An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Amazon is rolling out cheap new tools that will allow factories everywhere to monitor their workers and machines, as the tech giant looks to boost its presence in the industrial sector. Launched by Amazon's cloud arm AWS, the new machine-learning-based services include hardware to monitor the health of heavy machinery and computer vision capable of detecting whether workers are complying with social distancing. Amazon said it had created a two-inch, low-cost sensor -- Monitron -- that can be attached to equipment to monitor abnormal vibrations or temperatures and predict future faults. AWS Panorama, meanwhile, is a service that uses computer vision to analyze footage gathered by cameras within facilities, automatically detecting safety and compliance issues such as workers not wearing PPE or vehicles being driven in unauthorized areas. Amazon said it had installed 1,000 Monitron sensors at its fulfillment centers near the German city of Monchengladbach, where they are used to monitor conveyor belts handling packages.
If successful, said analyst Brent Thill from Jefferies, the move would help Amazon cement its position as the dominant player in cloud computing, in the face of growing competition from Microsoft's Azure and Google Cloud as well as a prolonged run of slowed segment growth. "This idea of predictive analytics can go beyond a factory floor," Mr. Thill said. "It can go into a car, on to a bridge, or on to an oil rig. It can cross fertilize a lot of different industries." The new services, announced on Tuesday during the company's annual cloud computing conference, represent a step up in the tech giant's efforts to gather and crunch real-world data in areas it currently feels are underserved. "If you look at manufacturing and industrial generally, it's a space that has seen some innovations, but there's a lot of pieces that haven't been digitized and modernized," said Matt Garman, AWS's head of sales and marketing, speaking to the FT.
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