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Seeing robots and digital advancements through someone else’s eyes

When they run the highlight reel of my greatest dad moments, this weekend’s dinner conversation with my kids will definitely be left out.

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By Randal Kenworthy

When they run the highlight reel of my greatest dad moments, this weekend’s dinner conversation with my kids will definitely be left out – the look of terror in their eyes, the curious and confused look of my wife that said it all: “What are you thinking?!”  At that moment, I realized the future of robots, AI and the latest digital technology can be a scary concept – if poorly explained.

It started nicely enough, talking about how Mother Nature and natural selection are things of beauty. But I strayed a little off topic when I explained that in the not-so-distant future, parents could apply emerging technologies to design their babies – and that this was not necessarily a good thing.  When asked why, I described a future where all babies were basically all programmed preconception, and eventually we would all look like engineered humans – not unlike robots.  That’s when the tears started.

My 10-year-old daughter provided me with an escape hatch when she asked, “Are we all going to become robots?” At that point, I channeled my inner Malcolm Frank (a top Cognizant exec and co-author of Code Halos and What to Do When Machines Do Everything) to help address her fear.  I explained that robots were actually a good thing – that they weren’t going to actually replace us but rather supplement our day-to-day activities.  We talked about examples like autonomous cars.  She built on my point that not only will self-driving cars enable us to do higher-value activities but they’ll also make driving a lot safer.

[Read more: The State of the Union for IoT Intelligence]

Personalizing the Pursuit of Digitally-Enabled Productivity

This dinnertime exchange sums up what those of us at the intersection of business and technology deal with every day, whether we know it or not. Because not everyone is comfortable with advances in digital technologies, it’s essential to explain the value of technology in personal terms.  The work we do is often complicated and technical, but when you peek under the covers at the value organizations are achieving, even a 10-year-old would nod in approval.

By telling compelling stories about demonstrated business results, our industry can make the latest digital tools and techniques a lot less scary for the people who need to invest in and implement them. Consider:

  • Product intelligence: By integrating data and applying intelligent algorithms, we helped a multinational consumer goods company create a 360-degree, omnichannel product view.  Doing so helped increase customer conversations by 15%, significantly improve customer satisfaction and boost agility of global product launches by 40%.
  • Connected factories: We also worked with a global pharmaceutical company to build a predictive maintenance model for its distributed and connected manufacturing plants. This capability harmonized processes across multiple systems and provided visibility into potential process interruptions. By reducing downtime, the business realized a 20% increase in throughput while increasing safety, enabling patients to get their medications more quickly.
  • Intelligent process automation: We used machine learning models to help a global insurance provider expedite its worker’s compensation claims process. The solution determines bodily injury information with 90% accuracy, aided by human validation. It’s also integrated with existing robotic process automation (RPA) tools to navigate multiple mainframe and web applications and apply hundreds of business rules to enable timely and accurate registration of claims. The business has achieved greater claims accuracy and accelerated claims processing, enabling workers to get the money they need to achieve a speedy recovery and return to work, which improves productivity.

[Download]: Advancing Smart Manufacturing Operations Value with Industry 4.0

The ABCs of Clear Communication

We can all benefit from remembering some basic talking points when we engage in discussions about AI, machine learning and other digital technologies – whether it’s with our business peers and colleagues or our families. In short:

  • Keep it simple: Speak in plain terms.
  • Tell stories: Use examples and stories to explain a topic and gain alignment.
  • Stay practical: Business people often talk about technology in mythical proportions. Be pragmatic about what technology can do; avoid pie-in-the sky illustrations.
  • Don’t assume: This is a two-way street. Your own assumptions may need validation, and don’t assume your listener knows what DevOps means.
  • Repeat as needed: Technology can be complex, so repetition can help ensure that complex concepts are truly understood.
  • Break down an explanation: The human mind can better understand when information is provided in manageable, logical buckets. Minto’s Pyramid Principle is built on the concept of chunking information in manageable pieces.  The same applies here.  Take a message and break it into logical components.

With all that AI and other digital technologies have to offer, it’s essential for those with insights into its potential to diminish the fear, uncertainty and doubt that often accompanies the topic – rather than inadvertently emphasizing it. Believe me – that’s what I’ll remember the next time I bring up current events at the dinner table.

