What’s in store for AI and manufacturers in the fall of 2021
In early 2020, a survey estimated that 60% of manufacturers felt a substantial impact of COVID-19 on operations. From fluctuating consumer demands to new rules and regulations, manufacturers needed to innovate production methods.
Months later, we can look back and assess the full impact of the pandemic. In 2021, it became clear that industrial automation (i.e. robotics, IoT, and AI) was one of the main ‘bag of tools’ that helped re-launch the industry. The manufacturing sector was not only hit by an unprecedented crisis, but also coping with longer-term trends, such the lack of qualified workers, trade wars, and shifting supply chains.
As we approach the fall, treasuring the lessons learned in a tough 2021, we look at the new season with renewed enthusiasm. One of the main indicators that the intersection of manufacturing, automation and AI is the right spot to be for a startup, is the surge of interest by investments. According to Crunchbase, investment in this space in 2021 has topped $1.4 billion across 104 funding deals. Among these deals was Neurala’s very own financing round. We were very fortunate to welcome shareholders Zebra Ventures (US), IMA, Antares Vision, Friulia and AddValue (Italy) whose financing will help us accelerate the adoption of vision AI in the industrial and manufacturing sectors on a global scale.
Earlier this year, we also announced the creation of Neurala Europe, Neurala’s subsidiary, based in Trieste, Italy. We launched Neurala Europe to advance our efforts in the industrial space and bolster on-the-ground expertise to support for our European partners, VARs and customers. Having already worked with global strategic partners including IMA Group, Antares Vision, FLIR Systems and IHI Logistics and Machinery, as well as several European systems integrators, this move is a natural step in Neurala’s growth, as manufacturers increasingly prioritize automation as part of Industry 4.0 initiatives.
Looking ahead, this fall we expect an even greater sense of urgency from manufacturers as they address challenges such as production constraints, supply chain disruptions, and unpredictable workforce availability. In the US and EU, initiatives such as “bring back manufacturing from China” are driving the need for innovation. Today’s manufacturers require flexible, cost-effective, easy-to-deploy solutions. And this is exactly the cornerstone of Neurala’s VIA software.-VIA delivers an integrated AI-powered solution to help manufacturers improve quality inspection on the production line and boost productivity, while providing accuracy and speed that exceeds competing solutions.
The pandemic reminded industrial manufacturers that its unrealistic to rely on remote resources and on-site human labor. With the help of advanced technology such as AI, deep learning and edge computing – all of which have all proven track record of increasing the resilience of our supply chains – manufacturers will get back on track.
The fall is a great season for launching new trends, collections and ‘must haves’ in clothing (yes, given the last name, you can trust me!...). And while we at Neurala foresee vision AI being a great trendsetter for the fall, the only difference is that it will be here to stay!