4 Dicembre 2023

Microsoft Ignite 2023: Innovative technologies to accelerate industrial transformation

Each year at Microsoft Ignite we announce new technologies and innovations designed to bring value to your business. This year in particular there’s a lot of exciting developments for the manufacturing industry, so manufacturers can leverage the best of Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing to accelerate their transformation. 

This Ignite, the central topic was AI; how we are creating the most comprehensive cloud infrastructure for AI, how you can fuel solutions with all your data, including the Internet of Things (IoT) data, with Microsoft Fabric, and how Microsoft Copilots are empowering frontline workers with intuitive and conversational prompts to solve for challenges from onboarding to expert technical support.

CEO of a textile manufacturing plant managing inventory on the warehouse floor.

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Microsoft Ignite 2023: A front-row seat to the tangible impact of AI

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Data is the key to unlocking the potential of AI for manufacturing. Whether you want to optimize production processes based on data, improve product quality, increase worker safety, or drive new business models, you’ll need a unified data foundation that can feed your AI models and applications. However, building and managing such a data estate can be challenging, especially when your data sources are scattered across different systems, locations, and formats. During Microsoft Ignite we announced key products that will help manufacturers extract and integrate data from operations, leverage it for AI, and feed those AI solutions back to the factory floor to enable frontline workers.

We announced the public preview of Azure IoT Operations. This composable set of Azure Arc-enabled services helps organizations onboard assets, capture insights, and take actions to scale the digital transformation of physical operations. For customers in many industries, this ability to connect the physical world to the digital world is a foundational step in the digital transformation journey, providing access to new, rich sources of data that can help optimize business processes. For more information on the public preview and how organizations like Grupo Bimbo and EcoPetrol are already seeing benefits by using Azure IoT Operations, see the Tech Community post: Accelerating Industrial Transformation with Azure IoT Operations.

We also announced the general availability of Microsoft Fabric, a software as a service (SaaS)-based solution that offers a unified data foundation for analytics and insights, data access and governance, and creative AI experiences with Azure AI Studio integration. With this new solution, manufacturers can unify their data into a single estate, empowering engineering teams and operational leaders with self-service access to data analytics tools to uncover impactful operational insights and leverage data for machine learning and AI-enabled use cases across the value chain, closing the data gap between information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT).

For more information on the Microsoft Fabric general availability announcement and how manufacturing organizations like Zeiss are leveraging it, see the post: Prepare your data for AI innovation with Microsoft Fabric—now generally available.

Lastly, we announced the Copilot in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Guides, which combines the power of generative AI with mixed reality to help frontline workers complete complex tasks and resolve issues faster with less disruption to the flow of work. The private preview is launching with a limited set of customers and capabilities. Designed to assist workers in industrial settings who deal with complex equipment and processes, mixed reality together with AI presents a human-first interface that promises to transform real-world operations. This copilot can assist industrial workers in real-time with speech and holograms. For more information on the private preview for Copilot in Dynamics 365 Guides, its capabilities, and how to prepare for the public preview, see the blog post: Introducing Copilot in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Guides, bringing generative AI in mixed reality to frontline workers.

Frontine worker using HoloLens2

We cover these announcements in our exciting session titled The AI-era of Industrial Transformation, hosted by Kathleen Mitford. This 30-minute session covered how the industrial value chain is being reshaped by AI, cloud, and IoT solutions, and how organizations optimize their operations by extracting insights from information technology (IT), operational technology (OT), and engineering technology (ET) data. Manufacturers can use cloud-to-edge technologies to democratize access to this data with copilots and make better decisions, all while empowering frontline workers with mixed-reality applications.

Partner announcements

In Microsoft, we have a rich and robust ecosystem of partners who create products and end-to-end solutions on the leading edge of transformation. I’d like to highlight just a few here who announced offers to advance achieving value throughout the industrial value chain: 

  • AVEVA Connect and Microsoft Fabric (announced October 2023). Aveva announced an expansion of its strategic collaboration with Microsoft to further strengthen both companies’ data integration platforms to better prepare customers to incorporate AI in key industries across the world. The agreement will see an even closer synergy between industrial cloud platform AVEVA Connect and data analytics solution Microsoft Fabric, which is currently in public preview. They are designed to streamline the process of collecting, transforming, and unifying data from various sources. 
  • Siemens (announced October 25, 2023)—Siemens and Microsoft are deepening their partnership by bringing the benefits of generative AI to industries worldwide. As a first step, the companies are introducing Siemens Industrial Copilot, an AI-powered jointly developed assistant aimed at improving human-machine collaboration in manufacturing. In addition, the launch of the integration between Siemens Teamcenter software for product lifecycle management and Microsoft Teams will further pave the way to enabling the industrial metaverse. It will simplify virtual collaboration of design engineers, frontline workers, and other teams across business functions.
  • Rockwell (announced October 26, 2023)—Rockwell and Microsoft announced an extension of their longstanding relationship to accelerate industrial automation design and development through generative AI. The companies are combining technologies to empower the workforce and accelerate time-to-market for customers building industrial automation systems.
  • Schneider Electric (announced November 13, 2023) is driving Generative AI productivity and sustainability solutions by integrating Microsoft Azure OpenAI. Building on the foundations of a long-standing collaboration with Microsoft, Schneider Electric is developing solutions that leverage algorithms to generate text, code, and other types of content. This has empowered the company to reimagine its approach to various operational processes, streamlining time-consuming tasks, optimizing resource allocation, and gaining speed and efficiency. At the same time, Schneider Electric continues to apply generative AI to advance innovation in its offer portfolio.
  • SymphonyAI’s Industrial LLM (announced November 16, 2023)—Was launched to advance predictive and generative AI capabilities for manufacturers. Developed in partnership with Microsoft, it harnesses the power of Azure services to ensure robust security, data protection, and scalability, addressing essential enterprise needs. Tailored specifically for manufacturing environments, the Industrial LLM from SymphonyAI is built and trained on an extensive, industry-specific dataset that equips the LLM to swiftly generate actionable insights, significantly enhancing operational efficiency and adeptly tackling complex queries.

Advancing your industrial transformation strategy

We are at a unique moment of change and convergence with data and AI becoming more accessible and fundamentally changing our relationship with products, processes, and places. This integration of digital and physical technologies presents a big opportunity to reinvent the entire value chain:

  • The vast amount of data and digital feedback loops from both consumers and connected products allows us to use AI-driven product design to deliver on individualized customer needs, enhancing customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
  • In the factory, continuous monitoring of assets through sensors and data analysis helps workers anticipate maintenance needs to reduce unplanned downtime, enhancing asset reliability.
  • AI-optimized supply chains monitor pricing changes from suppliers, dynamically dispatch materials to meet production needs, and prioritize customer shipments based on fulfillment penalties.

Microsoft is collaborating with top manufacturers to help them manage this convergence and optimize their data with our range of AI tools, and we are keen to assist you with your strategy as well. To learn more about these announcements and other key Microsoft Ignite moments review the on-demand sessions.

The post Microsoft Ignite 2023: Innovative technologies to accelerate industrial transformation appeared first on Microsoft Industry Blogs.

Source: Microsoft Industry Blog