[Download]: Designing Manufacturing’s Digital Future

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Manufacturing

What you need to know if you’re attending MWC Los Angeles 2019

MWC Los Angeles 2019 is one of the newest and fastest growing events in the U.S. that brings together leading companies and influential experts from all sectors within the mobile technology industry to advance Intelligent Connectivity – a fusion of 5G, IoT, AI and Big Data.

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MWC Los Angeles 2019 is one of the newest and fastest growing events in the U.S. that brings together leading companies and influential experts from all sectors within the mobile technology industry to advance Intelligent Connectivity – a fusion of 5G, IoT, AI and Big Data.

The event is an opportunity to discover how leaders like Cognizant are looking into the future of connections, content and commerce.

To help you prepare, here is a selection of articles, case studies, ebooks, and clips from Cognizant, discussing digital transformation:

  • Learn Cognizant’s 4 key success factors to Industry 4.0 transformation. For starters, lead with strategy, not the technology. Watch the video here.
  • AI, Machine Learning, and IoT are ensuring the efficacy and efficiency of one of the most demanding engineering projects in the world. Learn how Cognizant helped Norwegian offshore engineering firm Kvaerner adopt these digital technologies.
  • The promise of Industry 4.0 is compelling, but for many traditional manufacturers, the reality is less than ideal. In this new Cognizant report, find examples of manufacturers that are navigating the shift.
  • It’s all about speed: Insight from Cognizant on how 5G will transform the business sector and create a leadership race for data intelligence.
  • Not all smart factories are created equal: Cognizant takes stock of the state of IoT intelligence, and what industrial organizations need to ensure both digital maturity and success. Read more here.
  • The many touchpoints of IoT connectivity allows AI to really shine, and prove its value to manufacturers in the form of proactive preventive maintenance, says James Jeude, VP in Cognizant’s Digital AI & Analytics Strategic Consulting Group, in this piece.
  • The human factor in IoT intelligence is key: Connected employees can “dynamically manage situations as they change,” explains Cognizant’s AVP of engineering and IOT solutions Phanibhushan Sistu.
  • The leap to IoT is a necessary one for your organization. This Cognizant ebook looks at 14 such businesses that jumped confidently into the digital future.
  • It took less than 12 weeks for Cognizant to implement an IIoT platform for a leading global industrial manufacturer. Get the case study here.
  • Without the duo of IoT and the Digital Twin, your organization is living in a black-and-white outlined world, in terms of operational intelligence. Color it in, get more accurate predictions, and fully realize potential.

One session to highlight? “5G and IoT – Understanding the Relevance to Your Business,” featuring Senior Director, Cognizant Digital Business, Prashanth Bhushan. This session will examine how the impending mass availability of 5G networks is set to mark a major step forward in extending 5G applications to various vertical industries and fields beyond traditional telecom and mobile internet.

MWC Los Angeles 2019 takes place October 22-24, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. 

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IoT + PLM = Product Intelligence: An Equation that Delivers Monetization Opportunities

In the equation IoT + X = Intelligence, what role does product lifecycle management play as the X factor?

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Consumers are fickle. 

Today’s hot must-have can easily fade into obscurity tomorrow. Most products don’t even make it out to the playing field, and instead languish on the sidelines. The B2B world is not much different. Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) however, manufacturers are gaining a better peek at the product lifecycle beyond their distribution warehouse and leveraging that intelligence to their advantage.

Case Study: Advancing Smart Manufacturing Operations Value with Industry 4.0 Platform

PLM matters

More often than not, manufacturers make educated guesses at what consumers want. Sure they rely on surveys and calibrated focus groups but too often they’re still skating on thin ice with data snapshots. Product manufacturers rely on past sales records, future trend forecasts and hope design comes up with a nifty new gadget. They then execute strategic marketing and finally keep fingers crossed for best outcomes. 

The problem with such an iterative pattern is that the process is more or less opaque once the product leaves the manufacturer. Today’s product lifecycle management delivers much-needed transparency to the trail a product follows not just from concept and design and sales but on to how the consumer actually uses and disposes of it. 

And it does so through IoT. An IoT-embedded device relays product information to the mothership long after it has left the point of sale so manufacturers can gain insight into usage patterns and other data. While PLM has always followed the trail of breadcrumbs that products leave, IoT now allows for a longer and more useful trail. 

