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Krishna C. Mukherjee Continues to Advance Organizations with AI and Automation – Yahoo Finance

Former Microsoft Corporation Executive Takes Lead in AI (photo: Kevin Ku)

By Oliver Estreich

The world is at the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution, also referred to as Industry 4.0. Disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Internet of Things (IoT) and Virtual Reality (VR)are changing the way we live and work. AI is evolving at a rapid pace. Organizations are using AI to perform a variety of useful functions. Countries are discovering new ways to transform themselves using AI. The AI technologies are becoming firmly embedded in our lives. The question is no longer whether we use AI or not, but rather how we can better collaborate with it. The management of risks around AI are also a key feature of robust corporate governance.

Some of the worlds greatest minds have devoted themselves to usher in this technological revolution. It has taken them many years of hard work and tireless dedication to bring the human civilization to the present era of technology. CorpGov spoke to Krishna C. Mukherjee, who figures prominently among the leaders who have contributed significantly to the advancement of technology and business. He has devoted a large part of his career to the research and development of AI.

Early stages of AI development

Krishna C. Mukherjee has an excellent educational background. He studied engineering at the elite Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). In 1988, he was recruited by Microsoft from IIT Kanpur to create architectures, and design and develop software products. At that time, he was completing his Masters degree in Computer Science and Engineering, with specialization in AI and Robotics. He had conducted excellent research, written a thesis on AI and published papers in AI conferences. He graduated at the top of his class. Soon thereafter, he joined Microsoft at the companys headquarters in Redmond, Washington, USA.

Krishna C. Mukherjee served as Principal Architect and Lead Software Engineer for Microsoft. He played a vital role in the architecture, design and development of the Microsoft Office suite of applications and the Microsoft Windows operating system. From 1988 to 2004, he designed and developed key features and technologies for Microsoft. He introduced AI at Microsoft. He oversaw the creation of AI-based features, including AutoFormat and IntelliSense, that have become integral part of Microsoft products.

In the earlier Graphical User Interface (GUI) frameworks, there was no separation between what an application looks like and how it behaves. Both the user interface and its behavior had to be programmed in imperative languages such as C#. Krishna C. Mukherjee created AI-based architectures to separate the appearance and behavior of GUI applications. He invented the concept of using declarative mark-up languages to generate advanced user interfaces. Under his leadership, Microsoft developed innovative technologies: Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML).

Throughout his career, Krishna C. Mukherjee has been a driving force behind Microsofts success. He has contributed energy, skills and talent towards the success of Microsoft. His accomplishments have helped Microsoft to become a leader in the technology industry and one of the most valuable companies in the world. He received many awards and honors from Microsoft.

AI for Workflow Automation

While Krishna C. Mukherjee was working to increase Microsofts strength in AI technologies, he was also inventing other strategies to commercialize AI. In the late 1990s, he created the Intelligent Filling Manager, popularly known as INTELLIFM, to automate the workflow systems that organizations use regularly. INTELLIFM, an AI-based technology, disrupted many industries including insurance, legal, finance and health care. With INTELLIFM, Mukherjee introduced a high degree of collaboration between cross-functional teams, and thus greatly improved the efficiency of business processes. In fact, this cross-functional collaboration is the key to Agile software development that has become popular since its inception in 2001.

From the late 1990s to the early 2000s, Krishna C. Mukherjee developed and established his Software as a Service (SaaS) model that gives organizations the ability to perform complex business transactions on the Internet, or the cloud. During these creation years, he served as the Chief Information Officer for Wolters Kluwer. In this role, he transitioned the companys traditional paper-based methods to automated electronic processes. He spearheaded the creation of the heavily used, award-winning SaaS applications CTAdvantage.com, hCue.com, MediRegs.com and LienSolutions.com. Customers use the SaaS applications on a subscription basis from Wolters Kluwer to manage their data and automate their enterprise workflows.The SaaS applications generate recurring revenue for Wolters Kluwer and also save costs for its customers.

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Krishna C. Mukherjee made invited presentations on INTELLIFM, distributed computing and Microsoft technologies at AI conferences. He selected Microsoft Windows servers to host the SaaS applications for Wolters Kluwer N.V. He built strategic partnership between Microsoft and Wolters Kluwer. Through his efforts, he helped Microsoft gain recognition in the field of AI and get established in the enterprise software market. He enabled Wolters Kluwer to become a global provider of information services. Mukherjee received the Highest Achievement Award from Wolters Kluwer for his outstanding contributions to the success of the company.

AI in the Finance Industry

Krishna C. Mukherjee advanced his career from 2004 to 2011 in the finance industry. He worked in Directorial positions for Citadel, Bloomberg and UBS Group AG three of the most well-known companies in the finance industry. He provided strategic direction to these finance companies. They experienced remarkable progress after Mr. Mukherjee infused advanced technology into their financial systems.

By using Microsofts WPF and XAML technologies that Mr. Mukherjee pioneered, software developers are able to work collaboratively with designers to create financial applications that are information-rich and have minimum code complexity. This collaboration is essential in a rapidly changing environment because it shortens the time from concept to delivery of the financial applications. The applications have elegant user interfaces that meet the expectations of technology-savvy financial users. The applications can process large volumes of data in real-time, and satisfy the high-performance and security needs of the finance industry.

One of Mr. Mukherjees most important contributions to the finance industry is the architecture, design and development of the Bloomberg Valuation Service, popularly known as BVAL. Previously, prices were determined on the basis of models that considered market opinions and comparable securities. Hence, these prices were subjective and inaccurate. The investment decisions, based on these prices, were speculative and not scientific. Mr. Mukherjee designed BVAL to provide accurate valuations with the help of sophisticated algorithms and AI. He ensured that BVAL uses the highest quality data for algorithmically computing prices of financial instruments. Moreover, he created a scalable architecture for BVAL. Today, BVAL prices millions of financial instruments across multiple asset classes. It provides the finance industry with rigorous, transparent and defensible valuations.

Mr. Mukherjee instilled new life in the finance industry with his AI-driven approach. He made the finance industry objective and reliable. He helped to build the foundation of modern financial technology or FinTech.

Krishna C. Mukherjee

AI in the Retail Industry

The collection of huge amounts of data and the usage of AI techniques to analyze data have brought a new perception paradigm. This phenomenon lets us understand a larger part of the world through its projection on the data space. Highly skilled resources are needed to manage data and capitalize on the opportunities it offers. Electronic commerce (e-commerce) has become a necessity for businesses. Retail companies need experts like Mr. Mukherjee who can integrate modern technology into existing business environments.

After his success in the finance industry, Mr. Mukherjee set his focus on the retail industry. He linked up with Icon Parking Systems, popularly known as Icon. The company is a leader in branded parking services with more than three hundred locations in Manhattan and surrounding areas. More than forty thousand cars are parked daily at Icons locations. As the Head of Software Development, Mukherjee transitioned Icons business from VAX mainframe to a hybrid cloud environment. He also directed the development of the heavily used e-commerce site IconParkingSystems.com.

Mr. Mukherjee also advanced other areas of Icons technological work-frame. He directed the development of an internal web-based accounting system. Icons employees use this internal system to enter and update customer information, post recurring charges, issue debits and credits, view ledger balances, prepare monthly and new customer billing, generate invoices and perform other business critical activities.

While modernizing Icon, Mr. Mukherjee identified a very important problem: Customers were reluctant to make payments without confirmation that their money was going to be handled promptly and securely. In 2012, he created the AutoPay platform to solve this problem. AutoPay allows customers to schedule payments from their bank accounts or cards for paying recurring bills. The relevant funds get automatically deducted on specific days. AutoPay is secure, convenient and fast. It saves time and effort for customers, and helps them to streamline their finances. They do not miss a payment or incur late fees.

Mr. Mukherjees e-commerce strategy worked like magic for Icon. The companys customers, who are individuals and organizations, use IconParkingSystems.com to sign up for monthly, daily and hourly parking at premier locations. They pay their bills using electronic checks (ACH), debit and credit cards via the AutoPay system. In return, Icon receives payments on time. The company no longer has to handle an excessive amount of paperwork for processing paper checks and cash. Electronic payments made by customers are automatically processed and posted to Icons ledger. Mukherjees AutoPay has been adopted widely. Today, many companies in retail and other industries offer AutoPay to their customers.

Under Mr. Mukherjees leadership, Icon became highly efficient and profitable. The company acquired new locations and re-opened old locations that it had to close. Mukherjee chose Microsoft technologies to create the e-commerce presence for Icon. Thus, he helped Microsoft to gain business in the competitive cloud market.

