Day by day, computing power, the scope of algorithms and the wealth of available data are all steadily increasing. At VINCI Energies, artificial intelligence is already being used for the most operational tasks.
One positive effect of the media coverage surrounding ChatGPT and generative AI is that it has helped demystify and democratise the field of artificial intelligence applications and open up debate around the transformative potential of such tools. But while the spotlight is firmly on OpenAI GPT‑4, this is just the first step toward general availability of such a powerful tool, which has potential applications far beyond language generation.
Many business sectors are affected to a greater or lesser extent by the increasing power of artificial intelligence (and generative AI). It will have an impact on jobs, processes and business models. Within an organisation such as VINCI Energies, all the vertical expertise is already in place to understand and analyse the benefits of AI, adapt products and services, and reinforce our business units’ value proposition.
AI is not a looming destructive force. The intention is not to replace people or their expertise. In our industries, it is already increasingly being used for operational tasks, freeing our employees from low-added-value tasks and offering performance improvement opportunities that are already showing tangible results.
From energy to maintenance
In energy management for example, sensors capture data about energy consumption and the environmental conditions (temperature, humidity and air quality). This data, when analysed by AI, helps improve equipment operating parameters, reduce consumption and even forecast future energy expenditure to allow better budget planning.
Similarly, algorithmic analysis of demographic, climate and traffic modelling data can help urban planners renew and design more resilient towns and cities, and help local authorities anticipate future demand for infrastructure and facilities to target investment more appropriately.
Artificial intelligence must make sense, meet identified and measured needs, and provide proof of its benefits.
Without any doubt, maintenance is currently one of the areas in which the benefits of AI are most tangible. In buildings, a major activity area for VINCI Energies, real-time data analysis greatly facilitates predictive maintenance, making it possible to monitor the condition of assets and schedule repairs before a breakdown occurs. The benefits are huge: reduced maintenance costs, maximised operational life for assets and improved operational efficiency.
Case in point: GUTENBRaiN
Buildings are not the only sector to benefit from enhanced maintenance. Manufacturing, services, and regional and local authorities have already taken the plunge and are ideal candidates for artificial intelligence and our innovative solutions.
With help from Leonard and making use of Actemium’s commercial expertise, Axians Portugal recently developed an innovative solution called GUTENBRaiN that aims to solve the problems that typically beset a traditional, manual engineering/maintenance workflow.
Using powerful algorithms, this AI-based tool can process large quantities of data from various file formats (containing text, tabular data, technical drawings, etc.), and detect and extract any relevant details to produce a knowledge base that can easily be accessed and searched by maintenance teams.
Another advantage of GUTENBRaiN is its ability to automatically reprocess any updated document and flag changes between different revisions or versions of the same document. This enables the teams to quickly understand any variations and take more enlightened decisions when major readjustments need to be considered, thus avoiding costly business errors.
Making an ally of AI
Day by day, computing power, the scope of algorithms and the wealth of available data are all steadily increasing. There is no doubt that these advances will have significant impacts on sectors, skills and jobs. But it certainly does not follow that manufacturers and their partners should make AI the sole consideration in their models.
Artificial intelligence must make sense, meet identified and measured needs, and provide proof of its benefits. Under these conditions, it can also be a key factor in attracting young talent. In a pressurised job market, this is arguably one of its most understated yet strategic benefits. To make AI an ally in their value proposition and the performance of our models, our business units and their customers must be convinced of how it benefits them. They need to see, feel and understand the value it brings to their operations. The realm of artificial intelligence is, after all, one that demands as much trust as it does scientific rigour.