[Download]: A New Approach to PLM

IoT + PLM

“With IoT live product feedback has become possible. The [data] gap that existed between when we have sold a product and when someone discards that product…that gap has now been connected by IoT,” says Jagmeet Singh, Director, Connected Products, at Cognizant. 

Businesses use cloud technologies to analyze the data that IoT-embedded products spit out and reap a whole host of benefits. Manufacturers access instant feedback about feature design – in an age of user-centered design, this is a big deal – and price points. Product design now needs fewer reboots and manufacturers can produce with more confidence.

The introduction of IoT and associated data analytics expanded the use of Product Data as a Service (PDaaS), where larger sets of metadata about products are now available to be harvested, right from raw materials used, to manufacturing processes to quality control and beyond.

Simply by following the IoT trail (and obtaining all-important user permission), manufacturers can monetize information about product usage to secondary vendors who might benefit from related information. A computer manufacturer, for example, can sell valuable information about the heat exchanger, the battery, the Bluetooth connection to satellite providers who can use this as intelligence for their own sales and marketing promotions.

IoT breathes new life into PLM extending the line beyond the four walls of the warehouse to the real world where live data from every user shapes future product iterations.

IoT + PLM = Customer intelligence. With sharper data based on usage patterns, manufacturers can anticipate customer needs better and deliver they want. The result is more revenue and less waste. IoT lets PLM realize its full potential.

[Download]: Real Estate Manager Goes Digital

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IoT + big data analytics = operations intelligence: An equation that draws a better picture

In the equation IoT + X = Operations Intelligence, what role does big data analytics play as the X factor?

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Global pressures to decrease energy consumption and the speed of business are accelerating the call for new ways of delivering efficiencies. 

What if a fridge could tell us that the food it stores was going to spoil in a day? What if buildings could cut down heating costs by selectively turning down the heat depending on occupancy? For a fridge to “talk” in this way, it would need a way of measuring the parameters that indicate data spoilage. The Internet of Things (IoT) delivers just that.

Case Study: Advancing Smart Manufacturing Operations Value with Industry 4.0 Platform

With IoT, everyday “things” such as refrigerators, machines, warehouses, televisions, washing machines, broadcast data about their health through outfitted chips and sensors. So large is this data deluge, that the IoT market is expected to grow at an astonishing 24.7% and reach $1111.3 billion by 2026.

Big data analytics

We need big data analytics to harvest this torrent of IoT information in useful ways. Simply spitting out data is not enough, big data analytics help companies make sense of the data and thereby deliver intelligence.

The classic definition of big data is that it presents in three “Vs”: large volumes, variety and high velocity. So the concept of big data is not new, even if this set of parameters has evolved since the early 2000s when it first took root. The introduction of IoT, however, has increased the number of sources which contribute to the data dialog. Whether or not these data points contribute to a symphony or merely create a cacophony depends on data analytics.

Case Study: Advancing Smart Manufacturing Operations Value with Industry 4.0 Platform

“Big data provides context to a world in which IoT is working,” says James Jeude, Vice-President and Practice Leader of Cognizant’s Digital AI & Analytics Strategic Initiatives Group. “As an industry we have solved the volume problem [of big data], where today’s big data really matters is that it delivers on variety. It is variety that really matters [for intelligence] at this point.” 

Take the example of a refrigerator in a grocery store. To know when the compressor is about to break, the store can measure both the refrigerator temperature and the current input. The higher the electric current flowing to a refrigerator to maintain the same temperature, the more likely it is to fail. These two indicators might be the canary in the coal mine but IoT and Big Data allow a variety of additional efficiencies. Measuring the gases emitted by the food can be a window into when the food might spoil; measuring outside temperature and humidity might tell us acceleration patterns of food spoilage. The number of times a grocery store refrigerator is opened and closed is also a useful parameter to measure.

Case Study: Advancing Smart Manufacturing Operations Value with Industry 4.0 Platform

The promise of big data analytics is that it allows a whole new range of IoT variables to participate in the conversation. 

IoT facilitates information gathering from more sources so everyone who contributes to a situation gets a hand at the table. Data analytics leverages this IoT data to deliver a more comprehensive picture of the situation. The net analysis is more nuanced and more valuable. Indeed IoT + Big Data Analytics = Valuable Intelligence. 

With IoT and big data analytics, you no longer  have to picture an elephant by merely touching its ears and tail. You can now access more touchpoints to visualize the whole animal.

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