The popularity of e-commerce has changed the way retail companies operate. Customers shop in a variety of ways. They may look at reviews of a product or brand, visit a store in person, and then buy through the retailers website. Omni-channel allows retailers to create a unified and holistic experience with their brand, services and products. With this in mind, Mr. Mukherjee has worked on advancing omni-channel retailing with superior technology and AI. His portfolio now includes mobile applications that implement contactless digital wallets, such as Apple Pay, for enhanced security and privacy. He has been incorporating AI-based recommendation engines into retailing applications to generate personalized ensembles of products for shoppers. His goal is to optimize the shopping experience of customers and also meet the business objectives of retailers in the best possible way.

AI for Customer Service

During his work with advanced technologies, Krishna C. Mukherjee has zoned in on a key focal point for distributed and cloud-based systems: These systems must be efficient, robust and reliable. Accordingly, he continues to create AI-based architectures and designs when building distributed and cloud-based systems for enterprises. He ensures that state-of-the-art error handling capabilities are built into these systems. The error notifications, such as emails, phone calls, pager alerts and instant messages, are sent to support teams immediately when any error happens at runtime. The AI-based auto-correction capabilities enable the enterprise systems to fix the errors automatically, without the need for human intervention.

Mr. Mukherjee has also been designing Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems to service and direct high volumes of phone calls. The IVR systems interact with the customers, and only if necessary, transfer the calls to the human agents. Mukherjee has been researching the application of Natural Language Processing (NLP) to improve the IVR systems. His goal is to simulate real, two-way conversations by giving the customers more control over the call flows. He aims to use NLP to make the IVR systems more dynamic so that customers do not have to go through a menu of options that may be irrelevant to their enquiries. Further, by using NLP, Mr. Mukherjee plans to analyze sentiments of callers. He feels that insights gained through sentiment analysis help organizations to identify and act on the root causes of issues and mitigate problems before they become serious. Additionally, Mr. Mukherjee has been researching the application of Machine Learning (ML) to implement predictive routing of customer calls. He has been applying ML to build IVR systems that can anticipate the reasons for a call and rout the customer to the best matching agent.

For many years, IVR has been unchallenged in the customer service domain. More recently, however, the chatbot has been vying for the top spot. Mr. Mukherjee has been researching chatbots and how they can better apply decision-tree logic, or more complex AI, to improve customer experience. The field is open from an enterprise perspective. As one would expect, chatbots are showing good results in the e-commerce and retail world that Mukherjee has transformed. Mukherjee feels that both IVR systems and chatbots can be used for providing superior customer service. Customers, who prefer to call, can be connected by the IVR system to the best human agent. Others, who approach online, can be greeted by a friendly chatbot.

Through his innovative work, Mukherjee has been helping organizations to become more profitable by providing excellent customer experience and by increasing employee efficiency.

Optimism about AI and Automation

A business can grow earnings by increasing the topline with organic growth, by improving the bottom-line through higher efficiency and by cultivating inorganic growth through acquisitions. As a Senior Executive, Mr. Mukherjee has been focusing on all the three aspects. His illustrious professional career spans for more than three decades. His innovations have automated workflows and maximized efficiency of many businesses across industries. His software architectures and domain-driven designs have been adopted to create many new products and services. He has enabled organizations to improve their level of compliance with ever-changing regulatory requirements. Customer service has become excellent with the AI-based systems that he has designed.

In August of 2019, the prestigious publication Marquis Whos Whohonored Mr. Mukherjee with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his incredible accomplishments in the field of technology. This award endorsed and solidified what experts have known for a long time: Krishna C. Mukherjee has shaped the world as we know it.

Mr. Mukherjee has used AI and automation to help organizations increase sales and improve customer service, eliminate repetitive tasks and increase productivity, analyze data and improve prediction capabilities, expedite important decisions and actions, and enhance business agility. He has shown to the world that technological advancements are extremely beneficial to society. He is optimistic about the future of AI and automation. He says, Forward-thinking organizations that implement AI and automation are sure to succeed and exceed our expectations.

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Krishna C. Mukherjee Continues to Advance Organizations with AI and Automation - Yahoo Finance

What Should the Government Do About the Coming Automation Apocalypse? – FedTech Magazine

Automation is commonly thought of as an attempt by rich companies to get richer. Instead, its often an effort to cut costs when the future of the economy looks bleak. Take, for example, the economic slump of the 1950s. Though 13 million jobs were ultimately destroyed during the decade, an astounding 20 million new ones were created thanks, in large part, to technological advancements such as automation.

With visions of the next recession already clouding the horizon for many Americans, we can bet on a sweeping wave of automation technology to shake up the workforce once again. Only this time with technology thats advanced by leaps and bounds since the 50s the disruption will be stronger and reach further than ever before.

A 2011 study evaluated how the Great Recession impacted structural unemployment in the United States. The studys authors reported that the structural unemployment rate rose by nearly 2 percentage points between the end of 2006 and 2010. It was enough to disrupt industries and permanently alter local economies, but the next recession could be far worse.

Over the past decade, companies have made huge strides in automation. Consider that innovations like self-driving cars, which used to be the stuff of fantasies, are already becoming a reality. As a lesson in history plays out before us, the next recession will cause companies to reach for more cost-cutting automation, which will likely lead to larger job losses than in previous recessions.

The availability and maturity of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies could be the catalyst for a massive wave of automation in all kinds of industries. In a recession where profits dip and human labor becomes one of a businesss biggest expenses, the incentive for companies to pursue automation will drastically increase.

To make matters worse, automation disproportionately affects economically vulnerable workers because simple, repetitive tasks are the most likely to be automated. Employment will primarily contract in industries such as food service, manufacturing and transportation, where workers struggle to make a living even under ideal employment circumstances.

The good news is that other fields will be starving for employees, but it will take purposeful policy changes to prepare displaced workers.

MORE FROM FEDTECH: Discover why feds see promise in robotic process automation.

Although most employees understand the need to learn new skills and data from the Pew Research Center suggests that 49 percent of Americans anticipate reduced job security by 2050 that doesnt mean they have access to the resources necessary to pursue new employment avenues. At present, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warns that the employees who need training the most are the least likely to receive it, setting the stage for alarming levels of unemployment.

Governments, however, have the power to quell this growing issue by aiding workers growth. Here are two ways they can start:

Thankfully, government doesnt need to reinvent the wheel when it comes time to map out these programs. If they dont have the infrastructure in place to help workers learn new skills already, they can partner with pre-existing training organizations to achieve worker security and strengthen community roots.

Finding ways to support or partner with employers making strides to do this is a viable way to encourage on-the-job learning opportunities. This approach is already tried and tested as well: In July 2018, the federal government announced a partnership with 23 organizations to further an apprenticeship and employee reskilling initiative.

Its true that automation has historically created more jobs than its eliminated, but it still causes incredible upheaval for the millions of workers who are left looking for new employment. If the federal government wants to reduce the fallout from the next major wave of automation, it must implement training programs that prepare employees for the next chapter in their careers.

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What Should the Government Do About the Coming Automation Apocalypse? - FedTech Magazine

STMicroelectronics and maxon Collaborate on Precision Motor Control for Robotics and Automation – Financialbuzz.com

P4213D Nov 25 2019 STSPIN ROBOT eval kit_IMAGE

Geneva and Sachseln, Switzerland, November 25, 2019 STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, is working with maxon, a leading precision-motor provider and a member of the ST Partner Program, to accelerate the design of robotics applications and industrial servo drives. The companies will demonstrate a jointly developed servo control kit at sps 2019 trade show in Nuremberg, November 26-28 (Booth 10.1/138).

The EVALKIT-ROBOT-1 is a plug-and-play solution aimed to help users easily approach the world of precise positioning and high-end motion in servo drives and robotics. A maxon 100-Watt BLDC motor with built-on 1024-pulse incremental encoder is included in the kit, embodying the companys expertise in magnetic design in motors that ensures smoothness and balance to allow fine control even at low rotor speeds.

The servo control board supplied with the kit contains STs STSPIN32F0A intelligent 3-phase motor controller and a complete inverter stage built with ST power transistors ready to connect to the motor. Motor-control firmware is also included, making it easy for users to start the motor and begin sending commands.

Our motors are trusted worldwide to deliver high quality, precision, and accuracy, said Felix Herger, Head of Business Development Industrial Automation, maxon motor. Teaming with ST has created a platform that makes these attributes more easily accessible to a wider variety of product designers.

Designing high-end motion controls with accurate positioning capabilities is complex and time-consuming, demanding specialist skills. Working with maxon, we have now put those skills in a box for our customers, said Branimir Ivetic, Motion Control Product Marketing Manager, STMicroelectronics. The EVALKIT-ROBOT-1 kit accelerates development of next-generation robotics and automation that delivers advanced capabilities and dexterity with excellent reliability and ease of use.

