Talking about the future in Industry 4.0 no longer makes sense, as we are currently living it with the trend towards accelerated digitalisation. Companies and production plants have completely refined and transformed the way work processes are carried out.

What are chatbots?

One of the technological trends that has entered the scene is the implementation of chatbots. Chatbots are virtual assistants very useful for information management. These applications act as interactive and conversational agents and have the ability to respond to any given query.

In recent years, their use for commercial and customer services has been increasingly heard, however, the value they have for industrial production is increasingly demonstrated.

How do they work?

Chatbots work on the basis of AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML (Machine Learning) and NLP (Natural Language Processing) technologies. They are able to complete actions and respond to questions autonomously based on specific patterns, triggers and algorithms.

Users can communicate with them through an interface (either chat or voice). Chatbots process and analyse the question, providing a pre-set and accurate answer almost instantaneously.

Their response capacity is due to their corresponding application layers, databases, conversational user interfaces (CUI) and APIs (Application Programming Interface).

There are 3 common types of chatbots:

  • Rule-based chatbots: They provide a predefined and short answer to very specific questions.
  • Smart Chatbots: Use machine learning to learn from user input. They are trained to understand specific words and phrases that prompt a response. They learn about themselves over time and their responses are increasingly sophisticated.
  • AI-driven Chatbots: Combine the benefits of the two previous types to solve users’ problems. They use a combination of natural language processing, machine learning and artificial intelligence to remember the context of conversations and understand users in a sophisticated and natural way.

Benefits of chatbots for industrial production

  • Chatbots can significantly simplify and improve a company’s internal communication, so that there is more coordination between departments and better information flow. For example, they can be integrated with internal software (CRM) to find information required by workers and provide it to them in a matter of seconds.
  • As companies grow, they require more suppliers and lose time in finding the best options, communicating with multiple suppliers and negotiating agreements. Chatbots take on this task, helping companies to make automated supplier decisions and make faster and fairer deals.
  • Chatbots benefit order fulfillment and productivity. For long and complex supply chains, chatbots make available to all parties involved the necessary information on potential problems that are arising for an effective reaction.
  • Leveraging a chatbot-based enquiry system facilitates supply and inventory management. It allows managers to check the status of parts and materials. If integrated with a messaging application, they can take requests and convert them into formal orders, making the process easier.
  • It provides safety and maintenance information, preventing accidents and maximizing productivity. Each vital safety information available on a single platform will allow the inspection team to take immediate action, ensuring safe and trouble-free operations.

Production optimisation

Chatbots are one of the many tools currently used to increase the productivity and efficiency of companies. With the advent of highly sophisticated applications, workers have the opportunity to perform manufacturing and high-volume work in less time and with greater accuracy. While managers have the ability to make informed and accurate decisions.

The aim of these technological applications is not to replace the human being, but to create a new type of interaction between the capacity of machines and the flexibility and creativity of the human being. To achieve this type of human-centred automation, companies need an effective interface, which acts as a real-time connector between humans, chatbots, sensors, big data and other technologies.

The Nexus Integra platform is already making this possible in the industry. The integrated operations platform combines technologies such as IoT and Big Data that feed the ML systems with thousands of data, both in real time and from their historical data, to allow managers in different industries to make better decisions and control operations, through a single platform of intuitive use.

In addition, with its ML application, Nexus Integra allows the optimisation of production through machine learning algorithms in a simple way, being easily integrated in the whole production process.