According to press manufacturer Heidelberg, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) will become increasingly important in the print media industry in the next few years. The company says that as in other sectors, AI will drive print shop automation further and firmly establish new digital business models in the market.
To this end, the company has launched a new subscription business model, similar to the one from that subscription box product sourcing, that is shaping the industry. One key element of this model is process consulting, which aims to fully utilize the potential of the equipment and software solutions being used while also improving print shop processes. The highly specialized experts from the company require to achieve this goal regularly work with customers both on-site and online, but their availability is limited.
The growing demand for performance consulting services under the subscription model, and also in general, is driving the automation of the actual consulting process using AI. The company is therefore launching Performance Advisor Technology (PAT), an AI-based process consulting tool that uses an automated process to provide contract customers with specific, straightforward instructions for improving their operational procedures.
This involves adding an artificial intelligence module to the Heidelberg Cloud, which contains data from over 13,000 connected machines and information relating to more than 60 million make-ready processes. The module monitors series of measurements that record the current performance of Heidelberg equipment, visualizing anomalies and displaying various recommendations for customers. PAT also explains the individual KPIs to customers, for a better understanding of these statistics. There are already plans to add a benchmarking function to PAT that compares Heidelberg machines with an anonymized comparative group from the Cloud.
Heidelberg Assistant – intuitive customer access to AI module
Heidelberg Assistant (HDA) provides customers with intuitive access to the AI services from the Heidelberg Cloud. They are free to decide which suggestions to go along with and when. Each time they follow a suggestion, the AI module learns something new about the effectiveness of the measures and can adapt future recommendations based on this experience. A freemium version of PAT is now available to all HDA users.
“With the launch of its Performance Advisor Technology, Heidelberg is demonstrating its innovative strength when it comes to digitizing key industry processes,” says Tom Oelsner, head of Digital Innovation in the Heidelberg Digital Unit. “The focus of our activities in this area is on improving customer performance. At the same time, the company benefits from the enhanced scalability of its new data-driven business models,” he adds.
Heidelberg Assistant claims 3,100 users worldwide
An intuitive collaboration and communication tool such as Heidelberg Assistant, which now has over 3,100 users worldwide, is vital for the complex technology involved in AI. Along with details of KPIs and service agreements whenever required, HDA gives users a direct overview of their equipment’s availability and efficiency. It also provides access to a range of the company’s products and services. Customers communicate with the company online, making it quick and easy to transfer data for clarifying technical issues.
For subscription customers, in particular, HDA is an essential tool to continuously monitor their print shop’s performance. Integrating Performance Advisor Technology from Heidelberg into HDA is, therefore, a further logical step in the digitization of relationships with customers and works to their benefit by improving their overall performance.