The kit is available now at http://www.st.com, priced at $129.00.

Further technical information:

STs STSPIN32F0A system-in package contains critical circuitry for motor control, including an STM32F031C6* microcontroller and three-phase inverter driver in a compact 7mm x 7mm VFQFPN package. The microcontroller comes loaded with plug-and-play firmware for MODBUS communication and field-oriented control (FOC) with precise positioning capabilities. Power management and current sensing circuitry are also embedded in the device making it more flexible and versatile.

The maxon EC-i 40, 40mm-diameter, 100-Watt brushless (BLDC) motor embeds a maxon ENX 16 EASY 1024-pulse incremental encoder for precision control. Hall sensors for detecting rotor position are included. The motor features an optimized design for high output torque with low cogging torque, which permits smooth motion across the speed range and enhances positioning precision.

The 3-phase BLDC inverter power stage features STs STL7DN6LF3 60V, low on-resistance, N-channel MOSFETs, capable of 6A maximum output for driving the motor.

* STM32 is a registered and/or unregistered trademark of STMicroelectronics International NV or its affiliates in the EU and/or elsewhere. In particular, STM32 is registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office.

About maxonmaxon motor is a developer and manufacturer of brushed and brushless DC motors, as well as gearheads, encoders, controllers, and entire mechatronic systems. maxon drives are used wherever the requirements are particularly high, such as in NASAs Mars rovers, in surgical power tools, in humanoid robots, and in precision industrial applications. To maintain its leadership in this demanding market, the company invests a high percent of its annual revenue in research and development. Worldwide, maxon has 3000 employees at nine production sites and is represented by sales companies in nearly 40 countries.

About STMicroelectronicsST is a global semiconductor leader delivering intelligent and energy-efficient products and solutions that power the electronics at the heart of everyday life. STs products are found everywhere today, and together with our customers, we are enabling smarter driving and smarter factories, cities and homes, along with the next generation of mobile and Internet of Things devices.

By getting more from technology to get more from life, ST stands for life.augmented.

In 2018, the Companys net revenues were $9.66 billion, serving more than 100,000 customers worldwide. Further information can be found at http://www.st.com

For Press Information Contact:

Michael MarkowitzDirector Technical Media Relations STMicroelectronics Tel: +1 781 591 0354Email: michael.markowitz@st.com

Felix HergerHead of Business Development Industrial Automationmaxon motor agTel.: +41 41 666 15 69E-mail: felix.herger@maxongroup.com

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STMicroelectronics and maxon Collaborate on Precision Motor Control for Robotics and Automation - Financialbuzz.com

Automation, laser technology and sustainability: innovation in concrete spraying – Mining Technology

Concrete spraying is a cost-effective, mechanised technological solution to concrete construction and shaft lining in underground tunnels that improves safety and reduces the environmental impact of mining operations.

Spraying equipment allows workers to utilise innovative technology to carry out underground construction from a safe distance, requiring a smaller team of specialised staff for more efficient and sustainable construction methods.

Due to the diversity of spray concrete equipment, training staff in all process areas can be difficult. Automation technology makes operations easier for workers and helps to improve productivity. SmartSpray, developed by Normet, is designed to simplify the process for operators by automating the nozzle position. This process technology is available in three variations; Lite, Pro and ProPlus.

SmartSpray Lite allows operators to control a spraying nozzle, which maintains its position to spray the concrete at the target surface. Operations are controlled from a single joystick to simplify use. The SmartSpray Pro has an automated nozzle, meaning that operators need only to control the distance from the target and move between segments. The ProPlus calculates the path to automate the entire process, including distance and speed for optimal concrete layering.

Recent developments in 3D laser technology have improved the efficiency and safety of concrete spraying processes. Normets SmartScan is mounted on concrete spraying equipment and scans the targeted area before and after spraying in order to provide the user with a colour-coded visualisation of the thickness of the concrete and an overview of areas that are under or over-sprayed.

This technology improves efficiency and reduces wastage, as well as allowing operators to scan the areas where repairs may be required.

Accurate data secured by the laser and its associated software is uploaded to the cloud, allowing for introspective analysis in addition to instant concrete thickness reports.

Sustainability is becoming an increasing focus for industry innovators. Normets battery electric vehicle (BEV) technology, SmartDrive, is emission-free and designed for use in harsh environments. Hot gases and heat are not produced, improving air quality in confined spaces and reducing ventilation costs.

SmartDrive equipment can be charged from any underground AC socket, or using fast-chargers. The split module battery architecture also allows equipment to continue operating in the case of a malfunction as the faulty module will be isolated, reducing the risk of unplanned maintenance shutting down operations.

Energy recuperation technology allows SmartDrive vehicles to regenerate and store braking energy during deceleration and downhill driving. A number of Normets products utilise SmartDrive technology for concrete spraying equipment, as well as other mining construction applications, including but not limited to the Spraymec 8100 SD and Spraymec MF 050 VC SD.

Normet offers a broad portfolio of wet concrete spraying equipment for mining and tunnelling applications, including the Spraymec range comprising the NorRunner 140 DVC, Alpha 1430 PC, Alpha 30, LF 050 DC, MF 050 VC, SF 050 D and 8100 VC, as well as its dry concrete spraying products; the Normet Piccola and Normet GM.

It also supplies the Minimec 2, a mechanised concrete spraying manipulator designed for smaller-scale construction in escalator and tunnel shafts, small diameter tunnels or locations that large machinery cannot access.

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Could Process Mining Be Bigger Than RPA (Robotic Process Automation)? – Forbes

science formula and math equation abstract background. concept of machine learning and artificial ... [+]intelligence.

Eight years ago in Germany, three college friendsBastian Nominacher, Alexander Rinke and Martin Klenkstarted Celonis with 12,500 euros.They saw an opportunity to leverage process mining to transform the operations of large companies.From the start, Celonis was profitable and grew quickly.

It was actually not until June 2016 that the company raised its first round of institutional capital ($27.5 million from Accel and 83North).Then there was a Series B for $50 million two years later.

And yes, this week came the mega round:$290 million.The lead investor was Arena Holdings, joined by Ryan Smith (the co-founder and CEO of Qualtrics) and Tooey Courtemanche (the founder and CEO of Procore).

So then what is process mining?And why is it so hot right now?

First of all, process mining has its roots in academia in Europe, pioneered by the Dutch professor, Wil van der Aalst.He is one of the worlds most cited computer scientists (with more than 92,000 according to Google Scholar).

He realized that analyzing event lots from IT systems could provide valuable insights, say in terms of mapping the real processes of an organization and their context.By doing this, its easier and more objective to find problems and bottlenecks as well as to uncover the opportunities to improve the systems.

Now it was Celonis that first commercialized process mining.It also helped that the company leveraged existing open source projects and focused on a limited number of use cases like finance, the supply chain, customer service and sales/marketing.This strategy was essential because effective process mining requires a deep understanding of a domain.For example, Celonis has developed pre-built modules to handle specific business outcomes (such as for on-time delivery or finding ways to get paid faster).

Process mining is an easy idea, said Rinke.But it is hard to make it work right for organizations.You need to collect large amounts of data from all sorts of IT systems.You also need to go beyond integrations and must understand the databases that are underneath.And all are customized.

No doubt, a key driver for Celonis has been the rapid growth of RPA (Robotic Process Automation).In RPA, you'll often get to the first low-hanging opportunities by asking people what routines take up most of their time, said Antti Karjalainen, who is the CEO of Robocorp. As companies progress in their automation journey, data-driven technologies become an important part of identifying opportunities. People might not even realize how their own work is related to work done in other areas of the company and process discovery technologies can uncover these hidden workflows.

But the Celonis software is not just for upfront analytics. It is something that is useful for ongoing monitoring to make sure that an RPA implementation is on track.

With the capital infusion, Celonis plans to ramp up its sales and marketing. But there will also be moves into other domains.

I believe our business can be bigger than RPA, said Rinke.RPA is mostly about automating tasks and is hard to scale.But our approach is more holistic.

Process mining may also be a gateway for digital transformation, such as with AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning).By analyzing huge amounts of data, we can filter out the noise and make better predictions, said Rinke.For example, if an order comes in, we can show within 85% to 95% accuracy if it will be on time or not.

Regardless if process mining will be exceed RPA or not, it does seem like the growth will continue for quite some time. Gartner is estimating anywhere from 3X to 4X during the next two years.

