By Wanger and Pictures from Advantech
Interview with CH Wu, Vice President of Advantech iServices & Applied Computing Group
What is intelligence? The term implies some mystery, and sparks imagination. But how to define it? When is life smart enough, and what is the basis of “intelligence”? Actually, intelligence does not have a single, specific characteristic, and all definitions come from the habits and preferences of users. What do users need now? And what may they need in the future? Everything must be available immediately and even be ready in advance, that is the true spirit of intelligence.
Four features to create intelligent life
Automation technology has been used in a wide range of fields for many years, but the manufacturing sector is still the largest consumer of related applications. As a result, some industries, such as medical care, automotive, finance, logistics and retail, are not familiar with the latest technologies and the ways in which they can add distinct competitive advantages. CH Wu, Vice President, Advantech iServices & Applied Computing Group, noted that hardware suppliers with rich experience in manufacturing automation need to build on prior communication and complete aftersales service, rather than just providing the best hardware.
After several years of hard work promoting automation, numerous industries have implemented IT solutions to varying degrees. At the same time the “cloud” has received significant media coverage, and is no longer just a vague concept. Understanding the concept and equipping facilities with the right hardware can deliver a successful cloud implementation with intelligent applications. CH said, “Now is the perfect time to promote full intelligence in various industries.” CH also indicated that there are at least four aspects, including mutual interaction, multi-channel service, customized functions and real-time device management that should be considered for intelligent equipment.
First, increasing the direction of the message f low is one of the characteristics of an intelligent system. For example, hospital digital signage just used to display prepared content and viewers could only read messages. Now, by combining smart technology with a kiosk, people can interact with displays as well—entering their own data to complete registration.
Second, unlike traditional practices where customers are served at fixed locations, the increased popularity of network connections and networking equipment now enables services to be provided anywhere. For vertical industries, such multi-channel models are very important for their business operations, as they provide more timely and comprehensive services.
Third, regarding customized functions, even though every industry requires IT equipment, businesses and operational approaches differ widely according to the industry’s particular characteristics, market circumstances, and their own corporate culture. Therefore, customization is necessary to increase effectiveness in implementing intelligent applications.
The last feature is real-time device management. Much IT equipment is scattered throughout an enterprise and can’t be centrally managed. Examples are found in medical care in hospitals, or with automotive systems. In the first example, devices may be installed on different floors or various departments; in the second, devices used in vehicles are out and about on the road. For these situations, sending someone “out in the field” was the only way to maintain a device. But this is not effective and it leads to potential blind spots for management. Intelligent management is able to solve these problems. Through integration with communications, an in-vehicle system can be managed and monitored from a central location. Vehicle conditions, location in real-time, and other data will improve management and operational efficiency.
Fulfilling the Vision of the Intelligent Planet
Advantech is optimistic about the future of the marketplace. C H s aid, “We see broad prospects for intelligent development despite the different barriers to entry of various industrial applications. Our long-term efforts across all aspects of the different fields have led us to being more competitive.”
In addition, CH said that Advantech will pay more attention to making products that are in line with the needs of vertical industries. “Through cross-industry alliance, we are seeking to strengthen our expertise while closely working with partners and system integrators to accumulate professional experience and knowledge.”
Advantech will also provide full-featured “packages” instead of supplying just single products, making complete solutions for each vertical industry. For the medical industry, Advantech offers a wide range of products, including digital signage, bedside infotainment, mobile nursing carts, and medical tablet PCs. As well as for the retail industry a wide range of kiosk all-in-one computers with different peripherals to make the solution complete. Multiple devices can be managed remotely and efficiently from one location.
With active promotion by governments, and positive developments from industry, intelligent applications and services begin their journey. This is consistent with Advantech’s core concept: “Enabling an Intelligent Planet.” CH believes that the vision of a smart planet will come true through the process of gradual change and intelligent applications and services will eventually be everywhere in our lives.