Midea's 'New Era of Human-Machine Collaboration' Highlights Its Full Industrial Chain Layout Advantages

Midea Group
2018-03-08 10:08 921

SHANGHAI, March 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- On March 7, 2018, on the eve of the opening of the Appliance & Electronics World Expo (AWE), the Midea Group shared its insights for the future of human-machine collaboration at its annual strategy conference. Midea believes that the interaction between human and machines will become a more profound, and integrated, collaborative relationship, and that this will herald a new era of people working together with artificial intelligence systems and machines. This is not only an extension of the 'smart²' strategy, but also strives to enable products, machines, processes, and systems to be loaded with awareness, cognition, understanding, and decision-making driven by big data and AI. This will bridge the company's various unique advantages in products and industrial layout, pushing its practices in manufacturing and living to new heights, as well as bringing users into an 'ahead of life' environment.

Midea launched 'New Era of Human-Machine Collaboration' Strategy at 2018 Midea Strategy Conference, exploring the new mode of interaction between human and machines
Midea launched 'New Era of Human-Machine Collaboration' Strategy at 2018 Midea Strategy Conference, exploring the new mode of interaction between human and machines

Midea will support the 'New Era of Human-Machine Collaboration' with forward-looking layouts

Smart manufacturing is more than just introducing robots and building unmanned factories. Previously, all R&D, supply chain, manufacturing, logistics, sales and after-sales services, including consumers, were fragmented in the manufacturing field. Today, smart manufacturing is developing ways to change this fragmentation and interconnect all processes, based on the analysis and flow of big data.

As a world-leader in consumer appliance technology, HVAC, robotics and automated systems, and intelligent supply chains (logistics), Midea manufactures and sells over 300 million household appliances globally each year. Interconnecting all its manufacturing processes is a daunting challenge. After almost three years of production standardization, and digital transformation, the Midea Group has successfully developed whole value chain software, thereby essentially achieving the 'One Midea, One System, One Standard' global collaborative production platform.

Based on this, Midea, partnering with the world's leading robotics company KUKA, plans to deepen R&D and innovation in big data and AI technologies to gradually launch automation and business solutions adaptable to various types of complex production scenarios, and lay a solid foundation for furthering the vision of human-machine collaboration via smart manufacturing. According to Wilfried Eberhardt, the Chief Marketing Officer of KUKA AG, 'We see a future in which humans and machines work hand in hand to make life easier.'

Combining software and hardware: creating an industry internet loop with seven production processes

The need to build an industrial internet has become a global consensus. According to statistics provided by IoT Analytics, the market scale of the Industrial Internet, as of 2021, will reach 1.644 billion USD. Midea enjoys incomparable advantages by having, and running, its own whole value chain. Based on its "One Platform, One Standard" strategy, Midea has created an excellent operation in the whole value chain, which fully integrates powerful R & D capability, response to orders, planning capability, flexible manufacturing, purchasing capability, quality tracking, logistics capability and customer service and installation, thereby achieving end-to-end collaboration. This digital-driven platform has realized flexible customization of C2M, platform development, module combination and digital processes for production, smart logistics, digital marketing, smart service and other profound changes.

'The true Industrial Internet is built upon the end-to-end collaboration of the R&D end, production equipment end, supply chain end, business end, logistics end and the user end, which makes 'Zero' inventory production, 100% logistics tracking and C2M customization possible. Midea Industrial Internet has a set a solid foundation for this prospect,' the Chief Information Officer of Midea, Simon Zhang, said. Currently, the existing cloud platform offers flexible solutions for multi-layer processing and complex processing, and is capable of supporting the production and operation of more than 10,000 products across 40-plus bases worldwide, through the collaboration of software and hardware, and the interconnection of seven processes. In addition, Midea digitalization solution not only applies to Midea products, but outputs mature products and solutions to other industries and corporations, including the top-selling domestic automotive brand, Changan Automobile, the largest Chinese electric tool manufacturer, Positec and retailers like Yonghui Supermarket.

Midea provides you with a carrier-free, smart home in a 'Post-APP era'

'The majority of smart household appliances currently on the market simply transplant product operation onto a mobile phone. But Midea believes the meat of real human-machine collaboration is carrier-free,' Dr. Xu, Vice President of Midea Corporate Research Center, said at the strategy release press conference. To address this, Midea has invested almost 100 million yuan annually to build the largest AI team in the household appliance industry, to study, in-depth, how to get rid of the carrier between human and machine. Some studies have yielded fruit: the large-scale deep learning computer platform, developed and designed by Midea, has been able to accurately identify the style of finished dishes in Chinese cuisine. Meanwhile, through AWE, Midea will release a number of AI products and applications, such as smart cooking robots, AI refrigerators and smart new retail.

'We will not be limited to the field of manufacturing - robotics will become important parts of logistics, medical care and even Smart Home,' the General Manager of Midea Robotics Company, Olaf Gehrels, said, at the first public appearance of MRC. Midea will also apply mature robotics and automation technologies to the domestic field. Smart wheelchair robots, running on the same technology platform as logistics robots, will soon be introduced to houses to address the increasingly severe aging problem. This is undoubtedly a large market - everyday, ten thousand people will reach 60-years-old in the US alone, with as many as 795,000 paralytics each year. With the aid of human-machine collaboration, Midea will upgrade its smart household appliances to smart home appliances, allowing it to leapfrog its portal-based rivals.

As it marches towards its 50th anniversary, Midea, which has twice been featured on the Fortune 500 List, is proposing a 'NEW ERA OF HUMAN-MACHINE COLLABORTION'. This proposal not only represents its active embrace of industry and social development trends, but indicates another push in its efforts to promote its technology-driven transformation. It can be said that Midea Group, a technology giant doing business worldwide, which has developed from a traditional Chinese household appliance company, has drawn up an explicit transformation and upgrade blueprint which revolves around the ideas of 'leading products, efficiency-driven, and globally-operated'.

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Source: Midea Group