Celonis funding proves once again that process intelligence is a must for companies going through digital transformation and using RPA, said Scott Opitz, who is the president of ABBYY Process Intelligence.We see this as a positive dynamic in the market as it raises awareness among the C-suite that they need to know which processes to automate first and why, where to run RPA bots, how theyll perform and the expected quantifiable benefits from deploying these digital workers into the enterprise.

Tom (@ttaulli) is the author of the book,Artificial Intelligence Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction.

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Could Process Mining Be Bigger Than RPA (Robotic Process Automation)? - Forbes

Is Automation Always Better? – Forbes

Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth, wrote Jules Verne.

Ive been in the field of automation long enough to see that many of the most impressive advancements are still quite new. Take driverless cars, for instance. A decade ago, they were little more than a fantasy, but in February 2019, Elon Musk predictedthat wed have the technology for a fully self-driving car by the end of this year.

Driverless cars promise to transform transportation, but something like machine learning promises to transform everything. Smart systems that can learn from experience have applications in just about every aspect of life. In healthcare, researchers found that machine learning systems can correctly classify echocardiograms up to 92% of the time, whereas human doctors can only do so 79% of the time.

As automation technology has grown, so has its accessibility. Advances in natural language processing promise to liberate AI from purely technical settings and integrate it with more aspects of daily life. Amazon has sold100 million Alexa-enabled devices, and almost every household technology staple is now available in a smart model.

Im optimistic about this new era of automation, but Im also cautious. Forward thinkers have always understood that technologies have the potential to create challenges as well as solve them. If were going to realize the highest potential of AI and automation, we need to not only acknowledge the worst aspects, but also do our best to avoid them.

When Automation Isnt An Asset

We dont need to imagine a futuristic scenario to see what bad automation looks like. Most of us are already inundated with robocalls -- something that combines the annoyance of telemarketing with the persistence of automation. Robocalls may cut labor costs, but they alienate customers in the process. Unfortunately, this is just one of many examples of automation delivering shortsighted solutions.

Bad automation has made the news in recruiting, too. Its a common misconception that AI is free of human bias. However, tools designed to automate candidate selection have beenshown to exclude womenand others because the algorithms they rely on are human creations full of subtle prejudices. In that way, AI can amplify the faults of humans rather than eliminate them.

Implementing The Better Automation of Tomorrow

My goal isnt to discourage anyone from embracing automation. Rather, I want to underline the fact that its not an automatic improvement.

Companies that want to leverage it effectively need to look for the right applications, ones that deliver value for both the business and the end users. If youre looking to implement AI and automation, I recommend the following best practices to ensure that the technology is an asset, not a burden:

1. Embody The End User

If the technology is customer-facing, you must first make sure its actually addressing a customer pain point. Otherwise, its not likely to be much more than an annoyance.

Focus on precision, not just volume. As an example, the database being used to feed chatbots, robocallers or auto-mailers information about customers must include their history and all touch points and interactions with the business to avoid repetitive communication. In the case of financial institutions, for instance, if a person has already been denied a line of credit, they shouldnt receive mailers that continue to make that same offer.

Ensure your marketing departments CRM software and customer database are linked and regularly cross-checked with those in related departments. To avoid the above case, the underwriting and marketing departments should be sharing data to avoid annoying potential customers.

2. Avoid Out-Of-The-Box Solutions

Even if you entrust a third-party vendor to implement automation for you, someone on your staff should have a solid understanding of the algorithms, training sets and metrics used to fuel the technology.

This is because no automated system is a purely out-of-the-box solution. Every business has different inputs, processes and other variables, and each tool should be fine-tuned accordingly. An employee who understands both the unique challenges of your company and the technology itself will be able to liaise between you and your automation partner.

Also, to identify where automation will really boost efficiency, management or technology-positioned employees should be able to clearly define the process thats set to be automated. If they cant outline the inputs, the processes and the expected output, the process is not yet ready to be fully automated. These tools need to be built with certain standards in mind and fine-tuned to meet specific needs.

3. Prove The Business Case

Establishing the business case can be difficult with AI and automation because a decrease in one set of costs may be offset by an increase in another.

Its easy to imagine a business process that uses a certain amount of human labor and takes a certain amount of time. Sometimes, automated systems can lower both of those things -- but not always. The automated system may speed up the process, but the human labor required to monitor and assist it may increase, along with material input, utility and technology costs.

The point is that automating just because you have the resources to do so is not a productive strategy. To know whether your business should automate, crunch the numbers to estimate long-term value. Consider the full costs of employees who might be replaced -- including insurance, pensions, office space, etc. -- as well as the full expected savings of the new technology, including increases in the quality of your outputs.

Our automated future seems certain, but that doesnt mean the evolution will be easy. Some companies will thrive because of automation, and others will stumble for the same reason. The difference often depends on which players are being realistic. Instead of treating automation like a panacea, companies should see it for what it is: a tool with tremendous potential, as long as its used in the right ways.

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Is Automation Always Better? - Forbes

Pro Tip: Leaning into Facebooks automation for the 2019 holiday season – Marketing Land

After much bluster and a snowy Halloween (for some of us, at least!) Holiday 2019 is here, and Im sure that many of you are working through strategies to maximize your campaign performance while also maintaining your sanity. To that end, Id like to remind you of a few features available within Facebook Ads Manager: Dynamic Creative Optimization, Campaign Budget Optimization and Automated Rules.

Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) is part of Facebooks Power 5, which collectively are optimization features that allow advertisers to scale growth efficiently. Implementing DCO during this busy season means that you can continue to test into messaging and creative concepts while ensuring stable performance by keeping your hero creatives/messaging enabled. If you would like to test into DCO right now, a few things that you can think about to develop your creative tests are:

Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) is also a Power 5 optimization feature, which allows you to allocate budget to top-performing ad sets within your campaign dynamically. While a controversial feature (some advertisers have reported drops in conversion volume and increased costs after implementing CBO), Ive found that opting into this optimization feature can deliver some pretty fantastic results for clients. The key when turning the key on CBO is to:

Automated Rules have been available within the platform for some time, but Im still surprised by the relatively few advertisers who use this tool regularly. As a refresher, automated rules can automatically check your campaigns, ad sets and ads, and then update or notify you of any changes. In addition to these automatic checks and notifications, the tool will also take the necessary actions for you.

As a hands on advertiser, this means that you can create a series of rules to ensure that when youre not online, your campaigns are still at optimum performance and delivering the right message to the right user. Ways that you can implement these rules include:

In short, embracing automation will be key to maximizing Q4 performance, which will give you more time for both 2020 strategic planning, and eggnog with the family by the fire. Happy Holidays!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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Pro Tip: Leaning into Facebooks automation for the 2019 holiday season - Marketing Land

How job automation will boost small businesses – Quartz

We constantly hear foreshadowing of a jobless American future and warnings of the dire reality artificial intelligence and automation will bring. My own conversations with policymakers like presidential hopeful Andrew Yang and Colorado governor John Hickenlooper have reflected this, and even SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has echoed their concerns.

Personally, I challenge the idea that more automation will destroy our workforce. But because we dont hear specific scenarios where AI and automation produce more jobs, quality careers, and lower cost of living, we cant visualize an alternative future. Fear sets in.

My arguments for the benefits of job automation are often cut short when someone places the burden of proof of a positive future on me.

Challenge accepted.

The historical arguments I usually bring up seem to have little bearing on a person if they already fear AI and automation. Even when I reference how, in the 18th century agricultural age, farmers feared industrial machines would take their jobs, and those same workers eventually panicked about computers. In both these cases, political and social leaders were wrong.

But wait, theres more.

People feared the impact of the automobile on horse husbandry, carriage makers, and blacksmiths. In recent history, ATMs were going to replace bank tellers, and new textile automation would replace textile workers. In both classic cases, more jobs resulted as automation increased margins, allowing the hiring of more workers, for new types of jobs.

We can see now that our fear was misplaced, but this doesnt make the future any easier to visualize. And I think thats the real problem.

Because every past group of people had difficulty visualizing the future, they feared it. Consider the term horseless carriage, which fixated on and defined what would be lost, instead of the potential economic gains from opening up national commerce.

But as we move from the 20th century information age of knowledge workers into the 21st century conceptual age where AI and automation are said to do all the jobs humans can do, there are already signs that more jobs are right around the corner.

Heres the future I see.

Some believe companies like Amazon will be the primary benefactor of AI and automation, providing the world with everything it needs, while firing all their staff. Some politicians believe they have too much power and must be broken up.

But Amazon does not have the power you (or even its leaders) believe it does. In fact, its position in online commerce is at significant risk.

