The Record - Issue 18: Autumn 2020

142 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om companies to monitor, assess and manage pro- cedures to protect and empower them. Meanwhile AI technologies like robotic pro- cess automation (RPA) and digital twins – vir- tual models of real-life systems – hold the key to helping manufacturers build agility and resil- ience for the future. “AI for decision support is a key enabler of RPA, which is gaining renewed interest as manufacturers are looking at ways to reduce costs and keep workers safe,” says Sircar. For instance, building an end-to-end digital production platform on Azure, based on a single source of data, has enabled sustainable stainless steel manufacturer Outokumpu to increase out- put by 10-15 per cent at one of its sites. Predictive technology also helped the company to reduce quality defects by up to 40 per cent – all while reducing CO2 emissions. Digital twins, meanwhile, are capturing the industry’s attention by enabling companies to test ideas and run ‘what-if ’ scenarios – so they can respond quickly to sudden disruption and create innovative, sustainable business models. Bosch Building Technologies, a division of Bosch Group, is one company showing what can be achieved with the technology. It deployed Azure digital twins as it expanded the capabilities of an Azure-based platform it developed to ana- lyse and improve energy efficiency. This enables Bosch and its customers to build contextually aware solutions and create digital representa- tions of assets, environments and business sys- tems, so they can apply forecasts and predictive “Manufacturers are reimagining how they will transform their operations to create a resilient and sustainable future” I NDRAN I L S I R CAR , M I C ROSOF T F E ATUR E