This is a guest post by Pınar Köse Kulacz, Innovation Director at Arçelik.
Arçelik, the leading global manufacturer of household appliances, has collaborated with AWS since 2019 to increase efficiency and innovate on new services. Here at Arçelik, we believe that data and artificial intelligence provide a critical advantage over competitors in the global consumer goods market. With the objective to educate over 1,000 data and AI practitioners by the end of 2023, Arçelik launched the AI2 program in collaboration with AWS to strengthen AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities across the company. The AI2 program’s objective is to take individuals from technical and non-technical backgrounds through a journey where they can learn and experience value creation via data and AI in all areas of Arçelik’s business. As phase one of Arçelik’s AI2 program, Arçelik hosted their first global AWS DeepRacer League to help upskill their employees on AI and ML.
Why AWS DeepRacer?
AWS DeepRacer is the fastest way to get rolling with ML through a global racing league, cloud-based 3D racing simulator, and fully autonomous 1/18th scale race car driven by reinforcement learning. AWS DeepRacer helps employees with technical and non-technical backgrounds in exploring, problem-solving, and building skills with ML. AWS DeepRacer also inspires ML innovation in the workplace by raising awareness about ML among employees.
To upskill the AI and ML capabilities of their employees all over the world, Arçelik is convinced that the best path to learning is with a fun, hands-on project. Due to COVID-19 constraints, face-to-face solutions weren’t an option. The fully virtual approach for education and support in AWS DeepRacer enabled Arçelik to engage with employees remotely as they progressed through their ML journey. The competitive aspect of AWS DeepRacer helped foster team building around the globe, maintaining high engagement in the program.
Arçelik’s AWS DeepRacer journey
To get started on their event, Arçelik established a steering committee and worked with the AWS customer team and AWS DeepRacer Specialist Solutions Architects (the AWS DeepRacer Pit Crew) to work through the League format, racetrack, and event calendar. Arçelik and AWS designed a virtual League in March of 2021. This event received strong engagement with over 200 participants from 13 countries submitting over 300 unique models to the leaderboard. Overall, Arcelik employees dedicated over 2,800 hours of reinforcement learning model training. Arçelik hosted a qualification round, and then a live Finals Race where the race was live-streamed on a special broadcast on March 26, 2021, to hundreds of employees. During the lead-up to the final race, AWS Pit Crew members set up office hours to answer any questions. Check out the event videos to see which Arçelik participant took home first place.
Taking ML skills from the racetrack into the real world
With over 200 participants in the League, the Arçelik team enjoyed the learning process. 89% of the participants stated they would race in an AWS DeepRacer League again in the future. When asked about what they enjoyed in the journey, one participant noted, “Seeing and watching the simulation work its magic was the most addictive part. Changing, cloning models, and then rerunning the analysis was fun.” Another participant noted, “I could participate without knowing anything about ML.”
What’s next for Arçelik? The AI2 program is continuing with self-paced, online learning modules named the AI2 Master program. The program consists of three different levels. Level 1 is composed of 50–55 of hours of self-paced digital trainings, whitepapers, and blog posts designed for less technical employees who want to get familiar with AI and ML from the beginning with a structured learning path provided by AWS Training and Certification and various platforms such as Coursera. Level 2 and Level 3 are composed of training and hands-on experience for employees with technical profiles.
Get started with your own AWS DeepRacer LIVE race
We hope Arçelik’s story has inspired you to start racing with your colleagues. Now, racers from anywhere in the world can compete with each other virtually and in real time from within the AWS DeepRacer console, while colleagues, friends, and family watch a LIVE broadcast of the event online. Previously, this option was only available to qualifiers in the AWS DeepRacer League’s monthly Pro Division finale. The new LIVE event option for community races gives every participant a chance to post the fastest lap time while manually managing their agent’s speed within the AWS DeepRacer simulation. Create an AWS DeepRacer LIVE event now and learn more in AWS DeepRacer documentation.
With over 30,000 employees throughout the world, Arçelik’s global operations include sales and marketing offices in 43 countries, and 22 production facilities in 8 countries and 12 brands (Arçelik, Beko, Grundig, Blomberg, ElektraBregenz, Arctic, Leisure, Flavel, Defy, Altus, Dawlance, Voltas Beko). As Europe’s second largest white goods company by market share (based on volumes), Arçelik reached a consolidated turnover of 5 billion Euros in 2020. Arçelik’s R&D and Design Centers across the globe, are home to over 1,600 researchers and hold more than 3,000 international patent applications to date.
Arçelik is named the “Industry Leader” in the Durable Home Appliances category for the 2nd year in a row in Dow Jones Sustainability Index 2020 and, in accordance with PAS 2060 Carbon Neutrality Standard, became carbon-neutral in global production plants in 2019 and 2020 fiscal years with its own carbon credits. Arçelik’s mission is ‘Respecting the World, Respected Worldwide.’
About the Arçelik AI2 program
The AWS DeepRacer League was designed as the first step of a broader enablement program: AI2 (AI-Square)The AI2 program’s objective is to take individuals from various technical and non-technical backgrounds to a journey where they can learn and experience value creation via data and AI in all areas of Arçelik’s business. The AI2 program consists of three steps: Immerse, Master, and Act. Crafted carefully in collaboration with AWS, the AI2-Immerse step consists of an AWS DeepRacer League to create awareness. The AI2-Master step is an intensive learning program and relies heavily on self-paced, online learning solutions, supported by hands-on workshops. The AI2-Act step includes Amazon digital innovation and discovery workshops.
The content and opinions in this post are those of the third-party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.
About the Authors
Pınar Köse Kulacz, BSc in Computer Engineering ‘98 and MBA 2005, held various technical and business roles in ICT and Telecoms as a Professional and entrepreneur both in Turkey and abroad. She has been working in Arçelik Group, holding various roles like IoT Program Management, Digital Transformation Management and Data and AI Management.
Hasan-Basri AKIRMAK (BSc and MSc in Computer Engineering and Executive MBA in Graduate School of Business) is a Senior Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services. He is a business technologist advising enterprise segment clients. His area of specialty is designing architectures and business cases on large scale data processing systems and Machine Learning solutions. Hasan has delivered Business development, Systems Integration, Program Management for clients in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Since 2016 he mentored hundreds of entrepreneurs at startup incubation programs pro-bono.