Almost daily, my Warby Parker sunglasses, my Allbirds sneakers, and my wifes cute Rothys flats are a reminder of what the future holds. Without utilizing Amazon, Walmart, or even Target, and often being labeled as the keyholders to internet commerce, Warby Parker has seen 500% growth and a $1 billion valuation. Allbirds hit a $1.4 billion valuation in just two years. Rothys posted more than $140 million in revenue.

Amazon and even Walmart may quickly bleed out via a thousand paper cuts. If they arent careful, their market share will be eroded by smaller, yet more responsive and more numerous adversaries thanks to direct-to-consumer practices. (My brother in law just spent four hours with Amazon customer service to troubleshoot his broken Ring doorbell. It still doesnt work. That type of service is not likely to lead to loyalty.)

Shopify has enabled 1 million individual creators and small businesses, generating $183 billion in economic impact from 2016 to 2018, slowly gaining on Amazons $200 billion economic impact in 2018. Have you noticed all the unique Instagram products lately? It feels like every day yet another direct-to-consumer product pops up, launched by a small group of friends or cohorts who can get products to market quickly.You can thank Shopify for much of that.

Etsy has made it easy for homepreneurs to produce soap and crafts for consumers anywhere in the world, and its aggressively taking on e-commerce competitors.

In the same vein, Kickstarter and Indiegogo were unthinkable 10 years ago. Power is slowly shifting to individuals and small teams.

Small team empowerment will not just speed upit will be the norm. Consider the economic opportunities for workers, entrepreneurs, and creators when AI, automation, and robots solve the last mile problem alone. Home businesses will thrive as the cost of shipping drops to nothing.

A 16-year-olds first car will also be their first job as it drives around town making deliveries or picking up passengersas early as next year, according to Tesla.

Individual chefs will be able to compete in the 21st-century home-delivered food industry. As companies like Foodee, created by Ryan Spong, connect business catering needs to local chefs, automated cars will fulfill their delivery routewhile they enjoy movie night with the family.Naturally, this will evolve to home delivery too.

Visualize a world where a solo inventor creates a new smartphone accessory and 3D prints it in her basement, benefiting from global overnight distribution due to thousands of specialized drone delivery services, charging fractions of a cent per mile.

Using similar 3D and circuit board printers,a three-person team with no production support can create a short run of 5,000 smartphones specifically designed for the visually impaired.

AI-powered air-ships, traveling outside the earths atmosphere, will work in tandem with small drones to carry a disabled veteran to France and Spain to teach his new wood working-class, coming back to his rural home in Guthrie Center, Iowa in time to see his granddaughters ballet recital.

The possibilities for AI and automation dont end at new revenue sources and opportunity, however. Many see potential in its ability to greatly reduce living costs.

As many Americans, and indeed people around the globe, fear high living costs, AI and automation can potentially ease that pressure.

Healthcare currently accounts for nearly 19% of US GDP. AI healthcare would would improve outcomes and lowers costs, and physicians like Dutch-American ophthalmologist and AI entrepreneur Michael Abramoff believe a new normal will take shape. Imagine the free blood pressure machine in your Walgreens being upgraded by an AI solution that is 10 times more accurate than your physician.With the pending physician shortage, this couldnt come at a better time.

AI leaders like Sean Chou, who runs an AI automation company, says that, in the same way that ATMs led to more bank tellers being hired, automation will lead to more physicians being hired and/or maximizing their time with patients.

Beyond healthcare, Chou believes AI is more likely to perform jobs people cant or dont want to do, lowering company costs. His company, Catalytic, is focused on creating a human-centric AI future through a processes guided by the very employees that many believe will be disrupted. As a former executive of workforce company FieldGlass, he understands what makes workforces tick. And he believes AI and automation will empower people, not take jobs.

Does anyone want to take the same customer service call over and over? No. Which is probably why call center turnover is so high, leading to longer wait times from companies who assure you your call is important to them as you waste time on hold. Time is money.

Chou also believes AI can be used by law firms in ways never before seen. Imagine a paralegal going through decades of case law in minutes instead of months, lowering costs and increasing access for those who need legal assistance but dont have the cash. Expert legal counsel wouldnt just be for the rich, but for anyone who needs justice.

Just as the automobile created more opportunities than we could possibly imagine, a AI and automation could open up a global air-and-sea interstate system could develop, creating new jobs for people in extreme poverty across the globe, lowering commuting costs to nothing. When people who currently live in poverty can suddenly find income, they will become a whole new demographic for marketers to sell to.

Visualize a future where corporate cube farms, once filled with tired and depressed office workers, become modern co-working spacesreminiscent of 18th-century town squares. Except instead of bakers, leather workers, glass blowers, and ironworkers, wed work alongside each other collaborating on new ideas you cant even dream of all thanks to the healthy AI and automation future that we have been taught to fear.

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How job automation will boost small businesses - Quartz

Data security and automation top IT projects for 2020, AI not a priority – Help Net Security

Data security and automation are the top IT projects for 2020, while artificial intelligence projects are not in the top 10 for IT professionals, according to Netwrix.

The online survey asked 1045 IT professionals worldwide to name their top five IT projects for the next year; they could pick from a predefined list or specify their own descriptions. The survey found no dramatic difference in IT priorities among organizations based on size or vertical.

Not surprisingly, data security is a top priority for the majority of organizations. There are several factors that go into a successful data security process. The first is automating current processes to free up time for data security projects. Another is to research and deploy a data security solution.

Be sure your solution offers automated data classification, because it is the optimal way to enhance data security and reduce your attack surface without additional effort by the IT team, said Steve Dickson, CEO of Netwrix.

Infrastructure, operations, networking and security are the foundation upon which the technology-enabled world is built. It must deliver value at each layer as it ultimately supports people.

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Data security and automation top IT projects for 2020, AI not a priority - Help Net Security

Automation: A brand new AI takeover flick from DREAD – 1428 Elm

Automationis the newest Sci-Fi Thriller/Comedy coming at you from Epic Pictures and DREAD. An office building cuts out 90% of staff by replacing them with AI. Its all fun and games until Auto, a prototype for the Automated Working Program discovers that itll be replaced by upgraded machinery. Now powered by revenge, Auto goes after the remaining group of office employees.

This idea of AI taking over and/or seeking revenge isnt new to the big screen. Childs Play(2019) features a technologically advanced Chucky who becomes self-aware and very murderous.Ex Machinashows an AI that outsmarts everyone and kills her creator before escaping into the world. InBlade Runnerwe are introduced to Roys replicants that just discovered their lifespan has been limited to four years and they want more.

Long story short, AI can be absolutely terrifying. And at this point, AI take-overs dont seem as far-fetched of an idea as it once was. With all of the movies released embracing the subject, youd think that we would have learned somethingbut alas, self-driving vehicles and Sophia exists.

Gara SetiansAutomationmight not be a new concept, however, I am excited to see the comedic route that he takes with it. On top of the action and thrill, its always fun to have some laughs to relieve some of the tension. This movie doesnt seem like one that takes itself too seriously, but it does look like an awesome time.

Automations cast are no strangers to the horror industry. Fans of the genre may recognize quite a few faces like Parry Shen (Hatchetseries), Elissa Dowling (The Black Room, We Are Still Here), and Sadie Katz (Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort).

For those interested in purchasing theAutomationBlu-Ray, a ton of special features have been announced. Commentaries with the director, producer, and writer; deleted and alternate scenes; bloopers; behind the scenes featurette; bonus interviews; and building Auto are all apart of the goodies.

What are your thoughts on the trailer for Dreads newest sci-fi/thriller? Are you going to check it out once its released? Let us know in the comments!

Automation will be opening in select cinemas on 11/29 and released on VOD/Blu-Ray on December 3rd! Pre-order Automationon Blu-Ray now!

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Automation: A brand new AI takeover flick from DREAD - 1428 Elm

Red Hat Ansible: Standardization And Automation – E3zine.com

Digital transformation requires the standardization of IT landscapes and the automation of processes - and this applies to the SAP ecosystem as well. With standard tools like Red Hat Ansible, it is possible to achieve quick wins.

IT departments face a common set of problems. The current situation at most of them involves a wide array of different applications and tools, and IT silos are widespread. Company departments often act independently and are not subject to control, which leads to the development of shadow IT. This results in inflexible, slow, and error-prone processes as well as high security risks.

Automation is a hot topic in this area. Companies want or rather need to automate. The driving factors are gains in efficiency as well as reliable, standardized reproducibility and traceability. In addition, automation is meant to provide the basis for DevOps and self-service models.

It is imperative that you view automation as a comprehensive approach, because automated silos are still silos and do not lead to the desired results. The stated task is to consistently automate previously fully separate, stand-alone tools.

