Technology Record - Issue 32: Spring 2024

38 Microsoft’s Dominik Wee discusses the transformative role of AI in the manufacturing and mobility industries Energising a sustainable industry. That’s the collective goal of more than 4,000 companies across the manufacturing, energy and digital sectors that are meeting at the industrial trade fair Hannover Messe, in April 2024. From powerful assistants to data platforms that summarise and contextualise factory data, automotive and manufacturing companies are investing in innovative artificial intelligence-powered tools to achieve this. Dominik Wee, corporate vice president for manufacturing and mobility at Microsoft, explains how Microsoft and its partners are driving improvements in factory efficiencies and sustainable operations. What does your current role entail? I joined Microsoft in September 2022. As the corporate vice president for manufacturing and mobility, I take care of our business in these industry sectors. Manufacturing focuses on everything that gets made, while mobility is about everything that takes people from point A to point B. It is an interesting and quite heterogeneous mix of industries, which is something I find very exciting. What can we expect to see from Microsoft when it exhibits at Hannover Messe? We are excited to show how the manufacturing sector is moving from talking about AI to applying it at scale to drive new benefits and productivity gains. Attendees can expect us to showcase how Microsoft products and services, and those from our partners, are helping manufacturers to infuse AI across the manufacturing value chain to accelerate product development cycles, improve efficiency in the factory, operationalise sustainability across supply chain and service, and empower every employee in the enterprise to make datadriven decisions. Enterprises can only harness the benefits of AI if they have a strong data foundation, so we’ll discuss how we are helping companies build that foundation by bridging the IT/ operational technology (OT) gap. We will have customers with us showcasing how they are already deploying this technology, what benefits they have gained from it and what lessons they have learned along the way. I would like to use this opportunity to invite your readers to join us at the show. Generative AI is foremost in the minds of industry leaders right now. What strategies has Microsoft developed to help customers leverage AI-powered tools in both the manufacturing and mobility spaces? Where is the greatest uptake by customers? Organisations are making an average return of $3.5 for every $1 they invest in AI, according to IDC’s 2023 The Business Opportunity of AI report. And it’s only taking 14 months for these companies to start seeing a return on their AI investments. We’ve built AI capabilities into the Microsoft Cloud solutions customers are already using BY ANDY CLAYTON-SMITH You can’t spell acceleration without AI EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW