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OLogic is helping to build the future

Image Credit: iStock

The 4th Industrial Revolution has many names and concepts but at the core, it is a revolution that has been built around the cloud, lower-cost robotics, combined with artificial intelligence (AI), and lots of data (IoT). 

Through the combination of these technologies, we are able to understand much more about the world around us in numbers, then use those numbers to predict or improve the processes that are generating the products or services we consume. It’s a combination of the physical and digital world at a level that just wasn’t possible in a cost-effective way a few years ago. Just as cloud computing has reduced the cost to deploy services on demand, and robotics has taken advantage of the smartphone volume to drive key component costs lower, reducing the overall cost it takes to build a robot as they use many of the same sensor components. We are now at a point where the unit economics make sense and we are able to compute effectively, either in the cloud or at the network edge, the tremendous amount of data generated by these systems at a cost point of a cents/byte that makes everything suddenly work economically.

One of the market sectors that has seen lots of activity is warehousing where supply chain processes are optimized to drive productivity gains and competitive advantage. We have seen the growth of several new robotic and AI IoT companies in these sectors over the last few years as market adoption started to move from the early adopters to the mass market. You can easily see how data and automation, especially in these types of controlled environments, improve the performance and drive productivity gain, delivering profit, growth, and ultimately competitive advantage to those companies that invested early. In fact, they have been so successful that we are now seeing a shortage in skilled personnel to support these new systems. As more jobs are being created to keep these fleets of machines running 24/7, we are seeing new service industries emerge to support the growth.

Pumpkin i500 EVK

It’s not surprising that other sectors that are less structured are now looking for digital technologies and data to provide better insight into their own business. The aim of which is to improve such things as real-time quality assurance, provide predictive maintenance, or deliver new products faster to market than their competitors. By knowing earlier if a product has quality issues in the market, or by spotting faster customer trends, companies are gaining a competitive advantage. As an example, the high cost of a wide product recall can be avoided if you focus the quality assurance team on the units you know to have the fault, saving a tremendous amount of cost. Just think how the automotive sector could reduce their very public recall costs if they could send an over-the-air update to a component to prevent it from running so fast that it overheats. Then arrange to switch it out at the next service. 

So, we’ve established what has been known for several years; data is the new oil. Without measuring what you’re doing, you can’t refine it. Now we have what seems like limitless amounts of storage and compute power, we can capture more or less anything. Building digital twins of cars, trains, and even cities. Sensors like video cameras or microphones in products like Alexa, are providing us with new ways to see the world through computer vision as well as engage with the machines through Natural Language Processing. It’s more natural for us to ask a machine for something, or understand the world visually through augmented reality than looking down at our smartphone screens.

It is here now and those companies that adopt the technology early will have a clear competitive advantage. 

We know, at OLogic we’re helping companies to build the future. 

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