“There is no longer room for hype in the realm of AI” – Donato Montanari, Zebra Technologies


Donato Montanari, Vice President and General Manager, Machine Vision, Zebra Technologies, on the Reality of AI

Donato Montanari, Vice President and General Manager of Machine Vision at Zebra Technologies, is adamant that the time for AI hype is over. In a recent interview, Montanari emphasized the need to differentiate between various types of AI, with generative AI (Gen AI) being a relatively new player in the field.

While some forms of AI have been around for decades, the emergence of Gen AI technologies like ChatGPT and GitHub Copilot has sparked a new wave of interest and adoption in the enterprise sector. However, Montanari stresses that the focus should be on measurable productivity, process efficiency, and tangible business outcomes rather than getting caught up in the hype.

A recent report by BCG revealed that while business executives rank AI and Gen AI among their top tech priorities for 2024, many are dissatisfied with their progress and lack meaningful upskilling initiatives. Despite this, leaders expect AI to deliver significant cost savings, particularly through productivity gains in operations, customer service, and IT.

In the manufacturing industry, the adoption of AI, particularly in machine vision projects, varies widely. While some companies are leveraging deep learning technologies to enhance production processes and quality control, others are hesitant to embrace AI due to perceived irrelevance or lack of understanding.

Montanari emphasizes the importance of training and education when it comes to implementing AI solutions. Neural networks, while powerful, are not infallible and require a nuanced approach to achieve optimal results. By setting realistic expectations, selecting appropriate evaluation metrics, and addressing data issues, businesses can unlock the full potential of AI in their operations.

As the EU’s AI Act comes into effect, manufacturers are presented with new opportunities to invest in AI-driven technologies and partnerships. By prioritizing automation, upskilling their workforce, and leveraging AI tools for improved efficiency, manufacturers can stay ahead of the curve and drive innovation in the industry.

Ultimately, the key to success lies in approaching AI with a strategic plan, focusing on tangible outcomes, and avoiding the pitfalls of hype. By embracing AI as a tool for empowerment and efficiency, businesses can navigate the complexities of the digital age and secure a competitive edge in the market.

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