Kara Collins, MaRS
Manufacturers are often good at collecting data, but bad at making sense of it. Humera Malik’s AI platform puts their numbers to work.
Humera Malik was 12 years old when she caught the tech bug. As a young student in her native Pakistan, she was bored with rote math homework and decided to find a way to solve the long lists of equations more quickly.
“I didn’t want to repeatedly have to do the same old problems,” Malik recalls. So, she developed algorithms to do the work for her on the family computer. “I was basically trying to create an Excel program myself. And when Excel came out, I was like, ‘Oh man, why didn’t I do that?’”
Fast-forward 30 years and Malik is still finding ways to make repetitive processes easier—though she has taken it a few steps further. Today Malik, co-founder and CEO of Toronto-based Canvass Analytics, develops a software platform that uses artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) to help businesses streamline complex manufacturing processes. She says AI strengthens businesses because it can drastically reduce the time and cost of interpreting data and making decisions based on it.
“Industry is typically data rich, but information poor”
At the same time, Malik is quick to point out that just incorporating AI into the manufacturing process doesn’t guarantee positive results. Many companies spend a lot of time and money hiring experts and creating toolkits that will assess their data, she says, but this approach is not scalable, especially when considering the large volumes and types of data involved in manufacturing. “Industry is typically data rich, but information poor,” Malik says, adding that her platform allows for repeatability and scale, converting text-based, numerical and other types of data into information that companies can actually use in their day-to-day operations without the need to hire an expert.
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