AI tech boost for MSMEs; NITI Aayog, ABB hold workshop to accelerate adoption
MSMEs are the lifeblood of Indian economy and will continue to play a big part in powering the country to a higher level. Lending a helping hand in this process are NITI Aayog and ABB. Addressing potential impact of automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the workforce and steps that could be taken to educate, train and reskill the workforce, a workshop was conducted by NITI Aayog and ABB India, to discuss various facets of AI based technology adoption. It focussed on sector specific issues - regulatory, financial and policy concerns relating to adoption of automation by MSMEs, a statement revealed.
The workshop, organised at the ABB Ability Innovation Center (AIC) in Bengaluru featured MSME entrepreneurs from the selected sectors including pharmaceuticals, textiles, electrical and electronics, food processing and manufacturing. Technology was a common thread running through the entire workshop, with working groups focused on issues faced by the MSMEs.
The workshop explored innovative business and economic models (plug and play, cluster approach, shared manufacturing approach) to accelerate technology adoption by MSMEs. It was also the culmination of a partnership between the two organizations to work together and make key sectors of Indian economy ready for a digitalized future and realize the potential of AI, big data and digital connectivity, according to the statement.
Anna Roy, Senior Adviser, NITI Aayog, while addressing the workshop, said, "At NITI Aayog we are no longer working on one-way policy plans, we have wide and deep interactions with those for whom the policies are intended to focus on. At ABB Ability Innovation Center we have brought all stakeholders of MSME value chain to identify the roadblocks they face in growth, be it in business models, financing or skilled labor, and together find ways in which we can address the same using tools ranging from policy to technology."
"As India gets recognized as a global hub for AI technologies and Industry 4.0 reshapes global manufacturing in the coming decades, we look at companies like ABB with a legacy of global technology leadership to lead this revolution by enabling our vibrant MSME base," she added.
Sanjeev Sharma, Managing Director, ABB India, said, "India can leapfrog and show the way when it comes to innovative AI applications. Working with MSMEs and the eco-system is critical for the industrial and manufacturing adoption of such technologies. With its established history of working with them for several decades and driving the change with new digital solutions, ABB would be the perfect catalyst."
Further, Sharma said, “With the right enablement and innovative business models, it could add significant value to the MSME manufacturing sector and help them navigate a continuously evolving landscape of regulatory frameworks, quality imperatives, climate change, global commodity and business uncertainties."
Talking about AI solutions for MSMEs, Uma Reddy, Managing Director, Hitech Magnetics & Electronics Pvt Ltd, said, “Today Indian MSMEs face global competition and we want to use AI to make ourselves more competitive globally."
Taking the argument further, Sampath Kasirajan, Director, Hydra Micro Business Solutions Pvt Ltd, said, “AI solutions can also provide visibility to manufacturing irregularities in the initial stages. AI would detect flaws immediately thus stopping value bleed and ensuring the required quality for global and local markets."
Automation is set to create new job streams all together, as well as exponentially increase the demand for medium to high skilled labour. India’s AI for All has been feted as an inclusive program for technology deployment, which creates a niche through innovative applications.
Notably, India has been ranked among the top 3 countries globally after USA and China for workforce with AI skills and companies most looking forward to deploying AI technologies in the near term.