We’re honored and excited to be named one of the 10 hottest AI IoT startups, as reported in Network World magazine. The award validates our AI-driven approach to manufacturing analytics, and builds on our past recognition as one of Fortune’s 50 leading AI companies and CB Insights’ top 100 AI startups.
AI is clearly all the rage these days. It’s on everyone’s lips: venture capitalists, industry analysts, and mainstream media alike. Gartner pegs the AI market at $1.2 trillion this year and forecasts it to triple to $3.9 trillion by 2022. These are dizzying numbers, and we’re happy to be on the crest of this technology wave.
So by all means, pass the champagne around. Yet in passing, let’s note that dizzying hype is also what technology bubbles are made of. And we know what happens to bubbles when there’s nothing of substance inside.
More than the Latest Bubble-Bath
Think back to the dot.com phenomenon of the early 2000s and the cornucopia of companies that bubbled up from seemingly nowhere. Most fizzled out almost as fast, because when you scratched below the surface, what they had wasn’t real, or its value was questionable, or it couldn’t be monetized. Or all three.
On the other hand, a basket of winning companies did in fact harness the Internet to do great things and create tremendous value for everyone. Google revolutionized and monetized search. Amazon transformed online shopping from risky business to daily routine. Startups like Priceline.com and Shutterfly went on to establish long-lasting businesses.
The lesson here for AI? Real business value is what differentiates the wheat from the chaff.
Beyond the Hype, What’s Under the Hood?
As in the early days of the Internet, some companies have hitched their wagon to today’s brightest technology star — magically appending AI to their brands without adding anything new to their products. That’s why it’s so vital to look under the hood. As with each of the other Top Ten AI companies, Sight Machine passes this test with flying colors.
Yet, we never set out to be an AI company. We got there in pursuit of the mission we’ve always followed: help manufacturers use data to solve productivity and quality challenges across the enterprise. Factory floor data comes in more varieties and quantities than anywhere else. But it’s not useful unless it’s collected, contextualized, and modeled to digitally “mirror” the entire production process. That’s an enormous and complex challenge, and conventional or manual techniques have not been effective at scale.
But AI is uniquely suited for the job — so that’s where we are headed. Frankly, if we could have met the need with an abacus or a T-square, we would have used that instead! AI was never our pre-set goal or destination. It just happens to be the ideal tool for what we were already working on.
Companies like Google, Microsoft, GE, Fujitsu, and Westrock don’t use and partner with Sight Machine because we’re AI. They chose us because we help solve problems on the shop floor, at scale. How? We make all their IoT and manufacturing data useful in real-time, so they can make better, faster decisions.
That’s the secret to our success! We’ve garnered three awards in the past year not for being the most sophisticated AI on the planet, but because we have the most pragmatic and effective use of AI in manufacturing. And you know what? If a technology comes along tomorrow that’s better than AI, we’ll use that.
Don’t Buy the Buzz; Buy Business Value
Don’t get us wrong: AI is at the heart of what we do, we’re very good at it, and we’re grateful to be in the limelight. We just want to remind everyone to buy us for the right reasons. Not for the buzz, but for how effectively we address the challenges manufacturers are trying to solve. To see AI in action on the factory floor, read more here.