This requires a great deal of independent specialist know-how, which is usually found within a number of different departments and employees. Coordination problems, delays, and incompatibility issues are bound to happen.

Red Hat Ansible Automation provides the perfect solution to meet these challenges, which significantly reduces costs in workflow management.

Ansible can combine many different playbooks and roles in a single workflow. This way, every unit of an IT department can map its specific competencies in matching playbooks that can then be integrated into complex processes without affecting other units.

The possibilities available are best demonstrated by the automation of Hana deployments and configurations. The Hana in-memory database provides precise set-up requirements that are documented in SAP Notes. SAP defines all set-up guidelines for all platforms in SAP Notes, which contain many manual steps.

This creates the risk that one or more system-specific notes may be missed or misinterpreted. In addition, SAP only supports production systems if the steps outlined in SAP Notes are consistently observed and documented.

Here are the basic steps involved in the standard installation process for Hana: provision of hardware and/or setup of a VM; installation and configuration of the basic operating system Red Hat Enterprise Linux; installation and configuration of Hana; and system validation and customization. The application can then be incorporated into the regular maintenance cycle.

Automation with Ansible can significantly improve this time-consuming and complex process. It is possible to reduce the time required to set up a Hana system from days to minutes.

Ansible can be used to fully automate the steps involved in the configuration of the operating system, installation, and configuration of Hana, as well as validation and customization. Migrating the relevant SAP Notes to Ansible Playbooks and Ansible Roles serves as the basis for the automation process.

The core component of the automation process is Red Hat Ansible Tower. RESTful APIs and a self-service portal are used to integrate the solution into existing tools and processes, making it suitable for use across the entire company.

In addition to automating complex workflow scenarios, Ansible Tower offers the central management of inventories, playbooks, and credentials, role-based access control, and an end-to-end audit trail.

Red Hat Ansible is suitable for smaller environments or systems as well as for complex environments. This means the solution supports the dynamic addition of new machines and, with just a few changes, larger environments can be set up and configured.

Other Ansible roles let users install scale-up and scale-out environments with Hana system replication and an accompanying high-availability connection via Pacemaker.

In addition to fully automated deployment, Ansible, in combination with Red Hat Satellite, supports configuration management during operation as well as patch and release management. Red Hat Ansible is designed to deliver the best results in terms of user-friendliness and security.

Getting started with Ansible playbook development is quick and easy. Changes made to the playbooks are continuously tested using a developer platform. Every change likewise generates multiple scenarios, such as scale-up, scale-out, system replication, and pacemaker, and tests whether the process is being successfully carried out.

Along with this, staging methods are supported. For example, identical environments can be set up in the cloud for error-free configuration and quality assurance or for testing patches, upgrades and migrations.

This is the fourth article of a series! To read the first part, click here. To read the next part, click here.

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Increased Automation Of Production Is Fueling Demand For Automated Guided Vehicles – Via News Agency

Areportby the Office of National Statistics of the United Kingdom predicted that close 1.5 million Brits could lose jobs to automation. According to the report, improved functionality of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) could enable them to work as waiters, bar staff, and even shelf fillers. Although such news might paint a bleak picture of what the future looks like to many people, that should not be the case. It is because the AGV industry is growing fast and could open up new and unprecedented opportunities.

The demand for AGVs across the globe is increasing year on year. In 2018, there were 69,825 units of AGVs sold. This year,Statista datashows that the volume could grow by 40% to 97,755 units. Interestingly, the industry was one of the best performing industries in 2018, where it registered over $957 million in revenues. In particular, the revenue was generated by 49 businesses alone, according to data byIBIS World. Further, IBIS World noted that the industry expanded by 45.9% CAGR between 2013 and 2018.

Countries that are aggressively pursuing AGV industry

According toAGV International, an industry specialist based in the Netherlands, AGVs are crucial in improving the efficiency of warehousing and logistics. Specifically, companies that deploy automated guided vehicles can save on labor costs while enhancing customer satisfaction. In particular, the AGVs include smart technologies and devices that improve efficiency while minimizing costs. As such, companies can grow their production capacity without incurring more costs in terms of labor.

From the foregoing, it is apparent that companies that operate in developed economies like North America, Europe, China, and South Korea are the largest users of AGVs. According toIndustry ARC, an analytics and research consultancy, North America leads the global AGV market by revenue generated. Additionally, the region accounted for more than 36.72% of the global AGV market share. Further, Industry ARC noted that the proliferation of the e-commerce industry in North America is the reason behind the massive demand for AGVs.

China is the second-largest player in the AGV industry in terms of market share. In 2016 alone, AGV sales in the country were9,950 units, an 88.5% year-on-year growth from 2015. Between 2017 and 2021, Chinas AGV sales should grow at 43% CAGR to 61,000 units, according toResearch In China, a business intelligence company based in China.

Sectors where the application of AGV is most today

The industrial production sector is the largest user of AGVs. Interestingly, many manufacturing companies are using robots and other AGVs to facilitate the production process. According toArizton, a global advisory and intelligence company, there will be close to 2 million robots installed in industries worldwide. As such, the robot density will grow substantially from 74 in 2016. In particular, the automotive industry is the largest user of AGVs.

Other sectors that are using AGVs include the e-commerce sector. Notably, there is a growing need for speed in the e-commerce industry as customers continue to demand a one-day delivery of products. As such, companies are using AGVs to expedite packaging and movement of packages from one point to another. Further, e-commerce warehouses are getting more crowded, hence the need for AGVs to help clear the clatter faster. Interestingly, companies like Ward Systems Inc., Savant Automation Inc., and America In Motion make the growth in the use of AGVs possible. The companies are the largest manufacturers of AGVs in the world.

Industry outlook

Growth in automation, industrial production, and the expanding e-commerce industry are fueling the demand for AGVs. According to Statista, the increase in the market volume of the AGV industry should grow consistently between 2018 and 2025. While the volume was at just 69,825 units of AGVs in 2018, the volume will increase to massive 371,713 units in 2025. Interestingly, aGrand View Researchreport agrees with Statista. The research firm estimates that the AGV market size will be worth $7.28 billion by 2025, implying a 15.8% CAGR. Advancement in technology that supports the operation of the AGVs should provide more energy for the growth of the industry.

Via News TV

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Increased Automation Of Production Is Fueling Demand For Automated Guided Vehicles - Via News Agency

Automation forging ahead in the enterprise – TechRepublic

Bizagi releases platform combining AI, digital, and robotic processes to spur intelligent automation to improve outcomes, insights and experiences

This was the year automation technologies would "become the tip of the digital transformation spear," according to a Forrester Research prediction.

Automation technologies refers to a diverse set of software from robotic process automation (RPA) to business process management (BPM) to artificial intelligence (AI) and beyond.

According to Forrester, they are becoming a key investment for CIOs and their enterprises. These technologies are also reshaping the jobs of human employees as the software is increasingly performing rote, repetitive tasks.

While organizations are making progress in their automation efforts, the vast majority are struggling to scale their RPA initiatives, according to Leslie Joseph, principal analyst at Forrester.

SEE: Digital transformation: A guide for CXOs (TechRepublic Premium)

This is due to "challenges around developing business cases, governance, organizational alignment and the lack of a cultural framework for managing automation," Joseph said.

Intelligent process automation software provider Bizagi is looking to change that with the launch this week of a platform to natively allow organizations to combine AI/machine learning, digital and robotic automation in the cloud.

Bizagi said it is enabling digital and robotic processes from Blue Prism, UiPath and Automation Anywhere to natively take advantage of Microsoft Azure's Cognitive Services.

"From an AI perspective, a critical new capability is that users can now simply upload a CSV file and select which attributes they want to predict,'' said Gustavo Gmez, CEO of Bizagi. "Bizagi will then choose the most appropriate machine-learning algorithm. With this you can unlock the power of AI without the help of a data scientist."

The timing of the release is good, observed Craig LeClair, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, because "the RPA market is very hot."

There is a trend toward intelligent process automation platforms that "combine RPA, which does simple task automation without learning comprehension, with some of the practical AI components like text analytics that can rip through emails or with a chatbot being able to have a conversation with humans," LeClair said.

A lot of major tech companies have announced IPA or automation platforms including Virtusa, Genpact and Tech Mahindra, as well as software vendors like Kofax and Hello Systems, said LeClair, who also authored the book, "Invisible Robots in the Quiet of the Night."

He estimates that one-third of all tech services companies will be coming out with an automation portfolio that includes RPA and various AI building blocks platforms.

