Project Bonsai cornerstone of new TCS, Microsoft initiative

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has launched a collaboration with Microsoft Corp. that will see it develop AI-powered solutions for industrial controls on Project Bonsai, a low-code AI platform available on Microsoft Azure Cloud.

TCS said it plans to create “autonomous solutions that can sense and respond in real time, optimizing equipment and processes.” It added that combined, they will help organizations modernize their manufacturing, reduce downtime and material wastage, improve quality and throughput, and enhance employee safety.

Microsoft purchased Berkeley, Calif. start-up Bonsai four years ago. It said at the time that the company had “developed a novel approach using machine teaching that abstracts the low-level mechanics of machine learning, so that subject matter experts, regardless of AI aptitude, can specify and train autonomous systems to accomplish tasks.”

Two years later at its BUILD developer conference, Microsoft announced that Project Bonsai was in public preview, and since that time, a host of companies ranging from Siemens to AnyLogic have committed to the platform.

Mark Hammond, vice president and general manager of autonomous systems at Microsoft, predicted that “AI and autonomous technology are going to reshape how organizations do business and will help solve some of the industry’s biggest challenges, whether it’s optimizing manufacturing or managing energy and climate.”

TCS, which has already developed a warehouse optimization offering using Project Bonsai, said it will build offerings in the following areas:

  • Manufacturing yield optimization: Provide optimal recommendations to operators in areas such as machine calibration, process optimization and industrial controls.
  • Chemical processing: Maximize production and minimize wastage and energy cost through optimized transition between product variants, process control or machine calibration.
  • Logistics and supply chain optimization: Minimize disruptions and improve the customer experience.
  • Energy management: Dynamically manage environmental parameters in a building to optimize energy spend and maximize equipment lifetime.

Siva Ganesan, global head of TCS’ Microsoft business unit, said the development initiatives will “help clients accelerate their manufacturing technology transformation. Our AI-powered autonomous control solutions will help them better control complex and dynamic industrial processes, reduce the load on human experts, and manage multiple, conflicting optimization goals.”

TCS said the new offerings will be demonstrated, once ready, at Pace Ports, its network of research and innovation hubs located in Toronto, New York, Pittsburgh, Amsterdam, and Tokyo, with a sixth scheduled to open later this month in Paris.

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Paul Barker
Paul Barker
Paul Barker is the founder of PBC Communications, an independent writing firm that specializes in two specific areas: The creation of marketing communications content for businesses of varied size and scope, and freelance journalism. He has extensive experience as a reporter, feature writer and editor and has been covering technology-related issues for more than 30 years.

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