Introducing the collaborative Internet of Things with Circuit
We created Circuit to enable communication and collaboration between people. With the advent and fast-paced evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and chatbots, we now need to enable people and machines to work together effectively. As a proof point, we have developed a Circuit chatbot for MindSphere the cloud-based, open IoT operating System, enhanced with Google Dialogflow natural language processing.
As the analyst and consultant David Mario Smith confirms, “conversational workspaces […] are increasingly being characterized by a targeted focus on the conversation between individuals, applications and chatbots as essential for both internal and external communications and collaboration”. As an industry, our collective focus has been mostly on office environments, leading the adoption of collaboration apps like Circuit. But businesses are in the process of digitally transforming their manufacturing, sales, services and other business processes.
As a result of their digital business transformation, companies are creating tremendous amounts of data, and some are struggling to transform that data into insights and actions. One key step to make data actionable is to enable collaboration between specialists in digital factories and offices and the machines they manage. As a communication technology vendor, we want to expand the digital workplace from office environments to the digital manufacturing floor for the next generation, digitally-native workforce.
With our chatbot, Circuit becomes a collaborative interface to interact with the MindSphere platform. MindSphere the cloud-based, open IoT operating System from Siemens manages digital manufacturing processes. By starting a 1:1 conversation or adding the chatbot to a group conversation with a team of support engineers, users can query the bot based on machine data from MindSphere. The bot can answer questions about production volumes and operations, or display information about top incidents for specific machines or “assets”.
User can query MindSphere for critical machine data
Circuit can display machine data in easily digestible and actionable formats
The MindSphere chatbot sends critical system alerts to Circuit conversations
The bot can also be configured to actively push alerts into the Circuit conversation when specific threshold values for critical system data like machine temperatures are reached. Because all critical information is now in one collaborative system, people can immediate start to take action within Circuit, e.g. share relevant information or blueprints through chat or start a team call with just one click in the same conversation. And maybe a colleague is on site and can share pictures or a video feed from the specific machine and incident. As a result, issue resolution becomes much faster, resulting in less machine downtimes, higher or more stable production volumes, leading to higher customer satisfaction and financial gains.
And we keep evolving the chatbot. While customers already liked the first iteration of our solution, their feedback was that the command line syntax was too cumbersome and people expect to be able to chat with machines like they do with other people, i.e. using natural language. That‘s why we have applied Dialogflow natural language processing from Google as our strategic alliance partner. With the intelligence from Dialogflow, people can use natural chat language to interact with the MindSphere bot. Instead of simple question-and-answer style queries, the bot is now able to hold an actual “dialogue” with follow-up questions and requests.
System architecture for our MindSphere chatbot in Circuit enhanced with Google Dialogflow natural language processing
This is just the beginning. With our APIs and bot framework, you as a customer or partner can integrate any other current IoT or or AI system with Circuit, accelerating digitalization for your specific industry and processes. As Unify, we are actively working with Atos to leverage our deep industry expertise and customer insights to make the Internet of Things truly collaborative.