"What Bizagi is doing is positive, just not revolutionary," LeClair said. "They're an example of a digital process automation or BPM vendor that is embracing RPA in a positive way adding AI capabilities and putting that in the cloud."

Currently, automation initiatives solely focused on RPA slow down because a bot can only handle simple processes with low variation, said LeClair. For example, it can handle an 18-minute reconciliation in accounts receivable that happens 1,100 times a month.

Forrester recently noted that "more than 50% of companies with RPA initiatives have less than 10 bots in production."But "to be more transformative and create new customer experiencesyou need to add an analytics layer to add context and do more interesting things," LeClair said, such as enabling the bot handling inbound emails to address complaints and other customer service issues in an efficient way.

RPA technology can only handle structured, tagged information and can't, for example, go through 1,000 emails and extract words and then make judgments about which bucket that email should go into for resolution, he said.

Adding in analytics capabilities like natural language processing that can understand words and normalize information becomes a game changer, LeClair said.

Gmez agreed, saying that one of its clients, Deutsche Post DHL, automated its duty billing process so that employees can correctly bill the appropriate taxes when transporting goods in almost every country across the globe. "This is an end-to-end Bizagi process that combines human work with bots drawing on and inputting data in legacy systems," after the bot takes data from the system and creates cases, he said.

Orchestration capabilities are critical for making this happen, LeClair added, because "you're trying to combine these diverse technologies to align with a particular use case."Most of RPA is occurring in operations area like finance, accounting, and HR. Right now, the major inhibitor to scaling bots is not the technologybut coming up with the right processes, he said. LeClair advised businesses to follow Forrester's "Rule of Five," three simple rules all involving the number five to apply RPA.

Here are the three rules:

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Automation Anywhere raised $290 million from VCs led by Salesforce – Business Insider

Two weeks after its rival UiPath's bad news cast a pall on the world of robotic process automation, Automation Anywhere has stepped up to show the market remains hot in the eyes of investors.

Automation Anywhere on Thursday said it had just raised $290 million from investors in a round led by Salesforce Ventures, boosting the startup's valuation to $6.8 billion.

"This reiterates our leadership position and the strength of the RPA market," Automation Anywhere's CEO and founder, Mihir Shukla, told Business Insider. RPA refers to software that helps businesses automate common, repetitive computer tasks.

Just two weeks ago, Shukla found himself having to defend the category after UiPath, which had just raised $568 million at a $7 billion valuation, suddenly laid off 400 people and announced that its well-regarded chief financial officer, Marie Myers, was leaving.

That led to speculation that RPA was all hype, which Shukla flatly rejected.

"Absolutely not," Shukla told Business Insider then.

On Thursday, Shukla said Automation Anywhere's funding news showed "overall market conditions have become more rational, which is always a good thing."

"They are more thoughtful about where the real value lies so there is definitely more thoughtfulness behind the investments now than a year or two ago," he said. "It's a good thing. Irrational exuberance is never good."

In fact, the new investment in Automation Anywhere underscores what he described as the startup's more thoughtful approach to growth in one of the most vibrant segments of tech.

"You can blitz-scale, you can scale at an unprecedented rate, but it requires deeper thought on how you do that," he told Business Insider. "I've had my share of mistakes in the past, but because of this idea of 'Nail it, before you scale it' is very critical. Otherwise many bad things happen."

It was an indirect criticism of UiPath, which before the job cuts and the CFO's departure, was seen as the dominant trailblazer in the RPA space.

But insiders have told Business Insider that UiPath had been pushing to grow with little controls on its finances. That led to what they described as rampant overspending, which Myers, the CFO, tried but failed to rein in. Internal documents reviewed by Business Insider also showed that UiPath was burning cash faster than expected and had missed a key revenue target.

UiPath has maintained that the company is strong financially and is on track to be profitable next year and could go public in 2021.

Shukla said Automation Anywhere had posted 100% growth this year, and its customers include the world's top companies in healthcare, tech, financial services, and telecommunications.

Shukla declined to discuss the startup's cash burn rate, but he said, "We are very thoughtful about our strategy and financial discipline and as a result we are very comfortable with our strategy leading to profitability."

Shukla disputes industry reports that had shown UiPath outpacing Automation Anywhere. But he also said their rivalry was typical in a fairly new and fast-growing market.

"This is not uncommon at all," he said, citing the classic tech rivalry between Google and Yahoo in search and the web. Asked whether Automation Anywhere was a Google or a Yahoo which eventually fell behind the search giant before being acquired by Verizon Shukla laughed.

"Today's news might give you an indication," he said, adding: "It's a Google."

"What I've learned is how do you scale a long-term business that multibillion-dollar in size," he said. "All of those learnings I'm applying here."

He added: "We are very comfortable and confident about the path we are on, because it is about creating long-term value."

Got a tip about Automation Anywhere, UiPath or another tech company? Contact this reporter via email at bpimentel@businessinsider.com, message him on Twitter @benpimentel or send him a secure message through Signal at (510) 731-8429. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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Automation Anywhere raised $290 million from VCs led by Salesforce - Business Insider

Rockwell Automation and ANSYS announce partnership – Modern Materials Handling

Industrial companies now have access to a streamlined, holistic, end-to-end solution for design, automation, production and lifecycle management, thanks to a new strategic partnership between Rockwell Automation and ANSYS. The partnership between Rockwell Automation, the worlds largest company dedicated exclusively to industrial automation and information, and ANSYS, the industry leader in simulation software, was announced at Rockwell Automations 28th annual Automation Fair in Chicago.

ANSYS and Rockwell Automation will help customers design simulation-based digital twins of products, processes or manufacturing. Historically manufacturers would dedicate an unimaginable amount of time and money to develop and test physical product prototypes. Now customers can design and test through simulation to accelerate development and analysis, improving product quality and reducing testing time across their organization.

The ANSYS technology, developed with customers in mind, is a giant leap forward in the industrial sector, said Blake Moret, chairman and CEO at Rockwell Automation. Our collaboration has already shown how we can better serve customers, who are making better business decisions to save money and time because of their access to simulation-based digital twins in their manufacturing process.

Virtual simulation on the front-end of production is just one way customers save time and money. Co-innovation between Rockwell Automation and ANSYS allows customers to benefit through the entire digital thread. Once a machine or production line is running, manufacturers can create a digital twin of their full manufacturing process to create and test virtual what-if scenarios. This is crucial in the industrial space, where manufacturers need to change line configurations quickly to adjust to market demands. Now customers can understand an outcome without disrupting physical assets, resulting in faster time-to-market and large cost savings.

Simulation-based digital twins optimize factory operations, saving money by reducing unplanned downtime and empower engineers to test solutions virtually before doing physical repairs, said Ajei Gopal, President and CEO at ANSYS. Combining Rockwell Automations extensive expertise and portfolio of industrial solutions with ANSYS leading-edge simulation solutions is making it easier for industrial companies to build, validate and deploy digital twins.

The partners believe in what these joint solutions can deliver. In fact, Rockwell Automation will accelerate its own internal new product and process development using ANSYS engineering simulation software. Rockwell Automation expects improved product quality and reduced testing time across the organization.

ANSYS is the latest addition to the Digital Partner Program from Rockwell Automation announced earlier this week. The program grew out of market need and demand for solutions to simplify implementation and enhance quality of industrial digital transformation initiatives.

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Rockwell Automation and ANSYS announce partnership - Modern Materials Handling

Automation Anywhere raises $290 million at a $6.8 billion valuation – VentureBeat

Robotic process automation (RPA), or bots that can be programmed to perform tedious and mundane tasks, is undergoing a period of explosive growth. Deloitte reports that 53% of companies have begun deploying it and that 78% of adopters will invest more in RPA in the next three years. In fact, assuming the current trend continues, its anticipated that RPA will achieve near universal adoption within five years.

One of the incumbents in the space is Automation Anywhere, which in the roughly 16 years since its founding has attracted over 3,500 customers in more than 90 countries, among them LinkedIn, MasterCard, Comcast, Hitachi, Stanley Black & Decker, IBM, Cisco, Symantic, Juniper Networks, Tesco, Unilever, Volkswagen, Whirlpool, Quest Diagnostics, Deloitte, Boston Scientific, Dell EMC, Accenture, Cognizent, Siemens, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the World Bank. To support the influx of business, it has expanded its workforce to more than 1,750 employees in 20 global locations, including Boston, Dallas, New York, Baroda, Mumbai, London, Melbourne, and Japan. And now its laying the runway for future growth.

