Siemens partners with Google to offer industrial AI tools

Siemens gives Google a major partner in the manufacturing space, one of six key verticals the cloud company is going after.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Google on Monday said that it's partnering with Siemens to advance AI deployments in industrial use cases. More specifically, Siemens is integrating Google Cloud data analytics and AI capabilities into its Digital Industries Factory Automation portfolio. The integration gives Google a major partner in the manufacturing space, one of six key verticals the cloud company is targeting. 

The integration, the companies said, should make it easier for manufacturers to manage factory data, run cloud-based AI and machine learning models on top of it, and deploy algorithms at the network edge. 

Over the next few months, the companies will have share more about the specific Google Cloud tools that will be integrated into the Siemens portfolio and offered as a joint solution, a Google spokesperson told ZDNet. For now, they shared that the solutions will address factory automation use cases like quality control and energy efficiency. In the area of quality control, for instance, they could assist with visual inspections on manufacturing lines, or anticipating maintenance needs for machines on an assembly line.

Legacy solutions for managing and leveraging factory data, Google noted, are typically resource-intensive and require manual updates. To address that, a number of manufacturers are turning to AI. According to a recent KPMG survey, as many as 49 percent of respondents in industrial manufacturing said they in fact have AI deployments that are fully functional at scale. Another 44 percent said their AI deployments are moderately functional, and another 7 percent are in limited/piloted capacity. 

Still, Google and Siemens contend that AI deployments in factory settings can be hard to scale across organizations. 

"The potential for artificial intelligence to radically transform the plant floor is far from being exhausted," Axel Lorenz, VP of Control at Factory Automation of Siemens Digital Industries, said in a statement. "Many manufacturers are still stuck in AI 'pilot projects' today - we want to change that. Combining AI/ML technology from Google Cloud with Siemens' solutions for Industrial Edge and industrial operation will be a game changer for the manufacturing industry."

Manufacturing was one of six verticals Google Cloud identified as key to its growth in 2019, along with public sector, financial services, healthcare, retail and communications/media. Since then, Google Cloud has been hiring executives to bolster its industry expertise, as well as landing customers in manufacturing like Renault.

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