Artificial Intelligence brings competitive advantages for industrial SMEs


The fourth industrial revolution – known as Industry 4.0 – bridges the gap between gathered information and more efficient processes, revealing new business opportunities. Artificial intelligence (AI) has a key role to play here.

Data provides a basis for new services, products and lines of business. Coupled with machine learning and other AI technologies, it will have a considerable impact on the IT world in the coming years and pose huge challenges to the infrastructure of many data centres. A high level of digital expertise turns ongoing data analysis into the key to business success.

Many SMEs have already begun to collect and analyse data now. However, the value of this wealth of data only becomes apparent once it is refined with intelligent IT technology. For this purpose, companies still in the early stages of the digital transformation need a clear strategic objective. Only then can they take advantage of the immense opportunities of artificial intelligence – such as the semantic text recognition already successfully trialled by GFT in its Digital Innovation Lab. This technology opens up a vast range of opportunities to extract data from text documents, images or videos using automated methods, in order to create more efficient processes in various fields and to protect them from possible abuse.

Machine learning methods in which machines, interfaces and components communicate with each other wirelessly are also already a reality in smart factories, where they are producing significant increases in efficiency. Predictive maintenance is especially promising. Entire production chains can be monitored via the Internet of Things and potential problems can be anticipated before failures can occur. We offer our clients comprehensive solutions for this, including various IoT technologies, such as the Cumulocity platform. This is where all key machinery data, such as temperature or rotations, are transmitted to the cloud-based platform using a simulation of the production processes, and then evaluated. Intuitive dashboards enable production to be monitored in real time. Linking the real processes with the platform creates a fully automated digital factory.

Spending on AI in Europe to increase fivefold by 2022

According to a recent forecast by the European Information Technology Observatory (EITO; ‘AI in Europe – Ready for Take-Off’)*, spending on artificial intelligence will increase fivefold to ten billion euros in Europe by 2022. This means an impressive annual growth rate of 38 per cent on average. Sales of AI-based services are forecast to grow the most, followed by software. According to the study, the manufacturing industry will spend the most on AI. The financial sector will take second place. Even now, banks and insurance companies are using AI-based solutions for claims management and the prevention of cyberattacks, utilities are using them to optimise networks and medical practitioners to detect disease. The automotive industry, too, is working intensively on intelligent mobility concepts, such as in the field of autonomous driving.

So far, so good. However, even the very best future scenarios help SMEs very little if they cannot find a software developer or other professionals who are familiar with AI concepts such as machine learning and who can launch or drive forward the related projects. This is why GFT is offering industrial companies something that many clients in the financial world have come to appreciate for some time now – long-standing IT expertise, advice and active support for implementation. We can draw on a base of 3,000 software specialists around the world to support any AI project – from concept to prototyping to series production. We also ensure complete control of all processes in terms of security, governance and compliance as a matter of course.

AI applications make the entire company smarter

There’s no doubt about it: technologies such as machine learning, deep learning or natural language processing will prevail in the industrial environment over the next few years. Automotive and logistics SMEs in particular should waste no time and quickly get to grips with potential application options in order to remain leaders in the competitive international market. Otherwise, there is a risk that digital players could dominate newly emerging business segments that nobody had previously even thought of. A scalable AI platform is the best form of defence against such scenarios. It means that sensors not only make the machinery smarter, but also that the right business applications make the entire company smarter.


To find out more about the new segment at GFT – Industry – go to our website or have a look at additional blog posts of our industry 4.0 series.