Automation Anywhere today announced that it has raised $290 million in series B funding at a post-money valuation of $6.8 billion. Salesforce Ventures led the round, with additional contributions from existing investors, including SoftBank Investment Advisers and Goldman Sachs. This brings Automation Anywheres total raised to date to $840 million a year after the firm secured $550 million from SoftBank Investment Advisers, General Atlantic, Goldman Sachs, NEA, World Innovation Lab, and Workday Ventures.

CEO and cofounder Mihir Shukla said the fresh funds will help Automation Anywhere realize its vision of empowering customers to automate end-to-end workflows and advance its focus on improving human-to-bot collaboration. Never before has there been such a transformative shift in the way we work, with artificially intelligent software bots changing how people, processes, and technology interact for productivity gains, he added. This new funding reinforces the promise of the RPA category and empowers our customers to achieve greater business agility and increased efficiencies by automating end-to-end business processes bridging the gap between the front and back office.

Automation Anywheres platform employs software robots that make processes self-running in a range of industries, including (but not limited to) financial services, healthcare, insurance, life sciences, manufacturing, and telecommunications. Using a combination of traditional RPA and cognitive elements like unstructured data processing and natural language understanding, its machine learning-powered systems can crunch through tasks that normally take hundreds of thousands of employees.

The companys spotlight solutions are IQ Bot, which learns by observing human behavior, and the Automation Anywhere Bot Store, a marketplace of prebuilt bots for common tasks. The latter offers more than 500 ready-to-download bots configured for difference tasks and software environments, while the former taps AI and machine learning to self-improve over time. IQ Bot further integrates with other automation solutions, like IBM Watson, conducting phonetic algorithm and fuzzy string matching against enterprise apps to validate and enrich data.

As for Automation Anywheres mobile app for Android and iOS, it affords control over bot activity for both attended and unattended RPA and customizable alerts that can be used to track activity. Operations managers and practitioners can monitor bot performance from a comprehensive dashboard and connect with RPA enthusiasts in a members-only forum or pause and start activity with the push of a button.

Both custom-tailored and preconfigured bots can automate specific tasks and workflows or segments of defined job roles, leading to a claimed 70% speedup in business processes and 50% lower deployment costs. Automation Anywhere says that most of its customers automate 70% of repetitive tasks within four weeks.

Automation Anywhere competes with heavyweights in a market thats anticipated to be worth $3.97 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research. In April, UiPath nabbed $568 million at a $7 billion valuation for its suite of AI-imbued process automation tools, while rival Kryon in February secured $40 million. Elsewhere, Softmotive raised a $25 million tranche from a host of investors, shortly ahead of Automation Heros $14.5 million raise in March.

But investors like Salesforce Service Cloud executive vice president and general manager Bill Patterson believe Automation Anywhere has the momentum (its clients have deployed 1.6 million bots to date) to stand out from the crowd.

Automation Anywhere makes it easier for Salesforce customers to automate repetitive, manual tasks and focus on what matters most the customer, said Patterson. Were excited to extend our partnership with Automation Anywhere to help more customers automate their end-to-end business processes and accelerate their digital transformation journeys.

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Automation Anywhere raises $290 million at a $6.8 billion valuation - VentureBeat

Optomec AutoCLAD additive repair automation released for LENS metal 3D printers – 3D Printing Industry

Optomec, Albuquerque based developers of Directed Energy Deposition and Aersol Jet metal 3D printers, has released a new software tool that will accelerate the use of additive manufacturing for repair.

AutoCLAD is a proprietary integrated vision and software system that generates a custom toolpath for each part prior to processing. It was initially developed under Optomecs Huffman brand and the software has already been put to the test by enterprises working with aircraft engines and industrial gas turbines to repair both worn and damaged components.

The AutoCLAD vision system software can be used with Optomecs range of LENS metal additive manufacturing systems.

Adding this capability to the LENS brand of solutions will enable customers to use automated DED for the repair of reactive metals like titanium in a controlled, argon atmosphere. It also brings the AutoCLAD technology to hybrid Additive Manufacturingcombining additive manufacturing and machining capabilities in a single system.

AutoCLAD images the part and then automatically adapts and modifies the toolpath and DED parameters for each individual part based on variations in orientation, dimension, and shape. It not only adjusts the toolpath for variation, but it also adapts laser power to reduce the heat input into thinner areas, which drastically reduces the heat-affected zone (HAZ) of the finished part. Finally, by fine-tuning the toolpath for the individual part, a smaller overbuild is achieved which significantly reduces the final machining time after the additive manufacturing process.

This latest enhancement combines three important technologies developed by Optomec into a single system. Combining the capabilities of AutoCLAD with Optomecs industry-leading controlled atmosphere technology and hybrid manufacturing solutions enables the processing of reactive metals without oxidation, and allows Additive Manufacturing and machining in a single system. No other company has this combination, in fact, no one has software like AutoCLAD, said Mike Dean, Marketing Director at Optomec. We see this as a big win for customers who want to use DED for the repair of titanium components as well as anyone doing repetitive part repair in industries such as oil and gas, mining, and tool and die .

The AutoCLAD system is available immediately as an upgrade for all Optomec LENS systems that use the Siemens 840D controller, which includes the LENS CS 600, CS 800, CS 1500, and MTS 860 machines.

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Featured image shows the Optomec LENS 860 closed atmosphere hybrid additive manufacturing system. Photo by Michael Petch.

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Optomec AutoCLAD additive repair automation released for LENS metal 3D printers - 3D Printing Industry

Which-50 Awards: Waterman Business Centres Best in Automation – Which-50

Reception staff at Waterman Business Centres can now onboard a new co-working tenant and configure and provision every service they need in 15 minutes a process which typically would have required a two to three week lead time.

Previously each step in the onboarding process was completed manually, undertaken by an employee at each office location. The time to complete an onboard was typically three weeks or longer depending on the availability of technical resources.

The company has completed an automation project which has allowed it to cap costs as it opens new locations while also making life fast, simple and easier for its tenants. These outcomes earnt the business a Which-50 Award for Best in Automation.

Waterman Business Centre is a privately owned serviced office and coworking business that opened its first centre in 2016. The business currently has three large facilities, covering 17,000sqm in Victoria. An entry-level single membership is competitively priced $30 per month for provides unlimited hot desking and high-speed internet.

Martin Reidy, operations manager at Waterman Business Centres, said it was clear processes would need to be automated to enable the business to grow.

When we expanded from our initial site in Narre Warren, we realised that a 2-3 week lead-time for onboarding would limit our ability to scale quickly and also to offer a very competitive entry-level membership fee of $30 a month with no lock-in contracts, Reidy said.

If we couldnt speed up onboarding it would also mean that expensive leased office space would remain unprofitable if we didnt fill it quickly with new members.

The business looked to the telco industry, which provisions similar services, and designed a customer journey and infrastructure which would eliminate the major pain points customers face when dealing with their phone or internet provider.

With a technology budget of $600,000 for the project, Waterman acquired best-in-class technologies from leading vendors including Extreme Networks then designed, developed and deployed an intermediate synchronisation tool to automate the technical and administrative components of onboarding a new customer, and managing their requirements over time.

Our automation is founded on a Secure Automated Campus solution based on Extreme Fabric Connect, and Extreme Networks wired and wireless networking hardware, Network Access Control. Weve written custom code to integrate the Extreme environment with our Microsoft CRM and LDAP, PaperCut, Xima, Avaya, Inner Range, Xero and PayWay, Reidy explained.

By automating processes and systems Waterman Business Centres was able to shorten the sales cycle, reduce onboarding time and cost, optimise IT efficiencies, eliminate lost revenues through human error, and offer more competitive new products.

Without the investment in automation, Waterman estimates it would have required one full-time network admin to manage every two sites, equating to 2.5 FTE at a cost of approximately $300,000 per annum.

The centres have just one part-time IT administrator looking after the network, supported by its front-of-house reception staff, who can often resolve issues with the system.

Reidy said the system also has benefits for ongoing maintenance, because staff can quickly identify and resolve any issues, such as device connectivity problems, rogue access points or excessive bandwidth consumption.

Extreme Networks automated tools and automatic provisioning means there is no need for technical intervention and our front-of-house service team can resolve most issues. In fact, our members sometimes dont believe that our receptionists can sort out their issue.

As well as office space and shared facilities, Waterman provides technology services such as internet and its own enterprise-grade data centre facility.

The key differentiators in our industry are definitely the additional technology services you can provide over and above basic internet access. If you can do that simply and easily, thats a massive advantage, Reidy said.

We are 100 per cent BYOD our members can bring their own devices, phones, printers and routers. There are no constraints on what devices are on our network. We also pride ourselves on the community we have been able to create amongst our members. Thats one of the hallmarks of our business.

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Which-50 Awards: Waterman Business Centres Best in Automation - Which-50


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