.
David Lam, General Partner, Atlantic Bridge