Siemens and Google Cloud come together for AI-flavoured manufacturing cloud

James has more than a decade of experience as a tech journalist, writer and editor, and served as Editor in Chief of TechForge Media between 2017 and 2021. James was named as one of the top 20 UK technology influencers by Tyto, and has also been cited by Onalytica, Feedspot and Zsah as an influential cloud computing writer.

Updated 1600 BST: Siemens and Google Cloud are working together to deliver AI-based solutions in manufacturing – in what can be seen as another ‘industry cloud’ offering.

The two companies have announced an agreement where Siemens will integrate Google Cloud’s machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies with its factory automation products.

The opportunity lies in connecting what Siemens calls AI ‘islands’ on the manufacturing floor. Manufacturers have struggled to implement AI at scale across their global operations – and this is where the integration comes in.

“Deploying AI to the shop floor and integrating it into automation and the network is a complex task, requiring highly specialised expertise and innovative products such as Siemens Industrial Edge,” the companies wrote. “The goal of the cooperation between Google Cloud and Siemens is to make the deployment of AI in connection with the Industrial Edge – and its management at scale – easier, empowering employees as they work on the plant floor, automating mundane tasks, and improving overall quality.”

Manufacturers will, with the combined solution, be able to run cloud-based AI and ML models on top of their data, as well as deploy algorithms at the network edge. This translates to applications such as visual inspection of products, or predicting the wear and tear of machines on the assembly line.

“The potential for artificial intelligence to radically transform the plant floor is far from being exhausted,” said Axel Lorenz, VP at Siemens Digital Industries in a statement. “Many manufacturers are still stuck in AI ‘pilot projects’ today – we want to change that.”

Google Cloud’s primary customer and partner areas are around financial services, healthcare, and retail, in no particular order. The company’s most recent announcements on this front have been around the former; Commerzbank continued its partnership last month, while HSBC, a long-term Google Cloud customer, said it was moving its Corda enterprise blockchain iteration onto Google’s cloud.

Yet manufacturing has large potential for the company, according to Philip Wigg, director at Google Cloud Platform consultancy MakeCloud. “Google clearly sees a huge opportunity to deploy their AI/ML technology in combination with their edge computing solutions to revolutionise the manufacturing sector,” Wigg told CloudTech.

“The fact that this deal follows closely after another deal with industrial software maker, OSISoft, indicates to me that manufacturing is a high-priority vertical for Google Cloud and I fully expect we’ll see more announcements regarding further innovations in manufacturing from Google in the coming months.”

Want to find out more about topics like this from industry thought leaders? The Cloud Transformation Congress, taking place on 13 July 2021, is a virtual event and conference focusing on how to enable digital transformation with the power of cloud.

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